Tuesday, 18 November 2014

29 From the Vine - McLaren Vale Wine Show Trade Tasting - Serafino - November 2014



Image: Willunga Wino




In a world first, the McLaren Vale Wine Show in 2014 included judging with food to decide on the trophy winning wines.

The winners were announced at the annual "Bushing Lunch" featuring the crowing of the annual "Bushing King or Queen" - selected from the winemakers receiving trophies in the various regional categories of the McLaren Vale Wine Show.





Bushing Lunch menu 2014. Photo: Willunga Wino



Serafino hosted a trade tasting of the McLaren Vale Wine Show winning wines. 

All the wines were set out in their classes on long, numbered trestle tables. Results books and tasting glasses were handed out at the door, then were set loose with the cream of the South Australian crop.




Trade tasting layout. Photo: Willunga Wino



In case you forget which wine show you are at, there is a stunning reminder. Fringed by the sea, across the Willunga plains, undulating up into the Mt Lofty ranges, McLaren Vale is a unique place creating unique and world class wine. 




Just in case you forgot where you are... Photo: Willunga Wino



Within it's registered area, there are thirty six distinct soil types in the region, captured in the most complete soil map created in Australia.




Unique geology, unique wines. Photo: Willunga Wino




And so to the wines judged in the 2014 show.


1. Angove Waterboys Vineyard 2013 Grenache is herbaceous & sweet fruit on the nose, then on the palate shows strappy acid & soft tongue tingling tannin.

2. Rich Hamilton Centurion Shiraz 2013 has a sweet nose and nice acid light on the tip of tongue at the finish.




Trophy winners. Photo: Willunga Wino




3. Jericho Shiraz 2013 is a lovely medium bodied wine with cherries on the nose.

4. Reynella Basket Pressed Shiraz 2012 is rich, spicy, and sweet plummy on the nose. Fresh & dry on the palate, with a soft tannin at the finish.





Tasty trophy winners. Photo: Willunga Wino




5. Tatachilla Foundation Shiraz 2005 is savoury, with grippy tannin.

6. Tatachilla Foundation Shiraz 2012 has a delectable blackcurrant aroma with a hint of mint.





The old and the new of it. Photo: Willunga Wino





7. Happy Days Shiraz Cabernet 2013 would be fabulous with pizza (no wonder - it's made by the owners of GoodLife Modern Organic Pizza). It's grippy, savoury, and smells of rose petals.

8. Rosemount Traditional GSM  2011 has redskins & eucalyptus on the nose, and a really juicy palate.






Happy Days meets Rosemount. Photo: Willunga Wino





9. Wolf Blass Grey Label 2012 has the hint of musk on the nose and a rich palate.




Wolf Blass. Photo: Willunga Wino




10. Alpha Crucis Total Shiraz 2012 has a sweet cherry and red fruit nose with a soft finish.






Alpha Crucis. Photo: Willunga Wino




11. Kay Brothers Amery Block 6 Shiraz 2012 is delicious with juicy sweet red fruit nose and soft integrated tannin.





Kay Brothers. Photo: Willunga Wino




12. Wirra Wirra RSW Shiraz 2012 has a spicy licorice nose and full palate.





RSW. Photo: Willunga Wino




13. D'Arenberg "Cenosilicaphobic Cat" Sagrantino Cinsault has a blueberry hint on the nose and rich, plush fruit on the palate.




Just some of the d'Arenberg's line up. Photo: Willunga Wino




14. Serafino Fiano has a distinct aroma of bannana flowers.





Fiano the jewel of the Vale. Photo: Willunga Wino




15. Willunga 100 Grenache Rose 2014 has a hint of tomato bush on the nose and a fruit sweet palate - good for spicy food.


16. Paxton Shiraz Rose is mouth coating goodness with a strawberries & cream finish.


17. La Curio "The Selfie" Aglianico Rose has a gorgeous nose and on the palate is crisp & delicious.





Pretty in pink - the Rose class. Photo: Willunga Wino




18. The Headonist Sangiovese Rose had a fresh lemony nose, fruit sweetness and soft acid.





Many grapes used, grenache, shiraz, aglianico...Photo: Willunga Wino



19. Tir na Nog Old Vine Grenache 2008 had sultanas on the nose, followed through on the palate, with a juicy finish.

Tir na Nog being the island of Irish folklore where people "never grow old".





