Review: Shiraz Yum Cha Lunch, Sept. 13th

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review shiraz yum cha

Patrick Miller of Beauperi Industries once again gave a enthusiastic review of a recent Wine Tasting Event, namely the Shiraz Yum Cha lunch at David’s Restaurant on September 13th. Patrick wrote:

“…it was very good with lots of food and wine…(and) successful as Martin sold a lot of wine that day.”

Thanks again for the kinds words, Patrick!

review shiraz yum cha

2009 Bress “Gold Chook” Heathcote Shiraz

It had been a number of years since I visited Bress winery in Harcourt, Victoria and met the winemaker Adam Marks.  He was kind enough to show me around the winery and we did some barrel tastings and he gave me some wine to take home.
Today I decided to open one of those wines which is the 2009 Bress “Gold Chook” Heathcote Shiraz.
After allowing the wine to breathe in my Riedel Sommelier Bordeaux Grand Cru wine glass, the nose displays lovely plum, vanilla, oak and black fruit characters.
The nose flows onto the palate which is very well rounded and a nice hit of spice. I particularly enjoy the long finish of this wine as it hangs on. This is a smooth yet powerful wine and thoroughly enjoyed.

2009 Bress "Gold Chook" Heathcote Shiraz

Review: Shiraz Yum Cha Lunch, Sept. 13th

, ,

review shiraz yum cha

Patrick Miller of Beauperi Industries once again gave a enthusiastic review of a recent Wine Tasting Event, namely the Shiraz Yum Cha lunch at David’s Restaurant on September 13th. Patrick wrote:

“…it was very good with lots of food and wine…(and) successful as Martin sold a lot of wine that day.”

Thanks again for the kinds words, Patrick!

review shiraz yum cha

2010 Cullen “Diana Madeline” Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Cullen “Diana Madeline” Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Cullen “Diana Madeline” Cabernet Sauvignon is from the Margaret River in Western Australia; it was reviewed by 25 people at Lamaro’s Restaurant in South Melbourne, at The Australia vs USA Wine Dinner showdown on Friday May 3, 2013.

2010 Cullen “Diana Madeline” Cabernet Sauvignon  scored an average of 7.92.

Here are some of the comments:

  • “Has a lovely bite & aftertaste”
  • “Lots of fruit”
  • “Outstanding”
  • “Exquisite drop”
  • “A light bouquet, and a light wine”
  • “Dry & beautiful”
  • “Smooth finish”

2010 Cullen “Diana Madeline” Cabernet Sauvignon has the following notes:

Colour – Delicate crimson and garnet ruby.

Bouquet – The plum, mulberry and blackcurrant aromas cascade out of the glass bringing high notes of rose and violet. Savoury ironstone and tobacco complete the classic aroma profile of the Diana Madeline.

Palate – Fine grained tannin with uplifting and sustained fruit notes. Red fruit and plum flavours connect with the ironstone minerality, providing backbone and structure. This medium bodied elegance is deceptive as the depth and length on the palate are profound.

Cellaring – Drink now and up to 40 years.

Food – Root vegetables (especially beetroot), lamb and beef.

2012 Willow Bridge Gravel Pit Estate Shiraz

gravel pit

I am constantly on the look out for the ultimate “WOW” Wine.

What I mean by this is when your nose tells you that you are about to embark on a journey and tour taste buds are about to have a party.

Well, ladies & gentlemen, I have found a “WOW” wine, and it is the 2012 Willow Bridge Estate Gravel Pit Shiraz.

I tried this wine with 2 other friends of mine who likewise don’t mind a glass of wine on a regular basis. They too were extremely impressed with this wine.

It really exceeded our expectations (and I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover), but when I looked at the label I thought it was going to be a “JAW” (just another wine).

Well, we were wrong, and my mouth wouldn’t stop drooling whilst I was drinking this moreish wine.

I love it, and it is an exceptional shiraz from Geographe Bay in Western Australia.

13.6% ALC/VOL

100% Shiraz.

Deep purple appearance

It has a serious nose of roasted meats, black pepper, dark plum, dark chocolate, young polished leather.

The palate has lots of pepper and ‘dark’ spice / roasted meats to start. It’s not too thick and heavy but has plenty of fine tannins through the palate, which seem to accompany roasted nut flavours also. Dark cherry and plum fruits come through also, especially with more time/air.

2011 Rieslingfreak No 3


2011 Rieslingfreak No 3 was judged by 30 people at Acqua E Vino in Yarraville on Wednesday April 10 2013.

2011 Rieslingfreak No 3 scored an average of 7.94

Here are some of the comments:

“Nice acid & fruit, Balanced & clean”

“Beautiful riesling”

“I really like this wine. Clean line of acid down the tongue”

“Dry, good acid structure, cellar for 5-6 years”

MasterChef contestant and winemaker John Hughes captured the hearts and minds of Australia with his honest, top quality cooking along side his now famous gutsy decision to not serve the judges a dish he wasn’t happy with.

