Archive for the ‘Wine tasting’ Category

Visit to Vlare valley, Vintage Cellars, Lyndoch etc musings on wine.

March 11, 2018

Been a while now. Lots of wine and restaurants and shopping, but not always too much to write about, well except now ūüĆą

Less than a month ago…visit to Mount Benson wine region. We have been numerous times before , but not in the past two years. Interesting. Cape Jaffa is good as usual and their 2017 Chardonnay¬†is..well, how I enjoy Chardonnays, a bit of strawberry, a bit of acidity, no overdosing of peat oak cinnamon or other strange substances so many winemaker nowadays want to incorporate inChardonnays. Soft smooth and nice.¬†La lune field blend is a very nice, and I can see what they are aiming for, but at that price, um….well. Up to you. Very nice take on ‚Äėthe appelation‚Äô concept, and creating an Australian version of certain European white wines.

Now Mesmer Eyes….we got one bottle just because it is fragrant, smells of violets and other floral lovely things, and really challenges our modern day concept of what a wine should taste like. I like a winery willing to do that.

Then, in the same region is Wangolina. We have been before, always nice, but not lately. Oh boy had their range expanded, and now with a¬†Lagrein¬†amongst other delectable offerings. And their Moscato is…..GOOD, and I don‚Äôt normally enjoy that beverage. Go there, join the club, buy their wine…of wait…we did just that ūüėć

Then, we come to the interesting fact we learnt on Landline one leasurely Sunday. There is a grape called Pique Poul, or Picpol or…yes, and an oysterfarmer had taken notice that in France, this is best enjoyed with oysters and seafood.¬† (more…)


Wine and more wine from Clare Valley!

June 11, 2017



Yesterday’s trip was full of wine! And sun, it was a glorious day in Clare Valley, much sunnier and nicer than Adelaide. And with Sea and Vines ongoing in McClaren Vale, it is perfect to visit other regions.

Taylors..oh yes. Long weekend sale, so we arrived early and immdiately laid our hot hands on a box of museum release Jaraman Chardonnay. The find was the Riesling thoughEden Valley grown from 2004 for 75 dollars for six bottles. Smooth, elegant Mosel style, wonderful, no tongue curdling Watervale ‘mild corrosive for cleaning reluctant teeth’. Our friends who asked us to buy Gewurztraminer if they had any on sale will be thrilled! If not, that box is MINE!

Then there were TWP Montepulciano, and a nice Merlot, and then we got three kinds of Cab sav, 2010 Jaraman, 2009 and 2010 Taylor’s own brand Cab sav. The Jaraman is made from Coonawarra grapes, and is absolutely fabulous! Oh and there were quite a few people there ūüėč and no, we did not buy any Shiraz. We did buy a bit for friends and colleagues, I am sure that they will be thrilled too.

After that…phew….we went to Eldredge and sampled their beautiful Malbec and checked in to see how their Blue Chip Shiraz was going. We were joking about the fact that we have their 2015 vintage of Blue Chip at home, the bottles are hoarded, and then we go to their cellar door during the year to sample and find out how the wine develops. We did have a long nice conversation about the next edition of their Gilt Edge Shiraz, one of the best Shirazes out there. A year away, le sigh. We do have some 2007 left.

Then Skillogalee for a late lunch, and wow, they have released a 2015 Gewurztraminer, which achieved a whopping 95 points from James Halliday, and whilst I may not always agree with the rating but this time, this is hands down one of the best and most powerful fragrant aromatic Gewurztraminer here in Oz. Get¬†it¬†before it is too late. Who cares if it is Winter! It took on pasta, anchovies, capers, tomato…..without batting an eyelid ( we had the roasted garlic and anchovy dip with Cabernet soaked toast as a starter, then a wonderful Vitelli tonnato with capers-fried,¬†recipe¬†and then a small pasta dish …..with the Gewurztramner, what else?).

Whilst in Clare, we did what we almost aleays try to do…visit a new winery, so this time we went to Jeanneret. I did a double take because their tasting list was very similar to Eldredge, but ( didn’t sample the Rieslings)…..too much sugar, everywhere. The poor Malbec! The Grenache blend..vojne. But Jeanneret is also the home of the Clare Valley brewing company, ‚ô•ÔłŹ so not all lost.

A long wine inspired day. And smashing food at Skillogalee. It is June so middle of Winter in the Southern Hemisphere, which means it gets dark at six. And it is cold.

