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

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Healesville Wine Club's meeting this week comprised a spectacular array of Australian shiraz. It was a test of endurance as some of the wines were of heroic proportions; however, we soldiered on until the challenge was completed.

1. Peel Estate Shiraz Western Australia 1995

2. Bannockburn Geelong Shiraz 1990

3. Bowen Estate Coonawarra Shiraz 1993

4. Hill of Grace Eden Valley Shiraz 1984

5. Craiglee Sunbury Shiraz 1991

6. Fox Creek Reserve Mclaren Vale Shiraz 1996

7. Blackjack Bendigo Shiraz

8. Jasper Hill Central Victoria Shiraz 1997

9. Brokenwood Graveyard Hunter Shiraz 1996

10. Dalwhinnie Central Victoria Shiraz 1994

11. Grant Burge Meschach Barossa Shiraz 1991

Most popular were Hill of Grace, Fox Creek, Blackjack.
Have you ever been to a reasonably authentic Chinese restaurant, and felt intimidated by the number of Chinese people eating so skilfully with their chopsticks while you, determined to pay homage to such an old civilisation, struggle to grip the buggers. Even harder is to obtain sufficient lateral friction that you are able to negotiate the delectable and sometimes slippery items all the way to your mouth without the morsels falling kersplash into the broth and all over your pale lemon frock? I know I have had this difficulty and soy is so difficult to remove from lemon chantung. Maybe the offering below will save you from doing something so unspeakably primitive that the whole of the Chinese contingent in the restaurant will stop speaking into their mobile phones and stare pityingly at you.
Sticks and stories: By: Tony Tan, The Age

According to the noted Chinese author T.C. Lai, a pair of chopsticks symbolises yin-yang principles: they represent duality, and are also the ultimate demonstration of human skill. Although many of us know how to use chopsticks, the rituals and taboos involved may be less familiar. My own discomfort with eating "Chinese" happened only recently at the reputable and refined Man Wah restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong. I was a guest at a gathering of the most civilised Chinese palates, which included such luminaries as food and art critic Lau Kin Wai and acclaimed novelist Lee Wai Leng. When I stared at the gold and ebony chopsticks on jade holders, I was seized by an attack of the jitters on how to use them in the fashion of a civilised Chinese.

In my wretched state, I imagined I would commit the ultimate faux pas with those elegant chopsticks. How I wished I had listened to my parents' instructions more carefully about the finer points of Chinese table etiquette. It was crunch time and I was going to let them down; I didn't want to be called a barbarian! My hands shook all the way to my mouth, but fortunately, I didn't crack the rice bowl, which is such bad fortune, and the chopsticks remained firmly in my hands.
The Chinese have been using chopsticks for the past 3000 years. A pair of ivory chopsticks was discovered in the ruins of a palace dating back to the Zhou Dynasty. They became popular by the time of the Han Dynasty (206BC - 220AD): nobles used bronze chopsticks while ordinary people settled for bamboo and wood. Emperors, on the other hand, apparently used silver chopsticks to detect any poison placed in the food; it was believed that silver would turn black on contact with arsenic. From China, the custom of eating with chopsticks spread to Korea, Vietnam and Japan.
At a Chinese table, it's always polite to invite your fellow diners to eat before diving into the communal dishes. Once this simple protocol is observed, lift your chopsticks, tap them gently on the table to establish your grip on them, and then select from the fare offered. Should your host serve you the choicest bits with his chopsticks, it is impolite to refuse. If you're feeling squeamish about this gesture, don't be, for your host should have used the thick end of his chopsticks. Additionally, some families commonly use a pair of serving chopsticks to share food.
On your part, you must never appear greedy by diving into the food with your chopsticks and exploring like a madman. To demonstrate your mastery of Chinese etiquette, always use your chopsticks to pick up the morsels closest to you. It's wise, however, - just in case your chopsticks end up on the parson's nose - to discreetly eye your target before making your move. Once your chopsticks have even touched a morsel of food, you must take it. Never, ever return it to the communal dish.
But, as a child, my parents taught me that to be well-mannered, I had to appear not to be too selective about the dishes offered, nor too intent on taking a particular piece of food from a plate. So please don't hover over a dish with your chopsticks.
Correctly held chopsticks indicate good breeding; although they may not say anything, some elderly orientals will always be able to tell by the way a pair of chopsticks is held.
To hold them close to the eating end, so I'm told, indicates gluttony. It's much better to hold them elegantly and well away from the eating tip. However, it is also said that if you hold your chopsticks too close to the thick, non-eating end, it means your spouse will arrive from a considerable distance or it will be a long time before you marry.
While it may be tempting to stab at, say, slippery mushrooms with your chopsticks as one would with a fork, avoid this at all costs. Stabbing is really bad form. Similarly, don't point with your chopsticks, for it suggests that you might use them as a weapon. That is why there are almost never any knives on a Chinese dining table.
If you are eating a Chinese soup that is part of a larger meal, it is extremely impolite to use chopsticks to fossick for solids in the broth. Instead, use your soup spoon to eat them. (It's fine to use chopsticks only when eating a bowl of noodles that is a meal in itself).
And never treat a pair of chopsticks like a set of drumsticks, especially hitting them on the sides of a rice bowl. A Chinese proverb says that by doing so, your descendants will always be poor. It's also taboo to lick, chew or suck on your chopsticks once you have taken the food off them.
Some families consider it's more polite to put food first to your rice bowl instead of taking it straight to your mouth. Should you decide to use your chopsticks to "shovel" rice Chinese fashion, always cup your rice bowl and bring it to your mouth. I have even seen families clasping the edge of the rice bowl with the index and Last fingers, which indicates their refinement.
Lifting your rice bowl to your mouth may be acceptable with the Chinese and Vietnamese but, according to my Korean friend, Bong Ha, this is impolite. Koreans use a spoon instead.
For the Chinese, to lay your chopsticks across your bowl parallel to the table indicates you have dined well and that you cannot eat another mouthful, but it's just as acceptable to lay them neatly at the side of the bowl on the table or on a chopsticks rest. However, according to Vietnamese chef Cao Anh, laying chopsticks across the bowl in such a position, particularly if there is still rice in the bowl, is definitely unacceptable. In Vietnamese culture, chopsticks laid in this fashion are used for ancestral worship.
The worst faux pas is to stick your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice. For the four chopstick-using nations, this is a reminder of incense sticks used at funerals.
In conclusion, eating with chopsticks, from a Chinese perspective at least, is not an intransigent issue. As long as some of the rules are observed, eating Chinese should be relaxed and enjoyable. Even the rigid Japanese Ogasawara system on manners developed in the 16th century is more relaxed nowadays. But something to think about - in The Chinese Book of Rites, compiled in the first century AD, it says "the ruin of states, the destruction of families, and the perishing of individuals are always preceded by their abandonment of the rules of propriety".


