Spitbucket Sessions Vol.11: Italian Varieties in Australia

12 03 2011

 

Italy has given so many great things to the world: Silvio, quite a lot of good food, Paolo Maldini, some pretty slick art and over 900 grape varieties. Of course the rest of the word hasn’t got around to planting all of those 900 varieties yet but we’re definitely having a good crack. Always remember my WSET exams and trying to get to grips with the Italian elements…just how many major regions, the intense viticultural differences between them and the myriad indigenous grape varieties.

Well Australia is going at it as hard as anyone else in the world, and while sales of imported wines are falling, interest in Italian grape varieties vinified on Australian soil seems to be increasing. If made well these should be perfect food wines and so are the perfect foil for Adam Lord’s food at Coast. This should be a pretty special Spitbucket I reckon so get involved!

Pair 1: Vermentino
Ducks in a Row Vermentino
Chalmers Vermentino

Pair 2: Fiano
Oliver’s Taranga Fiano
Coriole Fiano

Pair 3: Nebbiolo
Pizzini Nebbiolo
Primo Estate Joseph Nebbiolo

Pair 4: Sangiovese
Coriole Vita Sangiovese
Capel Vale Cellar Exclusive Sangiovese

Pair 5: Sagrantino
D’arenberg Cenosilicaphobic Cat (DISASTER has struck – d’Arenberg have sold out of this extremely interesting 91% Sagrantino, 9% Cinsault blend with a name that take’s a little practice. I will have to hustle to find another suitable Sagrantino! Any ideas?)
Oliver’s Taranga Sagrantino

As usual, #spitbucket is free to attend and will take place at the Coast Roof Top Bar. It is on Wednesday 16th March. All you have to do is tweet @coastrestaurant and ask to book a space before they’re all gone. More details here.

After David (from Eldridge Estate) did such an amazing job at the last Spitbucket, there have been calls for me to “sit this one out again” and at the very least “raise my game”. I will, of course, do neither of these 🙂





Spitbucket Sessions Vol. 8: Riesling Rising

31 01 2011

 

(Pikes’ Clare Valley vineyard)

Riesling makes the heart and the spirits soar. Not just because of the spine-tingling acid, mineral poise and layers of complexity. Not just because of the beautiful way it evolves in the bottle, from taut, tense youngster to languid, laconic oldie. Not even because, along with Pinot Noir, it is the noble grape variety that speaks most of the dirt it was grown in. Where it’s planted is what you get. No mucking around.

No, it’s all of these things plus the fact that you can still buy some of the best Rieslings in the world for under $50. But why? Well Riesling is still deeply uncool where the masses are concerned. Despite the imploring of wine writers, winemakers and sommeliers all around the world it is still a niche pursuit of the passionate. But that is what the Summer of Riesling has set out to change. Crafted brilliantly in Australia by Jason Hoy (@summerofriesling) and Stuart Knox (@fixstjames) and building on an original idea by Terroir & Hearth in New York, the calendar of events around Sydney has had one goal in mind…to put Riesling in people’s mouths, on their minds, and on their restaurant’s wine lists. See the Summer of Riesling website for more info.

There’s only one snag though. If everyone starts loving Riesling as much as we do…then inevitably the prices will go up one day. But I suppose it is a small price to pay to get more great Riesling on the shelves and on the wine lists. So cheer for Riesling with gusto…and then pour yourself a glass.

Pair 1
Capel Vale Whispering Hill Riesling 2009, Mount Barker WA
Tamar Ridge Kayena Vineyard Riesling 2009, Tamar Valley TAS

Pair 2
Jamsheed ‘Westgate Vineyard’ Riesling 2009, Great Western VIC
Clonakilla Riesling 2010, Canberra District ACT

Pair 3
Pikes The Merle Reserve 2010, Clare Valley SA
Urlar Riesling 2010, Wairarapa NZ

Pair 4
Weingut Stift Göttweig Göttweiger Berg Riesling 2008, Kremstal AUST
Donnhof Riesling Trocken 2009, Nahe GER

Pair 5
Knebel Winninger Bruckstuck Feinherb 2008, Mosel GER
Reinhold Haart Piesport Domherr Spatlese 2007, Mosel GER

As usual, #spitbucket is free to attend and will take place at the Coast Roof Top Bar. It is on Wednesday 2nd February. All you have to do is tweet @coastrestaurant and ask to book a space before they’re all gone. More details here.

Thanks as always to the wineries who have supported this event and to Eurocentric Wine and Cellarhand for helping with the German and Austrian bottles.