Back, and wow!

June 7, 2017


Still recovering from four days in Canberra. Can I just say that I liked Canberra a lot? For the non-Australians, it is in a state called ACT ( Australian Capital Territory), and of course, it is the capital,of Australia…( not Sydney or Melbourne). The traffic was hectic, the street signs mostly non existent, so many lanes turned into one lane quickly and mercilessly, ¬†and there are several round abouts in Canberra, all dissimilar from a traffic regulation point of view ( why….oh why) , but on the whole now that I griped a bit…NICE. Despite all, the roads are of good quality, we had a lot of good coffee, good wine and largely excellent food and accomodation.

And of course…..museums. Everyone says museums when you mention Canberra. Well, our lunch crowd at work, argumentative happy and lovely bunch of people say that Melbourne has better museums.

To conclude, the verdict from ‘In a sunburnt country’ by Bill Bryson on Canberra has changed a bit.

And today…it feels good to be back in Adelaide.

This weekend a long weekend, and it is Winter, so….possibly a trip to Auburn Clare Valley to Taylors. There is a sale….even though there is plenty of their wonderful Chardonnay at home…a peek cannot hurt. And….then we will see. Wonderful to have choices!



More Easter weekend winery visits!

April 18, 2017

Hello again,


So we went down to the Limestone Coast wineries over Easter by way of Coonalpyn and Keith. We had seen Coonalpyn featured on Landline, so it was with delight we saw on Good Friday the amount of people stopping and admiring the painitngs and sampling the baked goods and other offerings in Coonalpyn.¬†Here¬†is a link to what was happening earlier this year.¬†Liege waffles¬†is of course another reason to stop there ‚ėÄÔłŹ

Stopping in Keith we were a bit disappointed to find that¬†Henry and Rose cafe¬†wasn’t open, neither on Good Friday nor on Easter Sunday, but hey…hopefully they will be next time.

On Easter weekend, many wineries may crack open their more ancient vi tages, and Patrick of Coonawarra was no exception. When visiting wineries for the second or nth time, we always try to go to at least a new one. Patrick fit the bill, also, cider from local apples and not at all sweet would be a great temptation! And indeed it was, made with champagne yeast, very bubbly, or should I say effervescent ūüėč absolutely fab with food.¬†Link

We tasted some great wines but it is the cider thst stood out. And the aged Risling, just wow and wow. Great! And I was by now pining for lunch and rest and a respite from wine tasting, so we sort of missed out on buying their Savignon blanc fume which angers me a bit because it was truly European in flavour with a nice twist. Exploding with glowy green flavour, a bit emerald or peridot green, not beryl green. Oh my! Of course there are other means but there is so much more fun to be had to do it on e day whilst at the geographic region where it all happens.

Well, the beauty of staying in Penola means that everything is nearby, and takes no time at all, so we hung out at Ottelia for a coffeee. Ottelia is of course another cellar door and restaurant in the heart of Coonawarra, and we are talking the village of Coonawarra, fabulous pizzas(we had none this time), and lovely wine, Chardonnay and Pinot noir, and yes, their wines are from mainly Mt Gambier. Wonderful to find in the middle of Coonawarra! Just coffee and something small to nibble on. Ottelia

Finally…lunch, late luncheon, at Hollick upstairs.

And wine tasting, Hollick makes great wine. Hollick also makes great food. Of all their good wines, their Barbera stands out, as a wine that can, despite its youth stand up to a steak, to Kangaroo, to tomato, flavourful salats, and blue cheese. Barbera

If I was to buy ONE red at Hollicks, it would be this one because versatile, good, but don’t expect a Shiraz or a Cab sav. Barber is simply, Barbera, and these guys make a really good one. Ok, we bought this one plus their Tempranillo. As vintage cellar members ,we enjoyed 20% off, so, why not.

What a wonderful day with food and wine. And it was my first kangaroo, with plenty of lemon myrtle and … sesame seeds, yellow beets, and a compote. Quandong? Yummy.

Getting back to work today was truly hard. And I am thinking Mount Benson and Robe next time, the Museum event is apparently in July where the older vintages are sampled and sold. Or…Southern Flinders. Langhorne creek in August.

Choices choices!

Easter…was good!

April 18, 2017

Belated Easter Greetings from Adelaide!


