Thursday, 24 March 2016 03:47

Easter wines: The Wine Pig's hot picks

The lamb is in the oven, the Easter egg hunt has been set up, and now onto the most important part of the day: what to drink.

To help you on your way, The Wine Pig has put together a list of wines which should be gracing your dinner table this Easter weekend.

THE BUBBLES

Mayfield Vineyard, Orange – 2009 Pinot Noir Chardonnay sparkling
We should all start off the Easter weekend with a glass of bubbles.

And this one is up there with the best.

It has a soft berry-ish taste, which probably explains the slight pink-orange tinge. YUM. It’s a wonder they have any stock left!

Petersons House, Hunter Valley – pink blush rose
If pink is more your flavour, look no further than the Petersons Blush.

The soft bubbles and pale pink colour, combined with the slightly sweet but very fresh finish makes this wine a perfect pre-dinner celebration drink to share with friends, if you are feeling generous enough to share that is.

LOWE Wines, Mudgee – ‘Bobby Lowe’ organic sparkling merlot
For something a little different, definitely look for a great deep red sparkling to compliment all that lamb.

This is a perfect smooth and earthy sparkling red wine, also with the added benefit of being organic.

LOWE has made sure the wine has a low sugar level, meaning it’s really quite dry and fruity and lovers of ‘big’ reds will be excited to have a red sparkling with a bit more umpf.

THE WINES

Voyager Estate, Margaret River – 2014 Chenin Blanc

We all know lamb is the Easter dish of choice, so for those who aren’t ready to tackle a rich and bold red wine, a great Chenin Blanc should be on your list.

Voyager Estate have done a great job with this very easy drinking, early Chenin Blanc.

It’s got all the succulent and juicy tropical flavours with a hint of great sweetness while also being a fine full bodied white wine which is robust enough to stand up against all that meat.

Mount Pleasant, Hunter Valley – Singing in the Rain Rose

Picked early, specifically to make a rose, rather than using the juice that has been run off reds as an afterthought gives this wine a lot of its character. The Shiraz-based wine is pale salmon pink in colour has earthy and slightly floral undertones but with a powerfully juicy red berry finish. Perfect to enjoy with your Easter seafood entrée.

Two Hands, Barossa – Gnarly Dudes 2013 Shiraz
For those looking for something a little more traditional to go with your Easter feast, definitely keep an eye out for this Two Hands wine.

This bold wine has a lovely medium but rich density and weight, which is full of flavour with ripe with berries, chocolate notes and a hint of smokiness.

This spiciness of this wine makes it worryingly and perfectly quaffable meaning we just can’t get enough of it in our mouths at once! Oink oink.

THE DESERTS

Pieter Van Gent, Mudgee – White Port

The original white port made in NSW’s Mudgee region, by the wonderful Pieter Van Gent, is smooth, silky and luscious with tinges of nectar notes. It is a fantastic accompaniment to your Easter chocolate desert feast, or simply with a hot cross bun on the side. It’s not too sticky, it’s not too sweet, it’s just right.

Josef Chromy, Tasmania – Ruby Pinot NV (Fortified)

If you’re looking to enjoy your Easter eggs with a more traditional style of port, then Josef Chromy’s Ruby Pinot is a great place to head to. It screams rich fruit cake with ripe and juicy dark cherry and plums. It’s silky, it’s vibrant and it’s delicious. Make sure to pour yourself a generous portion!

 Petersons, Mudgee – Cellar Port NV

If something a little heavier is more to your taste, Petersons of Mudgee make a spectacular Tawny Port which can really truly be described as Christmas in a glass. Ok, so we’re nine months out from the silly season, but you can’t have Easter without an amazing port, and you wouldn’t find The Wine Pig’s dinner table without a bottle, and healthy glass, of this one. Heaven in a bottle.

Thursday, 10 March 2016 18:00

Yarra Valley highlights

Just north-east of Melbourne, Yarra Valley is one of Australia’s most well-known cold-climate wine regions. Famous for it’s Chardonnay, sparkling wine and Pinot Noir, its proximity means many high profile wineries have made it an important destination for Aussie wine lovers.

So The Wine Pig (and a couple of willing fellow wine lovers) scheduled in a day visit to some of the many cellar doors the Yarra Valley wine region to find out more about what the area has to offer.

Here were our highlights.

 

TARRAWARA WINERY

TarraWarra Estate is at the heart of the Yarra Valley, just an hour from Melbourne. The modern and architect-designed cellar door overlooks the heritage block of Pinot Noir vines and over the valley. Do a tasting then make sure you grab a glass of your favorite and sit out on the big bean bags on the lawn and enjoy the view. Picturesque and beautiful!

