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 9: Kiwi Reds that ain’t Pinot, part 1: Hawkes Bay

16 02 2011

This Spitbucket theme came about after a chat with Monty James – New Zealand wine’s main man in Australia. We’d already decided to focus on non-Pinot Kiwi reds for a change after having successfully covered Pinot before. So that left world-class Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet from the North Island. “How about a two part tasting? Hawkes Bay up first, compared with Waiheke Island which I’ll help to host next time I’m up?”

Sounded like a PLAN to me…so here we are…

Pair 1: Hawke’s Bay Syrah
Villa Maria Private Bin Syrah 2008 (@villamaria_wine)
Elephant Hill Reserve Syrah 2008 (@elephanthill)

Pair 2: Gimblett Gravels Syrah
Mission Estate Reserve Syrah 2009 (@missionestate)
Te Awa Syrah 2009 (@teawawinery)

Pair 3: Merlot
Villa Maria Private Bin Merlot 2009 (@villamaria_wine)
Elephant Hill Merlot 2007 (@elephanthill)

Pair 4: Left Bank Style Bordeaux Blends
Mission Estate Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2009 (@missionestate)
Cornerstone Cabernet Merlot Malbec Blend 2006 (@forestwinesNZ)

Pair 5: Right Bank Style Bordeaux Blends
Wild Rock Gravel Pit Red (Merlot Malbec blend) 2008 (@TheWildRockGuy)
Trinity Hill The Gimblett 2007

(Aerial shot of the Gimblett Gravels, top, with close up below, both courtesy of Trinity Hill)

The tasting is full up now unfortunately, but you can still get your fix of great New Zealand wines and awesome Coast food when the winemakers come to town in a week or two. Chef, Adam Lord, will be matching his dishes to a range of wines from the length and the breadth of the North and South Islands. 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)





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!





Meatup: Urban Food Market style

10 10 2010

(Divine duck rillettes from @urbanfoodmarket and @Lordie82)

Sure Spitbucket is good; there’s wine, chat and merriment. But there’s nothing worse than all the fun being ruined by an empty stomach. You try to concentrate on what’s before you, but your eyes listlessly scan the horizon for canape waiters, fast food joints or roadkill. You nod in appreciation at the witty repartee, but really you’re thinking “I could probably eat your arm…or at least a few fingers. Hoisin and garlic marinade perhaps?”

Well let this never be a charge levelled at the Spitbucket Sessions. I’m extremely happy to announce that Tim Elwin will be supplying the tastiest of meaty morsels from now on…and for as long as we keep his glass filled with wine I suspect. Pretty much as soon as we landed in Sydney the Urban Food Market loomed large on our radar and we’ve been going back for supreme Mirragong grass-fed Wagyu steak and mince, free-range pork sausages, sublime pancetta and juicy Bultarra saltbush lamb ever since.

This isn’t just produce with a noble, sustainable story. It’s some of the best quality meat I’ve ever encountered…anywhere. You can order online here – http://www.urbanfoodmarket.com.au/ or you can head to the Kings Cross markets of a Saturday morning and choose your cuts while enjoying a spit-roasted lamb or grass-fed wagyu beef roll. It’s exactly the sort of thing that makes early morning markets bearable!

Tim is already a supplier of Coast Restaurant, so he’s able to have a chat to head chef (and wine lover!) Adam Lord – @Lordie82 – about what’s going to work with that particular wine theme. In this case it was veal and duck to go with Kiwi Pinot Noir. Between them they really know meat…and what to do with it.

(Vitello Tonnato from @urbanfoodmarket and @Lordie82)

(Duck breast and figs from @urbanfoodmarket and @Lordie82)

Make sure you get along to the next Spitbucket Session to check out Coast’s beautiful Rooftop Bar and Adam and Tim’s meaty creations. Oh and there might be wine too…