2013 Night Harvesting with Anthony Scholz in the Barossa Valley

Feb 27, 13 2013 Night Harvesting with Anthony Scholz in the Barossa Valley

Posted by in Australia, Travel

The one good thing about jetlag is that it’s not a problem to meet a wine grower at 5am to go out and see the harvesting machines at work. I’d been up since 4am so I was glad to be out and about. I was in the Barossa Valley for a very quick trip last week and serendipitously it was also the tail end of the harvest. 2013 happens to be a bit of a strange year in the Barossa as it’s a very early harvest but not because of any particular reason. It just seems that all the grapes are ready to come in at the same time. Every grower and wine maker I talked to couldn’t quite explain why the harvest was so early but they were unanimous in their opinion that although it will be a small harvest, the grapes were in excellent condition and 2013 is on course to be a great vintage. It might not be as good as 2012 but it certainly wouldn’t be far behind. How I came to be riding on top of a grape harvester is a funny story. I tweeted that I was going to the Barossa and would have time to meet anyone who had time to talk to me. Two seconds later, winegrower Anthony Scholz tweeted me an invitation and a week later, there I was watching this gigantic machine beat the hell out of the vines.Little did I know that Anthony is one of the most innovative growers in the Barossa but more on that later. If you’ve ever walked behind a grape harvester you will know it is loud and violent. I felt sorry for the  poor vines, as I commented to Anthony, it’s kinda like a mini-earthquake for them. He assured me though that the vines are sturdy suckers and judging by the aftermath of the harvester, they looked none the worse for wear to me. I later found out that the vines have so much water in them...

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Postcard from Adelaide – National Wine Centre of Australia

Feb 20, 13 Postcard from Adelaide – National Wine Centre of Australia

Posted by in Australia, Travel

I’m in the lovely city of Adelaide at the moment and yesterday I spent a good part of the day wondering the city. As I’m in one of the major wine producing states of Australia, it was no surprise to learn that they have the National Wine Centre of Australia right here in the town. The Centre is inside the Botanical Gardens which can make for a nice stroll to get there. The Centre is on the edge of the Gardens so you can also drive up and park nearby. Officially opened in 2004, the beautiful building housing the Centre has one of the largest open cellars in the Southern Hemisphere, they have up to 38,000 bottles with 12,000 in the cellar at any time. The Centre architecture has won quite a few awards and it’s a unique construction of steel and wood, very cool and sleek. There are  interactive displays including interviews with Australian winemakers and even a make your own wine display. I found that a lot of fun, especially considering my Eden Valley riesling was ‘awarded’ a Silver Medal 😉 They offer free daily tours at 11:30 everyday but you can walk in anytime for a self guided tour. Afterwards, there is a cafe on the ground floor where they offer regional and varietal wine tastings, all at very reasonable prices. The great thing about Adelaide is that wine is soooo reasonably priced. A fun way to get an overview of Australian wine before you head out to the vineyards. The Centre is open 7 days a week 9am – 5pm Located at the corner of Botanic and Hackney Roads. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Saturday snapshot – Yalumba Viognier Y series 2012

Feb 09, 13 Saturday snapshot – Yalumba Viognier Y series 2012

Posted by in Australia, Saturday Snapshot

The Queen of Australian Viognier, Louisa Rose was in town recently** to show off her wines and I was happy to be invited to a luncheon and tasting showcasing what she has been able to produce in the Australian  vineyards. Louisa has been working as Chief Winemaker for Yalumba winery, based in the Barossa, since 2006 but she first joined Yalumba in 1993 as, what we fondly refer to in the trade, a “cellar rat“. She has been with Yalumba ever since and has worked her way up through the ranks, learning from the legendary winemakers of Yalumba. Early on in the 1970s, Yalumba was captivated by the Viognier grape  (which originally hails from the Rhone region of France) and they planted what began as an experiment. Over the years they discovered that they vines did very well in  the cool climate Eden Valley region of the Barossa and it is from these vines that the majority of their Viognier is cultivated. They also source fruit from a number of additional sites in South Australia. The Viognier that Louisa and Yalumba are producing is made to be drunk with food. A big difference that I found with Yalumba’s Viogniers were the fact that although aromatic, they were not as aromatic as some Rhone wines. This is a good thing in my book as French Viogniers can sometimes knock you over with their powerful aromatics. Another quality that I admired very much in their Viogniers was the freshness and the minerality that ran through the wine. The most consumer-friendly wine that Yalumba produces is the Y Series Viognier. We tasted the 2012 before lunch and it was a cracker of a wine. Fresh and attractive nose with hints of citrus, melon and papaya it had a medium body with good weight but none of the oiliness that is often found in Rhone Viogniers. It was what I would call a sprite of a wine, a friendly wine to start one on a discovery of the Viognier grape. Although it carried alcohol levels...