Piggy highlights

2015 Pinot Noir Rose: A very light and elegant Pinot Noir Rose with punches of fresh strawberry mixed in with some fresh acidity and a tight handle on any sweetness which is sometimes overwhelming. A perfect warm weather wine to tickle your palate.

2013 Reserve Chardonnay: Obviously, being in the Yarra Valley, you don’t have to go far before bumping into a delicious Chardonnay. Creamy, buttery and fantastically smooth, this Chardonnay mixes its hints of oak with beautiful stone fruit aromas.

  

PUNT ROAD WINERY

This Yarra Valley winery was named after the famous Melbourne inner city thoroughfare that joins the northern suburbs to the south. Today, the cute and homely cellar door sits in a charming garden setting with the opportunity to buy a bottle and sit back and cook a BBQ on the grounds. Like a big warm hug, you could easily go back time and time again and never get tired of visiting and tasting.

Piggy highlights

2011 sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay: It’s so appropriate to come across an excellent sparkling wine in such a beautiful setting. Punt Road’s Pinot Noir Chardonnay sparkling is wonderfully elegant with delicate tiny beads which give a fresh zesty finish. A perfect celebration wine.

2014 Chemin Chardonnay: This is up there as one of our favorite Chardonnays from the region. A perfect example of a cold climate version of a beautiful wine. The Wine Pig just can’t get enough of the buttery, creamy texture which is perfectly balanced with some light acidity and a hint of zing.

 

ZONZO ESTATE

The winery is in the middle of its rebranding from Train Trak to Zonzo Estate, and while the new crops are yet to come to fruition, The Wine Pig was lucky enough to pop along in time to sample the best of the rest. The cellar door is currently in a large barn, sitting opposite the very popular Zonzo Estate restaurant and looking out over the valley hills. A fantastic spot to grab some great wine and refuel with some lunch before continuing on your wine journey!

Piggy highlights

Train Trak 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon: A standout from the soon-to-be halted Train Trak range. The medium-bodied wine is very deep crimson in colour and is packed full to the brim with deep juicy berry flavours which are balanced on an elegant and silky finish with fine grained tannins. It is exceptional and we’re excited to see, and taste, how Zonzo Estate’s new offerings compare.

Nothing quite says ‘Valentines Day’ like some Australian pink bubbly.

Whether it’s a relaxed evening in, or you’re off out to treat yourself, on your own, with friends or with a loved one, a glass (or bottle) of a great sparkling Rosé wine always adds that little extra sprinkle of romance which makes this day extra special.

If the pink bubbly deliciousness isn’t enough to tempt your taste buds, it has the added bonus of pairing perfectly with both fish and deliciously devilish rich and chocolaty deserts!

Here are our five favourite pink Aussie bubbles for this year’s Valentines Day.

Flamingo Sparkling Moscato Rosé

 

From South Australia’s Eden Valley region, this wonderfully balanced Moscato is fresh, fragrant and fruity which is qwirky and light enough to enjoy either on its own, over crushed ice or in a cocktail. Perfection in a fantastically decorated bottle. And absolute perfection celebrating this day of romance on a warm summer night. So so refreshing and a delight to drink.

Peterson’s House Pink Blush Sparkling

Fantastically light and incredibly pale pink in colour, Peterson’s has hit the pink bubbly nail on the head with their iconic blush sparkling wine. Grown in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley region, their version of the pink bubbly deliciousness is fruity but incredibly fresh with a hint of sweetness, making it perfect for a pre-dinner drink.

Jansz Brut Rosé

A non-vintage sparkling Rosé from Northern Tasmania, this wine is beautifully light in colour with a hit of strawberries and summer berries but finishes soft, silky and creamy – perfect for enjoying in the summer sunshine, perfect for sharing with a special someone, and very importantly, perfect with a huge platter of chocolate dipped strawberries.

 

Chandon Vintage Brut Rosé

A hallmark from the House of Chandon in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, this savory and salmon-coloured Vintage Brut Rosé is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay which gives it a fabulously full favour without overwhelming the delicate strawberry notes and creamy finish. The added hint of spiced nuttiness is an extra little delight. Delicious!

House of Arras Rosé

If you’re after something a little more special, look no further than this Northern Tasmanian Pinot Noir Chardonnay blend from the iconic House of Arras. It’s light salmon pink in colour, sophisticated and powerfully rich while still retaining the crisp edge, light strawberry notes and well balanced acidy of a fantastic Rosé. Some people even call it the best Australian Rosé ever made – and you’d find it hard to argue with that!

Tuesday, 08 December 2015 08:30

12 wines of Christmas

While we're all celebrating the festive seasons, The Wine Pig would like to introduce it's top 12 wines of Christmas! Enjoy!

