January 23, 2009

The Red Herring Restaurant

Food 3.75/5
Service 2/5
Decor 2.25/5
Bathroom 1/1
X-Factor 0/2
Value 1/2
Total 10/20

December 20, 2008

November 7, 2008

Steak & Broccolini

Rump steak seasoned with mixed pepper medley, sea salt and rosemary, served on a bed of broccolini, topped with field mushrooms sauteed with sparkling brut rose.

September 17, 2008

Premium 4-Course Menu

The Applecross-Fremantle Lodge Dinner

Saturday October 25th

Garlic Bread

Tasmanian Smoked Salmon, Green Leaves, Caper Mayonnaise
Prawn & Avocado Salad
Caesar Salad
Ravioli Filled with Spinach & Ricotta served with a traditional Napoletana Sauce
Fettuccine in a Bacon, Mushroom & Parmesan Cream Sauce
Penne in a Chicken and Saffron Cream Sauce


Chicken Breast stuffed with Pesto served on a saffron Risotto, with a
Sun-dried Tomato Cream Sauce
Fish of the day, served on Spinach with Potato Mash & a Lemon Butter Sauce
Seared Atlantic Salmon, Caramelized Lemon.
Grilled 300g Sirloin Steak, served with spinach Mash & Red Wine Jus
Roast Vegetable & 3 Cheese Filo Parcel
Garden Salad


Parfait Ice Cream, Pistachio nuts, Berry Coulis
Profiterole au Chocolat
Mango, Apple & Coconut Crumble

Coffee/ Tea

The Applecross-Fremantle Social Event

(Please click on the image to enlarge).

May 8, 2008

Origins, Sheraton Hotel, Perth

Food 4.25/5
Service 4/5
Decor 4.5/5
Bathroom 1/1
X-Factor 0/2
Value 1.25/2
Total 15/20

March 26, 2008

March Dinner Party (Entree)

My latest creation:

Seasoned organic chicken thigh on a fluffy bed of combination mash, garlic butter, olive oil, cherry tomatoes and parsley, topped with a light creamy mushroom and white wine sauce.

December 3, 2007

Glaetzer 'Annaperenna' Shiraz Cabernet 2006

Barossa Valley, 14.5%, $50, cork, 97 pts, Drink 2009-2019.

A big nose, blackberry and dark plum fruits, aniseed, smoke and clove spice.

Equally huge on the palate with deep brooding dark berry fruits, liquorice, tar, espresso and it finishes with an array of exotic lingering spices and finely grained tannins. The palate is dominated by French oak but there is some creamy vanillins coming through as well. Luscious and mouthfilling, excellent fruit concentration without heading into jammy territory, and with magnificent length. The wine can be drunk now with much pleasure, but in my opinion will really start singing with about 24 more months of bottle age and then for ten years from thereafter.

Tasting notes by Mike.

Pepper Steak

December 2, 2007

Happs Semillon 2001

Margaret River, 14.5%, $20, cork, 91 pts, Drink Now.

November 29, 2007

Peter Lehmann 'Eight Songs' Shiraz 2002

Barossa Valley, 14.5%, $40, cork, 93 pts, Drink 2007-2012.

"Deep plum and blackberries, dark chocolate, red earth, dusty pepper and cinnamon and seasoned French oak. A full bodied, very Barossan shiraz which is starting come of age and show real ripeness. Would easily last another 7 years, but I like it how it is now."

Tasting notes by Mike.

Lake Breeze 'Bernoota' Shiraz Cabernet 2003

Langhorne Creek, 14.5%, $20, cork, 91 pts, Drink 2007-2010.

60% Shiraz, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon.

"60% shiraz and 40% cabernet from Langhorne Creek. Full bodied, sumptuous and creamy this wine really fills the mouth. Loads of blackberry fruit, mocha, vanilla and some cabernet eucalypt spice to finish. Another wine that could be drunk over the next 3-5 years but for my tastes it is drinking now."

Tasting notes by Mike.

November 21, 2007

Jaws, WA.

Hay St. Mall
BYO, Bookings not necessary.