Shiraz round-up

28 10 2010

Forgive the tardiness of my Shiraz scribbles. Just my personal thoughts. Here we go…

Western Australia
The Collection Shiraz 2008 (Margaret River) – spicy and peppery with medium intensity and blackberry and minerals. A good one to start with.

Capel Vale Whispering Hill Shiraz 2007 (Mount Barker) – less up front fruit, more dried herbs on the nose, but palate has pure fruit drive. Angular and precise with the black fruit dominating the finish.

Canberra District
Lark Hill Shiraz Viognier 2009 – lifted apricot and blackcurrant nose. Really fresh, yet pretty luxurious on the palate. Felt a touch sweet for my personal taste.

Capital Wines Kyeema Vineyard Reserve Shiraz 2006 – Restrained with savoury nose. Showing a fair bit of development. Medium bodied, beautiful balance and elegance.

Hunter Valley
Brokenwood Shiraz 2009 – Seems so young, recently released actually, with fresh, primal red and black fruit assault. A baby but lots of promise.

Glenguin Stonybroke Shiraz 2007 – Rich and warm Hunter nose with stewed plums, mulberry and spicy notes. Savoury with great body and a long, silky tannin finish.

McLaren Vale
Madeleines McLaren Vale Shiraz 2008 – chunks of black fruit and vanilla on nose. Tannin hit, but that chocolate and black fruit pushes on through.

Coriole Lloyd Reserve Shiraz 2006 – probably the standout wine of the night. Deep, rich and complex. Funky hints, BFG, charcoal and super fine tannins. Long, long finish.

Barossa Valley
Teusner Albert Shiraz 2008 – another youngster with bright, fresh plums and minty eucalyptus notes. Palate shows fresh raisin (if such a thing exists!?). Acid and tannin will ensure long life

St Hallett Old Block Shiraz 2007 – bigger and richer, with a bit more oak apparent. Just at start of developing its classic savoury complexity. Plenty to work with there, though felt super young again.

Thank you as always to the wineries for supplying a sample bottle and for their magnificent tweeting on the night.

(Thanks again to @urbanfoodmarket and @lordie82 for the best ever ever ever combination of two of my favourite things…wagyu beef and croquettes)





Spitbucket Sessions Vol. 3: Shiraz from around Australia

13 10 2010

 

(Toby Barlow and Stuart Blackwell of St Hallett tussle over Barossa Valley Shiraz)

Wednesday 20th October, 6.30pm start at the Coast Roof Top Bar 

We’re desperate to fit some more red wine in before Sydney gets too warm and we’re all begging for Riesling, bubbles and paddle pops. And while we’re at it, let’s not mess around. We head straight into Shiraz, the grape that arguably made Australia famous on a global stage and my namesake in a strange sort of way. On twitter I go by the name @up_shiraz and people ask me if it’s my favourite grape. Well it’s not really, probably squeaks into the top 10 but that’s about it. So why the name? Well I have to admit that I borrowed it from my group of friends, who used it as a raucous, rambunctious toasting cry. Imagine a stinking, soiled tavern in Black Death plagued London as 4 portly gents thrust their flagons of foaming ale outwards and upwards into a beer splashing “cheers!!!” Now spin on a few hundred years to a group of Adelaide wine students slamming their ISOs together with a hearty “Up Shiraz!!!” We definitely channeled their mirth, if not their smells and open sores. It might even sound a bit like another phrase too (think about it…) though that is just scurrilous rumour.

Anyway, I digress. Shiraz comes in many guises, from the rich, intense and inky to the spicy and peppery, to the light, simple and fruity. That doesn’t even come close to describing the amazing variety this grape achieves in the many growing regions of Australia. At this tasting we’ll be checking out 5 different regions and how Shiraz differs acorss them.

Canberra District
Lark Hill Shiraz Viognier 2009
Capital Wines Kyeema Vineyard Reserve Shiraz 2006

WA
The Collection Shiraz 2008 (Margaret River)
Capel Vale Whispering Hill Shiraz 2007 (Mount Barker)

Hunter Valley
Brokenwood Shiraz 2009
Tower Estate TBC / Glenguin Stonybroke Shiraz 2007 (or maybe all 3!)

McLaren Vale
Madeleines McLaren Vale Shiraz 2008
Coriole Lloyd Reserve Shiraz 2006

Barossa Valley
Teusner Albert Shiraz 2008
St Hallett Old Block Shiraz 2007

Couple more still to get sorted but should be a really diverse and interesting line-up. Tweet @coastrestaurant for a place in the usual way and check out the Sessions page for more event details.

We’re very lucky too that @urbanfoodmarket is coming back to the party and will be dreaming up some cracking canapes with Coast head chef, Adam Lord. YUM!