Category Archives: Wine Events

Nov 11 2012

Cellarit Burgundy Dinner, 20 November 2012: A wonderful opportunity to sample the best of Burgundy’s boutique wines

Posted on November 11, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

At the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Burgundy Masterclass in March the Burghound’s Allen Meadows talked about the revolution that has taken place in Burgundian viticulture and winemaking practices over the past 30 years.

You may well ask why one of the most renowned and historic wine districts in the world would need to radically shake up the way it did business? But in many respects Burgundy’s transformation was about rediscovering how it had originally forged its reputation as the best producer of chardonnay and pinot noir in the world.

In the 1980s and 90s an increasing number of family-owned growers decided to take control of their own destiny by making and bottling their own wines rather than selling the grapes to négociants. In the process they discovered that they could make vast improvements to the quality of their grapes by reviving traditional practices of nurturing the land. Artificial fertilisers and pesticides were replaced with organic and even biodynamic viticultural practices and, once again, the vines were meticulously hand-tended and hand-harvested.

The result of all this hard work both in the vineyard and the winery, where traditional practices like natural yeast fermentation have been complemented by state-of-the art modern winemaking equipment, are beautifully made, clean wines that truly express the nuances of Burgundy’s unique and fabled terroir.

Fortunately for Australians, over the past several years a group of winemakers and business people from the Hunter Valley have cultivated relationships with some of very best of these small grower-owned domaines. On Tuesday evening 20 November 2012, importer Denis Power from Domaine Burgundy will share his insights into Burgundy over dinner at Restaurant Atelier in Glebe. Top Burgundies from his portfolio will be expertly matched to fine French food.

According to wine consultant Mario Vinciguerra, who will also be on hand to … Read the rest

Mar 03 2011

The Return to Terroir Grand Tasting in Melbourne

Posted on March 03, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In a week when a tragic natural disaster in Japan was compounded by the fear of a potential man-made nuclear disaster, I think many of us were grateful for the opportunity to attend the Return to The Terroir Grand Tasting in Melbourne. Here was a group of biodynamic winemakers, passionate about the benefits of working with the land’s natural rhythms and bio-systems, delighting our senses with superb wines and stimulating discussion.

Organised by Castagna Vineyard’s Julian Castagna, the tasting brought together 61 wine producers from around the world and more than 340 wines! Almost all of these wineries are members of La Renaissance des Appellations, an invitation only group of biodynamic winemakers founded by Nicolas Joly of the famed Coulée de Serrant. Members are invited not only on the basis of their farming practices (three years of biodynamic farming across the whole property is the minimum criteria) but are also judged on the quality of their wine and their commitment to a shared philosophy that great wine is made in the vineyard, not in the cellar.

In the catalogue accompanying the tasting, Australian wine critic Max Allen noted that “A rapidly growing number of the world’s best winegrowers, from Alsace to Australia, have enthusiastically adopted biodyanmics in their vineyards because they believe it helps them produce wines that express a more authentic, more beautiful sense of place in the glass.”

Indeed, some of the most celebrated wineries in the world are members of the group. To name but a few, they include Domaine Zind Humbrecht from Alsace, Araujo Estate from the Napa Valley, Compañía de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez from Spain and Cullen Wines from the Margaret River.

At the panel discussion I attended the audience had a chance to hear first-hand from the winemakers about what … Read the rest

Oct 10 2010

A Great Week for Wine Tasting!

Posted on October 10, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Wow! A great week for tasting wine!

On Wednesday night we joined friends for dinner at the Glebe Point Diner in Glebe Sydney. Great food and a very interesting wine list with lots of international wines.

First we tried the  Jed Malbec 2007, an Argentinian wine made by three young Aussie winemakers in the Mendoza region at the foot hills of the Andes. Malbec, a native of Bordeaux, is mainly used for blends in France, but in Argentina they have made it a specialty. It was excellent – spicy bouquet, soft tannins and very smooth. I checked Wine-Searcher.com and it can be found in Australia for around $20 a bottle. Lettie Teague, wine writer for The Wall Street Journal, calls Argentinian malbec one of the world’s great wine bargains!