Jaws certainly has some of the best sushi in town. As per the photo, the many plates of sushi circle the table on a conveyor belt. The serving size is usually a plate of 2 pieces of sushi that vary from $2.80-5.70 in price (which is quite expensive). Though as the food is prepared right in front of your eyes, you can be assured that everything is fresh. One of the best things about Jaws restaurants is their level of service. It's not the same calibre as that of a fine dining restaurant, but the Japanese place a lot of emphasis on serving their guests well, and being very well-mannered. As for their food, being sushi, it is paramount that the seaweed be of the top quality and freshness, and no other restaurant in Perth appears to have seaweed of the same quality as Jaws. They remain true to their authenticity in Japanese sushi making.

Chestnut Grove Verdelho 2005 ($23 from Vintage Cellars) - they are BYO, with no corkage fee.

Nose: slight smokiness, hints of oak.

Palate: Fresh, well balanced acidity on the mid-palate. Musk, guava, lime, and tropical fruits.

Finish: Acidity proves to be over-powering.

Rating: 91 pts.

Food 4/5
Service 4/5
Decor 2/5
Bathroom 0.25/1
X-Factor 0.5/2
Value 0.75/2
Total 11.5/20

Balthazar, WA.

6, The Esplanade, Perth.
Ph: 9421 1279

It is a rarity finding a good restaurant in Perth these days, so it is comforting to know that there is now one other restaurant that I feel I could safely turn to should the occasion arise. The restaurant is on the small side, though it is dressed up quite smartly, with striking wallpapers in the dining area and bathrooms, and wine bottles everywhere the eye can see.

I'm not sure if the menu we were looking at was their usual menu, or their lunch menu, but it did seem rather limited. Perhaps 5 different entrees to choose from, and likewise with mains (meals seemed to average $20-30). This was definitely not the case when it came to the wine list, filled with page upon page of wines sourced from all over the world, though there seemed to be a particularly strong presence of French wines that were not very familiar to me.

The food arrived promptly, and presentation was A-grade. I ordered the Salmon, and my company the risotto. Both of us were very impressed. I was particularly impressed with my meal, as it was complete in every facet. The presentation was beautiful, the serving portion was perfect, the sauce was full of flavour, yet not overpowering, the skin of the salmon was perfect, as was the flesh (I have never seen such beautiful Salmon in my life, the colour and texture was fabulous). The skin had a very unique taste to it; I suspect they integrated some seaweed into it. The asparagus, everything - was cooked to perfection.

Service was not as good as what I had heard, though being lunch time, I suppose it is expected that service be a little more casual. There was nothing really to fault in that department, though one waiter seemed to be a little arrogant.

We finished off with tea and coffee. I thought the coffee was pretty good. Both came with a pot of white and brown sugar cubes, and extra milk on the side. The flat white was silky and creamy.

Billcart-Salmon 'Brut Reserve' NV ($81 for a half bottle).
Didn't take any notes for this one, though it was a real delight! Probably the best NV I have tried, in fact, I think I preferred this over the '98 Dom, and '97 La Grande Annee. The beads were very fine and consistent. Nose of pear, almond, and gentle yeast. The palate is full-bodied, dry, and savoury. Lovely! (Rating: 94 pts).

Food 4.75/5
Service 4.5/5
Decor 4.5/5
Bathroom 0.75/1 (small)
X-Factor 1.5/2
Value 1.5/2
Total 17.5/20

October 29, 2007

Elderton Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Barossa, 14.5%, $28, screw-cap, 92 pts, Drink Now-2014.

The nose is wonderfully light and refreshing, revealing subtle herbaceousness, as well as hints of menthol, eucalyptus, and dark cherries.

The medium-bodied palate is packed with tannins and spice. I’m not sure if it’s Elderton, or me being sick, but the wine is quite unusual, though very pleasing. Considering it is still in its youth, the wine is showing remarkable finesse with its velvet smooth finish.

Despite the criticisms I have heard of Elderton, and this being my first Elderton experience, I think they have done a pretty good job in this instance. It is an A-grade Barossa Cab Sauv, with many years ahead of it, though it is drinking beautifully now.