1st wine of Christmas - 2010 Maluna Block Shiraz by Eagles Rest

The Wine Pig's 12 wines of Christmas begins! Day 1: the 1st wine of Christmas is a gorgeous 2010 Maluna Block Shiraz by Eagles Rest in the Hunter Valley. Medium bodied yet intense, with fantastically powerful deep cherry and chocolate notes. A perfect start for this year's Christmas season!! 

 

2nd wine of Christmas - 2013 High Eden Chardonnay by Mount Adam Vineyards

The Wine Pig's 2nd wine of Christmas is a wonderful 2013 High Eden Chardonnay by Mount Adam Vineyards in Eden Valley, South Australia. An amazingly deep flavoured wine with fantastic body. Packed full of stonefruit notes with an additional hint of nuttyness. A wonderful elegant Chardonnay! Thank you Mount Adam! 

 

3rd wine of Christmas - 2013 Ernest Allan Shiraz by Gemtree Vineyards

And... the 3rd wine of Christmas is a 2013 Ernest Allan Shiraz from Gemtree Vineyards in McLaren Vale, SA. It's everything you want in a great Shiraz - punchy, fragrant, medium bodied and delicious but with an amazingly silky finish. And if it could get any better... all Gemtree's wines are organic AND biodynamic! It's true, this wine is literally ernest! 

 

4th wine of Christmas - 2014 Eight Acres Semillion by Mount Pleasant Vineyards

The Wine Pig's 4th wine of Christmas comes from Mount Pleasant Vineyards in Hunter Valley, NSW. Wow, this 2014 Eight Acres Semillion is stunning! Its floral notes are perfectly balanced with critrus and even a little hint of lemongrass has been included. A great choice of wine for a warm Australian Christmas evening. 

 

5th wine of Christmas - 2013 Pinot Noir by Toolangi Wines

For the 5th wine of Christmas we're taking a trip to Toolangi in Victoria's Yarra Valley. The medium bodied 2013 Pinot Noir had an excellent colour and is generously fruity but so soft. An excellent example of a great cool-climate pinot noir and a simply perfect addition to the Christmas table. 

 

6th wine of Christmas - 2015 Pinot Grigio by Lou Miranda Estate

The Wine Pig's 6th wine of Christmas is a 2015 Pinot Grigio from Lou Miranda Estate in the Barossa Valley, SA. A wonderfully fresh and vibrant wine with lovely green apple acidity and a slight floral note. An incredibly refreshing wine, perfect for a warm evening. Fantastic work Lou Miranda Estate!! 

 

7th wine of Christmas - 2013 Lofty Range Chardonnay by De Salis

The 7th wine of Christmas is an absolute beauty of a wine.De Salis's 2013 Lofty Range Chardonnay sits right at home in The Wine Pig's top 12 wines for this Christmas season. Located on the edge of Mt Canobolas in Orange, NSW, the cool climate helps create a perfect full bodied wine. In keeping with the De Salis style, this Chardonnay is complex, big flavoured and rich but also fantastically balanced. It truly needs to be tasted to be believed! 

 

8th wine of Christmas - Sparkling Durif-Zinfandel by Petersons

And for the 8th wine of Christmas The Wine Pig couldn't help but crack open a wonderful bottle sparkling Durif-Zinfandel from Petersons, NSW. Inky black with fine little bubbles and a hit of rich dark berries with savory spice and hints of dark chocolate. A fantastic wine for when you're looking for something a little bit different when celebrating this Christmas! And as Petersons say themselves... "life is flat without bubbles"! 

 

9th wine of Christmas - Old Tawny Liqueur by Patina Wines

The 9th wine of Christmas is a spectacular Old Tawny Liqueur from Patina Wines in Orange, NSW. The amazing blend has had many years of aging in small oak barrels and the outcome is fantastic. A wonderfully fruity and complex post-Christmas dinner wine which is offset by lucious nutty and sweet toffee notes. No Christmas would be complete without it! Great work Patina Wines!! 

10th wine of Christmas - 2014 Shiraz Viognier by Clonakilla

The Wine Pig's 10th wine of Christmas is from the wonderful Clonakilla! This stunning 2014 Shiraz Viognier is to die for. This wine is simply breathtaking! Made straight from Clonakilla’s best Shiraz Viognier grapes, all of which are sourced on the site, its wonderfully smooth, balanced perfectly between grace and power. It’s Clonakilla’s iconic wine, and one it should be proud of! 

11th wine of Christmas - 2011 late harvest Golden Triangle Semillion by Mudgee Wines

The Wine Pig's 11th wine of Christmas is a 2011 late harvest Golden Triangle Semillion from Mudgee Wines, NSW. a wonderful desert wine which is golden honey in colour and has full torpical mango and pinapple notes with a hint of oakiness. Incredibly smooth and incredibly wonderful. Hello Christmas!!!! 