Well um, why bother with belated greetings you may ask, and quite rightly so. But the past weekend was spent touring wineries in Coonawarra and associated wine districts. I have in the past been quite lazy and said Coonawarra about a lot of wineries, but browsing through the latest brochure, I discovered that there are now indeed no less than SIX wine regions: Wrattonbully, Coonawarra, Padthaway, Mount Benson, Mount Gambier, and Robe. Maps and brochures

Coonawarra was our target, and we stayed in Penola Wonderful scenic town and has a lot of history.

Wineries….so depending on which way you drive when you arrive in Coonawarra, it is nearly always the first or the last winery; Kidmans. Sid was there looking after the cellar door, and as usual, lots of talk about the weather, irrigation, and the latest vintage. We quite like his Riesling, fair warning if you are a Watervale Riesling fan, this is NOT the crisp tongue curdling acidic gum cleansing Riesling, in fact it is more Mosel, flinty, whilst not being in the last sweet or flirtatious. Some 2016, and some of course, his 2014 Cabernet Savignon, for us it embodies Coonawarra.

Then, a trip to a small and lovely personal winery. Bowen Estate.

Their Chardonnay I absolutely adore, well balanced, golden, flavourful not the kind you feel you need to take a towel to your tongue after drinking ūüėĀbut the absolute find is their latest release, the 2015 Shiraz. It has the makings of a Grandiose Wine, a wine that will make people gasp and say…this was the best I have ever tasted. Yes, a 2015, and I am sure it will evolve over the years if cellared. It is fantastic now btw. No Barossa Big Red Shout that can leave you feel a bit overwhelmed, but flavourful, elegant, rich with all the trademarks you associate with Coonawarra. Oh and Bowen has a charity used book case, some beauties for 3 bucks. If you have eyes for anything but their beautiful wines. Don’t be deceived, they have four wines on offer, but a lot of wineries with triple¬†that on offer would kill for that quality. A large box of assorted goodies came home with us, plus two books on Native Flora, I need to read up on my plants!

Reeling with happiness, we moved on. and went to diGiorgio Family winery.

Lots of fun stuff here, and I love that¬†they put bubbles in everything, well almost everything. Their Emporio blend is as good as always, we got some of their unoaked¬†Chardonnay to try, must say that the oaked one was pretty good and had hints of Allspice, but back home, they are often not as nice as the memory, so unoaked it was. We were planning to buy a couple of bottles of Frank white aince it is such an easy an nice one, but nah….Chardonnay it was.

Their 2013 Lucindale Shiraz also cme home for trying. Not at all your typical Coonawarra/Limestone coast Shiraz with tannins and a lot of roar (which can be dark chocolate or nicotine, or something brown and musty depending on your taste¬†buds). So, all the things that Shiraz is not, what was it then? Well, may sound strange, but it was fantastic with fennel tasting Sopressa salami, cultured butter, and a large slab of mild South Australian Brie. Match made in heaven and I usually love my Bries to be a wee bit more French than this. Hint of cherry, bitter almonds, and smooth well balanced and not too ostentatious.¬†¬†The lady at the cellar door said this is the type she loves and without the chalk, the shout and the roar. I got it ūüėć


Two more wineries…but that is for another blog post. Dinner time! Curry time, and yum.

Easter ahead and Coonawarra

April 9, 2017

It is April, and Easter is almost upon us. Work has been insane, so we went looking today online to see if there was anything left anywhere; we passed on booking the last available accomodation at Arkaroola, mainly because it is all about getting there, planning and enjoying (sigh, some other time) and it is a project on its own and not so much about food and wine,  and Robe was booked out, Mt Gambier too, the Barn (le sigh), so we snagged one of the last accomodations in Penola. This is going to be a first for us staying @Penola. So Coonawarra here we come, Easter, yay!

Divine Cafe holds some nice brekkie memories, and Penola is a nice spot. Hollick upstairs is a nice restuarant, and we shall see if there are more discoveries to be had. ¬†As to wineries..ohh…tough one.

We just received our wine box from Tscharke wines in the Barossa, and are sampling and exploring. More to come, but I can say with the reds, it has taken on a new direction. Very much more European if I may say so. Interesting.



Vongole, pipis and thoughts

March 26, 2017

Hello again!

Realised that I forgot to post about the pipi, versus vongole cooking.