October 12, 2007

7 Spices Restaurant, WA.

Went here tonight as part of a function, which we each paid $30 for.

I'm unsure if this is the ordinary price for the buffet; I believe it is. The buffet was very ordinary... I only had 1 helping. Their chicken dishes were not fillet, and had very little meat. The red meat dishes were likewise very ordinary, and were very spicy (but the kind of spice and flavour you would expect from a can of curry). VERY ordinary.

I have never taken much of a liking to Indian food, I was told this place was very good, but it was quite a disappointment! As are many eateries in Perth!

Several months ago I was introduced to Nine Mary's in the Perth CBD; and that somewhat changed my impression of Indian food (perhaps it is tailored to suit the Western palate more so, though a lot of Indian's eat there). Their butter chicken is lovely! The butter chicken at 7 Spices on the other hand was nothing special at all! But then again, was anything?!?!

The service was also quite annoying... very blur staff, with very blank faces, and when questioned; expect uncertain answers. Extremely uneducated when it comes to their restaurant (what time the buffet closes, "can I start a drink tab?", etc., are surely not too difficult questions to answer);

Food 2.25/5
Service 2/5 (well-meaning, but poorly trained)
Decor 2.5/5
Bathroom 0.25/1
X-Factor 0/2
Total 7/20

Peel Estate Shiraz 2000

Mandurah, 14%, cork, $38, 91 pts, Drink Now-2010+.

Quite a complex nose, with aromas of dark red berries, leather, spicy clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. Similar on the palate, medium to full fruit density complemented by lots of dusty cigar box, tobacco and cinnamon oak. There is a lot going on with this wine, but somehow this bottle wasn’t quite as good as other Peels I’ve had.

Tasting notes by Mike.

Salmon and Rice

Another very simple creation! Here's how:

  • Heat pan with olive oil on medium-high temperature;
  • Heat oven to 180 degrees;
  • Sear fillet in pan for 2 minutes each side. Why? To trap the moisture inside;
  • Season with sea salt and cracked pepper;
  • Chuck into oven on a tray with alfoil for 4 minutes to continue cooking. Why? To further cook the centre without over-cooking the surface. Don't worry, the centre will still be a little raw;
  • Grab a small bowl, fill it 3/4 and pat it down well so to make it compact, turn bowl upside down onto plate;
  • Any natural oils that have come out of the fish, pour it over the fillet;
  • Add extra salt/pepper to liking, dress with olive oil, pour Kikkoman sauce generously over fillet;
  • Garnish, EAT!

October 11, 2007

Voyager Estate Cabernet Merlot 2003

Margaret River, 14%, $45, screw-cap, 95 pts, Drink 2007-2017+.

Strong blackcurrant and cassis fruit up front, with tobacco, cedar and olive notes filling out the mid palate nicely before finely grained tannins kick in for a long and dry finish. All componenets superbly integrated and in fine balance, a wine that drinks beautifully now but will improve for another decade or more. (The kind of wine I like!)

Tasting notes by Mike.

Phil's Comments: This is my first Voyager red experience, and it was definitely a good one! I could not agree more with Mike; all components are beautifully integreted to perfection, a wonderful wine to enjoy now, and an excellent option to put away in the cellar for many years.

Peter Lehmann Mudflat Shiraz Muscadelle 2002

Barossa, 15%, cork, $25, 92 pts, Drink 2007-2012.

Rich black fruit, dark plum and spicy raisin. A delicious wine with a rounded mouthfeel and rich texture, finishing slightly sour sweet. 15% ABV not noticeable at all, a testament to the fruit density present in this wine.

Tasting notes by Mike.

October 8, 2007

De Bortoli 'Estate Grown' Shiraz Viognier 2005

Yarra Valley, 14.0%, screw cap, $35, 92 pts, Drink 2008-2012.

Aromas of dark plum, sweet red berries and black pepper.

On the palate it shows up a bit darker, with blackberry, liquorice, roast meats and quite peppery but fine finish.

This wine is excellently structured, with oak, tannins, and acidity in balance.

Tasting notes by Mike.

Riparossa 'Montepulciano d'Abruzzo' 2005

No notes for this wine.

