Archive for the 'wine' Category


Yelp event: Campbells Wines Bobbie Burns Shiraz Tasting

After winning a double pass for mentioning my favourite wine spot in Sydney (shout out to Bench in Newtown) I attended another Sydney event tonight thanks to review site Yelp. This one was a wine tasting event for the wine club of Campbells Wines, one of the oldest wineries in Rutherglen.

I was excited about this because Rutherglen is one of the Australian wine regions I’ve not yet been to. When a friend and I got to the event, held at Walsh Bay’s Sydney Dance Lounge, I was pleased to find an abundance of red wines. Campbells are famous for their Bobbie Burns Shiraz, it seems, and they had plenty for slurping tonight, including vintages from 1982, 1985, 1992, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010! It was fun to taste the differences the years and the cellaring produces.

The Campbell family. Susie, one of the fifth generation of winemaker, and second from the right, was at the event in Sydney tonight.

I liked some of their newer style wines best, though, including their 2009 ‘The Barkly’ Durif (bold, to hell with balanced blends!) and especially their 2009 ‘The Brothers’ Shiraz (a powerful burst).

The surprises were the dessert wines: the Rutherglen Muscat was nice, the Classic Rutherglen Topaque was intensely tasty, and the ‘Merchant Prince’ Rare Rutherglen Muscat was, quite frankly, a little too wonderful for me to take. It was actually an overwhelming wine.

They put on a super spread of food as well, especially the sliced meats and cheeses. The packed crowd implied there’s a lot of local recognition for these wines; I think it’s deserved. I’ll be picking up a few. And planning a trip to Rutherglen.

Thanks, Yelp!


Yelp Elite event: Good Libations at the Oak Barrel

I like going to places – bars, restaurants, B&Bs, and so on – and I like writing about them. In London I had some great times, and got to attend a lot of fun events, because I contributed a lot to review site Qype.

Qype doesn’t have the same sort of fun event-driven culture here in Australia, but Yelp – a similar review site that’s very successful in the US – is starting just that here. So I’ve been contributing reviews. And becoming one of the “Yelp Elite” here. That means I get invites to Yelp events.

Last month I won a pass to a craft beer festival at The Oak Barrel, an excellent bottle shop here in Sydney. It was a very fun afternoon.

Last week I was invited to another tasting event back at the Oak Barrel, with just a dozen or so others from the local Yelp “Elite”. Called Good Libations, it was all about exposing us to beverages we mightn’t have tried otherwise. They really showcased themselves as one of Sydney’s top-notch bottle shops for the discerning buyer, and I don’t recall any of us in the crowd saying we’d tried any of the drinks before. The guys running the show had a wonderful table laid out, and made the night fun.

We started with a Happy Goblin Pale Ale, made by a couple of blokes up in Mount Ku-Rin-Gai. I liked this, nice and malty.

Then came the wines, five of them, covering quite a range:

  • Henschke Julius Riesling 1995 (Eden Valley, Australia) – a tinge of gold colour given the age, with rock melon and lime flavours, quite nice.
  • Les Temps des Cerises 2010 (Languedoc, France) – dull blood-coloured, with a cinnamon cherry aroma, and a spicy, dry, volatile organic taste. It was challenging, but went really well with cheese.
  • Jauma ‘Blewitt Springs’ Grenache 2011 (McLaren Vale, Australia) – very light, nothing on the nose, spicy and elegant but overpowered by the cheese.
  • Sutton Grange Estate Syrah 2006 (Bendigo, Australia) – a super dark, waxy, medicinal wine that took some getting used to; would require some serious pairing to enjoy.
  • A mystery wine; we played a game to guess where it was from, which I lost, and I don’t recall what it was.

In an interesting theme, all were organic wines (and some were “natural”, and at least one biodynamic).

Finally we had a boutique WA whisky, a Limeburners single malt barrel m6, which was fantastic: warm, nutty, and very balanced, especially with a couple of drops of water.

It reinforced my notion that the Oak Barrel is the place to go for top-quality hooch. It was also really great to meet some other local Yelp folks, all of whom were really nice.

The most important thing I learned? Probably, “Don’t waste a good shit-horn.”

You can read other people’s review of the night and see photos with a writeup, though I suspect you might need a Yelp account to do so. You can look at the photos alone on flickr.

Where do we start?


More wine I like

I’ve visited two wineries recently that I quite liked.

