The wine and jazz appreciation society news, vol 5, no 1, 1/2/99

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Royal Melbourne Wine Show 1998

A South Australian vineyard, Katnook Estate of Coonawarra, won the prestigious Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy at the 1998 Royal Melbourne Wine Show, conducted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Limited. The Katnook Estate Shiraz 1997 was awarded the 1998 Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy presented for the best one year old red wine. It was the second time in the 38 year history of the Trophy that Katnook Estate won. Winemaker Wayne Stehbens first won the Jimmy Watson in 1987 with their Riddock Estate Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz. Wines from the Coonawarra Region have won the Trophy 11 times and have been a part of a regional blend of two winners. South Australia has won the Royal Melbourne Wine Show's top honours on 31 occasions, Victoria four times and Western Australia twice. A Shiraz has won the trophy on ten occasions.

Victorian wineries dominated the major awards at the 1998 Wine Show, winning 12 of the 26 Trophies presented, followed by South Australian wineries winning 9, New South Wales with three and Western Australia with two. The most successful exhibitor in the Trophy Awards was Victoria's Brown Brothers Millawa Vineyard Pty Ltd winning a total of four trophies:- the VWIA Trophy for Most Successful Exhibitor in Victorian Wine Classes 28 through 31; the Best Pinot Noir in Show for their Pinot Noir 1997; Best Sweet White Dessert Wine in Class 39 for their Noble Riesling 1996 and Best Victorian Dry Red Table Wine in Class 31 for their Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz/Ruby Cabernet 1996.
The 1998 Royal Melbourne Wine Show set new records for wine shows in Australia with a total of 3329 wines entered – a record for any Australian Wine Show and an increase of eight percent on the 1997 Royal Melbourne Wine Show. The number of exhibitors increased by 20 to a total of 355.
Royal Melbourne Wine Show 1998 Trophy Awards
The JIMMY WATSON MEMORIAL TROPHY for "the Exhibitor of the Best Red Beverage Wine of the Vintage Year prior to the Current Vintage Year", in Classes 19 through 23.

Katnook Estate: Shiraz 1997
The PREMIER'S GOLD TROPHY FOR VICTORIAN WINE for the Exhibitor of the Best Victorian Wine in Show.

Morris Wines: Liqueur (3) Muscat Blend
The DOUGLAS SEABROOK MEMORIAL TROPHY presented by the SEABROOK FAMILY for the Best Red Wine in Show as selected by the Chairman of the Judging Panel.

Dalfarras Pty Ltd: Cabernet Sauvignon 1991
The VINTAGE CELLARS TROPHY for the Best White Wine in Show selected by the Chairman of the Judging Panel.

Leo Buring: Eden Valley Riesling 1994
The H.R HASELGROVE MEMORIAL TROPHY presented by MILDARA WINES for the Most Successful Exhibitor in the Brandy Section.

McWilliams Wines
The FRANCOIS DE CASTELLA TROPHY for the Most Successful Exhibitor of the Show

McWilliams Wines
The MICK MORRIS TROPHY for the Best Muscat in Show presented by MORRIS WINES PTY. LTD.

Morris Wines: Liqueur (3) Muscat Blend
CRITTENDENS FINE WINES MUSEUM TROPHY for the Best Dry Red Wine 1993 Vintage & Older Open Section Class 50.

Dalfarras Pty Ltd: Cabernet Sauvignon 1991
The WINE SOCIETY TROPHY for the Best Dry Red Table Wine in Open Classes 41 through 49.

Moondah Brook: Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
The COLLOTYPE LABELS PTY. LTD. TROPHY for the Best Dry Red Table Wine in Commercial Classes 66 to 69.

Lindemans: Coonawarra Pyrus Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc/ Malbec 1995
The LIQUORLAND TROPHY for the Best Dry White Table Wine in Commercial Classes 60 to 63.

Eaglehawk Estate: Riesling 1998The SPARK AWARD TROPHY for the Best Australian Sparkling Wine Section

Yarra Burn: (1) Pinot Noir/Chardonnay 1997
The VICTORIAN WINE INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION INC. TROPHY for the Most Successful Exhibitor in Victorian Wine Classes 28 through 31.

Brown Brothers Milawa Vineyard Pty Ltd
The WINE PRESS CLUB OF VICTORIA TROPHY for the Best Victorian Dry Red Table Wine in Class 31.

Brown Brothers Milawa Vineyard Pty Ltd: Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz/Ruby Cabernet 1996
The CORK SUPPLY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD TROPHY for the Best Victorian Dry White Table Wine in Class 30.