~85 pts.

September 30, 2007

The Brass Grill, Northbridge, WA

The Brass Grill is situated on the top floor of the The Brass Monkey Hotel in Northbridge. The above dish is their 'Bay & Beef' which comprises of "250g of Sirloin Tender Ridge Sirloin, seafood brochette loaded with prawns & scallops, and hand-cut Western Potato Monkey's Chunkies" - $34.90.

This was my second visit, and I'm not too sure how to feel about the place - negatively, I think! On my first visit the food was quite good, but the service was atrocious - not much has changed.

Our food took 1.5 hours to arrive (quite some time after we were assured that the food was well on its way). After squeezing a few balls we ended up getting a few complementary rounds of beer, which managed to calm us down for a little while, but this could only relieve us for so long. When offered another round, we asked what else they had, they gave us 2 shots of Hennessy XO.. which lifted our moods a little, and made us dislike them a little less.

When our food finally arrived.... my dish turned out to be quite satisfactory; nice large scallops, soggy wedges (which I seemed to enjoy), and steak that was ordinary but with sauce that did it justice. My company, however, did not enjoy their '450g Tender Ridge Aged Beef Rib' ($36.90) much at all, I am told it lacked flavour. On a whole, the place was very disappointing, and on both occasions it has been nearly impossible to look past their awfully poor level of service.

Food 3/5
Service 0.5/5
Decor 2.5/5
Bathroom 0.5/2
X-Factor 0/3
Total: 6.5/20

September 27, 2007

Beef Fillet, Mash, Mushroom Sauce

Here is what I made for dinner tonight. I have never really tried to cook anything fancy prior to this week, so am quite proud of my creations! This is just some juicy beef fillet on a bed of fluffy mash, creamy mushroom and white wine sauce, cracked pepper, and basil garnish. Simple, but delicious.

Wednesday 26th Sept Dinner Party

Last night I hosted a small dinner party at home to celebrate a friend's birthday. Click on the above photo to have a closer look at the menu.

We made a few last minute additions to the night: Courvoisier VSOP, Grant Burge 20-yr old Tawny Port, and a Penfolds Grange 1980. Unfortunately we were having too much fun to concern ourselves with being too analytical about the wine, so unfortunately there are no notes for last night's wines. However, I'll provide some brief comments based on what I can remember:

Voyager Estate Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2006 ($25) - third time I have tried this wine, and on all three occasions I did not think highly of it. It's not bad at all, but it definitely doesn't have "oomph". If you like citrus whites, then this is probably the white for you. (88 pts).

Grant Burge 'Meshach' Shiraz 1995 ($150) - This label is my favourite wine of all time. I have tried several vintages of the Meshach: 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, and I think it was 2000 and/or 2002. Consensus has it that the '98 is the superior vintage (though two occasions of having this wine I did not enjoy it immensely for some strange reason, though my company certainly did). My favourite is the '96, then '90, then the '95. An excellent wine, and definitely better than the Grange 1980!!! (95 pts).

Cape Mentelle 'Trinders' Cabernet Merlot 2004 ($30) - This wine had at least 2 hrs to decant, it finally opened up and softened up a little, but it proved not to be overly exciting. Upon opening the wine, it displayed a considerable amount of green/leafy characteristics, which settled a bit once the fruit had come out of the woodwork as a result of breathing the wine.

Jardim Do Bomfim Shiraz 2005 ($10/RR$30) - One of Mike's popular cheapies. I think he got it from Get Wines Direct? $10, otherwise $30 retail. It is definitely good value for money at 10 dollars, most definitely capable of giving the 'Trinders' a good run for its money. A very sound wine with good structure. The next day it was holding up better than the Grange. Yes, I'll be getting to the Grange shortly; you can probably predict that I don't have very nice things to say about it!! (92 pts for the Jardim).

Grant Burge 20-yr Old Tawny Port ($30) - can't remember too much at this point, but it was quite nice. Mike will post more detailed notes for it later. (93 pts).

