Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Jamie Oliver 15 Minute Meal Gorgeous Greek Chicken + d'Arenberg Custodian Grenache 2009

Jamie Oliver 15 Minute Meal Gorgeous Greek Chicken Herby Vegetable Couscous & Tzatziki

My wife cooked this one as she saw how much fun I was having with the last meal. This time we got the timer out and turned up the pressure. She was a little more organised as she had the kettle boiled, frying pan on full whack and the food processor ready to go. The Tzatziki was easy as you just combine the normal ingredients of cucumber, yoghurt, lemon and mint and it is ready to go. The Couscous salad is another easy one as most of the ingredients are served cold with a little lemon juice splashed over the top. We didn't have dill as we couldn't get it at our store and we don't have it in the garden but the capsicum  chilli, spring onions,  peas and black olives normally sit in our fridge or freezer. The last section of the dish is smashed chicken with some allspice and oregano which we have in the garden. My wife only took 20 minutes to make the whole thing so we were tucking in almost straight away. Once again Jamie has made a tasty dish that is easy to make after a long days work. Just have a look below.

d'Arenberg Custodian Grenache 2009

Now I thought the meal would be medium bodied but it was only light so the pairing of food and wine wasn't quiet right. The wine was medium bodied with flavours of a small goods shop that focuses on all things Italian. Once the flavours move from the meaty end of the spectrum there are hints of plum skin, dry roasted cloves, cherry balm and spice all rolled into to one. The balance between these flavours is lovely and there is a hint of tannin coming through. There is that true McLaren Vale savoury Grenache at work here with a price tag at the lower end for the quality that this provides.

On another note, it is easy to see why Chester Osborn has focused on all things Grenache as he seems to be able to produce great value and quality wines from the top to the bottom of his range. This fact must have something to do with him supporting people that grew grapes during the great grape depression. Everyone was  ripping out old vines and Chester was hunting around for the best vineyards, paying good money and securing those for the long hall.

Alcohol: 14.5%
Price: $21
Rated: 86
Drink: Now - 2016

Summer Loving Wines

With the summer heat in full swing most people would be reaching for a refreshing white or zesty rose. I think a lot of the wine critics focus on is sparkling wines around Christmas and then they forget about them for the rest of the year. The two sparkling wines below deserve to be drink all year round as they offer interest and elegant drinking at a small cost compared to their French counterparts.

Domaine Chandon ZD Blanc de Blancs 2008

Unlike most of the other wines in the Blanc de Blanc style, this wine does not receive any dosage so it is bone dry and zesty to say the least. I love the way the wine flows through my mouth as it seems alive and rambunctious in its frolicking nature. This is a full on 100% Chardonnay style sparkling wine with brilliant palate length and flavours of crushed flowers, lemon rind, sour apples and kids chalk sticks running wild. I would serve this to my guests as they arrive to kick off a fantastic party.

Alcohol: 12.5%
Price: $40
Rated: 93
Drink: now – 2018

Yarrabank Cuvee 2008

Compared to the above wine this is much richer and comforting. It is like being hugged by your grandma as it offers something warm and inviting. The flavours are along the nutty creamy end of the spectrum with notes of peach, struck quartz and smoked dried flowers latching themselves to my mouth. All these flavours sit on a long palate length and a mineral acid structure which finishes tight and torte. Love it!

Alcohol: 13%
Price: $35
Rated: 93
Drink: Now - 2017

SC Pannell Pinot Grigio 2012

Steve Pannell must drink, I mean taste, a lot of European wines as he has an innate ability to take Australian fruit and combine everything good about them into an elegant and European style like nothing else in Australia. This is the best Pinot Grigio that I have tried from Australia as it has all those lovely mouthwatering moments with nashi pear, crushed minerals and spice taking center stage. The flavours are bright and the palate weight is light and vibrant.

Alcohol: 13%
Price: $25
Rated: 88
Drink: Now or over the next few years

Add caption

Alta Vineyards For Elsie Pinot Rose 2012

This smells like the Adelaide Hills during summer. I could walk through a couple of markets with the aromas of strawberries and cherries’ wafting towards me and that is identical to this wine but you have to combine it with sweet Turkish delight dusted in sugar. The wine is light in weight but has a little added texture than most wines of this style. This wine would work beautifully with seared scallops in an Asian style sauce so sit down and get it on.

Alcohol: 12%
Price: Under $20
Rated: 87
Drink: Now to 2015

Hahndorf Hill Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2012

The vines of Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot are similar as it has thicker skins and stout short leaves with the flavour spectrum really depending on how the wine-maker treats the variety. The majority of the Adelaide Hills is heading down the unoaked path with only a few using oak or extended skin contact in the process.