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Voyager Estate 2005 cabernet/merlot, a tasting note

Dec 06, 12 Voyager Estate 2005 cabernet/merlot, a tasting note

Posted by in Australia

Voyager Estate cab/merlot 2005 Winesleuth note: I write wine reviews for redwine.co.uk and from time to time, I will re-post them here on ‘Sleuth. Here’s a post about a great Australian cab/merlot from Voyager Estate…. I was recently at a wine tasting of Voyager Estate Wines at Vinoteca here in London and it was a very interesting tasting indeed. I have a so-so track record when it comes to Australian red wines but lately I have been tasting some great stuff. Although Shiraz is the flagship wine of Australia, they are making some great wines from other red grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir and even the “wine of Argentina”, Malbec. Voyager Estate is situated in the Margaret River Valley in the South West corner of Western Australia. The region is renowned for its viticultural products and was identified back in the 1960s as a premium wine-growing region of Australia. The region has a range of microclimates and soils. The best vineyards are planted only in the most suitable soils so although the region is spread over 3000 square kilometres, only 54 kilometres are under vine. So I think it’s fair to say that Voyager have picked the best spots to make their wine. Voyager has a range of Estate wines which is their core focus.  They only produce 6 different wines but feel that they reflect best the terroir of the region. They are Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Chenin Blanc and the Girt by Sea Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot. At the tasting the stand-out for me was the 2005 Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot. Comprising 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot, all fruit coming from the Margaret River, it is a delicious Bordeaux-style blend coming from Australia. The wine had had enough time to age, something that is not common in Australia. James Stevens, the winemaker was at the dinner and he commented that one of the “problems” with Australian wine drinkers is that they drink their wines far...

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Podcast – Louisa Rose, Chief Winemaker of Yalumba, talks about their viognier and shiraz viognier blends

Oct 25, 12 Podcast – Louisa Rose, Chief Winemaker of Yalumba, talks about their viognier and shiraz viognier blends

Posted by in Australia, Podcast

Recently the “Queen of Australian Viognier”, Louisa Rose, was in town as part of a large contingent of Australian winemakers to hit our shores. Louisa is the Chief Winemaker of the Barossa Valley’s Yalumba Wines and has been deeply involved with the production of their viognier. She’s started out as a cellar rat 20 years ago and in 2006 was made Chief Winemaker. I met Louisa at a small tasting and luncheon at 2850 Wine Workshop and Kitchen  here in London which featured Yalumba’s viogniers and shiraz viognier blends. Before lunch, Louisa and I sat down for a quick chat about what makes their viognier so special. Click on the link below to hear the podcast: Louisa Rose, Chief Winemaker of Yalumba. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Neil McGuigan and Vines in the City – podcast

Sep 28, 12 Neil McGuigan and Vines in the City – podcast

Posted by in Australia, Podcast

I first met Australian winemaker Neil McGuigan of McGuigan Wines a few years ago when the winery first did the “Vines in the City” event in London. I thought it was a great way to get consumers literally closer to the vines without the hassle of having to actually travel to a vineyard. Neil and Brian McGuigan were back on this side of the world recently, this time to launch some new wines and also to introduce their “Vines in the City” to the good people of Dublin. Having attended the opening, I can say it was a smashing success, sometimes we in the wine trade take for granted the fact that we can visit vineyards and talk to winemakers on a regular basis. It was great to hear what consumers had to say about the whole experience, in general I’d say it made them very enthusiastic to learn more about wine. Before they opened the gates, I sat down with Neil to find out more about the new wines they are launching in the UK and why they brought it to Dublin. You can hear the podcast on the following link: Neil McGuigan and Vines in the City A big thanks to Neil McGuigan for taking the time to chat with me. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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