Some superb food at Sunnybrae Restaurant, Birregurra (inland from Lorne) as we celebrated our 30th Anniversary in style over the weekend of the 27th Nov. George Biron has a deserved reputation as one of regional Victoria’s finest chefs. After a beginning with the most delicious home-cooked bread I’ve eaten, the antipasto that followed was all locally produced and interesting. A dish of delectable asparagus with sugar-cured Ocean Trout and Dill was the other of two fixed entrees. Choice of 8 mains was tough to make, but the boned Mallee Squab with small Leeks and spiced Cumquats was tender and wonderfully balanced. I also tasted with glee the Light-Mousseline of Sand Crab with Tomato and Basil stock. Not a sweet-tooth, the Rhubarb and Jasmine Fool with Lavender Ice cream, hit the spot with me.
We stayed at Shalom Cottages - secluded, self-contained (the cottages, not us!) and had a French Champagne breakfast outdoors on the patio facing the Otways and in glorious sunshine. Not too bad, all up.
While on matters foody, The Riberry Restaurant at Yarra Junction produced some fine food for the Wine Club’s Christmas luncheon. Seriously good food here – I enjoyed the Yellingbo Tomato and Yabbie Broth, flavoured with fresh Chilli, Lime and Coriander leaves as entrée. For mains, a Warm Salad of Crispy Duck on a Sesame, Caramalised Pumpkin, Sweet Potato and Snowpea Salad with a Star-Anise infused Dressing – was outstanding, especially the complex dressing.
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NSW Wine Awards
The New South Wales Wine Awards have been announced.
The Hotel InterContinental Wine of the Year went to Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 1998;
Best NSW Sparkling Wine to Cassegrain Brut Pinot Noir Chardonnay 1995;
Best NSW Young Dry White to 1999 Smithleigh Vineyards Hunter Semillon 1999;
Best NSW Mature Dry White to Reynolds Yarraman Semillon 1992 (no surprise here);
Best NSW Mature Dry Red to Huntington Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Bin FB30 1995; and
Best NSW Sweet Wine to De Bortoli Noble One 1996.
Australian Small Winemakers Show
The Australian Small Winemakers Show is by no stretch of the imagination a small show. This year 837 wines were entered by wineries all over Australia which crush less than 500 tonnes per annum (hence the 'small'). The judges were pretty tough, awarding only 27 gold, 42 silver and 216 bronze medals. Thus the performance of:
Kominos Wines from the Granite Belt winning the trophy for Champion Dry Red Table Wine against all comers from across Australia with its Kominos 1998 Merlot was quite outstanding. Inevitably, it also won trophies for Best Queensland Wine and Best Queensland Dry Red. Other major trophies went to
Barossa Settlers 1997 Semillon for Champion Dry White Table Wine, 1996
Monichino Botrytis Semillon (Champion Sweet White Table Wine) and to
Stanton & Killeen Muscat (Champion Fortified Wine).
Other awards to Queensland wines went to
1997 Ballandean Estate Semillon (Best Queensland Dry White),
1998 Barambah Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon (Best Queensland Cabernet),
1994 Ballandean Estate Sylvaner (Best Queensland Sweet White Table Wine) and
Golden Grove Muscat (Best Queensland Dessert Wine).
Coolangatta Estate was the Most Successful Exhibitor overall, and Ballandean Estate was the Most Successful Queensland Exhibitor
1999 Winestate Wine of the Year
At the other end of the spectrum to the Australian Small Makers Show, 1994 Penfolds Grange was named 1999 Wine of the Year by Winestate Magazine, while James Godfrey, Group Fortified Winemaker for Southcorp, won the James Busby Trophy for Winemaker of the Year. 10,000 wines were considered or rated during the past 12 months, and it was on the basis of these that the awards were given.
The 12 category winners were:
Cabernet Sauvignon — 1997 Vasse Felix Heytesbury Cabernet, WA;
Chardonnay — 1998 Delegat's Reserve Chardonnay, NZ;
Fortifieds — Brown Brothers Family Selection Liqueur Muscat, Vic'
Grenache and Grenache Shiraz Merlot — 1997 Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache Barossa Growers, SA;
Merlot — 1998 Bilancia Merlot, NZ;
Pinot Noir — 1998 Stonier Mornington Pinot Noir, Vic;
Riesling — 1994 Taylors St Andrews Riesling, SA (Runner Up to Wine of the Year);
Sauvignon Blanc — 1998 Peregrine Sauvignon Blanc, NZ;
Semillon — 1994 Reg Drayton Wines Lambkin Semillon, NSW;
Shiraz — 1994 Penfolds Grange, SA;
Sparkling — 1991 Penley Estate Coonawarra Pinot Noir Chardonnay, SA;
Sweet Wines — 1996 De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon, NSW.