Coming back up the coast from Christmas holidays we stopped at Two Figs on the Shoalhaven coast. They’ve been there for only five years, but have a gorgeous spot and some decent quality wines for the price. Their 2011 Verdelho was nice enough, as was their 2011 Rosé. Their 2010 Chambourcin really floated my boat, though: lots of white pepper.

On a random weekend trip north we stopped into Cassegrain, near Port Macquarie, based on a recommendation. And I’m glad we did because they have a huge range of wines. They were really nice to us at the cellar door, too, which matters a lot. I liked several of their bottles, namely:

  • NV Stone Ciurcle Sparkling Rosé was fantastic
  • 2011 Premium Verdelho was delicious
  • 2011 Edition Noir Viognier also fab
  • 2006 Reserve Fromenteau Chardonnay would have been great with food
  • 2009 Premium Shiraz was nice
  • 2011 Edition Noir Cabernet Franc was very nice
  • 2010 Edition Noir Pinot Noir was really very nice
  • 2009 Sangiovese was tasty, and a variety you don’t see all the time here
  • 2007 Reserve Shiraz was quite good
  • 2006 Reserve Shiraz was really awfully freakin’ good
  • Fortified white-port-like Cassaé was delish

Okay, so they had a lot of wines I liked.


Cassegrain cellar door


Wineries we visited in Margaret River

My youngest brother and his wife recently visited us here in Australia, from Canada. It was really great having them here. They made the most of it; you can read more on his blog if you like.

They’re wine folks, like us, so one of the highlights was something that was as new to us as it was to them: a flight across to Perth and three days in the Margaret River wine region of Western Australia. The countryside is beautiful out there, the coast is breathtaking, the food is great, and the wine is top-notch.

I wanted to make a record of the wineries and wines I liked for future reference. Lucky you (if you have my taste in wine): you can have this list for free. Also, Cabernet Sauvignon is the highlight wine of the Margaret River, and that’s reflected in a lot of my favourites.

In no particular order:

  • Swooping Magpie. Another super-friendly, very boutique producer, with a cellar door in his garage. Prices were very reasonable. Best of the bunch was his 2010 Verdelho and his 2008 Shiraz, really the only bottle of that variety I liked much on this trip.
  • Deep Woods Estate. Small, rustic, with a friendly gent. I forgot to take notes here, but it was typical: cab sauv was the winner. Less typical: the gent was friendly enough to let us take home a barely-touched bottle! Yay! Buy their wine, all of it!
  • The Growers. A cellar door collective of small producers. A fun spot, an entertaining gent behind the bar. None of the wines were fantastic, but some were decent, and all were incredible value for money with most bottles working out to be $10 or less! I’d drink the 2010 Niche Semillon Sauv Blanc and the 2009 Niche Shiraz again.
  • Swings & Roundabouts. Busy, fun place, with great lawns and woodfired pizzas. Their 2010 Cab Merlot was ok. Their 1.5 litre bottles of white and red are BBQ-aimed value for money at $22 each.
  • Woodlands. Wow. We went here by mistake, but it was one of the best. Tiny, unassuming, no frills, but what winemaking. Highlights: 2008 Margaret Reserve Cab Merlot, 2010 Pinot Noir Reserve de la Cave, 2009 Cab Sauv Alma May, and 2006 Robert Cab Sauv. They only do one white (a sign of craftspeople: only do what you’re good at). They also do 200 bottles of straight Cab Franc each year; I might have to get in on that.
  • Knee Deep. Gorgeous, small, friendly, fun. We wanted to do lunch, but they were booked for a wedding. 2009 Kim’s Chardonnay wasn’t bad, 2009 Sue’s Cabernet was good, 2008 Kelsea’s Reserve Cab Sauv was superdelicious.
  • Clairault. A bit fancy, but not huge, and the guy behind the bar was really great: funny, friendly, and very informative. Everyone liked their 2010 Semillon Sauv Blanc (53%/47%). I thought their 2007 Estate Cab Sauv (with just 8% Merlot) was fantastic.
  • Laurance. What a poncy, gold-statue, art gallery, tasting-charging bunch of tosh. And their wines are awful, except for the 2009 Icon Cabernet, which is fantastic.
  • Redgate. Small, but nothing special, nor overly friendly. Still, their 2011 Chenin Blanc and 2010 Rosé were more than drinkable. And their non-vintage Rhapsody In Red was a decent not-with-food and drunk-chilled at just $19.
  • Watershed. A large place, with restaurant and function rooms, but friendlier than most its size. I fancied their 2009 Senses Viognier, their 2010 Senses Zinfandel, and their 2008 Awakening Cabernet.
  • Howard Park. Too big, busy, and impersonal. There was some big event going on. Plus, there are two roads in and out, and we got lost by not going out the one we came in. Liked their 2008 Chardonnay, and their single vineyard 2009 Leston Cab Sauv.
  • Hay Shed. A very friendly – and knowledgable – guy at the cellar door. The 2010 Hay Shed Hill Shiraz Tempranillo, at $20, was an easy-drinking BBQ wine. Their 2009 Block 2 Cab Sauv was very good, and their 2008 Kerrigan+Berry Cab Sauv was top notch.
  • Wise Wine. Nice spot, with great views. There was a wedding reception going on. Highlights were their 2011 Sea Urchin Verdelho, their 2008 Lot 80 Petit Verdot, their 2009 Eagle Bay Cab Sauv, and their tawny port.
  • Stella Bella. We were looking forward to this one a great deal, as we’ve been drinking their wines since our first visit to Australia. They did not disappoint: it was one of the best cellar door experiences we had, with laughs, discussion, and tasting of things we shouldn’t have had (wink wink). I loved a lot of the wines here, but wound up buying and shipping home two bottles each of their 2007 Suckfizzle Cab Sauv, 2011 Skuttlebutt Savvy Cab Sauv, and 2007 Suckfizzle Sauv Blanc Semillon.
The other big non-beer finds in the region were:
  • Bootleg Beer. Excellent beers, great outdoors eating areas, good vibe. Liked all their brews except for their Hefe, which was too banana-y.
  • Margaret River Venison. They farm their own deer, produce all their meats, and will let you try all their fabulous produce.
  • Yallingup Woodfired Bread. No web site. Google it and you’ll find others’ mentions. It’s hard to find, unless you ask a local. But my god, is it worth it.

