Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Killer Veneto IGT Pinot Grigio 2007

She's a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, gelatine
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind

Recommended at the price
Insatiable an appetite
Wanna try?

Killer Queen - Queen


I think I have said this before, but this summer Pinot Grigio is the wine to have in your fridge. The Killer Veneto IGT Pinot Grigio 2007 is light and floral and fruity and just so easy to drink, and as labels go, very easy on the eye!

Drink with grilled trevaly
Drink now
Screwcap 12.5%v/v $16 at Blackhearts and Sparrows

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Listel Pink Flamingo ‘Gris de Gris’ Camargue Rosé 2008

If the Godfather of Kitsch was a wine it would be Pink Flamingo! A brand new arrival to our shores, the Listel Pink Flamingo ‘Gris de Gris’ Camargue Rosé 2008, is one of the many fine wines that I am representing through Vranken Pommery Australia (cha-ching plug!).

Now, for the record, ‘Gris de Gris’ is not a Pinot Gris or a grey wine, but a pink wine that is decidedly paler than most rosé wines because it is made exactly like a white wine where the fruit – all dark fruit – is pressed as soon as it gets to the winery and not bled or a saignee, which is I guess the traditional way to make rosé wine.

This wine is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan and comes from some of the oldest vines in France due to they were not affected by phylloxera in the 1880’s because of the fine, almost beach like sand that they are planted in.

As said before, the wine is very pale in colour with an almost peach fuzz about it. A simple waft of delicate raspberry and musk precede the same in the mouth with a real slippery, vinous mouth feel not unlike a Marsanne or Roussanne.

This wine is very brand new here, and so far Mr. Wilkinson in Brunswick the only bar to have this listed, and they are pouring it for about $8 – top stuff I say!

Drink with charcuterie meats
Drink now
No rating – its part of my portfolio
Quality cork 12.5%v/v at Mr. Wilkinson, or if you are interested shoot me an email on

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hewitson Barossa Vally Ned & Henry's Shiraz 2007

There’s something in the air today; flies are a buzzin’, snags are a fryin’, Gen Y are a moshn’ at the Big Day Out and speedo’s are a smugglin’ down at the beach. Yep, it’s Australia Day, and what better way to spend it than sitting out the backyard watching the kids play under the sprinkler (I think we can loosen the water restrictions for today, don’t you think!) while you stuff another sausage wrapped in bread down ya gob and washed it down with a great big juicy Barossa Shiraz (just for the record the author is actually sipping on a Margaret River Chardonnay). And seeing that it is our little Henry’s 1st Australia Day and his 1st birthday this Sunday, the aptly named Hewitson Ned & Henry’s Barossa Valley Shiraz 2007 is getting a run today.

Virtually black as you look at it in the glass, this wine is jam packed with ripe fruit and spice with a poke of licorice all sorts at the end. The wine in the mouth virtually has the same hallmarks as it did on the nose with a very noticeable punch of oak. A nice wine and very, very Australian, and with that Mr Hewitson – Ya bloods worth bottlin’!

Drink with BBQ sausages and lamb chops
Drink till 2012
Screwcap 14%v/v $20 at Dan Murphy’s Kew

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Penfolds Grange Robbery 2002 - Top of the pops in the Naughties

On October 6th 2002 at about 10.30pm I accepted death – all in the name of Penfolds Grange and some poor bastard’s heroin addiction; that’s not a bad way to get your attention hey!

This is my second instalment in to the top 10 moments I had in the naughties. For one year, March 2002 to March 2003, I worked at Como Wine & Spirits selling wine and the occasional Bacardi Breezer. At the time I reakon it was the best job for me; I was too angry for restaurants and bars and too inexperienced to work at a winey or a vineyard, but I loved wine and this was what I needed.

I very quickly learnt how to sell wine, but not just sell any old wine to any old punter. I was working at one of Australia’s best ‘fine wine’ outlets and working with people who know how to sell wine, like Frank Gonzalez, someone who has been involved in selling wine for quite a while and calls people like Chris Ringland and Ben Glaetzer close friends. Very quickly I learnt to not only sell wine, but I was also good at it.

On October 6th I was rostered on for the lone Sunday gig. This was a day that could go any way; it could be frightfully quiet or frightfully busy. On this particular day it was neither here nor there. At around 9pm I decided to wind it all down and get my sweeping under way – it got pretty dusty on those floors and Paul Martini wanted clean floors and till’s full of cash! I was half an hour away from locking up at 10pm when a young, well dressed Asian fellow walked in and started tyre kicking. After about a minute he called me over to ask what would be the best Chardonnay to have with a steak; I thought this strange cos you don’t eat steak with chardonnay, but it was late and I wanted a quick sale. I recommended the Lakes Folly 1996 and that was the last I recall of peace before I was smacked over the head by the bloke. Before I could defend myself I was set upon by two more Asian blokes who were all fists and boots. Before I knew it I was being dragged out the back all the while still copping blows to all parts of my body. We had lost cabin pressure!