Courvoisier VSOP ($65) - as always, bloody fantastic! I have had some of the World's best Cognac's, this VSOP may not be as "refined" as some of the World's best (eg. Remy Martin Louis XIII), but I have had both right next to each other, and I must say I enjoyed the Courvoisier more. If I had a billion dollars, yeah, I would probably drink Louis XIII every day, but for the difference in price, I would rather drink Courvoisier VSOP any day! I find that a lot of the very expensive alcoholic beverages tend to be so "refined" that you lose the essence of what that drink is all about. Cognac is supposed to be intense! (93-94 pts).

Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1980 ($290/RR$450) - So much for waiting for Wine Clinic to visit mid next year! Drunkenness got the best of me. We opened it, and the corkscrew went in, and came all the way back out again leaving the cork in the bottle. Michael immediately operated on the cork. The wine immediately had an unappealing bouquet (I must also mention that this wine showed no signs of being tainted). This wine was a big disappointment, and I take back everything I said about Grange being legend, and an experience. But I am at least content in knowing what all the fuss is about now, and finally suppressing my desire for such wines, when I know other wonderful wines are available at much more affordable prices. The wine was extremely rich, reminded me immensely of the Chateau Reynella Vintage Port 1982 - it just tasted of vintage port!! Yes, it was holding up very well for a 27-yr old wine, but who gives a crap when it does not bring you pleasure!! The wine displayed notes of mocha, liquorice and vintage port. It was a difficult wine to drink, and I did not enjoy it much at all. It's now no surprise that Jeremy Oliver gave this vintage only 90 pts, and others even less. It is very surprising that Penfolds regards it as an outstanding vintage. Grange is definitely an example of opulence, but you have to enjoy that to begin with. (89 pts).

September 24, 2007

Spot the Riedel

Can you spot the Riedel? That on the left is the Riedel ($50), and that on the right is a Wheel & Barrow ($12.50). In the shop it struck me as bearing a striking resemblance to the Riedel Bordeaux glass I have at home, but what surprised me even more was when I took them home and stood them next to each other - the dimensions are almost identical. The glass makes the same noise, the lip is just as thin, the only difference is a slightly thicker stem, which is probably a good thing anyway. Well these new glasses shall be put into action on Wednesday, and I shall post my opinions about them.

September 20, 2007

Wednesday Sept 19

Moondah Brook Verdelho 2006 - $17
Excellent, 91 pts.

Saltram 'Mamre Brook' Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - $26
Excellent, 93 pts.

Whislter 'The Black Piper' G.S.M. 2005 - $20 ish
Average, 85 pts.

Rocland Estate 'Lot 147' Shiraz 2005 - $25 ish
Average, 87 pts.

September 15, 2007

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut NV

Champagne, cork, $80, 92 pts, Drink now.

Comments yet to come...

Wednesday Sept 5

Marius 'Simpatico' Shiraz 2004


Torzi Matthews 'Frost Dodger' Shiraz 2004

How to Fix a Riedel

Here is an update on the recently broken Riedel. Mike has gone to great lengths to revive the glass, of which are two methods in particular: that which you see on the left is the 'Cup Method', where you can lift the glass off the cup when drinking, or alternatively use it in conjunction with the handle - creating a Riedel Bordeaux mug. That on the right is the 'Rubber Method': what is left of the stem is pinned into a rubber. One may likewise choose to remove the glass from the rubber when drinking, and pin it back into the rubber when idle, or let the rubber serve as a semi-permanent base. Anybody have any fun ideas for the glass? (Other than it being a candle snuffer? Preferably something that will see its continued use as a drinking apparatus.

Article: ‘Does a 50-buck wine glass buy you better-tasting wine?’

September 13, 2007

Will The Patience Reward?

South Australia, 12.5%, cork, RRP$450.

Rewards of Patience:
"Deep crimson brick red. Intense plum / blackberry / menthol / mocha / liquorice aromas. The tannins are pronounced but offset by stylish, rich, concentrated dark cherry/chocolaty fruit. A powerful and generously proportioned wine".