"I don't kill flies but I like to mess with their minds. I hold them above my globe of the earth. They freak out and yell, 'Whoa, I'm way too high!' " Bruce Baum
Manchester Lane is Melbourne's newest jazz bar/café, a potential competitor to The Continental and to Bennetts Lane. Not that the interests of either were perturbed about such an eventuality - believing that the more venues around, the better the future for jazz and for the music industry. This place is off Flinders Lane on the Queen St side of Swanston St. Access is available only from Manchester Lane - possibly the café's name derives from this feature. Fronted by a separate non-music, more formal-looking restaurant, it also serves a la carte meals in the music section. Unusually arranged in that the musicians, rather than being elevated (I don't mean high!) on a stage, are at one end in the lowest of 3 progressively higher levels set in the relatively long and narrow space that comprises ML. This rather Romanesque section has terracotta tiles and huge terracotta pots, a couple of tables, and two imposing and comfortable-looking sofas. The table and stage lighting give this area a warm red glow - and with the next mezzanine level raised about 1.5 metres above and beyond it, there is the suggestion of a small colosseum about it. I detected neither Christians nor lions, though there was a chap from Rotary, I suspect, he certainly talked very loudly. The second level contains reasonably spaced tables for three and four, with some banquette-ish lounge seating along the wall defining and supporting the uppermost section. There is a feeling of space about the layout despite the ceiling encroaching progressively nearer as one ascends the 3 levels.
An important part of the feel is due to the clever use of 12 volt ceiling lights, low reddish table lamps and wall sconces. It gives the place a variety of light intensities and the overall effect is smoothness, sophistication, and calm (I thought that I fitted this place to a tee). Level three (the dress circle?) is the largest space and furthest from the band. Larger tables are available here, but I'm not sure that one would see much of the band unless the designated table was on the brink of the lower level. This is a smoking café, and although it was not smoky on this night, I imagine it could be so when it becomes crowded - all the more so in the dress circle with its low ceiling.
Behind the band and forming the back wall is a continuous set of folding glass doors 9perhaps leading through to the front restaurant section. A seven foot grand piano tends to dominate this space and Will Poskitt was obviously relishing the superb tones it produced. Accompanying him was Ian Chaplin, an altoist of some fame in Australia - his CD "Tjapankati" is easier to listen to than pronounce. Employing some interesting arrangements the duo played three sets from 9pm-12pm. They sounded very lyrical and cool, and the sound quality from my seat on level 2 was wonderful - unamplified, full and clear - with great delineation between piano and sax. Whether the room becomes a little too bright (sound-wise) with a larger group remains to be seen - the glass doors behind the musicians are almost certainly strong reflectors of the sound produced, and there are not too many absorbent surfaces in the building. The Rotarian's voice coming from the dress circle was alarmingly loud, and it may be that listening will be significantly compromised as the crowd increases.
ML provides music on Monday ($5), Thursday ($5), Friday ($6), Saturday ($8-$10). The winelist is small (9 whites, 9 reds, 3 sparklings) but well chosen with prices ranging from $15 for a run-of-the-mill Blues Point white blend to $32 for a Seresin NZ Sav Blanc. Reds similarly range from $15 for a Bimbadgen Shiraz (perhaps from the MIA) to $34 for a Yanmah Ridge blend from Margaret River - a new name to me. Sparklings: Blues Point ($15) to Yarrabank ($42). Markups are around 100% of retail, which is about par.
Dinner here looks interesting - soup (ham hocks, red lentil and tomato) at $6.50; and 5 other starters ($9-$11) of varying cultural origins. Seven mains ($11-$19) are supplemented by a set of four pasta types with a choice of six sauces ($10-$14). Each of the mains looks tempting (in description at least) and travel from Asia through the Mediterranean to the Middle East. Table service is friendly and efficient.
It is difficult to estimate the capacity of the place. There is seating for about 80-90, supplemented with some standing area by the bar - I suppose it is more like a smaller Continental than it is like Bennetts. The playlist comprises names one could have seen at Bennetts - though overall the list is less adventurous. Well recognised names appearing in future gigs are Tony Gould, Jex Saarelaht, Sam Keevers, and Bob Sedergreen from the older brigade; and from the younger - Michelle Nicole, Monique Dimattina, Giani Marinucci, Will Poskitt. There is a strong emphasis on piano-based trios and female singers - suggesting that the music here, however well produced, should not dominate the room. It would appear that the music is planned to accompany the evening's experience, rather than providing the reason for being there.
The duo of Ian and Will are well matched, their sound full and rich. Will has a fine capacity to carry a left hand bass line to support Ian's usually assertive sax style, and provided fine solos himself across a range of tunes. I have not before heard Ian sound so mellow for an extended period, but I imagine that's a style he has tailored to the setting.
So, its Saturday night and we're back at Manchester Lane for dinner and to hear Linda Cable with the Peter Jones Trio (Peter Jones, piano; Craig Newman, bass; and Darren Farrugia, drums). I discover that behind the now re-folded glass doors is another similar-sized space also backed by similar glass doors. The band area has thus retreated to make more space for tables on the lowest level - cunning, but the band now seems a fair way away from us on level 2. Behind us on level 3 is a party of 50 or so people having an uproarious time. Yes, the place is very noisy with this size crowd; however, it's alive with people having a good time.
Dinner is terrific - the interesting food descriptions are realised on the plate. Flavoursome soup, perfumed lamb rogan josh (with rice and crispy discs of deep fried vegetable) were very enjoyable, and reasonably priced. Staffing levels are high and the black ninja-suited serving staff were affable and ever present. Lighting is much brighter during the pre-music period as the 12 volters are undimmed and play a much more significant role. The place is packed, though comfortably - there is no difficulty in moving around thanks to the clever use of space and stairs. Smoke extraction is very efficient despite the high numbers of smokers present.
Unrecognised at the time as a portent, the management's early decision to refund our $10/head cover charge was accepted as a noble gesture, indicative of their pleasure at filling the joint with happy cashed-up punters. It was not until the promoter attempted to introduce the band that we realised the true extent of the background noise, and in particular the escalating volume from our rear (perhaps I should rephrase that?). Despite said promoter's peremptory commands for silence her pleas fell on deaf ears - perhaps because they couldn't hear her in the dress circle. More likely, as anyone who has tried to make a speech at a birthday party knows, partying develops its own momentum and such goers are not easily shut up, especially by demands from pompous MC's.
So the music began (9.30pm) - at least it appeared to do so, judging by the movements of the musicians. People near the band appeared contented - being near enough to hear the actual sound they produced. For the rest of us in the bleachers, we had to make do with a couple of PA speakers, inadequate to the task they were asked to perform. This was unfortunate because the band and singer were doing their best, and on the occasion of my journeys to the Men's I passed them by, and what I heard sounded OK. By this stage, I was prepared to accept that we couldn't enjoy the music, so we might as well add to the din by conversing. This required some pretty loud talk to make oneself heard, a strategy countered by the management - they turned up the volume. Now the music previously inaudible, became annoyingly intrusive - and dramatically coarsened by the sound system objecting to the excessive strain. Thus thwarted in our attempts to listen and to talk, we did some people watching, drank some tasty Kangarilla Road McLaren Vale shiraz, then some more, and a bit more. At 11.30 the band folded, only the slowly diminishing conversational surf remained, though I fancied that some of the band's earlier tunes were still echoing around this room - one that desperately needs a sound engineer's attentions. A pianist/singer made a few desultory attempts to excite the remnants, and receiving little interest, he mercifully retreated.
The verdict - go to listen on week nights; on Saturday nights don't go for the music - but if you like a happenin' place with good food - Yo!

1. Circa, the Prince, 2 Acland Street St Kilda, phone 9536 1122

Circa has a wine manager (Phillip Rich) and a full time wine sommelier (Ben Edwards), so they are pretty serious about their wines, Rich started compiling the impressive Circa wine list almost two years before the restaurant opened, sourcing back-vintages and hard to procure lines, so expect to be dazzled. Best features are its burgundy listing, wines by the glass and Aussie classics.

2. Langtons, Sargood House, 61 Flinders Lane, city, phone 9663 0222

Think comprehensive. Think creme de la creme, Langton's wine list is an extension of the now famous Langton's Classification of Distinguished Australian Wine (wine auctioneer Stewart Langton is the man behind both businesses). The list is one of the most informative and comprehensive in the city. Good listings, too, for France and California. Only minor grouch is wines by the glass   there should be more.

