Spitbucket Sessions Vol 13: Western Australian Wunderkinds with Mark Gifford

13 04 2011

 

(The man himself, sharing typical Western Australian hospitality at Prevelly Beach)

The picture above serves several purposes. First of all it shows just how stunning the Western Australian coastline is. It was taken at Prevelly Beach, just a stone’s throw from the Margaret River township and dozens of top wineries. What it also does is illustrate the generosity of Mark Gifford, who with his mate Brad Wehr (of Wine by Brad and Mantra Wines fame), hosted an impromptu beach-side tasting for my wife and I on a recent trip there. Cracking wines and fantastically friendly people. The third thing it does is show you what Mark looks like, so that when you pass him on a Sydney street this week, you’ll be able to grab him by the arm and take him to the nearest watering hole.

Mark has rounded up a special selection of top WA wines for this lucky 13th installment of the Spitbucket series. He has modestly only included one wine from his own estate, so I suggest you get online sharpish and check out the others from the fantastic Blue Poles range.

Bracket 1:
Mantra SSB 2010 [@mantrawines]
Moss Brothers Moses Rock SSB 2009 [@Moss_Brothers]

Bracket 2:
Howard Park Chardonnay 2008 [@HowardParkWines]
Fraser Gallop Estate Chardonnay 2009 [@FraserGallopEst & @kate_morgan]

Bracket 3:
Mantra Shiraz 2008 [@mantrawines]
The Collection Shiraz 2008 [@vinedrops]

Bracket 4:
Blue Poles Reserve Merlot 2008 [@BluePoles]
Greedy Sheep GA HANNETT Premium Reserve Malbec 2009 [@GreedySheep]

Bracket 5 :
Fraser Gallop Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 [@FraserGallopEst & @kate_morgan]
Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 [@Mentelle]

As usual, #spitbucket is free to attend and will take place at the Coast Roof Top Bar. It is on Wednesday 13th April from 6.30pm sharp. I’m a bit late with the wine posting this week so it is now sold out – sorry! In future just tweet @coastrestaurant and ask to book a space before they’re all gone. More details here.






Spitbucket Sesssions Volume 10: Mornington Peninsula

25 02 2011

Our tenth edition of the Sessions will be a little different. I’m knackered so I’m off on holiday to Perth and Margaret River. But that sort of thing doesn’t wash with spibucketeers so we have press-ganged a guest host in to help out. We didn’t have to twist David’s arm too hard though and he was dead keen to fly up from Mornington and share his time and considerable wisdom with the group.

David Lloyd has been making wine since 1977 (previously in Coonawarra and Yarra Valley) before striking out on his own when he and his wife Wendy bought the Eldridge Estate Vineyard (above) in 1995. Eldridge Estate is an 800 case vineyard and winery at Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula. Immediately the Lloyds changed the vine canopy system to Scott Henry and started a grafting program to add Gamay to the existing plantings of Pinot and Chardonnay. In subsequent years the grafting program was extended to build a collection of Pinot Noir clones that perform best at the Red Hill site. The current plantings of Chardonnay is a blend of 6 clones and the Pinot Noir 7 clones. The vineyard is mostly 26 year old vines and the main varieties are based around the special clones of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on a very unique and cool 3 hectare site. Most people are surprised to hear that the wine that he enjoys the most is actually Chardonnay.

David has managed to cajole some of the very best producers on the Peninsula to provide wines for this Spitbucket installment so it should be a real treat.

Pair 1: Pinot Gris
Ocean Eight Pinot Gris 2010
Paradigm Hill Pinot Gris 2010

Pair 2: Chardonnay
Eldridge Estate North Patch Chardonnay 2009
Stonier Chardonnay 2009

Pair 3: Gamay
Eldridge Estate Gamay 2009
Eldridge Estate Gamay 2007

Pair 4: Pinot Noir
Stonier Windmill Pinot Noir 2007
Eldridge Estate Pinot Noir 2007

Pair 5: Shiraz
Foxeys Hangout Shiraz 2009
Paringa Estate Shiraz 2009

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





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.






Spitbucket: The Best of 2010, some of Jo Taylor’s favourites

19 01 2011

2010 was a momentous year for The Spitbucket Sessions. After travelling from Adelaide to London, then back to Sydney over the course of seven years, they found the perfect, permanent home at Coast’s Roof Top Bar. Through Twitter, Spitbucket also found a seemingly endless supply of people passionate about tasting and enjoying wine, and wineries generous enough to support the events. Along the way we all needed a bit of sustenance too and we thank Coast’s top-notch chef, Adam, and our resident meat man, Tim, for their tasty contributions too. 