Showing it's age, drinking well now. Photo: Willunga Wino



Like the Adelaide Wine Show, the McLaren Vale Wine show has special classes for provenance, where multiple vintages of the same wine are shown together. A great opportunity to compare vintages past and more recent.


20. Chapel Hill The Vicar Shiraz 2008 still has fresh acid.

21.  Chapel Hill The Vicar Shiraz 2012 has a dark chocolate nose, fine acid & grip.





The 08 still lives vicariously on! Photo: Willunga Wino



22. Woodstock "The Stocks" Shiraz 2002 had a distinctive coffee nose and nice balanced acid.

23. Woodstock "The Stocks" Shiraz 2012 had a sweet chocolate nose.






Coffee & chocolate a decade apart. Photo: Willunga Wino




24. Serafino Teremoto Syrah 2009 was still very fresh, with balanced acid and tannin on the palate.



25. Paxton AAA 2008 Shiraz Grenache has a dark nose, and developed secondary characters, drink any bottles left that you have - now!





Serafino twins. Photo: Willunga Wino



26. Wirra Wirra The Angelus Cabernet Sauvingnon 2004 has the varietal capsicum on the nose, as well as leather & coffee.



27. Joseph Moda Cabernet Sauvingnon Merlot 2012 has the aroma of sultanas & Xmas cake with a juicy palate.




Cab rank. Photo: Willunga Wino



28. Shottesbrooke The Proproetor Reserve Series Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot/Malbec 1996 has a deep port, leather armchair, nose,  still with some fruit stewed with nutmeg and spiced plum. On the palate it is a bit unbalanced though, with very sharp acid.


29. Lino Ramble Treadlie GSM 2013 was delish with a hint of marzipan on the nose.





Likely lads. Photo: Willunga Wino



The trade tasting coincided with Melbourne Cup day, so on exiting the tasting hall we were greeted by a pony, there to welcome guests to Serafino's Melbourne Cup Lunch function. 

Cute she was too.





Cutie. Photo: Willunga Wino


A pleasure to sample the Vale's finest. The show shines a light on the diversity and quality of wines produced in the area, and their potential for aging as well as enjoying fresh as a daisy. 





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Have you got a McLaren Vale favourite? Comment with your answer below! 




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Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Rocks Ghost Tours Team Building Activity - Sydney - October 2014


Image by Willunga Wino



Team building days. 

Does it bring a shudder of fear to your spine?

Fear not. 

It's a day out of the office at the very least, and if all goes well, a chance to get to know your colleagues.

There are plenty of options out there for team building activities, including The Rocks Tours - brought to you by the crew behind The Rocks Ghost Tours.

We gathered on a perfect October, Sydney morning at Circular Quay.




Gathering in the morn. Photo: Willunga Wino



Split into four teams, designated by colour, we were encouraged to dress up and create team names prior to the day. 

We were met and greeted by James in full Captain Cook outfit, who shared with us a little history of the area before explaining the day's proceedings. 

Special secret missions we given to two member of each team, before we were sent off with a list of cryptic clues and a map of the Rocks, with instructions to meet back at Cadman's cottage in an hour.




A secret missionary. Photo: Willunga Wino




With that we peeled off, questions and map in hand. 

Some of the questions were cryptic clues, as were the location instructions to search for the answers. 

Cheating & googling was encouraged and certainly helped. In all, the questions were achievable but not easy. Our strategy was to split the team into sub groups to pursue answers from a sheet of questions each.

The hour soon passed and we gathered at the rendevous point to turn in our answers.

James then took us on a tour of the Rocks.




Secret courtyard with friend. Photo: Willunga Wino




Within one of the Rocks' secret hidden courtyards we gathered to hear the story of the Push Gang,




 Gorgeous surrounds. Photo: Willunga Wino




The legend goes, that the Push Gang used their socks as the murder weapons when robbing people of their riches. 

Back in the day, it was the perfect crime, as they filled their socks with sand or soil, used them to beat their target to death, then emptied their victim's pockets, their socks, popped the socks back on then they were away!