3. Punch Lane, 43 Little Bourke Street, City, phone 9639 4944

Don't look any further than the blackboard for something new, different, individual and good in the way of wines at this charmingly casual restaurant. Most selections made by the clever and adventurous palate of co owner Martin Pirc hit their mark. And he's not averse to giving a wee taste of something new to try before you buy. Stick to wines by the glass here and keep an eye out for Martin opening magnums to serve by the glass and his comparative tastings of varietals from the New and Old Worlds.

4. Stella, 159 Spring Street, city, phone 9639 1555

If it's hip and happening in wine it's at Stella. Bannockburn saignee, Will Taylor riesling, Huia sauvignon blanc, Kumeu River chardonnay, Heathcote Winery viognier, Pegasus Bay pinot noir, Pizzini sangiovese, Dalwhinnie shiraz. This is not to suggest that Stella's list is dominated by here today, gone tomorrow trends. Take up Stella's offer of a 60m taste to try out new wines, especially the range of Italian and French. Another innovative approach is the listing by "style" (such as "rich and complex with a creamy texture") rather than using varietal or regional headings.

5. Walter's Wine Bar, Level 3 Southgate, phone 9690 9211.

A former Tucker Seabrook Australian Wine List of the Year Award winner and doesn't it show? If a sign of an exciting wine list means never being able to make a decision, then this is it? Thank goodness for the knowledgeable staff. When in doubt, bow to their good taste. The extended list boasts 34 individual wine headings, where the accent is on discovering new names as well as the more familiar. The burgundy listing is to die for.

  • Jeni Port

After Midnight

1. The Melbourne Supper Club, 161 Spring Street, city phone 9654 6300

Cognac, cigars and, if you're in the restaurant trade, business cards. This hedonistic upstairs lounge room opposite Parliament is a favorite with the food and wine industry, has a slightly raffish retro feel and stays open very late, or is that early? All nighters can be finished with superb coffee and breakfast in the European, downstairs.

2. Gaffer Bar, Ground Floor, 20 Meyers Place, city phone 9650 8609

Nobody actually calls this place by its real name: universally, this cool little bar behind the Windsor and downstairs from the Waiters Club is known by its address, Meyers Place. The first of several designs around town by creative recyclers Six Degrees.

3. Hairy Canary, 212 Little Collins Street, city, phone 9654 2471

Part of the little Collins Street drinking belt, Hairy Canary is always full of obscenely fashionable young men and women, who, depending on your status, are a significant part of the attraction. Terrific, innovative, Mediterranean leaning snack foods might help keep you going well into the night/morning. The music pumps.

4. The Night Cat, 141 Johnston Street,Fitzroy, phone 9417 0090

The cabaret club for bohemian Fitzrovians, this is where to go if you believe 30 somethings still belong in bowling shirts and Doc Martens. It is slinky, retro and, as it's owned by musician and quintessential Fitzroy denizen Henry Maas you can be assured the aural stimulation is as good as the refreshments.

5. Mink Bar, 2b Acland Street, St Kilda, phone 9537 1322. You like vodka. We have vodka. More than 20 different kinds, including house blends. So drink. You'll run out of stamina, or money, before Mink runs out of vodka. And, being part of the remade Prince of Wales hotel complex, there's plenty to drink besides vodka. If you have to fall down, this is a good place to do so.

  John Lethlean

Civilised drinks

1. Gin Palace, 190 Little Collins Street, city, phone 9654 0533

A plush, subterranean den of decadence. All drinking is taken seriously here, and the tab will reflect it, but it is the product of juniper berries they honor. Martinis that will have you reaching for your Aston Martin are the house specialty. Eat the olives: you'll need the sustenance. A tip: avoid Friday evenings when it's invaded by office drinkers.

2. Melbourne Wine Room, 125 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, Phone 9525 5599

A place that celebrates Australian wine, putting regions, makers, styles and varieties into perspective. The wine collection, particularly those from the greater Melbourne region, is highly impressive. They sell many by the glass and still maintain consistency of product. A delightful school room for the wine student. But remember to wear black. It is St Kilda, after all.

3. Walter's Wine Bar, Level 3, Southgate, phone 9890 9211

One of the longest standing establishments to champion the food and wine marriage, Walters has great views across the city, great food and a stupendous wine list. The people who work here know what they're talking about.

4. Becco, 11 Crossley Street, city, phone 9663 3000

An overnight success that's Lasted for a couple of years now, Becco walks a fine line between formality and Italian cafe chic. Wine is a passion for the owners (Elizabeth, daughter of Wantirna Estate's Reg Egan, is one) and you'll find a constantly evolving collection of interesting wines by the glass.

5. Jimmy Watson's Wine Bar, 333 Lygon Street, Carlton, phone 9347 3985

The original and the best. A place that has more atmosphere and heritage in its pantry than most establishments could muster in their entirety. The Robin Boyd design is part of the charm. Interesting old Australian reds, rare Spanish sherries, buried treasures of Rutherglen fortifieds  Watson's has them all, and the place is never short of a character or three.

  John Lethlean
Morning after

1. Il Fornalo, 2 Acland Street, St Kilda, phone 9534 2922

Mix together the fascinating culture of modern St Kilda, great breads and pastries, coffee that would have you swearing you were in Italy, and you have a breakfast combination to revive even the most battle worn Wine Australia visitor.

2. Rathdowne Street Food Store, 617 Rathdowne Street, Carlton, phone 9347 4064

Bordering on being a Melbourne institution, Rathdowne Street's creative brekkies are some of the best in the city. Eggs, pancakes, salsas, bacon, avocado, Tabasco: how much good stuff can you get on one plate? The coffee is good, tables are close and the feeling is of old Melbourne academia.

3. Retro Cafe, 413 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, phone 9419 9103

Couches, laminex tables, waffle weave tea towels for napkins: Retro has plenty of style and manages not to seem contrived. But it's the Retro Brekkie on savory pancakes you need to know about   a genuine carbo/protein original designed to upset the Heart Foundation and cure hangovers. Buckwheat pancakes, bacon, poached eggs, mushrooms, tomato, avocado and hollandaise sauce. Outstanding.

4. Babka Bakery Cafe, 358 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, phone 9416 0091

If the route to revival is via whole and healthy foods, Babka is possibly the spot: Swiss mueslis, beautiful breads and jams and utterly sublime patisserie are the hallmarks of this bakery's cafe. They also do creative cooked breakfasts with whatever's in season and, once you've eaten their all year round hot cross bun, the Shoo Fly Bun, you'll know what good butter was made for.

5. Langton's, 61 Flinders Lane, city, phone 9663 0222

Combine style and substance at the city's most impressive breakfast joint: Philippe Mouchel's Langton's restaurant. Eggs a la Langtons currently come poached with asparagus, some fresh herbs and a creamy light sauce. The service here is impeccable. But don't look at the wine list over breakfast: it's not

going to help you. Or maybe it will.


