Wine Lover Blog

  • With age comes wisdom and in many cases beauty

    I must say that over the past 30 years of drinking wine (legally that is). One of the greatest pleasures has been stumbling upon a rare gem or two that really punches above its weight with regards pricing. I can remember back a few years stumbling across an Irymple "Rhine Riesling" as it was called in those days which was at the exorbitant price of $3.95 per bottle. Purchased initially for quaffing, it was duly forgotten about until 5 years down the track when I had to pack up and move house. Low and behold the cheap "Quaffer" had blossomed and turned from a mere beverage into a wine which commands respect and forces me to appreciate the soft aged Kerosene and Butyl-rubber notes that had formed. Initially off putting, I learnt over time that this was the norm and when presented in balance with the wines fruit weight and acid support made for an absolutely stunning wine at the bargain price of $3.95.

    It's a pity that we dont have the time to age or for that matter purchase wines with a few years under their belt as there is something mystical and almost magical when all things come together in the glass. Suddenly you can see yourself sitting on the porch side by side with a loved one, chilled glass in hand, watching the sun go down.

    We keep this in the back of our mind, when we discuss with wineries and suppliers for new products. We're always looking for wines with a few years under their belt so that you, the Winelover can try them with that added layer of complexity that aged wines, even if only a few years of age posses. Its something I urge you all to try more of. Let 'em age, some may not work but others are sure to delight and make the whole process well worth while.

    Cheers Z


  • So what's the deal with Pinot Noir?

    Hey Winelovers.
    I have to admit to having a bee in my bonnet about quite a few things in the current wine industry but one of the items that keeps raising it's head again and again is Pinot Noir.
    To be frank...... i just dont get it!
    Now, before people start replying "blah, blah, DRC, blah, VRC, blah etc. I've had some great Pinot's over the years, most of which I have not paid for but guys!! I've also had sooooo many of them that to put it bluntly shouldn't have been bottled in the first place.
    I know it's a hard grape to grow, reflects the site, is susceptible to disease, shows spoilage characteristics easily, is clone susceptible to vintage variations and it's bloody expensive to buy, hell I've made enough of the stuff to qualify this. But I suppose that as I get older, I'm just not prepared to pay high prices for a light red fruity drink that shows more "briar" and "fern" character than the sweet/clean varietal strawberry and heady red fruit aromas that are present in the best of them.
    As you know we scour the land to bring you some of the best, hand curated wines available in the land and I must say the current John Luke Pinot Noir we have available at $10.95 is an absolute steal!
    Yes it smells like a Pinot, walks like a Pinot and even talks like a Pinot so it must be a Pinot Noir. It's a hard wine to source consistently as with vintage variation and winery input it can be hard to get reliable, consistent supply but fear not!! We're deep on the trail of new parcels and should have a new vintage on deck as the weather warms going into Summer later this year.
    Cheers Z

  • “Que Syrah Syrah” Shiraz/Syrah, is there a difference? Part 1

    This is probably THE most asked question I’ve come across over the years and in honesty, the answer is unresolvedly YES!!! There is a difference.

    Firstly, the spelling is different!!!Oh ha, ha, ha, I’m so funny!!! But herein lies an interesting fact. The comparison between Australian Shiraz and to be more specific American Syrah is based on historic principles more than those driven by the consumers. The American wine industry was very much heavily influenced by the French in its infancy, and still is in some ways more so than the Australian industry.

    Because of this, early grape vine material was imported and made with the ideas and philosophies based on French winemaking from the home of Syrah in France, the Rhone Valley. Co-fermenting with Viognier, blending with white varietals such as Marsanne and Roussanne in the North and red varietals of Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignan and Cinsault in the South, fermenting with whole clusters (stalks and all, not just the berries) gave the American winescape a very different beginning than in Australia.

    Australia looked at this variety and jumped, boots and all into producing high alcohol, fortified wines like Ports and Sherry’s at the time, high in sugar and very ripe from our “endless sunshine” climate. For us Aussies, it was more a process of yield, sugar, alcohol and get it to market for our early explorer’s enjoyment. America had the same demand for wine of this style, but for them, the workhorse of the US wine industry was Zinfandel, but more on that in another post.

    But times have changed, the great Australian workhorse, Shiraz has morphed and is now used in everything from white wine (the juice is clean, the skins are red), rose’s, sparklings and fortifieds but thankfully the focus over the past few decades has been on table wine, cool, warm and hot climate, big and juicy to finely balanced and darn near “elegant”. I’ll talk about the stylistic differences next up!!!

  • “Que Syrah Syrah” Shiraz/Syrah, is there a difference? Part 2

    I covered the origins and perhaps best to say the “trajectories” of Shiraz/Syrah (I’ll call it Sh/Sy from now on) in the last post but this one is to look in greater detail at the differences more “in the glass” than the theory of difference. Those that have made wine from Sh/Sy on both continents will know that the wines ARE different but these differences are due mainly to clonal material to be used for planting (they didn’t all come from the same Mother vine some 2000 years ago guys!!), growing conditions, soils, weather etc and then once the grapes are harvested, the wine maker takes over and puts his or her personal touch onto the process of vinification and ageing. This last sentence is HUGE!!!! As the options available from grape to glass are endless and of course each one of the choices made effects the final wine in one way or another. Generally, and I’m being very general here so don’t troll me with your “Yeah BUT”!!! Comments below, the Australian style of Shiraz tends to look more towards ripe fruit and purity of the varietal whereas the US looks for complexity and broadness by blending perhaps to make the wines more consumer friendly. This last part is very important as Syrah has an identity problem in the US and finds it extremely difficult to get a foothold on what I believe are some of the best value for money wines in the country. It’s interesting, that the best of the best Syrah’s made in the US, tend to come from cooler North-West states around Washington (Columbia), Oregon (Walla Walla) or California (Santa Ynez, Santa Maria) Valleys whereas Great Australian Shiraz just seems to come from everywhere!!!!!!

  • You say Moscato, I say Mosquito

    Hey all you Moscato drinkers out there!!!! And there are quite a lot of you, welcome to the world of wine drinking!! I say this because you are following in the footsteps of many of the wine drinking pioneers of this country and taking a small but significant step forward in making your beverage of choice, something a little more interesting than Sprite, Raging Bull or Bulmers Cider. And I mean it in a nice way as we have all experienced the wine ”intro” such as Bin 65, Yellow Tail, Ben-Ean Moselle, Cold Duck, Mateus Rose and a plethora of cleverly crafted “intro” wines that are made to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. I can keep going back further in time but I do digress. Now that the astronomical growth of this wine has slowed, one must ask, what now? Well to me, having seen it all before, my guess is that these introductory drinkers will trade up and across to more interesting, fun wines. We are after all an inquisitive species and are want to try new things, some in the privacy of their own homes, some out in public with friends. My advice to you all is try, try, try, taste, taste, taste, find something you like, spread the word and then try something else. Stay thirsty!!!

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