James with a selection of weapons. Photo: Willunga Wino



Unfortunately for one of our workmates, we did a live re-enactment of a push gang take down!



 A modern Push Gang take down. Photo: Willunga Wino




The Rocks are undoubtedly beautiful, with their historic sandstone buildings and cobbled laneways. 

On our walk we saw a lot of different aspects, including this stunning mural depicting the history of the area.





Mural near Nurses Walk. Photo: Willunga Wino




James shared with us the modern history of "Biggles" - the loyal dog of 1980's identity Trevor Kelly. 

The Miniature Schnauzer born in 1980, was a loved friend of the community here and his antics such as leaping off balconies to chase cats, made him a minor celebrity. 

He met with an unfortunate end, last seen leaping off a cliff near Mrs Macquarie's Chair in 1994, rumoured to be chasing a rat. 

The devastated local community rallied around to organise a statue in his honour, outside his owner's home. 



Biggles, still very cute! Photo: Willunga Wino



We wound our way along the end of George St, pausing to re-enact the gruesome job of being a body collector, which in this day and age was very Monty Pythonesque!

"Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!"




Remnants of an industrial past. Photo: Willunga Wino



Past beautiful architecture along George St, we wound our way toward the southern pylons of the Harbour Bridge.




 A hidden corner of the Rocks. Photo: Willunga Wino



Under the bridge and up a little rise as we approached our destination.





 Pressed metal screening under the Bridge. Photo: Willunga Wino




The Harbour View Hotel is a gorgeous historic pub with great views of the southern end of the Harbour Bridge.





 Harbour View Hotel. Photo: Willunga Wino




Patrons from around the world have knocked the top of a frothy here, and many have left a little souvenir of their local coins on the walls. 





Cavalcade of coins. Photo: Willunga Wino




As part of The Rocks Team Building event, each participant was given by the event company a "buy one get one free" voucher to exchange on a few refreshing beverages of choice at the Harbour View Hotel.






Nice choices on tap.  Photo: Willunga Wino




Beers were reasonably priced at around $7.50 for a NSW schooner of tap beer.

First cab off the rank was a James Squire Hop Thief, a deep reddish hued ale with a nice bitter bite. Very refreshing on a hot, muggy day.

The Kosciuszko Pale Ale was equally good. Nice florals on the nose leading into a clean palate.





Hop Thief. Photo: Willunga Wino




Prizes were awarded for the highest scoring teams, with a few extra prizes for individuals. 

Thus ended the team building event. 

We walked back from the Harbour View Hotel down toward Circular Quay.





Window to the Harbour. Photo: Willunga Wino




Being a Friday, the Rocks Foodie Market was on at lunch time, with lots of nearby city workers taking the opportunity to pick up a tasty lunch from stalls representing local restaurants.





Local Colour. Photo: Willunga Wino



Sydney is a stunning city and the Rocks are the perfect backdrop for a team building day, 
with it's rich and interesting history, and hidden laneways and courtyards.

We all had a lot of fun, and it was a great team building exercise.




View of the Rocks from the Opera House. Photo: Willunga Wino




They say there is no "I" in team, but this team building event did have a winning team - and I was the captain!

Victory is sweet!





Victory in the fair city! Photo: Willunga Wino






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Rating : 4.5 Glasses 
Price: $ ($48 pp)
Menu: Fun activities, trivia, history, architecture ending with a beer!
Meal Size: Perfect length - not too short, not too long.
Atmosphere / Ambiance: Fun and participatory allowing everyone to shine.
Standout Dish: Dashing about the Rocks to answer the quiz questions.
Service: Funny, friendly, engaging.

Booking: Via phone or email.
Restaurant Details & Location 

Refer to website: http://www.therockstours.com.au/rocksteambuilding.html
Opening Hours: 7 days a week, tour takes 2 hours, starting time is negotiable.
Access: Metered street parking and parking stations nearby.



Review

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Quick Sip - Pol Roger Reserve Brut NV - November 2014


Image: Willunga Wino



"This is a very, very nice wine" are the only words utterable by Mr Wino when tasting this classic champagne.

Tiny, vigorous bubbles flood the flute. 

Bursting with aromas of freshly baked bread, and green almonds.

Mouthfeel is generous, but it cleans up perfectly, leaving you with the fizzy aftermath on your tongue.

