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 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 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. 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!