In a blink of an eye I was dragged out back, layed down on the floor face down and bound and gagged with a hanky stuffed in to my mouth and taped up; there is no way someone at this stage can comprehend the senseless act that was taking place, all you can do is go along with it.

It was at this point someone asked me where the Grange was. I couldn’t help but laugh cos they were standing right in front of it; about 40 six packs with varying vintages staring right back at them. I copped a smack across the head for that one.

Robbers choose their tipple in vintage manner
October 08 2002
By Larissa Dubecki

Police are warning restaurant staff and wine dealers to be on the lookout for stolen premium wine worth more than $30,000, after a hold-up at an exclusive South Yarra liquor store.

Officers expect the robbers will try to sell the wine, which includes Henschke's Hill of Grace and a dozen cases of Penfolds Grange.

Como Wine and Spirits on Toorak Road was held up by two well-dressed men posing as customers about 9.30pm on Sunday. They were dressed in shirts and ties and threatened the lone male sales attendant with a knife, before binding and gagging him in a rear storeroom


Over the next hour or so, these three guys emptied the store of pretty much all the Grange and Henshke Hill of Grace, with smatterings of Burgundy and a $1500 bottle of Louis XIV Cognac. But the most brazen act during this time was that the store was still open, with the two boys out the front politely telling punters that the store was closed. There were on a couple of occasions people asking about me directly, with one of the boys telling them that I had to get home urgently. As I said, there were two boys out the front; the third had his knee firmly planted between my shoulder blades with his knife sitting clumsily on my neck. With each new person coming in the door, the knife would get tighter on my neck. By the end of the ordeal I had about a dozen little knicks on my neck with a few blood trickles stained on my shirt.

I don’t know when it was, but all of the sudden I felt as light as a feather and totally numb. It was then that I accepted I was going to die. There was no weeping or thrashing about, all I felt was helpless and ultimately at peace with my fate. I would never see my mum again or have a beer with Snowy at 4am talking bullshit about footy; I would never get the opportunity to be a Dad and ward off pre-pubescent boys from my daughter. This would all be left for somebody else. This was my lot and I was ready for whatever they were going to do. But I wasn’t ready.

Right near the end of the ordeal, someone got a plastic bag and started ruffling it in front of me. I freaked. I did not want to die like this. I did not want to be suffocated; I was not ready to go like this!

Right then someone spoke to me. They said that they were going now and that they would call the cops in 10 minutes and I was not to move. I didn’t argue and I remained laying face down a still as I could. About five minutes passed when the same bloke returned and said, ‘good you haven’t moved’. With that, they were gone.

Ten minutes must have passed without a peep. They were never going to call the cops. It was up to me to get out myself. With my best MacGyver impersonation, I kicked off my right shoe so I could wriggle my feet free and sit up. The next thing was the blind-fold. I motioned to what was a corner of a wine box and nudged the blind-fold enough for me to see out of. I stood up, still with hands tied behind my back and made for the front door. All the lights had been turned off and I made my way awkwardly to the front door, gingerly stepping through smashed bottles of grange along the way. I couldn’t open the doors properly so I decided the only way to get out would be for someone to open the door for me; I screamed as loud as I could yet people walked on by. Who would do that! With MacGyver channelling me again, I managed to get the door open and leg it up Toorak Road 50 metres to “The Venetian’ restaurant. It was a warm night and there were still people enjoying a drink or two on the sidewalk tables. I will never forget the look on one bloke’s face that first giggled then jumped out of his seat the very instance he knew I was in trouble. I leapt the few stairs inside where I was once again greeted by a smile, this time from ‘Bluey’ behind the bar, with the smile quickly turning to shock when he saw I was tied up. I lunged behind the bar and stayed there until the cops came. It was over.

Over the next few weeks, several actually, I had a lot of time to myself thanks to forced leave paid for by the state government. It was during this time I met Erin, drank my first bottle of Krug and had a nervous breakdown. And it was the day that I met Erin I received a phone call from the police saying they got them; I cried and cried.

My time was pretty much up at Como. When I returned to work I refused to wear a neck tie for fear that someone would use it to choke me. The new guy didn’t like this saying, ’if it was good enough for me to wear a tie, it was good enough for you as well.’ He was a prick, probably still is. The real problem however was the store owner, Martini. He made my life a living hell at Como, again. It wasn’t until March the following year when he decided it was time for me to leave; after all, he was helping me!