Brioche, with a thin smear of lemon curd are on the palate.





Pol Roger Champagne NV. Photo: Willunga Wino




Very glad we have a few more of these beauties.



Region: Champagne
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Cork
Price: $70 - 80
Tasted: November 2014
Rating: 5 glasses
Food Match: Brioche French toast, pate, on its' own.
Available: Retail outlets, online.



Do you have a favourite champagne? Comment below!



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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Willmark Awards 2014 - Willunga, McLaren Vale - October 2014




Image by Willunga Wino



One of my favourite events of the year are the annual Willmark Awards - celebrating the best of the Willunga Farmers Market.





Tickets, please! Photo: Willunga Wino




The Willmarks are the night of nights for stall holders, the board, shoppers and suppliers.


Held at Fino, tickets are just $35 for a night of entertainment, food and service by Fino, donated wine and beer from stallholders, and of course the announcement of the winners.






Community of champions. Photo: Willunga Wino




After a warm greeting from WFM staffers, Billie Doeke (Assistant Market Manager) and Alex Merrick (Admin Assistant), we explore the serve-it-yourself drink stations. 


A quick cheers with some Rosemount bubbles, then the perfect drop for a spring evening, the now McLaren Vale Wine Show Trophy Winning Spring Seed Wine Co Morning Bride Rose.





Lou & Joch's latest award winner. Photo: Willunga Wino




The crowd were in high spirits mingling in the courtyard and garden of Fino.





Mingling galore. Photo: Willunga Wino



Quenching of thirst was also in full swing, with attendees making good use of the generously donated drinks.





A goodie from Goodiesons. Photo: Willunga Wino



After welcoming remarks from new market Chairperson Pip Forrester, the Fino team brought out a veritable feast of local, seasonal delights.

Kinkawooka mussells were perfectly cooked with a fragrant broth.

The pulled lamb was extremely popular, with many going back for seconds.






Quite the line up. Photo: Willunga Wino



 The chickpea salad was richly flavoured, and had a lift from fresh herbs.





Chickpea salad. Photo: Willunga Wino



Beetroot salad with lentils, dill and fennel was earthy and filling.





Tasty beetroot salad. Photo: Willunga Wino



Spring asparagus was perfectly cooked and still crunchy, with a salty and tangy burst from goat chervre.





Tangy asparagus. Photo: Willunga Wino




Baby roasted carrots were so sweet, a welcome return from last year

Dense house made bread rounded out a great alfresco meal.






Market fresh Fino goodness. Photo: Willunga Wino



Farmers, stallholders, marketgoers, the committee gathered around the communal tables to chat and share.




Great food, great company. Photo: Willunga Wino




Great gift baskets of market and supporter donated goods were at the ready for the lucky winners of the 2014 Willmark Awards.





Goodies for the winners. Photo: Willunga Wino



Pip Forrester congratulated all stallholders on the 14th birthday of the market and their hard work come rain, gale or shine.

Philanthropic from the start, the market funded kitchen gardens in all the local schools- til they ran out of schools!

Then the great idea from new Market staff to offer the Young Farmer Scholarship.

Next for the market - more stalls, more innovative value added food options, more great local businesses supported and supporting our local community.





Pip holding court. Photo: Willunga Wino




Time for the awards - and I was delighted to see some of my favourites - and those I voted for - pick up gongs.

1. Favourite Stall : Harts Vegetables

2. Best Service : Bush Pepper Catering


3. Best Dressed (decorated) stall: Willunga Pasta


4. Favourite product: Green Juice from Garden Farmers


5. Best Shopper (stallholder nominated award): Lyne Harte






Congrats Alex Steimanis and Jay Kimber. Photo: Willunga Wino


Willunga Pasta always looks amazing with it's rainbow of pasta.






Rainbow of Angie's pasta. Photo: Willunga Wino




Not to mention the stunning proteas.








Bloomin' glorious! Photo: Willunga Wino




And I have a serious addiction to the Garden Farmers green juice - less than a kilometre and less than an hour from the ground to my mouth!





 


Adelaide's best green juice! Photo: Willunga Wino







I'm already looking forward to the 15th year of the Willunga Farmers Market!






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What do you love about the farmers' market? Comment below!





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