Seppelt & Sons: Corella Ridge Chardonnay 1997
The CUNO ZETA PLUS TROPHY presented by CUNO PACIFIC PTY. LTD. for the Best Victorian Dry White Table Wine in Class 28.

Alambie Wines: Local Chardonnay 1998
The A & G ENGINEERING TROPHY for the Best Sweet White Dessert Wine in Class 39.

Brown Brothers Milawa Vineyard Pty Ltd: Noble Riesling 1998
The PHILLIP MURPHY TROPHY awarded to the Best Pinot Noir in show.

Brown Brothers Milawa Vineyard Pty Ltd: Pinot Noir 1997
The RONALD WESTWOOD TROPHY for the Best Merlot Open Section Class 44.

Brookland Valley Vineyard: Merlot 1996
The SPIRO KAVADEAS MEMORIAL TROPHY awarded to the Best Shiraz in Class 47.

Yalumba Vineyards: The Octavius Shiraz 1995
The WINERIES SUPPLIES PTY. LTD. TROPHY for the Best Dry Shiraz in Class 42.

d'Arenberg Wines P/L: Dead Arm Shiraz 1996
The MYRIA AND RUDI HIMMER TROPHY for the Best Dry White Table Wine from highly aromatic, floral varieties and blends of these varieties in Class 33.

Leo Buring: Eden Valley Riesling 1994
The L.S. BOOTH WINE TRANSPORT TROPHY for the Best Chardonnay in the Open Section, Class 34.

Tyrrell's Vineyards Pty Ltd: Vat 47 Chardonnay 1996

The KUBOTA TRACTORS TROPHY for the Best Current Vintage Dry White Table Wine in Classes 11 through 16.

Penfolds: Barossa Semillon/Chardonnay 1998
The KELVIN CLUB TROPHY for the Best Sparkling White Wines, bottle fermented in Class 73 and 74.

Yarra Burn: (1) Pinot Noir/Chardonnay 1997
The IAN LOFTUS TROPHY for the Best Sparkling Red Wine, bottle fermented in Class 76.

Leasingham Wines: (3) Classic Clare Sparkling Shiraz 1998


No I can’t remember his phone number, but I know it was up in the high numbers. John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)
Dancing in Your Head” at Bennetts Lane recently steered the difficult and unusual course of a reeds-based trio with considerable aplomb. A group of young players from Tasmania (Phil Bywater, reeds), Perth (Anita Hustas, bass) and Melbourne (Will Guthrie, drums) produced a genuinely interesting playlist entirely of originals by Phil - no mean feat in itself. In a trio format, there is nowhere to hide - little opportunity for one member to disguise another’s off-night. Fortunately all were on song this night, and there was sufficient variation in the styles of music represented in the compositions and in the choice and range of instruments Phil chose - alto and tenor sax, flute, clarinet and an unusual set of pipes known as a Ken. The Ken originates from Laos and looks a little like a set of pan-pipes on steroids. A dozen pipes of graduated length up to about a metre are powered, not from blowing across them, but through a device attached near the middle which sends the wind to the pipes each of which has at least one finger hole. The sound that emanates is difficult to describe, but is somewhat reminiscent of a mouth organ. This instrument was employed on the “Two for Rahsaan” tune (a tribute to Roland Kirk) - one which also incorporated the simultaneous playing of alto and tenor, a penchant of Roland Kirk’s in times past (though he used such strange horns as the Strich, and Manzinello (Spellcheck, help me!). Other tunes were Melting Pot, Lullaby, Falling Asleep, Waiting for Tony, Cracks, Awakening, Hootspa, Call to Arms.
Will Guthrie I’ve heard often enough on drums - particularly with Festa, and his playing is of the understated school. Pyrotechnics are not his bag, but his accompaniment is usually thoughtful and supportive of the other players. Anita Hustas was a revelation on acoustic bass - beautiful, inventive playing - very tasteful and interesting at the same time. Her bowed bass duets with Phil on “Waiting for Tony” and “Awakenings” were a treat. Having a bassist who provides more than simply rhythm is a great asset to a trio, and I look forward to hearing her again. That goes for the band too, despite the dubious name.
Ruby Reds (Johnston St, Abbottsford) and with a work crowd - upstairs this time. A good venue for a night out with interesting and reasonably priced food - the upstairs section is ideal for a largish group, about thirty here comfortably seated. Whilst a view of the band is unavailable from here, the sound arrives very clearly due to the atrium above the bandstand allowing an unimpeded sound path.
The performances of the Paul Williamson Hammond Combo have been glowingly described in these pages for quite a few years, and tonight the standard was well maintained. In the absence of Tim Neal (Hammond organ), the core players Paul (tenor and baritone saxes, vocals), and Mike Jordan (drums) were supplemented by guests James Black (electric piano and lead guitar, formerly of Mondo Rock, Black Sorrows), Stephen Hadley (electric bass, mentioned recently in dispatches for his work at Mayfields with Diana Kiss), and Rory McKibbon (lead guitar, Black Sorrows). Attending with a large work group, we were well catered for in the upstairs section with attentive service and terrific food. My Blue Swimmer crab was a large serve in a huge square deep bowl with rice, bok choy, and a chilli chutney. Accompanied by a finger bowl, the invitation to make a pig of oneself was irresistible. Fantastic dish and at $17, outrageously good value.
Upstairs is a great place because the music percolates up the atrium above the band, but does not preclude conversation. A fine time was had by everyone, and return visits are on the cards. The band was in fine fettle - I particularly enjoyed James rollicking piano. He really adds a different dimension to the overall sound, especially noticeable when one is accustomed to the Hammond organ’s contribution to the band.
Wine Lines — Oh, you big sparkling bruts