Wine Vault: my collection begins

My recent wine journey was the trigger for something bigger. I’ve realised that I want to have more good wine around. I’ve realised that it’d be worthwhile to store some good wines for a few years, and actually start a collection I care about.

I’ve also realised that the climate of Australia means that I can’t just cellar wine in my house. It’s far too hot to just leave it lying about, and actual cellars are rare here.

So I’ve just created an account at the Wine Vault. I’ve been to an event at their facility before and it looks pretty cool. They’ll receive and store wine I have delivered there, and I can keep track of it all online.

Let the wine snobbery begin.


Vineyards visited over the holidays

We visited three significant wine regions during our Xmas holiday road trip. Many people have shown interest, and so I thought I’d list which vineyards we visited, and what wines we liked.

We visited both large and small wineries. Some are international names; some don’t even distribute to Sydney. If non-Australians find some of these near you I’d be interested to know.

We stopped buying much wine after the Yarra because we were running out of room in which we could keep it at the right temperature for so long on the road.

Yarra Valley (Victoria, just northeast of Melbourne). Two days here. Gorgeous country, and very food-oriented as well.

  • DeBortoli – A big-name place, but still family run. Some bus tours but not overwhelmed. A great cheese shop. Bought 2 bottles of their 2010 Riesling Kabinett. I also thought their 2008 Gulf Station Cabernet Sauvignon – with some great tobacco flavours – was a real value for money at $19.
  • Graeme Miller Wines – Small but friendly. Didn’t care much for their wines, but bought a bottle of their 2006 Keith Charles Vintage Fortified.
  • Yileena Park – Top-notch small vineyard, with very knowledgable people. Bought a 2006 Merlot (which, unfortunately, wasn’t great on drinking – they stil use cork, and this one was a casualty), and a 2003 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot.
  • Sticks – Another big international brand. Their cellar door is gorgeous. Bought 2 bottles of their 2008 Strathbogie Ranges No. 29 Shiraz, and a 2008 Riesling. Also had a bottle of their 2009 Pinot Noir for dinner on two different nights.
  • Seville Estate – The friendliest place we visited, wines were okay.
  • Killara Estate – Bought their 2008 Cabernet Merlot to have with lunch one day. Am seriously thinking about ordering more.
  • Yarra Yering – An elegant cellar door, and probably the best overall tasting we’ve done, but the wines were too pricey to buy (they charge ten bucks for tasting).
  • Innocent Bystander – Had a glass of their 2008 Shiraz at lunch, and an awesome lunch. They also have a brewery, White Rabbit, which was very good. And they roast their own coffee. And bake their own bread. Tops all around.
  • Warramate – Small, family-run place. Prices are good. Bought a bottle of 2005 Black Label Shiraz, but it felt like a pity buy.
  • Seville Hill – Cellar door a little too small/agricultural/industrial. Wines okay.
  • Elmswood Estate – Again, just okay wines.

