Margaret River, Melbourne and Kansas

Grape Expectations 26 November Max Crus (Simon Hughes)

At some point in the week these reviews and article will appear in The Daily Examiner (Grafton), Border Mail (Albury), Rotary Down Under (National) and Australian Petroleum Marketer News (National) 

Driving Miss Lazy.

You can tell a lot about a person by their car.

You can’t tell their income, but you can tell how much they wished they earned.

Just as ninety five per cent of boys are taller than their mothers, ninety five per cent of people buy the most expensive car they can afford, the other five per cent spend more.

You can tell someone is a wanker if they drive a car you can’t afford but would like to.

You can also tell someone is a wanker if they bought something you wish you had but didn’t.

But you can tell so much more about a person than their wanker status by the ‘state’ of their car as opposed to whether they drive a Bugatti Veyron instead of a 1975 Corolla – hang on, are Corollas collectable?

You have to admire people who have spotless cars, don’t you? So successful they have time to clean a car obsessively, or can pay someone to do it…

Jip Jip Rocks Padthaway Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, $21. Padthaway sounds so soft and gentle like straight out of a children’s book, and so is this wine, sort of. 8.8/10.

Jip Jip Rocks Sparkling Shiraz NV, $21. Red bubbles can take over at a party, thankfully, I was sick of hosting duties. At 13 per cent a great way to enjoy lower alcohol shiraz. 8.9/10.

Elderton Barossa Shiraz 2014, $28. There’s something simple, soothing and solid about the words Barossa and shiraz in the same sentence. Like a homecoming, or messy car. 8.7/10.

Elderton Barossa GSM (Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre), 2014, $28. Sometimes I wish labels would spell out the grapes, the sight and sound of the word mourvedre is so inviting. 8.8/10.

Seppelt Salinger Henty Vintage Cuvee 2012, $30. Cuvee is a great way to describe some people’s cars, or characters – as refreshing as a vintage cuvee. 8.9/10.

Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz 2013, $30. As the festive season rolls in let’s roll out the fizzy reds and what better than an original? If not the best, it’s up there. 9.1/10.

The Mercury (Tasmania), 16&29 November, Graeme Phillips



The Drinks Business, 23 November, Lucy Shaw:

One of the most promising discoveries during my recent two-week trip to Australia was a common thread of elegance, freshness and finesse running through the wines regardless of their grape variety or region.

Some of the wines I was most charmed by were the Chardonnays. Until relatively recently the grape’s reputation was in the doldrums, and conjured visions of a despondent Bridget Jones glugging it from a giant glass.

But the much-maligned variety has made a magnificent comeback, and while Burgundy remains its spiritual home, Australia is emerging as a country to watch for elegant, affordable, terroir-driven Chardonnays.

Encouragingly, the best wines aren’t confined to one region – I enjoyed sublime examples from the Adelaide Hills, Geelong, Mornington Peninsula and the Yarra Valley – Margaret River is missing from the line up as it wasn’t on our itinerary… Full article and reviews 

Financial Review, 24 November, Tim White

One person’s thiol, a whiffy compound often encountered in wine, especially in pungent sauvignon blanc, is another person’s “sweaty armpit just out of the gym”.

Indole, an intriguing compound which can be both attractive or repugnant depending on its intensity, is found in the florals of jasmine, but also in the faeces of humans and pigs. It’s been more attractively described as “dank flowers in a vase”. This I know, as I’ve heard these descriptors employed on the Australian Wine Research Institute’s advanced wine assessment course.

Privacy regulations preclude me from divulging too much detail about the inner workings and proceedings of the course, but I can tell you that as a guest judge you’re meant to provide wine judging insight and guidance to those who’ve paid a hefty sum for the four-day intensive tasting program. Full article and reviews, 25 November, Ted Loos

Aussies like to say that Perth, the capital of Western Australia and a five-hour flight from Sydney, is the most isolated major city in the world. Which means that the Margaret River wine region, which is set on a tab-shaped peninsula jutting into the Indian Ocean—and a three-hour drive south of Perth—must be as remote as it gets.

A gruelling 24 hours of travel from New York City, Margaret River was the farthest I’d ever been from home. But flying wasn’t the stressful part of this trip. Driving on the left side of the road was what really made me anxious. I stuck a Post-it note on the steering wheel of my rental car: stay left, it read, with an arrow for emphasis. The agent chuckled as I pulled out of the lot. Full article and reviews

The Financial Review, 23 November, Philip Rich:

One of the most exciting stories in Australian wine at the moment is the number of winemakers breathing new life into established brands. Top of that list is Jim Chatto, appointed in 2013 as chief winemaker at McWilliam’s, which includes the McWilliam’s, Evans & Tate and Mount Pleasant labels. Full article and the 20 wines of the year

Emporia Gazette, (Kansas USA) 26 November, Regina Murphy

Two Australian reds are making the rounds, each with a unique take on life.

Full article and reviews 

The Australian, 19 November, Max Allen

It’s a big step to build a wine cellar. But then comes the fun part – filling it.

The Specialists: Kevin & Kaaren Palmer. She likes champagne – particularly if it has spent a few years maturing before being opened. He likes shiraz – but only if it’s more than six years old. Which is why, in Kaaren and Kevin Palmer’s under-house cellar in the Adelaide Hills, her hundreds of bottles of gently maturing champagnes and other sparkling wines take up one side of the space and his hundreds of bottles of gently maturing shirazes and other South Australian reds take up the other. Full article

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