2006 Capercaillie The Ghillie, Hunter Valley NSW

14% alc

Grapes: Shiraz/Syrah

Fruit sourced from the exceptional Graham Woodward’s Valley View Vineyard planted in 1972. The wine was bought at the cellar door, which is a must to visit at least once. A combination gallery and cellar door there is a little for everyone. The wines are works of art in the bottle.

The Ghillie is the premium offering from the Capercaillie team. It is a dark, dense red in the glass and incredibly perfumed. There’s the typical Hunter funkiness on the nose, with a promise of richness of dark fruit and maybe even a little spice. Once tasted, the promises were confirmed. This is one consistent beguiling wine that should be enjoyed as slowly as possible over a period of time. Crushed wild cherry stones, cherries, mulberries, with lifted notes of something almost animalistic make this one seductive liquid. Amazing balance, nice tannin and acid integrate well with what would seem high alcohol but that is so well blended one does not notice. (Why did I not get more?!!!!!!)

2005 Kochertalkellerei Ingelfingen

Ingelfingen Kocherberg Schillerwein

QbA Erzeugerabfullung


12% alc 250ml


Going a little salmon in colour. Lovely and bright. Barnyard and red fruit aromas, that are gentle on the nose. Strawberry concentrate aromas.
Feels almost off dry but still quite dry on the palate. Lovely acidity with relatively intense palate, with the strawberry character following on. A little hint of spice.

2005 Thasos Moscatel de Setubal DOC

Vin doux Naturel

17% alc

Grapes: Moscatel de Setubal


Almost amber in colour with orange peel on the nose. This is a light style of dessert wines with pleasantly fresh orange and rancio characters. Reminiscent of fresh Tokay…yummy. This is one fantastic value refreshing dessert wine that should be shared with friends and loved ones.

There’s a certain freshness to it, a sense of fun and carefree lifestyle. Not a typical dessert wine and not a table wine. A wine with personality, verve and style.

2002 Lillypilly Noble Blend

Alc: 12.5%
Grapes: 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillon, 5% Muscat of Alexandria, 5% Riesling

I’m not a dessert wine drinker. Rarely would be seen drinking a sticky and it’s a shame as there are some amazing things out there. Topaque (formerly known as tokay), Muscat and Botrytis affected (also Cordon-Cut). It’s a confusing world of techniques that one really doesn’t need to know, just remember your preferred style. Botrytis is more famous style, made popular and mainstream by such heavy weights as Chateau de d’Yquem, France and De Bortoli Noble One, Riverina.
And here comes the age of Lillypilly! (At least I hope so as it so richly deserves the honour!)
Chateau de d’Yquem is a Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc blend affected by the noblest of rots, botrytis cinerea. Noble One is a straight Semillon. Lillypilly is blend of four grapes and for that it does get the extra complexity. It is lusciously sweet, with apricots and lighter honey notes, fresh honeycomb straight from the hive, some citrus notes and amazingly well balanced acidity. Because for me, that’s where the dessert wines fall down hard – too sticky.

I drank a bottle of this without realising. The problem? The bottle ran out.
Do yourself a favour buy some because I definitely will be stocking up on this.

TROPHY International Sweet Wine Challenge 2011 Griffith
DOUBLE GOLD  5 Nations Wine Challenge 2011 Sydney
GOLD Winewise Small Vigerons Awards 2011 Canberra
GOLD  Mundus Vini, Germany 2011
TOP 100 Sydney International Wine Competition 2011
BLUE GOLD Sydney International Wine Competition 2011
25 Trophies & 28 Gold Medals in all

Retsina…To finally tasting it!


I’ve seen it sitting on shelves at bottle shops and also mentioned in writing of aeons past, in a book where a character found refuge in a bottle while stuck in Greece. The question for me was always what would be so appealing about a basic wine combined with resin?!

So what is retsina?

Well, it’s a traditional Greek wine. Long history. Has been in production for at least 2000 years. Yes, two millennia. Or as the fount of all wisdom tells us:

“Today the traditional grape for Retsina is Savatiano with Assyrtiko and Rhoditis sometimes blended in, as well as other grape varieties throughout Greece. On the island of Rhodes, Athiri is the main grape. Modern Retsina is made following the same winemaking techniques of white wine or rosé with the exception of small pieces of Aleppo Pine resin added to the must during fermentation. The pieces stay mixed with the must, and elute an oily resin film on the liquid surface; at racking the wine is clarified and the solids and surface film are removed from the finished wine.[1] Nowadays, protecting the new wine from oxidation is easy to do with far simpler means and much less resin is used for retsina than traditionally called for. Such wines lack the pungent “whiff of turpentine” streak of old, and are considered ideal accompaniments to such strong-tasting local cuisine as pastırma or garlic dips.”  thanks to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retsina

Anyway, I digress. I am currently enjoying a glass of said nectar – from Tsantali. It’s an acquired taste. Must be chilled. Though, I can see how this would be really good with seafood, mostly cold prawns maybe fish caviche etc. And yes, I am sitting on my balcony. With music. Wine. Thinking of food. And since Wikipedia mentioned garlic, I am now thinking of that as well.

Grant Burge Miamba Shiraz 2004

It’s 6.40pm after a long hard day. I need a drink, so I opt for a bottle of Miamba. I first sampled this one back in 2006 when working for Vintage Cellars and they were flogging it to their members over the phone. Loved it then and I loved it even more now.

Dusty. Magical. Plums. Juicy. Violets. Dark. Sensuous. Sensational.

The feel of midnight blue superfine silk flowing over skin. A lead fist in a velvet glove.

It’s a dark and dense blood red, almost black. Impenetrable and inviting. Spicey. Punchy. Forward. Incredibly long intense blackcurrant finish. Cedar. Cigar box. Dark chocolate. Chocolate covered fruit. Stunningly mysterious. Chewy tannins.

A hedonist’s delight!

24hrs later –

Still a little dusty but it has mellowed with more floral characters coming through. Still fruity though! With plenty of life. Red and blackcurrants, whiff of warm plums. Good dose of dark chocolate and i’m getting a glimpse of aniseed coming through.

On the palate, intense flavours of blackcurrant and chocolate. Lively acidity and slightly grippier and dirtier tannins then last night. It packs a punch for sure. Rich roast of lamb and potato. Rosemary! There’s some rosemary in there…

Like a hot chocolate with a hint of chilli. Lovely little bit of spice with heat.

48 hours later –

It’s even more complex and divine. Has opened up further and is even more hedonistically brilliant! Cloves, cinnamon, dark cherries, chocolate, plums and raspberries coming through. So much smoother on the palate – the spice is more subdued but still very much there. The tannins are grippy, the acidity incredibly juicy. Stunning long warm finish, with wild cherries and spices dominating. Utterly delicious. This is a lovely example of a blockbuster shiraz with a distinct chocolate aftertaste.

72 hours –

Smoother and chocolaty palate with the structure coming through as the fruit recedes. Not even starting the decline. This is definitely a very long lived wine. Would love to try this again and again as the years roll on!

Centennial Vineyards Extreme Brut

Extremely pale and with persistent creaming bubbles, coupled with the complex and heady bouquet of mushrooms, blue goats cheese, and lemons go in for the killer strike of lemon curd mousse and Granny Smith apple to finish. It’s a Devil of a serious sparkling. Dry, delicious and fantastic with St Agur blue cheese. Perfect combination.