THE WINE AND JAZZ APPRECIATION SOCIETY NEWS, VOL 5, NO 42, ?/12/99
Music is the occult metaphysical exercise of a soul not knowing that it philosophises. -- Arthur Schopenhauer.
Adelaide Wine Show 1999 Trophy winners
Adelaide Trophy for Most Outstanding Red or White Table Wine in Show, JH Mcmahon Trophy for Best Full Bodied Dry White, Miller & Co Trophy for Best White Table Wine in Show
1995 Penfolds Reserve Bin 95A Chardonnay
An outstanding example of a full-bodied white wine which has retained some elegance and finesse. It has a very good oak balance and integration, with a lovely tangy nectarine/citrus fruit core. Equally well balanced acidity on the finish. The sister wine to the 1995 Yattarna; this wine was made from 100 per cent Adelaide Hills-grown fruit, and will probably outlive Yattarna. A multiple trophy and gold medal winner at previous wine shows.
Max Schubert Trophy for Best Consumer Wine of Show
1998 Rothbury Estate Brokenback Shiraz
Strong colour; redolent with rich, sweet blackberry and cherry fruit and perfectly judged oak. A complex and powerful wine which, while full-on, is not excessively extractive. Also won the trophy for Best Red Table Wine at this year's Hunter Valley Wine Show in August.
Wine Press Club Trophy for Best Dry Red Table Wine in Show, Montgomery Trophy for Best Dry Red, Full Bodied Table Wine,
1996 Orlando Jacobs Creek Limited Release Shiraz. Cabernet
Deep colour; strong blackberry/blackcurrant fruit aroma; a rich, smooth and stylish palate with rich blackberry fruit; plenty of spicy, sweet oak which does not overwhelm the fruit. A multiple trophy winner in prior shows including the National Wine Show; made in small quantity to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Orlando.
Wine Society Trophy for Best Sparkling Wine of
1997 Hardys Arras Chardonnay Pinot Noir
An outstanding sparkling wine with a complex bready, yeasty nutty bouquet and a counter-balancing palate showing ripe apple and citrus fruit; fine, yet with fantastic length and acidity. A wine which has deservedly swept all before it in wine shows this year, and testament to the exceptional winemaking skills of Ed Carr.
Wine Industry Journal Trophy for Best Varietal Dry Red Table Wine (any variety), Cork and Seals Trophy for Best Shiraz
1997 Maglieri Wines Steve Maglieri Shiraz
Strong red-purple; shows excellent fruit and oak handling throughout, with abundant concentrated spicy dark cherry fruit and soft, lingering tannins. Yet another stellar Shiraz from Steve Maglieri showing why Mildara Blass was prepared to pay top dollar for this slightly unfashionable McLaren Vale maker of tens of thousands of cases of Lambrusco.
Wine Innovation Trophy for Best Dry White Table Wine
1992 Tyrrell's Vat 1 Semillon A clean, light, fresh bouquet in a wine still developing full complexity. It comes alive on the palate with a veritable rivulet of flavours. A wine which has taken years to start showing what it is capable of, and now has a significant accumulation of trophies and gold medals.
Melbourne Street Cellars Trophy for Best Varietal White Table Wine (any variety) Schahinger Trophy for Best Varietal Chardonnay
1997 Lindemans Winemakers Reserve Padthaway Chardonnay
An extremely complex wine showing the full gamut of winemaking inputs from barrel fermentation through malolactic fermentation to lees contact. Nutty, rich bouquet; mouthfilling cashew and melon fruit. A limited production wine developed in large part for the United States.
Vintage Cellars Trophy for Best Varietal Semillon
1989 Tyrrell's Vat 1 Semillon
An unusually powerful and complex Semillon with some of the characteristics of older-style French White Burgundies. Masses of flavour, but decidedly idiosyncratic. A much decorated wine which nonetheless tends to polarise opinion.