McLaren Vale (South Australia, just south of Adelaide). Only one day here. Laid back, and only minutes from the sea.

  • Red Heads Studio – Possibly the single best wine place we stopped. There’s no website because the studio is actually a cellar door that offers wines from five small, local producers. They take turns showing off all their bottles. They were great fun, and offered us locally made sausage and Spanish cheeses.
    • Phil Christiansen’s Longwood label only produces one wine at the moment: a 2009 Pinot Noir that was fab.
    • Andrew Pieri’s Pieri Wines makes Amarones that I just loved: a 2008 Occasione, 2009 Azzardo and a 2009 Mano Nero.
    • Adam Hooper’s La Curio made an excellent 2009 Nubile Grenache Shiraz, and a 2008 Shiraz Reserve.
    • Nat McMurtrie’s Pikkara makes a tasty 2009 McMurtrie Cabernet Sauvignon.
    • Steve Grimley’s Stamford and Clark label makes several, but the one that blew my socks off was a soon-to-be-released 2007 Shiraz. I’m going to order some.
  • Samuel’s Gorge – Rustic, scenic cellar door, really lovely. Their 2008 Grenache and 2008 Shiraz were both good.
  • Lloyd Brothers – They only make a couple of wines, but also grow the most amazing olives. Their shop actually has far more olives, pickles, preserves, chutneys, jams, pestos, mustards, dukkahs and other savoury treats than wine. Even so, their 2010 Hand Picked Rosé and Fortified Shiraz were both very nice.
  • Pennys Hill – Large place with a well-known restaurant. We had a very good lunch. They have three other wine labels (Mr. Riggs, The Black Chook, and Woop Woop). On the Pennys Hill label I liked the 2009 The Specialized Shiraz Cabernet Merlot, and 2009 Cracking Black Shiraz. From Mr. Riggs their 2010 Watervale Riesling was just sweet enough (which is to say, not very).
  • d’Arenberg – Popular, big name, but not overly touristic. I enjoyed tasting both their 2009 then 2003 Money Spider Roussanne, which seemed good value. The 2009 Feral Fox Pinot Noir was tops, as were all three of their high-end reds: 2007 The Ironstone Pressings Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre, 2007 The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2007 The Dead Arm Shiraz.

Barossa Valley (South Australia, just northeast of Adelaide). Two days. Hotter, and the capital of Shiraz.

  • Thorn Clarke – A bit commercial, but the lady behind the counter was nice enough. The 2006 William Randell Shiraz was good, but pricey. The 2009 Sandpiper Shiraz was good and very affordable ($15).
  • Barossa Valley Estate – A big place, obviously made for coach tours. Lunch was pleasant. Their 2004 E&E Black Pepper Sparkling Shiraz was yum, and we had it with lunch. Also liked their 2009 Entourage Grenache.
  • Whistler Wines – Wonderful cellar door, lots of outdoor shaded space to sit. Good place for kids, as they have orphaned kangaroos which are very tame. We liked their 2008 Sparkling Merlot, their 2010 Grenache, and their 2008 Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre.
  • Rolf Binder – Large warehouse-y cellar door, and chatty people running it. Our picks were the 2009 Veritas Tramino Frizzante and the 2006 Binder’s Bull’s Blood “Pressings”. Their Old Shed Tawny fortified was delicious, with maple flavours at the end.
  • The Willows – Great small producer, down-to-earth and informative. Their 2010 Semillon, 2008 G7 Grenache Shiraz, and 2006 Bonesetter Shiraz were all delicious.
  • Turkey Flat Vineyards – Great cellar door in a small, rustic shed. Young, friendly staff. There were a lot of winners here that got big ticks: their 2005 and 2008 Grenaches, 2008 Mourvèdre (I love it when they don’t blend it), 2008 Shiraz, and – a little sherry treat – their nonvintage Pedro Ximénez. Wow.
  • Kaesler – Very busy, very big. Lots of wines, most pretty ordinary, but their 2007 The Bogan Shiraz and 2008 Old Vine Shiraz were impressive (and not cheap).
  • Murray Street Vineyards – Damn, this was good. Easily the nicest cellar door we visited: new, shiny, luxurious, great scenery. You sit on lounges and they bring the wines to you, no counter here. And their tasting plate for two – made from local produce – was one of the tastiest selection of morsels I’ve ever had. What we drank: 2008 Barossa Shiraz Grenache Mataro Cinsaut, and 2007 Sophia Shiraz.
  • Heritage Wines – Another small vineyard, very laid-back owners, with a nice dog. Their 2006 Rossco’s Shiraz was a winner, and I liked their Tawny fortified enough to buy a bottle.
  • Charles Melton – Another great cellar door, with long shared tables for tasting, and very friendly folks. They only make reds (which, as you can tell from the lis of our favourite wines above, was fine by us). The 2008 Father in Law Reserve Shiraz was yum. So was the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, and the 2008 Voices of Angels Shiraz.