Now, pipis or cockles is the name given to a bivalve mollusc found here in South Australia (yees, mollusc…snail), and it is a popular pasttime for the whole family, also known¬†as ‘cockling’link

We saw people digging for pipis some three weeks ago when visiting¬†Murray Mouth¬†for some 4wd on the beach. No time for digging besides, temps dropped below twenty and it was windy and the weather was…..very unexpected, overcast and getting colder.

Anyhow, the vongole shopping was prompted by our visit to Jolley’s Boathouse¬†the other night. We had Goolwa pipis, served in a lush, strong flavourful, tweaked by chilipepper overwhelming sauce. Very nice sauce, except it sort of took over, but the strange part was that the mussels/pipis themselves were so strong in flavour it bowled me over, so I could see why the serving sauce was so strong. Asked how they were cooked, and was told that they were first steamed open and then coated with the sauce.

Hm. First time I cooked vongole (may have been pipis) I used a white wine that we didn’t like very much. The mussels agreed with us. A strong mussel flavour that lingered.

Second time…used a GOOD white wine, success. Strong flavour there but different.

Now, with the visit to Samtass at Central Market, we decided between pipis or vongole, we chose vongole, ie a smaller mussel.

A common compaint you will hear¬†a lot is..sand. Firstly, let them sit in salt water in a large bowl for a couple of hours. This will make the vongole/pipis ‘puff’ the sand out of their shells, they will feel the salt eater and open up a bit. Secondly, the shells must be scrubbed, hard, thoroughly before cooking. All the green algae and¬†the black stains…get rid of them.

Wine for cooking, I had an opened bottle of Chenin blanc from Gascoigne at hand (Vintage Cellars), so heated a skillet so the copper turned blueish, dumped the cleaned vongole in there, added a generous dollop of wine….too generous, killed all the heat ūüėÖ waited until the heat returned, cooked the vongole until all shells had opened, removed them and the juices from the skillet, added some¬†olive oil¬†and chopped garlic (three large cloves), ¬†some dried chili flakes(approx a tea spoon) , whiff of salt, gave it a minute, then added some finely chopped Cavolo Nero (Black¬†kale) and a dollop f the pasta water (we went gluten free),, cooked while stirring for another minute, then added the ongole and juices back in, a hand ful of finely chopped flat leaf parsley, some lemon zest, some pasta, stirred like a mad woman, then served.

600 grammes vongole, and 200 grammes pasta was roughly enough for four people unless they have very hearty appetites.

Served with some more Chenin blanc. Yum.

Smaller mussel, little less meat, but….meat is strong and sweet, and a delight served this way. We were¬†in seventh heaven. The Chenin blanc comes from Vintage Cellars, couldn’t find it on their website. Strongly recommend a visit if you are close by. We cleaned out the one in North Adelaide, so you have Central market and Norwood left to try ūüėÜ oh, and it was on sale as well ūüėÄ

A little drive in McLaren Vale

March 25, 2017

After yesterday’s wonderful explorations, it was decided this morning to go to Central¬†Market to look for mussels. Yesterday’s Goolwa pipi dish at Jolley’s Boathouse made us yearn for a repeat, so this morning we picked up….not Goolwa pipis, but Vongole instead. Let’s see how that cooks up.

As it was still early, we went for a drive to Willunga, the Saturday morning market is just so fabulous. Picked up some lovely herbs, a large bottle of olive oil, didn’t see any¬†chilepeppers alas. Anyhow, when in McLaren Vale, why not do some wine tasting.

Went for lunch at SC Pannell, and tasted their new 2016 release of  Grenache, Shiraz and Touriga. Fabulous food, we had the lamb ragu ravioli, the triple cooked chips that were yummy as anything crisp and soft on the inside, and we enjoyed the view from the patio, looking down at the vines. Very damp and muggy day though, lots of grey clouds. The wine is young but oh so promising, and I can taste a bit of marzipan. Love wines with that bitter almond marzipan taste. And berries too. Yum. Going to hide it for a bit until it settles down. Tasted their Dead End Tempranillo, it has settled down and matured a bit since we were there for their Day of the Dead release party.