We also had the Chateau Masur 2002 from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. The wine is made by Serge Hochar, Lebanon’s most celebrated winemaker and a bit of legend in the wine world. At the 1979 Bristol Wine Fair in England,  the wine press and prominent critics declared it “the discovery of the fair”. In 1984, the respected wine magazine Decanter named Serge Hochar the first ever “Wine Man of the Year” for his extraordinary achievements, determination and dedication to producing wines during the difficult years of the Lebanese Civil War.

The wine is made from a blend of different grape varieties: cabernet sauvignon, cinsault and carignan from vines grown at a 1000 metre elevation on a gravely soil with a limestone base, similar to the famed soils of Cote Rotie in Burgundy. The individual wines spend three years in the barrel before being blended and bottled and are aged for a further four years in the cellar before being released. The colour of the wine was very similar to … Read the rest

Oct 10 2010

Orange: NSW’s ‘Coolest’ Wine Region!

Posted on October 10, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com


First Press reports that this year’s 2010 NSW Wine Awards is shaping up as a contest between the new emerging cool climate regions of NSW and the traditional regions of the Hunter Valley and the Riverina. The emerging cool climate regions of the Canberra district, Orange, Hilltops, Tumbarumba and the Southern Highlands took roughly half of the spots in the Top NSW 40 Wines, Cool-Climate Continues to Captivate Judges, First Press Newsletter 1 October 2010. The top 40 NSW wines were selected from over 800 entries by a panel of highly respected wine judges chaired by Huon Hooke.

 

The region of Orange has certainly emerged as a clear winner at this year’s Awards regardless of whether it picks up the ultimate prize of 2010 NSW Wine of the Year to be announced at the Awards Gala Presentation dinner at Guillame at Bennelong on Monday 18 October 2010. Five of its wineries are in the top 40 and its wines took out two of the nine trophies: Angullong Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2010 rrp $17 won the trophy for best young sauvignon blanc and Logan Cabernet Merlot 2008 rrp $25 won the trophy for best young red blend.

The Orange wine region is about 260 km west of Sydney. Noteworthy for its very high elevation, it is also one the coolest growing environments in Australia. Orange is dominated by the extinct volcano Mt Canobolas, which provides rich volcanic soils and moderates the hot summer temperatures to create one of the longest ripening periods in Australia – grapes are typically not picked until mid to late autumn. The combination of aged soils, high altitude, cool temperatures, ample sunshine, decent rainfall and long dry autumns, typically produce wines that have been recognised for their complexity, elegance and balance.

Wine critic Max Allen … Read the rest

Sep 09 2010

Pinot Week in October on the Mornington Peninsula

Posted on September 09, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In the 2011 edition of the Australian Wine Companion, James Halliday argues that more Australian wine producers need to focus on single-vineyard and single-region wines if  “we are to fundamentally change the negative perceptions of domestic and (most significantly) export markets about the diversity, the quality and the style of our wines, and our aspirations for the future.”

Mornington Peninsula  is one region that has certainly made great strides over the past decade in establishing itself as synonymous with the single grape variety of pinot noir. That the region is now on the map as a focal point for pinot noir is being celebrated by the Mornington Peninula October Pinot Week from 2 to 10 October 2010. Through a range of events, including wine tastings, dinners and master classes on the Peninsula and in Melbourne, the event aims to showcase the area as a destination for world-class pinot noir.

Renowned wine critic Jancis Robinson likens the region to Burgundy, because most of the wineries are small scale and make hand-crafted wines whose style and character vary enormously due to differences in terroir and the winemaker’s skill and interpretation. Of the 50 or so wineries with cellar doors in the Mornington Peninsula, stand-out wineries include Stonier Wines, Paringa Estate, Montalto, Moorooduc Estate, Hurley Estate,  Eldridge Estate, Willow Creek Vineyard and Ten Minutes by Tractor.

Most of these wineries produce award winning single-vineyard pinot noir, as well as equally outstanding estate or reserve wines. Paringa Estate’s current 2008 Estate Pinot Noir, for example, was recently named Champion Dry Red in the Winewise Championship 2010. The Moorooduc Estate Pinot Noir 2008 and the Moorooduc Estate McIntyre Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008 were rated 96 and 95 respectively in James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion 2011 edition. From time to time Ten Minutes by … Read the rest