Hahndorf Hill Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2012

This wine is made in the finer style with flavours of passionfruit, cracker pepper, jelly crystals, warm undies and specks of citrus peel. There is a richness running through the mid-palate and the flavours hit hard on the front palate and melt away after that. The flavours of this wine offer something a little different than the normal Blanc from the Hills which is refreshing but it doesn't have the minerality or length of the top examples. Really this wine over delivers for the price as it is easy to drink and easy to like.

Alcohol: 13%
Price: $23
Rated: 85
Drink: Now or over the few years

Monday, 14 January 2013

Altamont Wine Studio Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Altamont Winery is run by Bendon Keys of BK fame and he takes his fruit from the Adelaide Hills. This winery is trying to produce wines of interest in more of a European style. The winery is located in the old Nepenthe winery in Lenswood but they do not have access to the vines that live at the wineries door step.

Altamont Wine Studio Sauvignon Blanc 2012

This is a mix between natural wine and the more commercial styles as the texture of the wine feel like a box of glycerol but the flavours are your typical guava, snowpeas, asparagus and crystalised vanilla. The length is good with a thickness running through the middle of the palate that leaves a great impression. The best part of the wine is the entry and is well worth a crack just for that.

Alcohol: 12.8%
Price: $22
Rated: 86
Drink: Now - 2017

Sunday, 13 January 2013

View Road Wines Sagrantino and Shiraz Vineyards

I went and took some photo's of the Sagrantino and Shiraz Vineyard that I take fruit from. The Sagrantino is located near d'Arenberg and the Shiraz comes from Blewitt Springs.

At the moment the grapes are massively high in acid with no flavour development.

Sagrantino Vineyard Oliver's Taranga

I take my fruit from one row of a vineyard

 The vineyard is run organically but isn't certified

The fruit is only just starting to change

Shiraz Vineyard Blewitt Springs

This vineyard is run biodynamically

 The vines are 40 years old and are dry grown

It was planted by two brother over 40 years ago

Coriole Lloyd Vineyard

Here is a shot of the Lloyd vineyard with the grapes starting to go through veraison. This is the period where the grapes move from berry growth to grape ripening.

The berries changing colour means that it is coming up to the exciting period of the year.

Jamie Oliver 15 min meal plus Bimbadgen Estate Semillon 2012

At Christmas I was given Jamie Oliver's 15 minute meals so my wife and I decided to cook our way through all the meals. The first one on the menu was the Chicken Tikka, lentil, spinach and naan salad. There is a nice mix between traditional spice, chilli and fragrant chicken mixed with more modern elements in this dish. The meal was easy to cook but some of the ingredients were a bit difficult to find as I live in a small country town.  I wasn't able to get naan bread or the chestnut mushrooms but I could get puy lentils which I had to cook myself before starting the recipe. Once my wife and I sat down to consume this medium bodied meal our taste buds went wild with each little flavour making an impact. The balance of the fresh flavours was really well executed and I would happily cook this as a main meal or as a side salad for a larger group.

My daughter enjoyed the meal as well and always wants to get involved.

Bimbadgen Estate Semillon 2012

After tasting this wine I was sure it was a 25 to 30 buck wine but a quick search on the internet shows how wrong I was. This wine has those typical lime and lemon notes before an element of crushed flowers and spiced herbs comes in. The winery is rather stunning, as the photo below outlines, and this seems to come through in the purity of the wine. In fact the wine is so easy to drink I almost forgot what I was doing.

Alcohol: 10%
Price: $18
Rated: 86
Drink: Now - 2019

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Domaine Chandon Blanc de Blancs 2009

The average day time temperature in Champagne during the critical ripening period is 18 degrees Celsius with the night time period dropping below 10 degrees. The Yarra Valley isn't too different but the night times don't drop as low which may mean  that the Australian versions may not have the same acidity as there French counterparts.

Domaine Chandon Blanc de Blancs 2009

I must admit I do love a Blanc de Blanc as the flavours can be loving yet chiselled at the same time. This wine is definitely that with hugs of yeasty oven roasted bread and toasted almonds before a wave of preserved grapefruit and crème fresh come splashing in. The ease of flavour goodness and texture is brilliant but it is the vibrant acidity that holds everything together that is most satisfying. This wine could be served as a starter to get the conversation started or as the main meal it is that versatile.

Alcohol: 12.5%
Price: $35
Rated: 92
Drink: Now - 2017

Three sets of bubbles

None-vintage sparkling I believe are the best representation of what the house is all about.  The vintage variation gets blended away and the winemaker ends up producing the style that they are after. Now for the bottom of the range I am not sure what that looks like but for the big boys it can be very enchanting to get your hands on the NV as it gives a glimpse into what to expect. 