John suffers from a condition known as cerbral palsy, which slightly slows down his movement.

Thankfully winemaking requires time and patience, something John has plenty of, so why not allow him the opportunity to recapture your heart, mind an imagination with one of his fine expressions of Clare Valley Riesling?

John makes his Rieslings the same as he does food – serious. Rieslingfreak is all about excitement and passion; John Hughes only releases vintages where the style can be perfected, hence 2011 Rieslingfreak No.3 is a Top Australian Wine.

The 2011 Rieslingfreak wines were sourced from the family vineyard, situated in the sub region of White Hut, in the Clare Valley.

The grapes were harvested early in the season, resulting in a lower alcohol (11.5%ALC/VOL) than previous vintages, but encompassing the depth of flavour for which the hallmark of the Rieslingfreak wines.

Colour: pale straw with green hues.

Nose: Ripe lemon and grapefruit, with hints of melon and floral aromas.

Palate: Ripe lemon and limes, with some melon and tropical notes.

The wine is fruit driven, tangy, with some pineapple notes. A good fresh crispy style, which drinks well now, or will reward with a number of years cellaring.

2011 By Farr Chardonnay

2011 By Farr Chardonnay is from Bannockburn in VIC. It was judged by 25 people at Lamaro’s in South Melbourne on Friday May 3, 2013.

By Farr Chardonnay

2011 By Farr Chardonnay scored an average of 7.61

Here are some of the comments:

“Leaves nice aftertaste. A bit going on but pleasant. Nice with cheese”

“Very nice”

“Very smooth”

“light on the palate, very refreshing”

“Lots of character”

“I love wood!! Drink with food”

The By Farr Chardonnay from 2011 is a very fine example of a producer that doesn’t alter their style but allows vintage variation.

“We are very happy with this wine off the back of the 2010 release.

We pressed this fruit very lightly to only extract the finest juice (550 litres per ton rather than 675 litres in a normal vintage) because of the delicate vintage that we experienced.

A little foot stomping was done to the fruit prior to pressing to help extract more phenolics due to the lighter pressing.

There is a more focused acidity line through this wine but still has the sites mineral and complex palate.

The barrel fermented and 100% malo flavours of this wine still show the Farr house style of understated richness even though from an extremely cool vintage” – Nick Farr

Bendigo wine-off (Clash of the Titans)

1993 Henschke Hill of Grace (Barossa) vs 1997 Andraos Bros Grandfather’s Reserve Shiraz (Sunbury), at Whirrakee Restaurant Bendigo, Saturday July 28 2013

Last Saturday I caught up with an old friend I have not seen for about 4 years, who is now Regional General Manager & Director Projects (South West Asia) for IHG Hotels.

A special catch up between close friends means dinner at the best restaurant in Bendigo, with some special wines; since we have always between competitive, we decided to make this a wine-off.

He brought the Henschke Hill of Grace and I brought the Andraos Bros Grandfather’s Reserve Shiraz.

Both wines were decanted for about 30 minutes, but I asked for a small amount of each wine in a tasting glass beforehand.

I have to admit from the initial nose the Henschke was much better and my friend also agreed.

As we let the wines decanter we had between myself, my friend and his wife a bottle of 2009 Howard Park Chardonnay. A very crisp and fresh chardonnay with the right amount of acid, not over oaked with tropical and melon flavours which went well with the parsnip and prawn bisque.

Now for the wine-off:

Clash of The Titans.

1993 Henschke Hill of Grace vs 1997 Andraos Bros Grandfather’s Reserve Shiraz

The winner was the 1997 Andraos Bros Grandfather’s Reserve Shiraz

wine off

We ordered a mix of entrees comprising of Goats Cheese, Hare and Duck and we tried the Henschke Hill of Grace.

The nose was totally different. It did not have that initial exciting nose that we experienced. The nose had oak, berries but not much else. The palate had the same but the fruit was a little flat and the finish was quite short. Mind you the cork did fall apart when it was opened so I could see that cork taint was the result. As we kept drinking the wine my friend’s wife said it started to smell vinegary and we knew we had better drink this wine fast.

Before the first pour we asked the restaurant manager and the chef of the restaurant to try the wine and we all rated it out of 10.

Average score of 7.86.

I was disappointed as I know had amazing Henshke is and this wine did not reflect that.

Next with out Black Angus Beef was the 1997 Andraos Bros Grandfather’s Reserve Shiraz.

The nose and palate had oak, cherries, it was ripe, vibrant, depth, cloves, chinese herbs, compote, white pepper.

We were all very impressed with this wine.