No sunset viewing on the morning tour - Travel brochure for Sunset Point in Brunei
What joy when a moderate expectation is overwhelmingly surpassed! A decidedly exploratory trip to Bennetts Lane to see a group of relatively young players turned into one of my more memorable musical experiences. Described in The Age as the Monique DiMattina Sextet, but, no it’s a quintet said the Bennetts program guide. Perhaps the GST has bitten already, because only four players owned up to being members of the band - Monique on grand piano (well, sort of lesser grand - they had some broken string and tuning problems), Matt Clohessy (bass), and Tony Floyd (drums). Jordan Murray (trombone) played in the first number, but was dragged and spent a lengthy period on the interchange bench while the trio set sail (sorry about the mixed metaphor).
Playing mostly original pieces, Monique quickly demonstrated a quirky and engaging presence at the piano. With her left foot thumping the floor, her head often dropped to her chest, and her back bent forward over the piano - her passion for the music was palpable. Paradoxically, she also seemed serenely comfortable at her instrument and also with her collaborators, often providing an encouraging smile for their work. Her “comping”, playing piano notes and chords behind the other musicians’ solos was deft and interesting - both supportive of their ideas, and suggestive of new directions at times. Apart from her dramatic body language and her at times impassioned facial expression she displayed the fluid, unhurried hand movements and fluent technique of a practised classical musician. I found her playing entrancing, a style that draws you along rather than propels you. Several of the numbers were romantic and pensive - features particularly noticeable in Dusk Bird - a tune written about Melbourne autumns, that I thought captured a sense of calmness tinged with wistfulness.
The second set was considerably more up-tempo, showcasing another side to her playing. A number of Latin influenced tunes were introduced, as was the final cog in the quintet - Lachlan Davidson (alto sax and bass clarinet). An unusual instrument, the bass clarinet is quite long (about a metre), has a brass neck and horn with a long black clarinet-like mid-section. Its tone is deep and at times mournful, with some tones providing a didgeridoo-like character. It is a quiet instrument, and needs to be amplified to be clearly heard in ensemble playing. Lachlan employed it to beautiful effect in several numbers, proving adept, as he was also on alto. Despite the trio’s little opportunity to practice with the horn players, the arrangements worked extremely well, a tribute to the musicianship of all concerned. This second set provided much joyous music, witness “Gambol” - the name of a tune she was at pains to contrast with that which occurs at “Crown Obsceno”. In similar vein, several numbers allowed Monique to demonstrate that she also can produce considerable swing and power in her playing when required. Then as a complete contrast she introduced great pathos in the aching Strombelica (spellcheck, where are you?) - about the town of her forbears in Italy. Again showcasing her versatility, the band ripped into another of her originals - this time a full-on blues of great style, Jordan providing some exceptionally mournful trombone riffs.
The drummer, Tony Floyd is a reliable timekeeper, and has developed more subtlety in the Last year. I enjoyed his understated solos, fine brushwork, preparedness to be inventive, and willingness to push the soloists when he thought it appropriate. Matt impresses me more and more of late - he seems to have crossed the line from being a competent rhythmicist into one who recognises his instrument as capable of melody. His solos are a pleasure to watch and absorb - musical cliches are not part of his style - and his supporting of others often evokes an admiring smile from the soloist.
A terrific night - one to be repeated next Thursday, when I take the opportunity to videorecord the proceedings. The Quintet will be at Bennetts on Thursdays 10, 17, 24 June, and a visit is warmly recommended. They are also booked at Manchester Lane on June 25th, apparently as a quartet. They are shortly to record a CD at the ABC studios. This Monday night 9pm, I’m off to see Rob Burke (tenor sax) and Tony Gould (piano) at Manchester Lane.
The Age Tuesday 4 May 1999

Top 10 selling white wines under $12

1. Queen Adelaide Chardonnay

2. Orlando Jacob's Creek Chardonnay

3. Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay

4. Houghton White Burgundy

5. Brown Brothers Crouchen & Riesling

6. Blues Point Chardonnay/Semillon

7. Glass Mountain Classic Dry White

8. Hardy's Nottage Hill Chardonnay

9. Tyrrell's Long Flat White

10. Queen Adelaide Rhine Riesling
Top 10 selling red wines under $12

1. Orlando Jacob's Creek Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon

2. Queen Adelaide Regency Red

3. Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon

4. Maglieri Lambrusco

5. Penfolds Rawson's Retreat Shiraz/Ruby Cabernet/Cabernet Sauvignon

6. Yalumba Galway Hermitage

7. Tyrrell's Long Flat Red

8. Banrock Station Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon

9. Hardy's Nottage Hill Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz

10. McGuigan Brothers Black Label Shiraz

Rankings are based on retail sales (excludes restaurants) for the year ending February, 1999.


Drinking mates By: Jeni Port

They fight for retail shelf space in the bottle shop as well as for a place at the next neighborhood barbecue - little wonder, then, that they're sometimes called "fighting varietals". Usually they aspire to be little more than simply "cheap and cheerful"; "commercial" quaffing styles with widespread appeal that transcend a drinker's age and sex.
We don't expect to pay more than $10 a bottle and, in return, we want value for money: a wine that's enjoyable, easy-to-drink, fruity, clean, fresh-tasting, rounded, even hearty, but not too tannic, acidic or sweet.
Forget pricey wines from sophisticated little boutique wineries or the stratospherically priced, big-name marques. For most of us, they're not even in the running for a special occasion. In reality, it's wines that come in under $10 that most of us drink, most of the time. According to combined statistics from the Liquor Merchants Association and the Winemakers Federation of Australia, about 54 per cent of all bottled red wine retail sales in this country occur in the $5-$10 a bottle market. With white wines the figure rises to 62 per cent.

This segment of the market tends to be dominated by the big wine companies that can supply the required quality at the required cost, but new and smaller players, such as Deakin Estate and Blue Pyrenees Estate with its Fiddlers Creek range, aren't excluded.

Some wines, like Houghton White Burgundy (from the huge BRL Hardy empire) and Long Flat Red (from the smaller Hunter Valley company Tyrrell's) have been permanent fixtures on the best-selling lists for years, and could be considered part of the old guard of Australian quaffers. Others, like Lindemans Bin 65 and Jacob's Creek, are now firmly entrenched as "world wines" with an acknowledged international style, vast overseas markets, and a massive advertising presence.
Old or new, they are good drinking every day of the year, which is why familiar names such as Bin 65 and Jacob's Creek all find a place in the following list - my Top 10 Aussie Quaffers. It's a personal selection based on the kind of expectations most of us have when we buy a $10 wine. The wines in this list range between $8 and $10, but it's an aggressive price point, so look around for bargains.

1. Eaglehawk Rhine Riesling

Wine maker: Wendy Stuckey, Wolf Blass, Barossa Valley (Mildara Blass)

Annual production: 12,000 cases

Flavors: spicy, citrus, including limes ('98 vintage). This style has a touch of residual sugar for roundness and overall drinkability, which may contribute to its widespread appeal.

Make no mistake about it - Eaglehawk riesling is well in the famous Wolf Blass riesling style, it's just a little more affordable than Wolf Blass Yellow Label and Gold Label rieslings. It's a painless "entry point" wine (to use marketing speak): that is, it's so well-priced that it's not going to hurt the back pocket to try it. The same applies to all the wines under the Eaglehawk brand, which was launched in 1988 by the great wine maker himself, Wolf Blass. He had acquired the historic Quelltaler winery in the Clare Valley from Remy Australie the year before and, in a controversial move at the time, changed the name to Eaglehawk. Not long after, Wolf Blass (the company) was sold to Mildara Blass, just in time to see riesling's popularity begin a long, downward slide. Today, Eaglehawk riesling plays second fiddle to the mighty sales enjoyed by Eaglehawk chardonnay (30,000 cases), but that's no reason to dismiss it. In fact, it's a very good reason to pursue the style. Riesling at this price point might be unfashionable, but that has nothing to do with the quality of the wine and is merely due to its perception in the marketplace. Clare Valley riesling is one of life's great pleasures. NB: The superfluous prefix "Rhine" is expected to be dropped for the '99 or year 2000 release, in accordance with the EU-Australia Wine Trade Agreement, which requires the phasing out of European geographical terms on Australian wine labels.

2. Fiddlers Creek Chardonnay

Wine maker: Kim Hart, Blue Pyrenees Estate, Pyrenees (Remy Australie)

Annual production: 12,000 cases

Flavors: a clean, fresh and tight expression of chardonnay. Everything is nicely balanced and that touch of oakiness on the finish comes from a short time spent in used barrels ('98 vintage).