We also visited Harefield Ridge in Wagga Wagga, but that was only to have dinner (which was excellent) at their restaurant, Cottontails on the Ridge. It’s a gorgeous spot.

Wow. Reviewing that list it’s no wonder that I had wine fatigue by the end.


Hunter Valley

We finally had a free Sunday, and the road called to us. Although the forecast was for scattered rain we decided to drive a couple of hours north of Sydney to the Hunter Valley wine region.

It was gorgeous. We took off early, and although it was cloudy most of the day the rain held off until we’d returned home. The drive up and back was smooth.

The Hunter Valley itself – or at least the wine region – is much smaller than I expected. You can easily drive around the whole area in a day or two. This was our first trip, but it’s so close that we know we’ll be back so didn’t push to see to much.

It reminded me very much of France. Obviously the fields of grapes and all the wineries are a big part of that, but also the rolling green hills, the tree-lined roads, the places selling cheese and paté. It’s a place where the land and the farming is special. I felt the same thing in the Napa Valley.

Photo from krossbow via Creative Commons license

Our first stop (after the excellent visitor information centre) was boutique producer Littles Wines. We thought their new Semillon and Semillon Sauv Blancs were okay, and they were really friendly and helpful at the cellar door. But we wanted to sample more because dropping too much cash and only bought some of their tawny port.

Next was Moorebank Vineyard, a very nicely-presented estate. I stuck to their range of condiments and home-made lemonade, as I’d sampled eights wines at the first place, and someone had to drive. The reports on the wine here were good, but the prices were steep. We left with some onion relish. As we walked to the car we faced down a huge kangaroo lounging in the shade of a tree right in the middle of the yard.

We decided that more food tasting would be the wise thing to do if we wanted a glass of wine at lunch. Next was the Hunter Olive Centre which had dozens of oils and chutneys; we got a tub of Kalamatas and a jar of spicy lime pickle. We didn’t buy anything at the Hunter Valley Cheese Factory down the road; we sure sampled lots, though I was disappointed they had no blue cheeses. Lucky for me they had three blues at the Smelly Cheese Shop across the highway. We didn’t try any of the wines at the last few places: they were all of the big-business variety, with streams of touring coaches belching crowds of people into their large car parks.

Somehow all this nibbling had not killed our appetite, so we drove across the valley for our lunch reservation at Majors Lane Restaurant. We sat outside, a field of grass in front of us, the warm breeze bringing us the smell of something flowering nearby. Lunch was tops. We only had a bit of bread for a starter (since we’d been grazing) but enjoyed a glass of their Semillon (her) and Chardonnay (me; very vanilla-y) to start. Our mains – lamb loin fillet, shepherds croquette, braised baby peas and lettuce with a tarragon mustard hollandaise for her, and glaze-roasted duck breast, confit duck and potato galette, caramelised witlof, plum and rocket for me – required glasses of their chambourcin and shiraz (nicely peppery). It was a really well put-together meal. We took our time.

We tried just one more cellar door in the afternoon: Piggs Peake, another boutique place. We picked it because of some good TripAdvisor reviews, and I’m glad we did. It was a small, quiet, and friendly operation. We tasted everything they gave us (but again, because I was driving, I made good use of the bucket). Despite an overuse of funny pig-themed names we liked a couple enough to buy a few of each: their 2008 Super Tusker Sangiovese and their 2009 Sows Ear Semillon.

Photo from derekmswanson via Creative Commons license

An ice cream on the way home was more than enough to finish us off.

Given that we expected long drives between vineyards and rain all day, today was brilliant. It’s definitely a star location, especially being so easy for us to get to from north Sydney. The plan next time: go for a weekend, rent bikes, and cycle from vineyard to vineyard.


Wine tasting at the Princess Victoria

Two wine-tasting nights in a row!