Patritti Brut NV 

There is a nice brut aroma that you would expect from a wine at about the 20 buck mark flowing from this  wine so I could sit back and smell this for a while before tucking in. There are those nutty zesty notes mixed with citrus and a richer element working from the front palate on. On the palate the wine fades but at this price this is a steal. Literally this beats wines at twice the price.

Alcohol: 12%
Price: $4.80
Rated: 81
Drink: Now 


Tyrrell's Wines Old Winery Brut NV 

The Old Winery wine is a little dilute but it has some fruitiness that works well. The wine seems light and lemony on entry but it turns sweet from just after the front palate. While the finish was dry, the wine seemed a bit narrow yet still had a bit of interest with the flavour profile. 

Alcohol: 12.5%
Price: $13
Rated: 80
Drink: Now

Old Winery Brut

De Bortoli Emeri Pink Moscato NV 

Turn up the sweetness and hung me when you are nude! This wine makes me want to run free in the meadows as the flavours of musk stick and candied strawberries run wild. It is more than the flavours as this wine tastes more grapey than it does winey but I guess that is the very low alcohol talking. Smash me now.

Alcohol: 8%
Price: $14
Rated: 82
Drink: Now 

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Pieropan Soave Classico 2009

Pieropan is one of the best producers of Soave in Veneto. They have been working hard to produce a more refined version of this variety with an emphasis on texture and vibrancy. This variety is naturally high in acidity  but sees a little winemaker influence such as lees stirring to increase the mouth feel.

Pieropan Soave Classico 2009

Beautiful notes of almond meal, grapefruit, glazed flowers and river pebbles start this wine off. The wine is very smash-able for an entry level wine with the almonds taking the main role and I guess that is what everyone is after for a wine of this price. The wine seems to float down my tongue yet coats my taste buds with delight. I don't know how they do it but Italy seems to produce wines of lightness with texture and interest. Australia, or countries that are on the hotter side, should focus on producing this sort of wine as it offers so much. While this is not up to the normal standard for the label it offers beautiful drinking in the shorter term at a brilliant price.

Alcohol: 12%
Price: $30
Rated: 89
Drink: Now - 2016

Thursday, 3 January 2013

3 Dark Horses Grenache 2011

This venture is run by Matt Broomhead who used to be the wine-maker at Coriole. He has managed to find top quality vineyards in McLaren Vale that produce rich wines with elements of elegance. This is a new label that is one to watch.

3 Dark Horses Grenache 2011

McLaren Vale has managed to produce more European wines in 2011 but they still retain those gorgeous regional elements. To begin with this wine is dry and savoury with notes of boot polish, raspberries, spice and charcuterie. The wine is light to medium bodied with a set of dry tannins sitting underneath the flavours. The oak is still a little dominant at this stage but give it a year or two and it should resolve itself.

Alcohol: 14%
Price: $25
Rated: 86
Drink: 2014 - 2020

Casa Coller Extra Dry Prosecco NV

Casa Coller Extra Dry Prosecco NV

This is your typical Prosecco with light and crisp flavours of pear juice and spice. During the hotter months, such as January, when the temperature hits above 40 degrees Celsius the thing that I would reach for to cool me down would be a wine of this style. Why? Well the wine has an aperitif style that invigorates my saliva glands and gets them going. It is not a wine to contemplate rather a wine to stimulate the senses and get the party going.

Alcohol: 11.5%
Price: $10
Rated: 83
Drink: Now
Importer: Options Wine Merchant

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Freycinet Vineyards Chardonnay 2011

The Freycinet Peninsula is located on the east side of Tasmania in what is a rather hotter area than is normally associated with the region. In general they seem to be able to make European style Riesling and Pinot of character.

Freycinet Vineyards Chardonnay 2011

Nothing is out of place in this wine and at this stage the wine seems coiled up and tight. The oak has already been absorbed in to the body of this full bodied beast so the peach, grapefruit, struck quartz and pineapple juice are the main gladiators of the show. The power of the flavours is off set by the restraint of the structure and acidity but everything seems meaningless as the transition of each component works so well.  I would be stashing this away as the wine opened up over the four say I tasted it, each and every time I went back.

Alcohol: 13.5%
Price: $30
Rated: 93
Drink: 2017 - 2025

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Claymore Wines London Calling Merlot 2010

The label for this wine is rather impressive. It harks me bank to the song by the Clash which I would say was a punk band back in the 70s or 80s.

Claymore Wines London Calling Merlot 2010

This tastes more like a Clare wine than a merlot but I guess that is a good thing. On the nose there is mint and eucalyptus mixed with plum and chocolate sauce. This medium bodied wine has plenty of flavour, good length but not much tannin which is normal for this variety in Australia. There is a little alcohol heat from the mid-palate on so I would suggest that this should be drunk during colder weather.

Alcohol: 13.8%
Price: $20
Rated: 84
Drink: Now - 2016