A day in Sydney

After a morning coffee and a quick blog, I set about ensuring internet access for the trip. Roaming is just too expensive, even with bundles, so I bought a cheap android phone and 3 gigs of data, and made sure it supported tethering (thank you Telstra for allowing this: a lot of pre-paid data sims [...]

Off to Australia for Rootstock

So I’m off to Australia. Should be in the sky right now, somewhere between London and Singapore. Boarded the plane (BA0015), sat there for 2 hours, and then deplaned (is that really a verb?) because of a technical fault with the in flight entertainment system. Apparently, passengers will die if they don’t have access to [...]

Thistledown Thorny Devil Grenache 2014 Barossa, Australia

This wine is made by Giles Cooke and Fergal Tynan of Alliance Wine, in conjunction with Aussie winemaker Peter Leske. It’s a single vineyard, old vine Grenache from the Barossa, and it captures the more Pinot-like side of this variety, which I think is a good thing. Winemaking is small batch, with open fermenters, hand [...]

Penfolds Bin Series releases, including the 2011 Grange

Penfolds are possibly Australia’s leading red wine brand. They make a series of celebrated ‘Bin’ red wines that culminates in one of the planet’s most famous wines, famously once described by Hugh Johnson as the Southern Hemisphere’s first growth: Penfolds Grange. On Monday, I popped into the head offices of Treasury Wine Estates EMEA in [...]

Penfolds' Chardonnays, from Koonunga Hill to Yattarna

Penfolds are famous for their Bin Series reds, a range led by the world famous Grange. But back in the mid-1990s they decided to try their hand at whites, and chose Chardonnay as their target. Yattarna was launched as the white Grange, but the project also launched a number of other impressive Chardonnays. These were [...]

Pewsey Vale Riesling 2014 Eden Valley, Australia

Enjoyed this new vintage of Pewsey Vale Riesling. From memory, I think it’s the best vintage I’ve had of it. I have also always loved the label. At around £12 per bottle, it’s also cracking value.

Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2014 Barossa, Australia
12.5% alcohol. From a 16 acre vineyard high (440-490 m) in the Eden [...]

Top new world fizz from Graham Beck and Josef Chromy

Super-impressed by these two sparkling wines from the ‘new world’ – specifically South Africa and Australia. They’re both available from UK retailer Marks & Spencer (I strongly suspect that the Rhona is the re-badged Blanc de Blancs from Graham Back; M&S like to have exclusive labels).

[A side note on scoring. I hate the 100 point [...]

Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon, comparing 2007 and 2013

Nice to be able to try these two Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillons side by side. As many of you know, Semillon is the speciality of Australia’s Hunter Valley wine region. Despite the fact that this is a hot region, Semillon grown here makes very fresh, low alcohol, pure citrussy wines that age beautifully. Elizabeth, from [...]

Cloudburst: the remarkable emergence of a cult Margaret River wine brand

Cloudburst is a really interesting and slightly controversial wine project in Margaret River. Interesting? Because the wines are so good. Controversial? Because of high prices, despite the lack of any track record.

Owner Will Berliner (above) wasn’t previously involved with wine, but has always loved plants. He studied plant biology and owned forests in the USA, [...]

Vinteloper Odeon Pinot Noir 2012 Adelaide Hills

Dave Bowley, the Vinteloper, came round to dinner. And he bought this: one of the best Australian Pinot Noirs that I have tasted. It’s from a single Vineyard in Lenswood, Adelaide Hills that was planted in 1986. The slope faces east; the clone is  D5V12; the elevation is 550m.

Winemaking: pigeage by hand & foot, wild [...]