It was well balanced with a long and spicy finish.

My friend commented on what a well made wine it was.

Average score from all 5 of us was 8.94.

This same wine also beat a 1996 Chris Ringland “3 Rivers” shiraz 2 years at France Soir Restaurant at the last wine-off I had and we let the Head Sommelier at the time be the judge.

Andraos Bros Grandfather’s Reserve Shiraz is an exceptional wine, and I have never found anything that has been better.

Australia vs USA Wine Dinner Showdown at Lamaro’s, South Melbourne, Friday May 3 2013


The Australia vs USA wine showdown ended in a draw with three rounds each.

Here are the results:

2012 Peel Estate Rose (AUS) – 7.71
2011 Cypress Vineyard White Zinfandel (USA) – 7.61
Australia won

2011 By Farr Chardonnay (AUS) – 7.61
2010 Benovia Chardonnay (USA) – 7.83
USA won

2009 The Lakehouse Reserve Pinot Noir (AUS) – 7.71
2010 Valley of The Moon Sonoma Carneros Pinot Noir (USA) – 7.73
USA won

2010 Cullen Diana Madeline Cab Sav (AUS) – 7.92
2009 La Jota Howell Mountain Cab Sav (USA) – 8.27
USA won

2009 First Drop Ebenezer Fat of The Land Shiraz (AUS) – 8.42
2009 Scott Harvey Reserve Syrah (USA) – 7.80
Australia won

2007 David Franz Pirate Strength Shiraz (AUS) – 8.14
2009 Landmark Steel Plow Syrah (USA) – 7.69
Australia won

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Wrap Up

Upon arrival, guests were treated with a 2005 Peregrine Ridge Winemaker’s Reserve sparkling shiraz from Heathcote, a sole Aussie expression to begin. A 2005 vintage, this wine is exemplary and intense in every way, and certainly preceded a great range of wines. A wine of pure intensity, ripe choc berry flavours, leathery development, lovely oak integration and the piercing line of fizz driving through the palate. The length was long and lasting and really highlighted how good Heathcote is for shiraz, and the purity of regional expression over time.

So that guests were aware of the comparisons of the USA wine industry, some general facts of production and population were outlined. Importantly an underlying fact was shown that in Australia, we receive (approx.) less than 20000 cases of USA into the Australian market, of which the total population of Australia is about 60% of the population of the state of California.


Here is where the competition began. Peel Estate Rose vs Cypress Vineyard White Zinfandel.  The group of tasters really hit the ground running and the eventual split was a 60% preference to the white zin.  The feedback suggested the lightness and hint of zing was perfect and a great balance to the fruit spectrum, certainly not sweet, but fruit presence finishing dry and clean.


This bracket was won by the USA (70%).  Interestingly, the tasting group really loved the intense chardonnay flavours and presence of oak.  The Benovia Chardonnay certainly became a highlight of the night.  Comments likened this wine to how chardonnay used to be, and clearly there is still interest in wines like this.  By comparison, the By Farr Chardonnay was pure and exciting, although the consideration that this wine showed the transformation of Australian chardonnay expressions, with a lovely balance of oak, lees and a strong line of acidity, with a hint of Chablis-esque finish to the palate.

Pinot Noir

This bracket suggested no winner.  The group liked both wines and had issues separating them for a winner.  The Valley of the Moon certainly had nuances of regional-ness akin to the Yarra Valley and fruit core likened to Central Otago. A forward style with good fruit and oak presence and soft integrated tannins.  In all an easy style of Pinot that is very consumer friendly.  The Lakehouse reserve Pinot showed well and typical of Denmark Pinot.  Lovely fruit and winemaking with an unusual use of American oak, certainly not typical. A full flavoured mouth feel and a wine that certainly received good feedback, and views that both wines in this bracket were hard to separate.

Cabernet Sauvignon

The group’s feedback was energetic and enthusiastic, and this bracket presented two great wines and worthy of comparison. In terms of a result, it was USA all the way with 90% consensus in the group.  The ability to see a quality Napa Valley Cabernet side by side with one of Australia’s benchmark cabernets was a privilege.  The LaJota was varietal, intense and tannic.  A huge statured wine in everyway. Cullen Diana Madeline is a wine that presented brilliantly and intense.  Although the group preferred the USA Cab, it was a close call, with both wines varietal and well made, although some comments suggested that a repeat of this tasting with the wines at 5-10 years of age would certainly be comparable.


In terms of turnaround, the group came to the party for Australia with both Shiraz brackets. The USA wine industry hangs its hat on Cabernet, then by virtue, Australia will reciprocate with Shiraz. The strength and intensity of the Aussie Shiraz presented, both wines romped all over the USA wines. The USA wines were stylish and elegant and well made. In the showdown, the USA wines were trumped by mere power and pure varietal intensity of great expressions of Barossa Valley Shiraz.