James Halliday published in The Weekend Australian

In the course of choosing the wines for my Top 100 I was forced to omit several dozen champagnes which, were more or less arbitrarily excluded due to space — or, rather, number — constraints. Even here I cannot include them all, but do endeavour to cover a cross-section of style price and producer. The common bond is their excellence, and I quite deliberately write about them in alphabetical order.

Billicart-Salmon is one of the smallest family-owned grand marques, and is also distinguished by its winemaking techniques. Its practices of fermenting the base wines at low temperatures in stainless steel tanks might be seen as our adoption of new world technology, but that is not the case.
The result is brilliantly clean and fine wines with strong aromas and a long, pure palate. The NV Brut Reserve ($75) is one of the most reliable of all non-vintages, although the other day a group of us shared a bottle (blind) at Matteo's Restaurant in Melbourne which was quite stunning. [(Will champagne producers please put bottling dates on their NV wines; the arguments for doing so are overwhelming).]
I have to admit to often having difficulty in coming to terms with the Laurent Perrier style, but do like the NV Rosé Brut. Fresh, crisp, and with a faint whisker of strawberry, it is thoroughly attractive. It is one of the very few rosés made from 100 per cent pinot noir, deriving its colour from skin contact rather than [(as usual in Champagne)] from the addition of red wine.
The house of Louis Roederer goes from strength to strength: its deluxe Cuvee Cristal is now the most expensive in Australia but still in keen demand, and making the 1993 Blanc de Blanc look positively cheap at $87.95. The bouquet is crisp, with hints of herbs and wildflowers, the palate showing very intense citrus fruit (and an echo of the herbs) running through a persistent and long finish.
1992 Moet et Chandon Brut Imperial ($79.95) is the latest in a long series of immaculately crafted wine, [which can unfairly suffer from the contempt born of familiarity]. Just because it is the biggest producer does not mean the quality isn't there: the opposite is the case. The 92 has strong nectarine and stone fruit aroma and flavour, yet happily has a long but quite delicate finish.
I suppose my long friendship with Christian Pol Roger and cousin Christian de Billy of Pol Roger might colour my judgment of Pol Roger, but I do put my personal money where my mouth is and regularly purchase Pol Roger (and equally happily consume it on international airlines). The 90 Brut($54) is an outstanding bargain. The long, clean, tangy citrussy palate underpinned by fine minerally notes guarantees a long life if you wish to cellar some, however delicious it is today.
NV Taittinger Brut Reserve ($72.95) is another wine which follows a consistent style path: hints of toast and brioche on the bouquet and a smooth palate, initially citrussy, then with an appreciably — though not excessively — sweet finish.
Finally, the current NV Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label ($54.95) is a ripper, sophisticated and elegant, with crisp, fresh and lively apple aromas, a lively, slightly minerally palate, and a long, dry finish.
If these prices are beyond your budget, the recently released 1995 Yarrabank is one of the finest and most elegant sparkling wines ever made in Australia. Yarrabank is the Australian venture of Devaux, and this third release must surely cement its place in the top rung of Australian sparkling winemakers. It sells for around $30 and when you buy it, do yourself a favour and lay down some bottles for 2000 (or beyond). It is bred to stay.