Yes - Fiddlers Creek is a real creek that you'll find near Blue Pyrenees Estate at Avoca. It takes its name from two musically gifted gold miners who worked in the area Last century. No - there is no Fiddlers Creek vineyard. Blue Pyrenees Estate sells so much of this $10 wine range that cellar door staff tend to have the answers to the most often-asked questions about it down pat. In fact, one vineyard would have trouble keeping up with the demand for the five wines that are produced under the seven-year-old Fiddlers Creek label (each of which sells around 12,000 cases a year). Grape sources are listed simply as "multi-regional". Star of the group remains the chardonnay, a happy-go-lucky expression of the world's most popular white wine. The target audience is the young bistro-goer who drinks chardonnay but doesn't like it too full-blown or rich. The export market for the Fiddlers Creek range is just developing, with about 3000 cases currently going to the UK a year. According to Jon Coles, wine and champagne brand manager for Remy Australie, a $10 Fiddlers Creek pinot noir, predominantly sourced from the Pyrenees, will be released in September/October.

3. Houghton White Burgundy

Wine maker: Larry Cherubino, Houghton, Swan Valley (BRL Hardy)

Annual production: 200,000 cases

Flavors: generous, tropical ('98 vintage).

It might seem that Houghton White Burgundy has been around forever, but that's because, for most of us, it has. Born in 1936 in the Swan Valley of Western Australia, it was the brainchild of Houghton's legendary wine maker Jack Mann, who originally sought to make a full-flavored white wine using the chenin blanc grape. Tokay and verdelho played a supporting role then, and still do, with a touch of semillon as well. Over the years the style has altered to suit the changing tastes of the market, from the full-flavored wine that Mann created, to a lighter, fresher style. The 1978 vintage was a benchmark year because of the introduction of refrigeration to the wine-making process, which resulted in the fresher, livelier wine. In 1988, chardonnay made its first, discreet appearance in the blend. Grapes are sourced from vineyards in the valley's Houghton and Moondah Brook areas. The wine has been slow to take off overseas (where it is called HWB because under European Union laws the word "Burgundy" is not allowed to be used) because it is considered to be expensive for a generic wine style. It will probably take time for overseas markets to realise what we already appreciate: that this is a wine that ages beautifully, gaining a golden, toasty complexity at five years-plus. As BRL Hardy group chief wine maker Peter Dawson says: "It's not made as a cheapie. It's not going to fall apart in 18 months' time."

4. Leo Buring Clare Valley Riesling

Wine maker: Geoff Henriks, Penfolds, Barossa Valley (Southcorp)

Annual Production: 5000 cases

Flavors: lifted and floral with a touch of lime tart ('98 vintage).

Geoff Henriks is a patient man. He has to be. As the wine-making custodian of Leo Buring riesling, he is waiting for the riesling revival, which is going great guns at the top-price end of the riesling market, to reach his $10 end. He has been cooling his heels for a long time. Southcorp has tried to re-work the image of Leo Buring Clare Valley riesling into a modern, attractive product to appeal to a younger audience and the fickle $10 drinker. The style, made since the 1960s, has built up a loyal following among commited riesling drinkers who appreciate its quality, but changes were needed if it were to thrive. The label was revamped in 1996: the old bin number DW33 was dropped and its presentation modernised. Inside the bottle, the wine remains its same old reliable self. The marketers might also have emphasised that this classic riesling style is not only fruity, clean and easy-drinking in its youth, but matures beautifully in the bottle. Its potential for ageing is anywhere between eight and 12 years, when it becomes a highly attractive mature riesling with rich, honeyed flavors. Not bad for a $10 wine.

5. Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay

Wine maker: Phillip John and a cast of Southcorp wine makers, Lindemans Karadoc Winery, north-western Victoria

Annual production: 1.5 million cases

Flavors: fresh, zesty, bursting with sunny summer stone-fruit, soft and rounded ('98 vintage).

The thing that really hurts about the phenomenally successful Bin 65 is that it was not made for us Australians at all, but for the Americans. The first Bin 65 in 1984 was tailored to the North American market, which prefers fruit-driven, lightly oaked chardonnays, and was sold there exclusively. It was only when Lindemans' parent company (South Australia Brewing at the time) had a vision of becoming a global wine company that Bin 65 was chosen as the likely global flagship. The trouble was that it was selling everywhere except Australia. The problem was solved with a 20,000-case allocation to the domestic market in '93, which Australians lapped up. The raw oak-chip character that besets some other $10 chardonnays has never been evident in Bin 65. Almost every parcel of wine earmarked for the style is now fermented in oak-planked-tanks, a cunning way of imparting integrated oak into the wine and toning down the oak component compared with the earliest vintages. To see a 14.5 million-litre blend of Bin 65 being pieced together by Phillip John and his team is to marvel at Australian wine-making ability and technology: 77 individual parcels of wine from 15 wine regions make up the final monster blend.

6. Banrock Station Shiraz

Wine maker: Glenn James, Renmano, Renmark (BRL Hardy)

Annual production: not available for the shiraz (a million cases across the brand)

Flavors: an above-average quaffer full of bitter chocolate, cinnamon and spice ('97 vintage).

Banrock Station lies in the choking, dusty red heart of South Australia's Riverland region, which may now be familiar countryside to most of us as a result of the brand's saturation advertising that appears on everything from the backs of buses to the pages of glossy magazines. Born in 1995, Banrock Station was given street cred by marketers wanting to appeal to today's young drinker. It will appeal to the price-conscious and its smart, minimalist labelling sets it apart on the supermarket shelf. But that's not all: it comes with a commitment to the environment as well, with a "Good Earth, Fine Wine" message. A donation to Landcare Australia is made with every bottle sold: the money helps to finance wetland projects around the nation as well restoring the wetlands that form part of Banrock Station vineyard. The Banrock Station shiraz is a relative latecomer (launched 1996) to the stable, which includes semillon/chardonnay, shiraz/cabernet, unwooded chardonnay, as well as two-litre casks of semillon/chardonnay and shiraz/cabernet, but it satisfies those seeking something other than the $10 shiraz/cabernet. Not that the Banrock Station shiraz/cabernet is a dullard in taste or performance. It accounts for one quarter of the one million cases of the Banrock brand expected to be sold this year in Australia and around the world.

7. Deakin Estate Shiraz

Wine maker: Mark Zeppel, Deakin Estate, North-West Victoria (Wingara Wine Group)

Annual production: 20,000 cases

Flavor: smooth and mouth-filling, with flavors of wild berries ('98 vintage).

It's amazing what a name change can do. As Sunnycliff, the Victorian-based winery near Mildura found it just wasn't getting through to the wine-drinking public. But when it changed its name to Deakin Estate in 1995, people started to take notice. Not only was it selling a straight (100 per cent) varietal range of wines in a price category (under $10) normally the reserve of blended and generic wines, but the quality was outstanding. It seems, however, that word has now reached even the highest places, with a recent photograph in London's The Daily Telegraph showing a delivery of Deakin Estate wines being made to Number 10 Downing Street. Prime Minister Tony Blair has a penchant for Deakin Estate cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay (11 cases in all were ordered). Perhaps he should try the new shiraz, a recent addition to the range, the first vintage of which was the '96. Deakin Estate owner, the Wingara Wine Group (Katnook, Riddoch) grows all its own grapes rather than sourcing from growers, which may explain why shiraz was a late arrival. But it was worth the wait.

8. Jacobs Creek Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine maker: Philip Laffer and Peter Gambetta, Orlando, Barossa Valley (Orlando Wyndham)

Annual production: 780,000 cases

Flavors: soft, rounded, lightly spicy ('98 vintage).