Tonight we met PC at the super Princess Victoria pub in west London. It’s barely been open for a year, but this place has made a real gastronomic name for itself. They’re also running occasional wine events, the Rogue Palate Tastings for just a tenner.

Tonight’s tasting was a showcase for Austins vineyard from Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Owners Richard and Pam Austin were there and told us a bit about what we drinking. They make two ranges for different amounts of oaking and price points: the more affordable SixFootSix range and the pricier Austins range. Their climate means they can – and do – focus on pinot, but they also make a chardonnay and shiraz in each range too, all of which we tried (plus a riesling).

Everything was tasty but I preferred the rougher-edged SixFootSix versions of their pinot noir and shiraz, both ripe and plummy and spicy without being too robust for food.

And a nice touch: if you stay for dinner you can order bottles of any of the wines you tasted for half price (so of course we did). Since these are normally £30 to £40 bottles at this pub, that’s a pretty fine wine for a regular restaurant price.


Qype event: wine tasting at Carluccio’s

I attended a Qype wine tasting event back in April. Last night was another one, this time organised by TikiChris and held at Carluccio’s in Covent Garden. All the wines were from a single Sicilian winery: Planeta.

The setting was a classy and private upstairs room. Michael Stocks, Carluccio’s bar and training manager, took us through the wines. He’s clearly enthusiastic about Planeta as an example of a winemaker that’s doing things differently (i.e., following the new-world trend of naming bottles by grape type) and changing the presumed status quo on wines from Sicily.

Sicilian wine tasting at Carluccios with Qype. Photo from tikichris

Sicilian wine tasting at Carluccio's with Qype. Photo from tikichris

We had a good group of about twenty Qypers and tasted 11 wines, all supplemented by non-stop servings of yummy antipasti. I was pleased with the consistency of wine quality. Nothing was rubbish for my tastes, and a couple really wowed me, especially near the end. Whether that’s because I favour robust reds or because my fussiness diminishes as the evening goes on is a matter of eternal debate.

What we drank:

  • Rosé – Nice, not too sweet, and – since it’s made from Syrah – a little bit of gutsiness.
  • La Segreta Bianco – “The secret”. Too easy to drink for me. Meh.
  • Alastro – “The gorsebush”. A little different, very soft fruit, not too challenging.
  • Cometa – “The comet”. Lots of straw colour. Tingly. Tough, complex, yet balanced. I don’t like many whites, but I like this.
  • Chardonnay – Too much oak. I maintain it’s buttery, though my table thought I was nuts. Not a fan.
  • La Segreta Rosso – “The secret”. Meh
  • Cerasuolo di Vittoria – Very fruity, jammy, and rich. Needs some pretty rich food.
  • Santa Cecilia – Quite good, but hard for me to pin down the flavours.
  • Merlot – Again with jammy, candied fruit. Finish goes on and on. Nice.
  • Burdese – Wow. Fun. Big and ripe and very robust. Chunky is the word I use, though once again my table thinks me odd.
  • Moscato di Noto – Citrusy, of course, but especially lime. Okay on its own, quite good with the fab cannoli.

A great slice through an interesting set of wines with some good folks. Thanks, Qype!


Qype event: Wine tasting at Bedales

Qype held another special event for some of its big contributors last night: a wine-tasting. It was held at Bedales, an awesome wine shop and tasting bar in the Borough Market.

Our host, pictured above, was the friendly, knowledgeable and entertaining Arnaud Compas, one of Bedales wine tasters and managing directors. He took as through a great tasting of this interesting selection:


  • Central Otago Cornish Point Vin Gris 2006    (£23)
  • Valchau Gruner Veltliner Klosterneuburg 2007  (£16.99)
  • Toscany Vernacchia di San Gimignano Fugnano 2007  (£12.99)


  • Geelong Sutherlands Creek Primitivo 2004   (£16.99)
  • Bourgogne Heresztyn Pinot Noir 2006    (£18.99)
  • Veneto Inama Carmenere Più 2006    (£23)

The ones I liked best were the Primitivo (POW! I like boldness. And it was froma  vineyard only 3 years old when it was made. Stronger than it tastes, so be careful) and the Inama (great cherry nose, and very young – will probably be amazing in a few years). The Vin Gris was probably the white I liked best; the Fugnano was definitely one of the most unusual wines I’ve ever had, a real love-it-or-hate it taste.

We had some great tidbits to eat with it too: cheese, meats, olives, rillette of duck, and – of course – bread.

There are some pics of the night here.

Thanks again, Qype! Get ready for a flood of Australian reviews from my recent trip.