An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field. Niels Bohr (1885-1962).
Busy, busy, busy! Wine Club last night - The Exhibition of Victorian Winemakers tonight, followed by a session at Bennetts Lane with the Tim Wilson Trio (see Jules’ review below). A fine night recently, after an interesting meal at Bonum (2 Collins St), watching Mistaken Identity at Bennetts Lane. I’ve written about this very accessible jazz band several times before, and always enjoy their distinctive sound (and of course, Danny Fischer’s drumming).
They usually begin in ensemble style with interesting unison playing of the melody between the horns, leading into solos, and finishing as ensemble again. On the previous occasion, I thought this routine was becoming a little predictable, especially as the solos were relatively brief. I was pleased to hear them stretch out a little more, providing a little bit of edge and uncertainty, thereby preventing blandness. It is a fine line in having a band formula allowing an identifiably distinctive band sound without being unduly restricted by it. Mal Sedergreen (alto, tenor, soprano sax) writes most of the numbers though the others also contribute. Brother Steve Sedergreen on piano provides fine support when comping, and terrific, often blues-inspired, solo playing. Danny Fischer was his usual driving, athletic self on drums, while the newish bass player (James Clark) maintained a steady beat and thoughtful solos. On the previous occasion I thought him a little under-amplified, but the sound was clear and well balanced this time. Toby Mak is a very young looking, very slightly built trumpeter who continues to develop (musically not muscularly) each time I hear him. He appears more assured and I feel that his tone is becoming denser, more powerful, too (perhaps an undetectable steroid?).
Reposted from Jules:

Kerry - have not seen you for ages. From your news letter, it seems that we go to the same places but not on the same nights. So I thought I'd mention that I'll probably go to Bennetts Lane on Thursday night when Tim Wilson is playing. It is good to go there not knowing what to expect (as we separately did to discover Monique Dimmatina). I did this a couple of Thursdays ago after going to Dizzys to hear Ian Chaplin. Ian didn't turn up. Poor Roger. He called up his son to play the piano and he got out his sax.

After one set I thought variety was needed so I travelled to Bennetts Lane where a young sax player of whom I hadn't heard was playing - Tim Wilson. Tim gets a lovely mellow tone out of his tenor. To my surprise and delight he elicited a similar tone from the alto. He is at Bennetts each Thursday this month. Matt Clohessy was on base and Jamie Jones (over from Adelaide a year ago) played drums competently. The MJC notes say "... a VCA graduate, one of the most exciting new talents to emerge on the Melbourne scene (with the Cam McAllister Quintet and others). A straight-ahead stylist, recently returned from a period in New York, he impressively debuted his trio with the MJC last year .....". I would not have used the word "exciting", but I was impressed enough to want to hear him again. Now I missed part of an announcement that he made so I'm not sure if he is having a number of guest players this Thursday or next Tuesday when he has the Transitions spot. Glen Cannon a guitarist whom I've heard with Bob Sedergreen a couple of times and who has a distinctive style was mentioned. Another young performer has the early Friday slot at Bennetts - Martin Breeze. I went to hear Jex Saarelaht and arrived early enough to hear the last couple of songs by Martin who has a classic jazz tenor style. There are so few male jazz singers about, he is worth hearing if just for the experience. (Come back Robert Ratay! We need you more than Italy.) By co-incidence, Jamie Jones was on drums with Jex instead of Niko Schauble. In that format, Jamie was able to demonstrate his wares much more (and more effectively) than he had on the Thursday night with Tim Wilson. Jex is a more demanding and generous leader. I guess that is experience and confidence.
Unfortunately, you missed one of the gigs of the year last night. Again the scene was Bennetts Lane and the occasion was Julian Wilson's farewell gig. He is off to Boston, USA later this week with the help of an Australia Council grant he received for being one of the best young sax players in the country. His playing has improved greatly in the 3 years since I used to see him regularly at the Rainbow on Sunday afternoons with Tim Neal, Andy Swan and Dene Ford; he now does some pretty clever things on his instrument and is clearly a talent; but he still has some traits in his playing which are not pleasant to my ear. Anyway, he and the band really hit the spot last night. Seems everyone I spoke to thought it was the best gig they'd been to in ages. Me too. The band featured 2 trombones - Jordan Murray (whom I've liked since hearing him with Monique D) and Ben Gillespie (a Hoodanger who I know you like - he was very good last night). It was fascinating to witness the two distinctive styles of playing the same instrument. And they combined so well when they weren't soloing. We even had a 'duelling slides' duet in the second set. They were most ably set up by a great engine room: Will Guthrie on drums (whom you wrote about in the last newsletter. Yes, he avoids the pyrotechnics of some skin slappers but he was a great asset to this combination) and Jeremy Alsop on electric base (very influenced by Jako Pastorious - I first saw him a couple of weeks earlier when he sat in with Bob Sedergreen at Dizzy's). Drum and base laid a smooth, wide tarmac with all the right cambers for the flashier reed and brass vehicles to perform and be seen at their best. There was ABC recording equipment present and the hope is that a "live at ...." CD might emerge. I certainly hope so.
Cheers .............. Jules
Healesville Wine Club: Wines of 18/8/1999 A focus on the Yarra Valley