Collotype Labels Trophy for Best Varietal Riesling
1995 Mitchelton Blackwood Park Riesling
Medium yellow-green; gentle honey and lime aromas dominate the bouquet with almost none of the toasty characters often found in mature Riesling. The elegant palate, too, has soft lime flavours running through to its lingering finish. A value-packed Riesling year-in, year-out, and which has often had outstanding show success.
Liquorland Trophy for Best Medium Dry White Table Wine
1996 McWilliam's Show Spatlese Riesling
Bright, light yellow-green; a fragrant bouquet with citrus blossom aromas and a gently sweet, perfectly balanced palate. Not a particularly fashionable style, but is nonetheless a wine which will continue to mature gracefully for many years, and which is suited to a surprisingly wide range of Asian cuisine.
Zurich Australian Insurance Trophy for Best Sweet White Table Wine
1997 McWilliam's Limited Release Botrytis Semillon
Very good green-gold colour; intensely luscious and sweet mandarin/cumquat fruit is offset by subtle oak and lingering acidity. Produced from Riverina Semillon as is the De Bortoli Noble One, and made using similar techniques.
AON Risk Services Australia Trophy for Best Varietal Cabernet Sauvignon
1997 Majella Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon
A truly elegant, fine, medium bodied wine made in a style which doesn't always receive show recognition. Fine cassis fruit, soft tannins and subtle oak. A wine which largely made in the now fully mature vineyards owned by Brian Lynn and family, and a label which is no stranger to show success.
Harold Dridan Memorial Trophy for Best Varietal Merlot
1998 Fox Creek Wines Merlot
A wine with good varietal aroma which is not overwhelmed by the positive oak. It really comes into its own with its genuinely complex palate and the fine, almost silky, texture and structure expected of Merlot. The McLaren Vale-based Fox Creek Wines has had great show success with its fuller-bodied Reserve Cabernet Sauvignons; this simply adds to that success.
Cold Logic Trophy for Best Varietal Pinot Noir
1998 Old Kent River Pinot Noir
Fragrant, light sappy/strawberry aromas lead onto a palate with similar flavours. Its strength is its length of flavour and silky tannins, which give it a distinct Burgundian twist. Produced by a small Mount Barker (or Great Southern) winery little known in the eastern states but which has produced some excellent Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs over the years.
Tonnellerie Radoux Trophy for Best Dry Red Fresh Young Table Wine
1999 Rosemount Estate Shiraz Cabernet
Lively fresh cherry and plum bouquet; soft, gently sweet fruit and finish; it is not easy to pick the point at which the almost subliminal sweetness starts and finishes. Rosemount has a complete stranglehold on this wine style; time and time again it comes up with the only gold medal in its class. It seems no other maker can duplicate the style.
Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation Trophy for Best Wine in Under $15 Consumer Classes 1999 Quelltaler Estate Annie's Lane Riesling
Pure floral lime varietal aroma and flavour; the wine's considerable power is bound by excellent acidity on the finish.
Wally Ware Trophy for Best Medium Bodied Table Wine
1997 Seppelt Great Western Reserve Shiraz
Strong red-purple; clean, deep black cherry fruit and attractive cedary oak; the flavour is similarly deep and smooth, yet the wine is, as it should be, medium bodied. Great Western, or Grampians as it is now known. produces Shiraz with an utterly distinctive feel and texture. This is a great example.
Precision Labels Trophy for Best Tawny Port
Morris Cellar Reserve Tawny Port
Mahogany-tawny colour, olive rim. Potent bouquet; intense rancio flavours and finish.
Programmed Maintenance Services Trophy for Best Vintage Port
1987 Seppelt Vintage Port Still retains youthful colour and spicy fruit flavours; fine spirit; excellent drier style.
Visy Board Trophy for Best Sweet Dessert Style
Seppelt Rutherglen Muscat GR113
Almost impossibly luscious, complex and rich, yet the finish is almost dry and very clean. While the base is old wine, has been cleverly freshened with younger material.
Wine news brought to you by James Halliday...
New Zealand wines tasted at the recent Healesville Wine Club meeting, and not too well received by the members either! The rightmost column represents the average score across the members.
Te Mata estate
Cabernet / Merlot
White Wine of the Night: Cloudy Bay Sauvignon blanc
Red Wine of the Night: Te Mata Estate Cabernet/ Merlot blend
Wine of the Night: Te Mata Estate Cabernet/ Merlot blend