Along time has passed since October 2002. I finished my Wine/Viticulture degree, fathered two beautiful children and remained in the wine industry. I still think about what happened to me, everyday – something like that is pretty hard to blot out of your memory. The funny thing is that I never really like Grange; always thought, and still do, that it is over-rated. You will be happy to know there is no Grange, and never will be any Grange in my cellar, besides, life is too short to drink bad wine!

And do you know what, that photo at the top is actually from Como Wine & Spirits; funky shit hey?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Domaine de la Romanée Conti Romanée-St-Vivant 2002

Fiddle Dee dee, fiddle dee dum – I’m in the mood for something’ yum!

Really great wines, and I mean really really great wines, are a rare commodity these days. So when something like a DRC comes along – yes folks a Domaine-de-la-Romanée Conti – you don’t just sip it, you hog it so no one else gets a shot at it!

With this I must now introduce you to the Domaine-de-la-Romanée Conti Romanée-St-Vivant 2002 – you can almost hear the angels sing can’t you?

Brilliant medium to deep ruby colour. Slightly muted cherry-berry nose, with tea rose notes with a massive toffee coming through after about two hours. Deep-set fruit, great texture and fruit density, black cherry, tart cranberry and spice, and like the toffee, bay leaf coming through on the palate the longer the wine has in the glass. Excellent balance and length and just bloody excellent!

Drink with pure indulgence – rare wagyu
Drink till 2032
Quality cork 13%v/v US$650

And like the Bastille Day post of 2009, this one will also be in French for you Francophiles

Fiddle Dee dee, diddle acte um – j'ai envie de quelque chose Yum !

Vraiment de grands vins et je signifie vraiment très grands vins, sont un rare de nos jours. Donc lorsque quelque chose comme un RDC vient – Oui gens un Conti Domaine-de-la-romaine – vous n'est pas seulement sip il, vous il ne monopolise donc aucun un sinon obtient un tir à elle !

Avec cela je dois maintenant vous présenter le Domaine-de-la-Romanée Chanter Romanée Conti-St - Vivant 2002 – vous pouvez presque hare les anges Impossible de vous ?

Support de brillant de couleur rubis profond. Légèrement en sourdine. Cherry-fruits nez, avec des notes tea roses avec un caramel massive entrant grâce après environ deux heures. Deep-Set de fruits, de texture grand et de densité de fruits, noire Cherry, tart canneberge et épices et comme la feuille de caramel, baie entrant grâce sur le Palais plu le vin a dans le verre. Excellent équilibre et longueur et juste sanglantes excellent !

Boire avec pure indulgence – rare wagyu
Boire 2032
Liège de qualité 13%v/v 650 $ US

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kooyong Mornington Peninsula Clonale Chardonnay 2008

Sandro Mosele is a very busy man. Not only is he making wine for Kooyong, he is also making wine for Port Phillip Estate, Scorpo and some new wine starting with ‘B’ – that’s all I’ve got on a Saturday morning folks! At Kooyong, Sandro not only has the Estate wine, he also has several single vineyard wines and the very user friendly Clonale range, for what this post is based on – the Kooyong Mornington Peninsula Clonale Chardonnay 2008.

Coming in around $10 cheaper that the Estate and up to $40 cheaper than some of the single vineyard wines, the Clonale Chardonnay is a good example of a clean, fresh Chardonnay from the Peninsula. The wine has a very clear straw look to it in the glass with soft stonefruit and citrus coming through on the nose. It is very soft in the mouth with clean tight acid and, like I said, a good example of a Mornington Chardonnay with a nutty citrusy feel with an even an unobtrusive integration from the oak. It’s a nice wine.

Drink with BBQ prawns
Drink till 2011
Diam cork 13.5%v/v $25 Armadale Cellars, Armadale

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Clyde Park Geelong Shiraz 2005

How ‘bout that cool change today, thank Trevor! Well, with a cool change, how about a cool climate Shiraz; the Clyde Park Geelong Shiraz 2005. Almost pitch black in the glass, the nose is loaded with plenty of everything, like pepper, licorice, raspberry, cloves and brown spices. There is a very Rhone like feel to this wine with a wonderful marriage of pepper and brown spices of nutmeg and cinnamon. The mid-palate is packed with ripe plum and tart raspberry and this is all held together with grippy fine tannins.

Another reason why I think Geelong makes the best Shiraz in Australia!

Drink with game pie and black pudding
Drink till 2018
Screwcap 14.5%v/v Hawthorn East Dan Murphy’s

Monday, January 11, 2010

...easy as 1-2-3!!!

