Tuesday, 29 April 2014

From the Tasting Room : Chakana Cabernet Sauvignon

Killer Cabernet Sauvignon & Malbec…if this had Napa Valley on the label, it would sell for $50+” - Robert Parker, tweeting from Chakana - High praise indeed from one of the world's most highly respected wine critics.

Chakana, the producer, is the term given to the Southern Cross constellation of stars by the natives from the Andes highlands. This is a group of stars that will be familiar to anyone who has gone to the Southern Hemisphere and any vexillophiles (a flag enthusiast - the Southern Cross features on a number of flags including Australia and New Zealand).

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Wine and Warfare Part 5 : Warre's War Heroics and How The Barossa Got Its Name

By Rupert Millar

“Black Bob” Craufurd commanding the rearguard
during the retreat to Corunna in 1808
Wellington’s campaigns in Portugal and Spain are perhaps the most celebrated in British military history and the battles fought between 1808 and 1813 took place in vineyard areas and, sometimes, gave their names to them too - though not always in their original form.

In 1807 the French and their Spanish allies invaded Portugal which was stubbornly refusing to abide by Napoleon’s Continental System and continuing to trade with Great Britain; an ally since the Middle Ages.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

From the Tasting Room : Wittmann Fass 68 Riesling

Mention Riesling and everyone already has their preconceived ideas: sickly sweet, tongue-tinglingly dry, cheap, expensive, Australian, German; the list goes on. With the variety available today, none of those are wrong; it also shows there is a Riesling out there, somewhere, for everyone, due to the sheer range on offer.

Today's Riesling however, the Wittmann Fass 68 Riesling, is a German wine with a pedigree stretching back as far as 1663 in the southern Rheinhessen. The family's

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

From the Tasting Room : Malbrontes

All of us are big fans of Malbec and Torrontés separately so the two of them together was a prospect we couldn't refuse.

Red and white blends are not uncommon in this world. The French started it with Côte-Rôtie blends of Shiraz/Syrah and Viognier and most rosé Champagne (and pretty much any champagne that isn't Blanc de Blancs or Blanc de Noirs) is a blend of red and white grapes. The reason for talking about the blending of red and white grapes together is to show that it's not some New World "flash in the plan" idea; it is a time-honoured, highly traditional style of winemaking. So, step up Malbrontes from famed winemaker Maurico Lorca.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Top 5 Wine Regions to Visit : #2 - The Gastronomic Heaven of Piedmont

Italy has been attracting food and wine lovers for centuries but most are drawn to the famous vineyards of Tuscany or those around the cities of Verona and Venice. Surprisingly few make it to the hilly vineyards of Piedmont and that is part of its charm.

Why visit?
Tuscany may have luxury wine hotels (Banfi, Vicchiomaggio and Fonterutoli all offer top-notch accommodation) and

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

From the Tasting Room : Averys Fine White Burgundy 2011

Here we've got one of (our many) own-label wines to review. We're very proud of the company's pioneering history that involves going to the far-flung reaches of the globe to source new wines but we mustn't forget those from our French neighbours.

Blended by Nicolas Potel in Burgundy, the juice from this wine is sourced from among the best properties that Nicolas could get his hands on. So, with the quality of the grapes, carefully vinified and blended by one of Burgundy's best, you know it has to be good!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Wine and Warfare Part 4 : The Art of Sabrage and the Gay Hussars

By Rupert Millar

“Vive l’Empereur!” 
The charge of the 4th Hussars at the Battle of Friedland in 1807
The issue of sabrage, that is to say using a sabre or sword to open a bottle of Champagne, is a little contentious. There are some who see it as brash exhibitionism, others as a waste of good wine, still more who think it just a bit of fun. Those who do are usually aware that they are recreating the acts of Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops but do they know which soldiers in particular or why?

The Napoleonic Wars of the late 18th and early 19th centuries was the golden age of the military tailor. By far the best, and the most outlandishly grandiose uniforms, were those of the cavalry – and in particular the hussars.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

From the Tasting Room : Casa Silva Chardonnay Semillon

As they very proudly state on the label, Casa Silva is the Most Awarded Winery of the Century! Now, while we may only be 13 years and 4 months into it, that is still a very impressive feat. Mario Pablo Silva (a fifth generation Silva) and the team work tirelessly across their family vineyards to produce an incredible quality of product be it their more "entry  level" wines right through to their flagship brands.