Where do you start with a modern wine icon? Perhaps back to where it all began in 1976, with the launch of a new Orlando range with soon-to-be-forgotten names like Moorooroo White Burgundy and Lyndale Riesling. Jacobs Creek Claret was just one of the line-up intended to show off Orlando's ability to blend to a consistent style. Remember the cute marketing slogan at the time: "One Grape Brings Out The Best In Another?" Shiraz and cabernet sauvignon from the Barossa and McLaren Vale joined with malbec from Padthaway, and the soft, fruity red, so admired and so copied today, was born. By the beginning of the 1980s it was Australia's top-selling bottled red. But still the style continued to evolve. A tighter, cooler-climate approach was taken, with fruit from Coonawarra (1977) and Langhorne Creek (1982) coming into the blend. More recently fruit from Mudgee has been added. Malbec finally outgrew the blend in 1994. Australian wine-making inventiveness, in the form of oak chips and oak planks in fermentation tanks, helped to keep costs down without sacrificing quality. By the '90s, Jacobs Creek (which had grown into a range that now includes chardonnay and riesling) was a fully fledged world wine and Australia's most successful wine brand ever. Overseas, particularly in the UK, a clever marketing strategy has emphasised Australian uniqueness. At home - well, it's as dinky-di as Vegemite and meat pies.

9. Penfolds Rawson's Retreat

Wine maker: John Duval and team, Penfolds, Barossa Valley (Southcorp)

Annual production: 100,000 cases

Flavors: clean, cherry/berry sweet fruit ('98 vintage).

Rawson's Retreat (shiraz/ruby cabernet/cabernet sauvignon) is now the number-one, top-selling red across the land in the $7-$10 price category. How does it do it? Well, it helps to have the vineyard and wine-making resources of Australia's biggest wine company behind it. And having the name Penfolds on its label hasn't hurt one bit either. It's somehow reassuring to know that, while most of us can't afford Penfolds Grange or Penfolds Bin 707, there is an affordable Penfolds red that meets the strict quality criteria of Penfolds' chief wine maker John Duval. "Our multi-region, multi-vineyard blending policy applies to virtually all our red wines, from Rawson's Retreat all the way up to Grange," says Duval. "The only difference with Rawson's Retreat is that we are working with much larger quantities." Launched in 1995, Rawson's Retreat takes its name from the cottage that was home to Penfolds founder, Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold. It was marketed as the new "entry-level" wine for the Penfolds red range, thus allowing the previous holder of that title, Koonunga Hill, to move one rung up the ladder price-wise. Penfolds says the elevation of Koonunga Hill was deserved, and while it is still only $12-$13 a bottle, it would be churlish to disagree.

10. Tyrrell's Long Flat Red

Wine maker: Andrew Thomas, Tyrrell's, Hunter Valley

Annual production: 100,000 cases

Flavors: earthy, warm and leathery ('98 vintage).

Tyrrell's recently spent $35,000 on market research to tell them what we have known all along: that Long Flat red is a blokey wine. It's the life of the backyard barbie or the social game of cricket or footy and has been so for all of its 33 years. But apparently people feel uncomfortable about taking Long Flat Red to the dinner table, hence you will notice a slight softening (dare we suggest even a little "feminisation") of the label on the new '98 release. According to Chris Anstee, general manager of sales and marketing for Tyrrell's, the image of the wine was that it attracted an older, blue-collar drinking brigade, but the research actually revealed a clientele more evenly spread across socio-economic groups. A blend of shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and malbec, the wine long ago outgrew the Long Flat vineyard adjacent to the Tyrrell's winery in the Hunter Valley. The first seven vintages were taken from there, but these days, says Murray Tyrrell, the Long Flat vineyard "stretches from Cessnock to Renmark". The Hunter Valley component is said to make up one-third of the blend but it clearly makes its presence felt in the wine's pure Hunter characters of earth and leather.


Madame Bollinger said of Champagne “I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I

drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it, unless I’m thirsty” [London Daily Mail 17/10/61]
Manchester Lane transmogrified from Dr Jeckyl back to Mr Hyde (or is it the other way round?) on this Monday evening. Warm glow, shadowy, quiet, sophisticated - rather like Ronnie Scott’s famous jazz club in London someone opined. A crowd (?) of about a dozen arrived to hear Rob Burke (tenor sax) and Tony Gould (grand piano) continue their long-standing collaboration - including in this series a weekly guest. This night it was Doug DeVries (acoustic guitar) and subsequent weeks will see the appearance of Jordan Murray (trombone, June 14), Graeme Lyall (sax, June 21), Sarah Morse (cello, June 28). Doug is a beautiful and eclectic player - equally adept at jazz and blues, but in recent years has developed a deep affection for Brazilian folk music. It is rather more complex rhythmically than the Bossa Nova music that was popular in the Seventies - there are similarities to some Cuban and Spanish music, and even some French influences - but it has a texture of its own, a very romantic feel. Doug played a 7-string Brazilian guitar called a viola de sita cordas, the seventh string providing a lower-end C note.
The group set-up was intriguing - Rob standing, Tony seated, and Doug sitting at one of the tables with his little amplifier under the table. The three musical sets comprised solo pieces, duets and trio numbers - all permutations were covered. This worked very well for the most part, the regular changes adding additional interest to proceedings. There were times when the piano and guitar timbres didn’t seem to me to be in sympathy. Tony’s use of heavy block chords also overwhelmed the guitar during some of Doug’s solos, rather irritatingly. On some tunes however, such as Gigi, his supporting playing was delicate and definitely enhancing of the guitar’s sound. Rob is something of a minimalist player, favouring the soft, breathy, lyrical style of tenor playing. He appeared to use only just enough wind to keep the reeds going, perhaps considering anything more energetic as tending towards coarseness. He also tended to play predominantly the upper register, producing alto-like sounds. Rob is well suited to Tony’s style - each appears to value subtlety, understatement, and reflectiveness in their playing and in their choice of tunes.
Most of the numbers chosen were standards. Having a sequence of one night stands with guests often creates a musical limitation in that well rehearsed but complex numbers or difficult originals may not be selected for the playlist. How Insensitive, The Touch of Your Lips, You Don’t Know What Love Is, Somewhere, Someone to Watch over Me, But Not For You, White Cliffs of Dover - were some of the well known numbers selected. There were several unannounced tunes that I did not recognise, and one superb original from Doug, entitled After the Carousel. The audience was attentive and appreciative, the table service assiduous and friendly - a fine evening.
Out on a stinking wet, windy and cold Melbourne evening, lugging videocamera and tripod, dripping wet, brolly blown inside-out, waiting for the arrival of a tram that’s broken the shackles of the timetable - I’ve never felt better! Pepper Chilli provided seriously needed warmth, with a hot and sour soup and plentiful jasmine tea, followed by crispy pig’s ear, and chillied prawns with silver-thread bread. Amply restored, on to Bennetts Lane for a repeat of the Monique DiMattina Quintet. Classical conditioning is a form of learning in which a previously traumatic event resonates again with the sufferer when some element of the original circumstances occurs again (often in an innocuous situation), but provokes similar distressing sensations to those of the traumatic event, even if somewhat attenuated. Thus the scene of a car accident may continue to cause anxiety in the victims whenever they drive near that section of road or intersection in the future. A previous occasion on which I had elected to video-record a group (The Hoodangers) was a historic final session at the late lamented McCoppins Hotel in Fitzroy - former home to live music every evening. I arrived very early to obtain the prime recording position, around 8pm (it was a rather small room) and proceeded to set-up. That taking about 10 minutes, I had then to amuse myself until 10.30pm when the band was scheduled to perform.
McCoppins had a very fine bar, with Cascade Pale, Stella, Coopers and Guinness on-tap. Since I enjoy each of these fine tipples, what could be more natural than to have a comparative tasting, doubling up to ensure statistical probity? Science at its best - a double blind study eventuated, such that by the time the band was imminent, I was primed rather than prim, primal rather than proficient. Feeling like a true cinematographer, I zoomed, I panned, I shot close-ups, audience reactions, tapping feet - a veritable masterpiece was in creation. The fluid levels required to maintain an artiste in full flight are important, and I was careful not to dehydrate lest creativity decline. A roaring success, the band was pleased to have some footage for their CD-ROM which was near to release, and I was self-satisfied - thinking that this wouldn’t be a bad life full time!
It was not until the cold light of morning when I previewed the tape that I discovered a slight technical glitch. The super dooper unidirectional microphone that I had installed in place of the basic pre-existing device, requires a battery power source - a simple AA cell; however, it does have to switched on to provide its sound to the camera. I had inadvertently made the world’s best and only silent video of The Hoodangers Last gig at McCoppins!
Thus, the sensations of anxiety as I set up to record Monique and friends. I spent a little more time in setting up and a little less time imbibing. That seemed to do the trick, and the tape is OK, a little grainy because of the less than optimal stage lights, and the sound acceptable rather then HiFi. The drummer Tony Floyd, was replaced for this evening by Will Guthrie who I’ve heard before in his collaborations with guitarist, Ren Walters, and also with another local group, Festa. His claim to fame was winning the drum crown at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival a couple of years ago. Listening critically to the music suffers whilst filming - as concentration is expended on framing, close-ups etc, but in general the music appeared to contain more energetic and less introspective numbers than in the previous week. This was not necessarily a bad thing, and listening to the tape as I worked today was very enjoyable. I thought that the tune selection Last week, its sequencing, and the trio-first, adding instruments later was an inspired piece of programming. This time there did not appear to be the same planning, perhaps having the relief drummer played a part in that decision. In any case, this a minor quibble as I enjoyed the evening very much, and can recapture the fine music from a band (with possibly some great things in store) at any time I choose.
What’s on and where?