Guess what I’m drinking right now?

A-sa-hi... easy as 1-2-3.....

Ashbrook Margaret River Chardonnay 2007

Pound for pound the best Chardonnay coming out of the West, with a real challenge to the Leeuwin Estate Art Series. The Ashbrook Margaret River Chardonnay 2007 is a wine that continues to get better with every vintage.

Margaret River, I have been told by certain 'Wine Experts', is Semillon Sauvignon country, with Chardy just making up the numbers. Yet, it was the Ashbrook Chardonnay about 4 or 5 years ago that was judged by James Halliday as Australia's best, with wines such as Leeuwin Estate, Bindi Quartz and Yabby Lake all rating considerably less.

I really only noticed this wine from the 2005 vintage. At around $25 from Uncle Dan's, this wine a couple of years ago was the most frequent visitor through our doors in Brunswickistan. It seemed that this vintage was a never ending one, with Dan's having it on the shelves for what seemed like two years. The day came, however, when the 2005 was gone, and in its place stood the 2007 (I don't know why we didn't get any of the 2006 vintage). At the same price, it was a no brainer. Pale straw and a quick whack of grapefruit and almond meal suggested this wine was going to be like its 05' sibling; and it was. Great length in the mouth with more racy grapefruit and spine-tingling acid that could cut through a diamond, with soft licorice powder bringing up the rear with fine style.

This is a wine that I believe will be drinking near its peak in about two years, though right now with another heat-wave upon us this wine will surely play another pivotal role in down-town Brunswickistan. And one more thing, do not be put off by the whopping great 14.5%v/v - to me this is a wonderful example of first class wine-making with the ease that the oak intergration seems to chew up all of the alcohol.

Drink with grilled whiting
Drink till 2014
Screwcap 14.5%v/v $24 Hawthorn East Dan Murphy’s

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hugel Alsace Pinot Blanc 'Blanc de Blancs' 2006

There are a few ways to beat the heat this summer;

1. Buy a pool
2. Live near a pool
3. Live near the beach
4. Spend a shirt-load on a/c
5. Drink crisp white wine

Of the five options above, it is the last one that I am following the most. This summer Erin and I have been drinking a bit of Riesling, but it is this wine today that has me going back time and again - the Hugel Alsace Pinot Blanc 'Blanc de Blancs' 2006.

This is as simple a wine as I have tasted for some time, yet it is its simplicity that I find so enticing. A very faint straw look to the wine with not much on the nose except for a faint waft of wax; it's almost neutral really. In the mouth there is once again a very neutral feel to the wine with more wax and a touch a white flower with tight, clean acid. It all sounds very boring, but this wine is a gem when straight out of cold fridge. An absolute must this summer!

Drink with friends
Drink now
Diam cork 12%v/v King & Godfree, Carlton

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Gembrook Hill Yarra Valley Mayer Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007

It seems that getting the complete series of 'The West Wing' - the greatest TV show ever made, and having a full-time job which does not entail regular domestic duties* has lead me to somewhat ignore my blogging. So what better way to amend this then write about something that rocks baby!

The Gembrook Hill Yarra Valley Mayer Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007 is a smashing wine! A dirty translucent red introduces a rather earthy floor and crushed strawberry nose; surprised with earthy floor and disappointed with crushed strawberries - I just want a Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley to offer somethig else!

Did I say I was disappointed; well that quickly changed. Gorgoeous tart cranberry with super fine subtle tannins - almost like a double negative isn't it - flowed seamlessly through the mouth and had absolutly no trouble gobbling up the fatty lamb chops that were sizzling on the BBQ. Super wine this one folks!

Drink with Greek style BBQ lamb chops
Drink till 2014
Screwcap 13.2%v/v $24 Dan Murphy's Hawthorn East

*Disclosure - by no means am I discounting the role of the full-time parent, be them female or male, it's just full-time work outside of the picket fences seems a bit more exhausting - that and bloody peak hour traffic!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Wine by Some Young Punks - Quickie! South Australia Shiraz Nebbiolo 2009

You could just stare at it for hours couldn't you!

Another mouth watering wine from the gang of punks from SA. The Quickie! South Australia Shiraz Nebbiolo 2009 is jam packed with ripe fruit courtesy of the Shiraz (58%) and balanced neatly by fine tannins and tort tartness from the Nebbiolo (42%). Put simply, a great wine that does not take itself too seriously!

Drink with beef sausages and potato salad
Drink till 2013
Screwcap 14%v/v $24 from Blackhearts and Sparrows, Lygon Street Brunswick