2016 New Release SC Pannell

Feeling happy and a bit warm, we headed down the road and stopped at a winery we have never been to before. Alphabox and Dice

They make wine by the alphabet ‚ô•ÔłŹ and they had some lovelies for tasting. Their Prosecco is just wonderful, their Grenache terrific, reminds me so much of the Grenache Whistler in the Barossa used to make before rebranding a couple of years ago when the younger generation took over. This Grenache tastes of PINE, just love it. Four bottles ūüėÉ came home with us, the wine is called Tarot. New Grenache fave, spot on. Very like a Pinot noir…a good Pinot, without the¬†mushy sweetness that can sometimes take over here in SA. Strongly recommended. Don’t expect that Grenache to last long in our house.

We were really impressed by their Barbera, quite possibly one of the best SA Barbera we have found so far. Goes by the name of Enigma. Smooth, lovely. Yes, the collection at home was just enhanced, why do you ask?

Tasted the Xola as well, grape called Aglianico, also new, apparently originally from Greece. That wine…mm…special. Starts out velvety smooth and then, lots of tannins and tobacco. Dualfaced indeed. Interesting. Not your usual run of the mill.

Then, tne day just got hotter and muggier so we headed home and turned the air con on. Phew!

Mad month of March

March 12, 2017



Has been a hasty quick stressful start to the new year, which is why it is mid March on the blog. Some milestones, we are very close to our citizenship ceremony, which is fantastic! I shall see about photos.

On wines and good food, lots and plenty has happened. Went to a nice winery close to Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills by the name of Golding, and came home with their wonderful white wine blend by the name of Mixed Bunch. You know, quintessential white whine golden goodness, perfect allrounder, a good drop that everyone likes. Yup, that was from 2012, and is /was definitely worth it.


Then Chardonnay. I must admit, I have been on a Chardonnay kick lately. And let’s get real here, what is referred to here as the modern version of Chardonnay which is all oak (lets go through a package of tongue¬†spatulas to scrape off the oak), and acid (oak leaves are high in tannins and acids), and thin because oak and acid are bold tastes, isn’t where I am going with this. So, having said all that, let me contradict myself with Bremerton’s Battonage Chardonnay 2014, Rebecca Willson knows what she is doing, oak AND creamy. Wow.

Then Taylor, yep Taylor in Auburn Clare valley. They have something wonderful called Taylor Made 2016 which has oak and sweet tropical¬†fruit and creamy finish, then in their TWP range ( The Winemaker’s Project)another sweeter(think fruit and strawberries) but still creamy full bodied Chardonnay, and finally the flagship¬†St Andrews Chardonnay which is the silky elegant Chardonnay with a sumptious fantastic finsh. 2015.

Pick one? Nope. But let’s leave the oak and the tannins in the bog, it is wonderful in whiskey.

Onto another dear wine variety, and our latest love is Pinot noir from Rileys of Eden valley, 2015. Their 2016 has just been issued, and I think our bottles must be suffering from shock still, it has a bit left to go before coming close to their 2015. But hoping…in the meanwhile, hang onto those 201(!

What else? Um…mostly going with old favourited. Eldredge Blue Chip Shiraz, that wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon from Pikes also in Clare Valley. Been trying to make a dent in some Tscharke as well as there seems to be a lot of them about.


Food; well, have just made the first ever tonnato sauce, and I don’t understand why this wonderful recipe has escaped us all those years.


link recipe


Doubled the lemon juice, and served with lemon basil on the side, heaps of it. Excellent with ovengrilled salmoncovered in chili sauce. Kipfler potatoes, and you are set.

Wonderful on a rainy day in Adelaide.


SC Pannell Day of the Dead End

June 22, 2016


Hello World,

Somehow another week slipped through my fingers. Anyhow….we went and enjoyed the Sea and Vines weekend down in McLaren Vale and our visit to a winery called SC Pannell.

We have been there before, they have fabulously good wine and a nice restaurant too. A windy veranda, but we needn’t have worried, the weather gods were on our side and most of the event indoors anyways.


We arrived half an hour early because traffic and South Road and Sea and Vines…you’ll never know. So we lounged about their veranda admiring the view and the plants and the plant arrangement, and yes, I wore my new sweater!

Loved the fire!

The event at SC Pannell was Called Day of the Dead End with a new vintage release of their Tempranillo, so naturally most came dressed up as you would on the Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’. Here are some stunning photos of the winemaker and his partner plus the entertainment, and yes, face painting!!

We enjoyed the wine, the entertainment, the music and the food. All in all, a lovely day and lots of fun.

Can’t wait for next year!!!