Bennetts Lane

Tues 1 Frock $8/5J

Wed 2 Mark Fitzgibbon Trio $8/5

Thu 3 Monique Di Mattina Quintet $8/5

Fri 4 Mark Issacs Quartet feat. Ian Chaplin $12/9

Sat 5 Mark Issacs Quartet feat. Shelly Scowne $12/9

Sun 6 Anton Delecca Quartet $8/6

Mon 7 Stevens, Haywood & Browne trio* $8/5

Tue 8 Ball, Stevens, Robertson & Floyd Qrt $8/5J

Wed 9 Mark Fitzgibbon Trio $8/5

Thu 10 Monique Di Mattina Quintet $8/5

Fri 11 Morgana late Jex Saarelaht Trio $12/9

Sat 12 Damien Hills Quartet late Moody's Brood* $12/9

Sun 13 Bernie McGann Trio (Syd) $12/9J

Mon 14 Browne, Hughes & Robertson trio* $8/5

Tue 15 Lisa Young Quartet $8/5J

Wed 16 Mark Fitzgibbon Trio $8/5

Thu 17 Monique Di Mattina Quintet $8/5

Fri 18 Jackie Orszaczky Septet $13/10

Sat 19 Jackie Orszaczky Septet $13/10

Sun 20 York Quintet $8/6J

Mon 21 Stevens, Haywood & Browne trio* $8/5

Tue 22 Dale Lindrea Quartet $8/5

Wed 23 Mark Fitzgibbon Trio $8/5

Thu 24 Monique Di Mattina Quintet $8/5

Fri 25 TBA late Jex Saarelaht Trio $12/9

Sat 26 Damien Hills Quartet late Moody's Brood* $12/9

Sun 27 Dave Colven Trio $8/6

Mon 28 Stevens, Haywood & Browne trio* $8/5

Tue 29 "New Blood" debut $8/5

Wed 30 Mark Fitzgibbon Trio $8/5

Dizzy’s Jazz Club, 90 Swan St, Richmond ph 9428 1233. Haven’t been there yet.

Extended playlist coming soon.

Friday 11 Nichaud Fitzgibbon & guests;

Saturday 12 Burnie McGann & Band.

Australian Shows - Gold medal Winning wines

Wineplanet merchants: freecall 1800 112 111  freefax 1800 112 444

De Bortoli Show Liqueur Muscat  Riverina  

Winner of 6 Gold medals at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $17.50   our Price: $14.50
Orlando Lawsons Padthaway Shiraz 1993  Padthaway  

Winner of 5 Gold Medals at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $54.90   our Price: $48.90
Penfolds Magill Bluestone Tawny    

Winner of 4 Gold Medals at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $21.95   our Price: $17.95
Rosemount Show Reserve Semillon 1996  Hunter Valley  

George Wyndham Memorial Trophy for Premium Vintage Dry White Wine, Hunter Valley Show 1998, 1 Gold Medal

RRP: $20.85   our Price: $17.85
Rosemount G.S.M. Grenache Syrah Mourvedre 1996  McLaren Vale  

Griffith Ex-Servicemen's Club Trophy for Best Dry Red (Class 37), Griffith 1998: Commonwealth Bank Trophy, McLaren Vale 1998, 2 Gold Medals

RRP: $25.00   our Price: $21.45
Andrew Garrett Vintage Chardonnay Pinot Noir 1995    

1 Gold Medal

RRP: $16.95   our Price: $13.95
Andrew Garrett Bold Style Shiraz 1997    

1 Gold Medal

RRP: $15.50   our Price: $12.50
Arrowfield Cowra Late Harvest Gerwurtztraminer 375ml 1993  Cowra  

Winner of 2 Gold medals at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $14.20   our Price: $12.15
Brands Riesling 1998  Coonawarra  

Winner of 1 Gold medal at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $14.50   our Price: $10.95
Brands Cabernet Merlot 1997  Coonawarra  

Winner of 3 Gold medals at Australian Wine Shows

LAST Price: $18.99
Craigmoor Chardonnay 1997  Mudgee  

Winner of 1 Gold Medal at Australian Wine Show

RRP: $16.50   our Price: $13.50
Craigmoor Cabernet Sauvignon 1996  Mudgee  

Winner of 1 Gold Medal at Australian Wine Show

RRP: $16.95   our Price: $13.95
Craigmoor Shiraz 1996  Mudgee  

Winner of 1 Gold Medal at Australian Wine Show

RRP: $16.95   our Price: $13.95
Cranswick Estate Vingette Semillon 1997  Riverina  

Winner of 1 Gold medal at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $9.95   our Price: $8.50
Cranswick Estate Premium Barrel Fermented Semillon 1996  Riverina  

Winner of 1 Gold medal at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $14.50   our Price: $11.75
Cranswick Estate Autumn Gold Botrytis Semillon 1995  Riverina  

Winner of 6 Gold medals at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $20.50   our Price: $16.95
Cranswick Estate McLaren Vale Sauvignon Blanc 1996  McLaren Vale  

Winner of 1 Gold medal at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $16.95   our Price: $13.95
De Bortoli Yarra Valley Shiraz 1996  Yarra Valley  

Winner of 2 Gold medals at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $33.50   our Price: $27.95
De Bortoli Old Boys Very Fine Old Tawny Port  Riverina  

Winner of 3 Gold medals at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $36.50   our Price: $29.95

De Bortoli 8 Year Old Tawny Port  Riverina  

Winner of 1 Gold medal at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $17.50   our Price: $14.50

Eaglehawk Rhine Riesling 1998  Clare Valley  

1 Gold Medal

RRP: $11.50   LAST Price: $9.95
Fleur De Lys Vintage Pinot Noir Chardonnay 1993    

Winner of 1 Gold Medal at Australian Wine Show

Be the first to review this wine Add your own review

RRP: $16.50   our Price: $10.95

Gramps Botrytis Semillon 375ml 1997    

Winner of 1 Gold Medal at Australian Wine Show

RRP: $16.50   our Price: $13.50
Gulf Station Lightly Oaked Chardonnay 1997  Yarra Valley  

Winner of 1 Gold medal at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $19.95   our Price: $16.50
Killawarra Brut N/V    

Winner of 2 Gold Medals at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $9.50   our Price: $6.95
Leo Buring Semillon 1997  Clare Valley  

Winner of 1 Gold Medal at Australian Wine Show

RRP: $10.95   our Price: $8.95
McWilliams Barwang Cabernet 1997    

Winner of 1 Gold medal at Australian Wine Shows

Only 18 bottles of this wine are left.