12th wine of Christmas - 2013 Pinot Gris by Lake George Winery

The Wine Pig's 12 wines of Christmas ends with a 2013 Pinot Gris by Lake George Winery, Canberra. This wine is deliciously rich with wonderfully strong pear and tropical fruit notes balanced with just the right amount of acidity. An absolute delight to drink! Merry Christmas!!!

This isn’t a question often pondered in The Wine Pig household, because it’s rare we find ourselves in the position where we have an open bottle of wine which isn’t empty. But occasionally we get carried away – usually when we have friends or family over – waking up the next morning with sore head and a scattering of half-drunk bottles around the apartment.

I’m sure nearly all wine-drinkers have been in the awful situation where we’ve sat down to drink a glass of our favourite vino only to take a sip tasting something similar to sour plums or vinegar.

This usually opens up a debate – how long can the bottle stay opened before the wine goes off? God forbid we would have to throw any of our precious fermented grape goodness away!

Annoyingly, the answer seems to be dependent on the type of wine, temperature, conditions of storage, whether it has a cork or is screw top, and also whether the wine has been decanted or not (we do this often). The general consensus seems to be 1-3 days but I personally feel that wine begins to deteriorate after 24 hours. And the worst case scenario? An amazing cooking wine.

Sparkling wine
An opened bottle of sparkling wine can last for up to 24 hours if it has the right champagne stopper – no, putting a silver spoon handle in the bottle opening does not make the bubbles last longer. The moment you take that cork out the carbonation is released and it will begin to go flat, so take my advice and drink the bottle.

White wine
In our experience, lighter more acidic white wines tend to last around 2 days, and the deeper more oaky chardonnay-esk wines a little longer, although the taste does alter. Once opened make sure it is sealed tightly and refrigerated (not in the door where the temperature is temperamental).

Red wine
Similarly to white wine, the deeper heavier wines tend to last a little longer than the lighter ones. As for something like a pinot noir, it’s unlikely to last longer than 24 hours assuming it is stored correctly in a dark cool place.

I’m not convinced that refrigerating red wine after opening slows down the process, partly because my fridge does not count as a ‘dark’ place when I’m opening it every five minutes looking for treats, and also because the extra time it then needs to get back up to room temperature. Feedback on this topic is welcome!

Fortified wine
We ask this question of most the winemakers we meet, and are answered with anything between 24 hours and 6 months. Generally, as we understand it, our much loved fortified wine and port can happily last refrigerated up to a month due to the high amount of sugar involved. However I’ve also heard that the longer the bottle has been stored the shorter it lives once opened. Best crack open that bottle of 1985 port at the weekend then!

The bubbles – It’s the place where every cellar door tasting experience starts and these are always the first of our collection to be drunk. I also find it is a great ‘starter’ when I’m stuck in limbo land between my decision to go for white or red wine, because it’s neither and both at the same time. We can drink it on its own, with food, as a celebration or commiseration, or just because it’s humpday – or wine Wednesday as we call it.

1.
Mayfield Vineyard, Orange – 2009 Pinot Noir Chardonnay sparkling
Best Australian sparkling I’ve ever had! I am a huge fan of French champagne but I’ve found that Australia’s counterpart can be very hit and miss. So imagine my relief when we stumbled across this wine, and it’s completely affordable. It has a soft berry-ish taste, which probably explains the slight pink-orange tinge. YUM. It’s a wonder they have any stock left!

2.
Petersons House, Hunter Valley – pink blush rose
Petersons’ really outdid itself with this fantastic sparkling blush rose. This isn’t usually something I would pick to drink but the soft bubbles and pale pink colour, combined with the slightly sweet but very fresh finish makes this wine a perfect pre-dinner celebration drink to share with friends, if you are feeling generous enough to share that is.

3.
LOWE Wines, Mudgee – ‘Bobby Lowe’ organic sparkling merlot
This is a perfect smooth and earthy sparkling red wine, also with the added benefit of being organic. LOWE has made sure the wine has a low sugar level, meaning it’s really quite dry and fruity. It’s probably a bit of an acquired taste but personally, as a drinker of ‘big’ reds it’s pleasing to find a red sparkling with a bit more umpf. Plus, and while it obviously doesn’t affect the wine itself, the cellar door is gorgeous and the label is really cool!

4.
Primo Estate, Mclaren Vale – primo secco NV sparkling
This sparkling is bow to Italy. Combining chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and Riesling, premi secco’s bubbles are deliciously light and fruity without the sweetness or bizarre chemically taste that some sparkling wines seem to have. It is super easy drinking for all occasions.

5.
Robert Stein Winery & Vineyard, Mudgee – NV sparkling shiraz
Another fantastic sparkling red, this time not quite so dry, but with a earthy spicy smell and taste. This would be great either in front of the fire on its own, or with a yummy Sunday roast dinner. More please!

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