We all made new friends through Spitbucket and so it is with great sadness that we said goodbye to Jo Taylor, one of the most passionate wine lovers you’re ever likely to find. Jo, there will always be a seat at the Roof Top Bar and at Spitbucket for you.

In our first session of 2011 we take a look back at some of the wines that made our 2010 sessions special.

To Start: Stonier Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay 2006

Pair 1:
Vinteloper Watervale Riesling 2010 (@Vinteloper)
Lark Hill Gruner Veltliner 2009 (@LarkHillWine)

Pair 2:
Golding La Francesa Savagnin 2010 (@GoldingWines)
Philip Shaw The Dreamer Viognier 2009 (@philipshawwines)

Pair 3:
Saint Clair Block 14 Doctor’s Creek Pinot Noir 2008 (@saintclairwine)
Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008

Pair 4:
Teusner Albert Shiraz 2008 (@Teusnerwine)
Petaluma Shiraz 2007 (@Petalumawine)

To Finish: #Giantbeers aka. Mac’s Hop Rocker





Spitbucket Sessions Vol. 6: Champagne

29 11 2010

 

Champagne, in northern France has the most fascinating history of any wine region in the world. Just about every European conflict has rumbled through the region, with marauders always inspired equally by gaining territory and raiding cellars.

The story of the ‘world’s favourite wine’ is full of larger-than-life characters such as Dom Perignon, who tried hard to keep bubbles out of wine for much of his life, the Sun King Louis XIV, who liked a glass or two and Napoleon, who introduced the world to his favourite drink, while trying to conquer them at the same time.

Claude Moet, Champagne Charlie (Charles-Camille Heidsieck), Veuve Cliquot, Madam Lily Bollinger, Winston Churchill, James Bond and many more famous names have played their glorious parts in the history of this great region and wine. Perhaps then it is no surprise that it is such a flamboyant, cash-rich and compelling wine category. New world producers have long copied the name – Champagne – for their sparkling wines as it is such a well recognised and aspirational wine style. This is no longer allowed, however, after the European Union gained agreement to restrict the use of the word Champagne to only those wines from the (expanding!) Champagne appelation.

And so to the final Spitbucket of the year…and we will be keeping to the geographical confines of Champagne as well. A stunning line-up of posh fizz for your delection that will include:

Bollinger Special Cuvee NV
Lanson NV
Jacquesson Cuvee 734 Brut NV
Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV – just confirmed
Mumm Vintage 2002
Dosnon & Lepage Blanc de Noirs NV
Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV
Ayala Brut Rose Majeur NV
Dosnon & Lepage Brut Rose NV

One more wine still to be confirmed…

As usual, #spitbucket is free to attend and will take place at the Coast Rooftop Bar. It is on Wednesday 1st December. All you have to do is tweet @coastrestaurant and ask to book a space before they’re all gone. More details here.

Sorry all – this tasting is now full.





Spitbucket Sessions Vol. 5: Outstanding Adelaide Hills

12 11 2010

 

(Petaluma’s Mount Barker Shiraz Vineyard)

I was in the Adelaide Hills last week and it is looking stunning. When you wake up to a frosty, clear morning you are reminded that it’s a pretty cool climate vine growing area, so wine-wise as a (very general) rule you might expect to see more spicy, peppery characters rather than lush, luxurious fruit.

Let’s put it to the test then shall we? I’ve plumped for a pretty mixed bag, including a couple of white wine wildcards, and two red varieties that do very well up there…Pinot Noir and Shiraz.

Riesling
Petaluma Project Company Dry Riesling 2009
Petaluma Project Company 30g/l Residual Sugar Riesling 2009

Chardonnay
Bird in Hand Chardonnay 2009
Golding Chardonnay 2008

Weird and Wonderful
K1 Arneis 2010
Golding La Francesa Savagnin 2010

Pinot Noir
K1 Pinot Noir 2008
Pike & Joyce Pinot Noir 2008

Shiraz
Bird in Hand Shiraz 2008
Petaluma Shiraz 2007

We hope to get some good input on the night from @birdinhandwine, @petalumawine, @goldingwines and @K1byTheHardys.

As usual, #spitbucket is free to attend and will take place at the Coast Rooftop Bar. It is on Wednesday 17th November. All you have to do is tweet @coastrestaurant and ask to book a space before they’re all gone. More details here.





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)