RRP: $18.90   our Price: $16.80

Orlando Jacaranda Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 1991  Coonawarra  

Winner of 2 Gold Medals at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $62.99   our Price: $49.99
Orlando Steingarten Riesling 1997    

Winner of 1 Gold Medal at Australian Wine Show

RRP: $23.90   LAST Price: $18.95
Orlando Russet Ridge Coonawarra Chardonnay 1997  Coonawarra  

Winner of 1 Gold Medal at Australian Wine Show

RRP: $15.95   our Price: $13.50
Queen Adelaide Fine Old Tawny Port    

Winner of 1 Gold Medal at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $6.95   our Price: $5.50
Richmond Grove Barossa Shiraz 1996  Barossa Valley  

Winner of 3 Gold Medals at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $18.90   our Price: $16.95
Richmond Grove Barossa/McLaren Vale Semillon 1996    

Winner of 5 Gold Medals at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $14.95   our Price: $12.50
Rosemount Traditional Cabernet Merlot Petit Verdot 1996  McLaren Vale  

4 Gold Medals LAST Price: $17.95

Rosemount Show Reserve Cabernet 1996 Coonawarra  

The Stodart Trophy, Best One Year Old Dry Red, Brisbane 1997: The Lachlan Trophy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cowra 1997: The Vine Lodge Trophy, Best One Year Old Red, Cowra 1997, 2 Gold Medals

RRP: $29.90   our Price: $23.95
Rosemount Show Reserve McLaren Vale Shiraz 1996    

1 Gold Medal RRP: $23.95   LAST Price: $20.45

Rosemount Diamond Semillon 1998    

2 Gold Medals RRP: $13.35   our Price: $11.35

Rosemount Shiraz Cabernet 1998    

Collotype Trophy, Best Dry Red Early Drinking Table Wine Class 32, Perth 1998, 3 Gold Medals RRP: $11.95   our Price: $8.95

Rouge Homme Pinot Noir 1997  Coonawarra  

Winner of 1 Gold Medal at Australian Wine Show

RRP: $17.50   our Price: $11.95
Saltram Mr Pickwicks Port  Barossa Valley  

1 Gold Medal

RRP: $64.95   our Price: $53.50
Seppelt Corella Ridge Chardonnay 1998    

Winner of 1 Gold Medal at Australian Wine Show

RRP: $14.99   our Price: $10.95
Tyrrell's Stevens Semillon 1994  Hunter Valley  

1 Gold Medal

RRP: $22.90   our Price: $18.95
Tyrrell's Moon Mountain Chardonnay 1997  Hunter Valley  

1 Gold Medal

RRP: $22.50   our Price: $18.95
Wolf Blass Oak Matured Chardonnay 1998    

1 Gold Medal

RRP: $12.50   our Price: $10.50
Wolf Blass Rhine Riesling 1998    

1 Gold Medal

RRP: $12.50   our Price: $10.50
Wolf Blass Bilyara Chardonnay Semillon 1998    

1 Gold Medal

RRP: $10.95   our Price: $8.95
Wyndham Estate Show Reserve Shiraz 1993    

Winner of 3 Gold Medals at Australian Wine Shows

RRP: $24.95   our Price: $20.50
Wyndham Estate Bin 222 Chardonnay 1997    

Winner of 1 Gold Medal at Australian Wine Show

RRP: $13.50   our Price: $10.95
Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz 1997    

Winner of 1 Gold Medal at Australian Wine Show

RRP: $14.95   our Price: $9.90
Yarra Ridge Pinot Noir 1998  Yarra Valley  

1 Gold Medal

RRP: $19.90   our Price: $16.95


Oh for a beaker full of the warm South

Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,

With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,

And purple stained mouth. John Keats.
Old John must have been thinking of sparkling burgundy when he penned those words, and indeed Hippocrene is a brand of “spurgle” made by Ian Wilson in the Clare Valley. It was Australian Sparkling Burgundy Day on Tuesday, and Ian Loftus, a champion of this drop for a long time, has been organising a tasting of sparkling reds on this day for some years. Last year, we ventured to the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron in St Kilda - this time to another beautiful right-on-the-water bayside setting, Pelican’s Landing restaurant in Williamstown.
Sparkling red has had something of a cult following for a number of years, but in recent times it has begun to build a substantial consumer base. Whilst 5 years ago there may have been 10 or so wines available, there are now in excess of 70. The image of Cold Duck has been layed to rest, and there is now a great deal of winemaker interest in the differing styles that can be constructed. Most are made from shiraz grapes, but one can find examples of pinot noir, malbec, cabernet, merlot, grenache, chambourcin, and durif, either singly or in blends. Generally, they come from the areas warm enough to fully ripen the grapes, such as Barossa, Clare, McLaren Vale, North-East and Central Victoria, Hunter Valley; however, there are examples from cooler climes such as Gippsland (Nicholson River), and Coonawarra (Peter Rumball, Katnook, Brand’s Laira).
Tonight, wines from oldies: Peter Rumball (Coonawarra/McLaren Vale shiraz), Great Western (shiraz), Andrew Garrett (McLaren Vale shiraz), Brands Laira (Coonawarra cabernet), Barossa Estates E&E (Adelaide Plains shiraz), Garden Gully (Great Western shiraz), Killawarra (SA shiraz/cab), Leasingham Classic Clare (shiraz), Mount Pleasant (Hunter pinot), Morris (Rutherglen shiraz/durif), Sir James (Coonawarra/Clare shiraz), Yellowglen Y (Barossa shiraz). Some newish and very new attempts from Anderson (Rutherglen shiraz), Auldstone (Tamanick shiraz), Brown’s of Padthaway (shiraz), Cascabel (Clare shiraz), Cockatoo Ridge (Barossa Cabernet), Connor Park (Bendigo shiraz), d’Arenberg (McLaren Vale Chambourcin), and a McLaren Vale venture known as the Millenium Magnum, reportedly blended from the very best McLaren Vale shiraz from all around the district (yours for a cool $500 per box of six!).
A very interesting tutored tasting involved the Sir James at three sugar levels 14gm/l, 28gm/l, and 42gm/l. At 42, the wine was cloyingly sweet and most unattractive, at 28 still a little too sweet for my taste (though that is its release level), and at 14 I thought it was fine. We also were able to taste three unreleased Leasingham Classic Clare shiraz. The first was a 1997 still wine to be later “spurgled” - it was a delicious shiraz as befits the Leasingham flagship red. A 1994 sparkling at 30 gm/l tasted a little sweet, but deliciously full-bodied, and a 1992 at 25gm/l was delectable. It seems that heftier wines can take more sugar without it being as evident as in less muscular wines. As the speaker intimated, the sugar in “spurgle” is intended to balance the tannins. Hence, more tannic wines may require more sugar. We then made a pest of ourselves by trying to guess the sugar in all the wines we tasted, asking the hapless winemakers and reps for their adjudication. Sadly, the reps hadn’t a clue what the levels were in their products. Levels ranged from 16gm/l (Cascabel) to 30gm/l (Barossa Estates E&E), and at times more acidic wines such as the d’Arenberg Chambourcin tasted drier than the sugar level (26gm/l) implied. In some of the more expensive wines complexities are introduced through the use of older base wines as part or all of the mix, and adding vintage or tawny port to boost sweetness and flavour.
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