Tag: Peter Bourne

Jul 07 2012

3 Wonderful Aged Wines from Tasmania: A Tasmanian Unbottled Masterclass Tasting

Posted on July 07, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Andrew Pirie, Ed Carr, Peter Bourne and Nick Haddow

On Wednesday I attended the Tasmania Unbottled Cheese and Wine Masterclass.  The Wine Man’s Peter Bourne led the discussion and was joined by the House of Arras’s chief winemaker Ed Carr, Andrew Pirie, chief winemaker at Tamar Ridge and Pirie Tasmania, and the Bruny Island Cheese Company’s Nick Haddow.

The cheese was excellent, especially the four year old raw milk C2, a cheddar style cheese, which incidentally is the only legally made raw cheese in Australia! But the highlight for me was the opportunity to taste three superb vintage wines: the House of Arras Grand Vintage 2004, the Tamar Ridge Chardonnay 2004 and the Native Point Pinot Noir 2005.


If you’re ever weighing up buying a French Champagne or an Australian vintage sparkling, do yourself a favour and pick up a bottle of the beautifully made House of Arras Grand Vintage 2004. (It retails for around $70 a bottle) This elegant, finely beaded wine with complex nuances of flavour and a slight creaminess to the finish is still displaying great vibrancy and freshness. A blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, Ed Carr explained that the wine had spent seven years on lees before disgorgement. It receives a small dosage of expedition liqueur, which introduces a slight oak and brandy spirit into the complex, balanced blend.

Andrew Pirie was Australia’s first PhD in viticulture and as the founder of Pipers Brook Vineyard back in 1974, he is one of the legends of the Tasmanian wine industry. His Tamar Ridge Chardonnnay 2004 was an absolutely stunning example of  Tasmania’s potential to make chardonnay with enough balance and structure to age for a long time.

Pirie explained that Tasmanian chardonnay needs time to evolve. Over time the … Read the rest

Oct 10 2011

A Long Weekend Discovering the Wines and Food of Orange: Day 1

Posted on October 10, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

I’ve just returned from a truly memorable weekend in Orange. Organised by the Wine & Food Society of NSW, the trip was months in the planning. Fortunately the Society’s Cellar Master is a good friend of Peter Bourne (The Wine Man), who now calls Orange home. Peter generously shared his insights into the best restaurants and wines and organised for us to meet a number of stellar winemakers.

Friday night’s dinner was at Shaun and Willa Arantz’s Racine Restaurant in the beautiful La Colline vineyard. This SMH Good Food Guide one chef hatted restaurant is well loved by Orange locals for its innovative food with a focus on locally sourced produce.

After enjoying La Colline’s NV Sparkling of Orange on the terrace we sat down to an entree of poached fresh water trout with apple jelly, boudin noir crumbs and yoghurt. The entree was matched with a fine selection of wines by Belgravia Wines: Gewürztraminer 2009, Apex Orange Chardonnay 2009, Sangiovese 2009 and Shiraz 2009. Proof, in any was needed, that Orange is about so much more than sauvignon blanc!

The Gewürztraminer was the hit at our table. Deliciously aromatic, it had wonderful flavours of lychee, spice and ginger.

The Belgravia range is made by Phil Kerney, who also serves as winemaker for Ross Hill. Kerney takes a minimalist approach to winemaking in order to bring to the fore the clean fruit flavours and minerality endowed to the wines by Orange’s cool climate and high altitude vineyards on ancient volcanic soils. The elegant and balanced Apex Orange Chardonnay, for example, is whole bunch pressed and wild yeast fermented in new French oak. Incidentally, James Halliday rated the 2010 vintage 96 points, one of the highest ratings he has given to date for a chardonnay from … Read the rest

Sep 09 2010

What Makes a Great Wine Label?

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

As Dr Vino recently reported, Before the Courts: Cristal ($299) defeats Cristalino ($5.99), 3 August 2010, Louis Roederer, maker of Cristal champagne, recently won its trademark infringement lawsuit against J. Garcia Carrion SA over the misleadingly similar name and labeling of Carrion’s $US5.99 Spanish sparkling Cristalino.

While most wine lovers would concur with the old adage ‘that you can’t judge a book by its cover’, no-one can deny that a distinctive label gives a brand a strong visual identity and is the basis on which many consumers make their decisions. The phenomenal overseas success of Yellow Tail, for example, can be attributed in part to the eye-catching, wallaby on the label.

So what makes a great wine label?

I am struck by how much I liked the Dalwhinnie Moonambel label. (As few years ago I catalogued the wine of a collector who was a big fan of Dalwhinnie, so I handled a lot of them!)  No gold background or cute Australian fauna on this label.  Just elegant black lettering against a plain wine background! Even if I’d known nothing about this celebrated Pyrenees artisanal winery, I would have trusted the quality of the wine based on the quiet sophistication of the label.

But as Peter Bourne observes in his article, Willing  & Label, Qantas The Australian Way, August 2010, with over “2400 Australian wine brands vying for consumer dollars, … those with an eye-catching label are more likely to make a sale. And, assuming the wine is decent (and the majority of Australian wines are) a casual wine buy will become a dedicated consumer, which, after all, is the name of the (label) game.”

A few years ago, Alder Yarrow of Vinography: A Wine Blog wrote a very amusing post about the dangers of being seduced by eye-catching label, … Read the rest