  • Bracket 1 of Shiraz: 90% Aussie, (2009 First Drop Ebenezer Fat of The Land Shiraz vs 2009 Scott Harvey Amador County Reserve Syrah)
  • Bracket 2 Shiraz: 80% Aussie (2007 David Franz Alternative View “Pirate Strength” Shiraz vs 2009 Landmark Steel Plow Syrah)

In all these wines were great examples of their varieties.  By comparison, there were some great matches and the food choices were excellent. An aspect worth considering is that the tasting group received the USA wines with openness and curiosity. Taking this night to the market place certainly shows that the Australian market is ready for more and better examples of USA wines, not those that are currently supported through the large chain outlets. Consumers are clearly becoming curious and accepting of wines from around the world.  Australia as a marketplace receives wines from all over the world, with one exception: the USA.  It is now time to change and start to show USA wines to more people and start the critical mass.

Paul Bishard (Underate Wines)

Rose & Pinot Noir Yum Cha Lunch Session 2


Rose & Pinot Noir Yum Cha Lunch

In Cantonese Chinese, “yum cha” translates to “drink tea”…but you can bet Top Australian Wines has something a lot tastier than tea in mind!

Announcing our second “yum cha” lunch featuring 4 Rose wines and 4 Pinot Noirs.

All the yum cha you wish to eat plus 4 highly acclaimed Rose wines from Australia, Italy and France and 4 bestselling Pinot Noirs from Australia, New Zealand & France. Now that’s YUM!

WHAT: All you can eat yum cha wine lunch

WHEN: Saturday 22nd March, from 1:30PM to 3:30PM

WHERE: David’s Yum Cha, 4 Cecil Place Prahran, Vic.

AVAILABILITY: (All you can eat + 8 wines = reserve today!)



China is all about traditions, and their tradition of afternoons spent drinking tea and enjoying dim sum dishes is one that is difficult to improve upon. That is, until you offer all-you-can-eat dim sum and combine that never-ending meal with 8 delicious wines including Rose wines and Pinot Noirs.

Wine match: With plate after plate of Chinese delicacies, you’ll enjoy 9 total wines of unique blends and harvests — 4 Rose wines from Australia, France & Italy and 4 Pinot Noirs from Australia, France & New Zealand.

Please note: all orders made on the day will go in a draw to win a magnum bottle of the 2012 Paddy Borthwick pinot noir. The winner will be announced at the end of the event.

The wines to be showcased are as follows:

  1. 2012 Chockstone Rose (Grampians, VIC)
  2. 2012 Castel Firmian Lagrein Rosato (Italy)
  3. 2012 The Little Wine Company Sangiovese Rose (Hunter Valley, NSW)
  4. 2012 Sauvion Chemin Des Saules Rose de Loire (France)
  5. 2012 Paddy Borthwick Pinot Noir (Wairarapa, New Zealand)
  6. 2012 Holm Oak Pinot Noir (Tamar, Valley, Tasmania) **96 Points Halliday**
  7. 2012 Nuiton-Beaunoy Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Beaune Pinot Noir (France)
  8. 2012 Diemersfontein Pinotage (South Africa)

Welcome to China! To begin your tour, we offer exceptional starters paired with remarkable Rose and Pinot Noir wines:

Edamame: green soy beans

Green ‘n’ Red: green soy beans, bok choy and chilli

Spiced oolong tea quail eggs with bean curd and wolfberries

Chicken san choi bao

Peking duck wraps


These Shanghai parcels will leave your mouth watering. Savory meats and veggies in a delicate and tasty pouch — keep your chopsticks in one hand and your glass of wine in the other!

Steamed pork dumplings

Pan fried dumplings

Chilli pork dumplings

Steamed veggie dumplings

Golden parcel dumplings with minced chicken and Asian herbs

Pork & prawn shu mai

Green prawn and bamboo dumplings

Prawn and chopped chive dumplings

Seafood dumplings with scallop crown

Roast duck dumplings

BBQ pork buns


Flavour-infused seafood, meats, and vegetables, cooked to perfection at high temperatures — every bite will meld perfectly with our Rose and Pinot Noir wines:

Battered salt and pepper calamari

Shredded lamb with chilli, garlic and spring onion

Sweet chunky eggplant, sliced chilli and spring onion

Chinese broccoli

From savoury to sweet, these meal enders will pair perfectly with our sweeter wines:

Banana street fritters

Traditional Chinese almond pudding

Soft centred white chocolate dumplings with peanut and coconut praline

Milk chocolate sesame balls

Custard buns

When was the last time you enjoyed all the amazing Chinese cuisine you wish to eat, paired with extraordinary wines? Now is your chance! Reserve your seat today for this Saturday lunch you will never forget!