1. Eyton Sauvignon Blanc 1998

2. Eyton Dalry Road Chardonnay 1998

3. Eyton Chardonnay 1998

4. Coldstream Hills Chardonnay 1998

5. Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 1998

6. Coldstream Hills Merlot 1997

7. Coldstream Hills Briarston Cabernets 1995

8. Coldstream Hills Briarston Cabernets 1997

9. Yering Station Cabernets 1997

10. Mystery wine: Eyton NDC Shiraz 1998

Best white: Coldstream Hills Chardonnay 1998

Best red: Eyton NDC Shiraz 1998

Pick of the bunch at the Exhibition of Victorian Wine Makers.


Austin's Barrabool Wines 1998 Riesling $16

Riesling and Geelong (Waurn Ponds, to be precise) don't generally mix but this small producer has carved out a niche for itself, with a wine that surprises with pretty floral characters and a fresh lime crispness. Pam and Richard Austin are moving into the Bannockburn area in a big way with new plantings and new wines (a barrel sample 1997 shiraz will be available for tasting during the exhibition). They also hope to have the '99 riesling bottled and on show. -- J.P.

Chrismont 1998 Barbera $18 (cellar door price)

Before they grew grapes, the Pizzini family in the King Valley grew tobacco. To say they have green thumbs is an understatement. Whatever they make is always worth tasting, but their work with Italian varieties really excites. Barbera tends to be overlooked because it is not a glamor grape like nebbiolo or sangiovese, but it does have a simple, rustic appeal with understated fruit and firm-ish tannins. Incredibly easy (and enjoyable) to drink. -- J.P.

Domaine Chandon Cuvee 2000 $33

The packaging is bright and celebratory for a new millennium, but underneath all that is a good sparkling. Made from 100 per cent pinot noir from the 1994 vintage with 23 base wines making up the final blend, Cuvee 2000 is complex and rich and an excellent food wine. -- J.P.

Michelini 1998 Marzemino $18.50 (cellar door price)

Mar-zee-me-no is how you get your mouth around the grape variety. Start practising now, because you'll certainly be hearing more about this northern Italian red variety. With loads of ripe, rich fruit and a licorice spiciness, it's right up the Australian red drinkers' alley. The Michelinis at Myrtleford used to blend marzemino with merlot to make a marzemo, but the '98 vintage heralds the start of a 100 per cent marzemino red. -- J.P.

Morris Liqueur Tokay $18

Gorgeous toffee, tea-leaf and malt characters mark this deliciously deep-flavored, smoothly sweet Rutherglen fortified wine. A timeless Victorian classic. -- R.K.P.

Turramurra 1997 Chardonnay $30

This Mornington Peninsula producer slipped in quietly during the '90s and has wowed everyone with the quality of its chardonnay. It's the pristine fruit that so impresses. Perhaps we should thank Paula Leslie who is the viticulturist at the Dromana-based vineyard. Wine maker David Leslie makes the wine with minimal interference, and the result is a beautifully delicate, sunny chardonnay. -- J.P.

Yarra Valley Hills Riesling $21

Yarra Valley Hills is based just beyond Melbourne's suburban fringe, at the gateway to the Yarra Valley. The winery handles the usual Yarra stalwarts of chardonnay and pinot noir with assurance, but riesling is a success too. Fragrant, floral and spicy, it has lovely, delicate varietal charm. -- R.K.P.

Seppelt Chalambar Shiraz $19.50

Chalambar was once one of the top reds from Seppelt's Great Western vineyards. It disappeared from the shelves for many years, but now it's back in the form of a ripe, spicy, smoothly satisfying wine. -- R.K.P.

Turramurra Sauvignon Blanc $29.60

At odds with the over-the-top zippy sauvignon blancs of fashionable taste, this wine from the Mornington Peninsula has more in common with "serious" whites. It has subdued complexity, great length and persistence of flavor. -- R.K.P.

Yering Station Reserve Chardonnay $42

This is a lovely, easy-drinking chardonnay of real finesse from one of the Yarra Valley's most ambitious enterprises. The flavors are harmonious, integrated and complete. -- R.K.P.

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