The purchase has already been made, and now the waiting game begins. I have been itching over the Grange legend for quite some time now, constantly reminding myself that it is only a label, and little else. But my urges have gotten the best of me, and I finally decided to take the plunge, and see what all the fuss is about. One must question the integrity of a bottle that is 27-years old, and as such, I am feeling a great deal of anxiety. The bottle has a very high shoulder, which is supposedly very good (and normal) for a bottle that is over 20-years of age. There is also no damage to the label.

Got in touch with Penfolds today to see when the next wine clinic will be in Perth, am advised that it will be mid-next year, and I should wait till then to both taste, and have my bottle inspected. They advise that other than the physical signs (ullage, and cork position), there is no real way to tell of the wine is in good shape without pulling the cork and tasting. I watched a video clip about the wine clinic's on the Penfolds site last night, and was rather impressed to say the least. Hopefully all shall be rewarded!

One thing that has baffled me, however, is the reviews that it has received. Penfolds Rewards of Patience notes it as being an 'outstanding vintage', yet, Jeremy Oliver gave it only 90 points, whilst various others (amateurs), have given it even less! I read on an unofficial site that Robert Parker gave it 95 points, which leads me to think that perhaps it is bigger, more "rich, and concentrated" than Oliver prefers. Though I must say, I am probably more partial towards Oliver's tastes, not thinking highly of overly-concentrated, jammy wines. If anybody has any comments to make on the 1980 Grange - it would be much appreciated.

In the same purchase, I also picked up a bottle of Grant Burge Meshach 1995 (JO 96pts). The Meshach is without a doubt, my favourite wine to date. It also seems to consistently receive higher ratings than Grange, and it would not surprise me if it delivers more than the Grange. Though, Grange is more than a bottle of wine, it's legend, and it's the experience that comes with it. All shall be revealed soon...

September 10, 2007

Jardim Do Bomfim Merlot 2004

Adelaide Hills, 13.8%, screw cap, $9.95 (GWD), 91 pts, Drink Now-2010.

Quite a deep purple colour. Concentrated black plum and morello cherries on the nose, quite piercing which suggests this merlot isn't your typical barstardised corporate 50% H20 Merlot.

Strikes the palate with aforementioned fruit flavours and a lick of spice. Medium bodied with soft tannins and some fresh acidity. The fruit bounces around in your mouth, interchanging with a subtle spicyness and just a slight nuance of French oak. Balanced. Lovely stuff.

Though not exceptionally big, I would say this merlot has some guts to it and all the better for it. Wish the other big guns would listen to what real wine lovers want.

No words need to be the said about the value of this wine.

Tasting notes by Mike.

Penfold's BIN 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2004

South Australia, 14.5%, screw cap, $30, 91-92 pts, Drink 2009/(2008-2012+).

Aromas of blackberries,dark cherry, plums and vanilla oak.

Quite similar on the palate, showing up thick with blackberries and dark chocolate, a touch of liquorice spice and finishing with a fair grip of tannin and a whiff of vanilla oak. Quite "blocky" at the moment and patience will reward the palate on this Kalimna.

Note: Didn't give this one the appropriate time to breathe when reviewing, may post a later review.

Tasting notes by Mike.

Hardy's 'Eileen Hardy' Shiraz 1998

South Australia, 14%, cork, $100, N/R.

I was expecting big things from this wine but unfortunately the promise did not deliver.

While decanting I noticed it was very viscous and had huge blackberry aromas, but also a strange fungus/oyster whiff coming across (possibly a fault? Or too much toasted American oak perhaps?)

It smacked the palate with flavours of blackberries, tarry liquorice and clove/nutmeg spice which was stopped short with a huge hard wall of bitumen and slightly bitter oak. This bottle was sourced from Sterling auctions and may not be representative of the wine, especially considering the rave reviews it recieved.

I wish I had better things to say about this wine but unfortunately this is all I could come up with.. would appreciate the comments of others who have tasted it, and whether or not they think this bottle was not quite right.

- Tasting notes by Mike.

September 8, 2007

Leeuwin Estate 'Art Series' Chardonnay 2004

Margaret River, 14.5%, screw cap, $95, 93-94 pts, Drink 2013-2016.

On this occasion I was not in the mood for reviewing. But I found the wine maker's tasting notes to be very accurate:

"The colour is bright straw with lime green hues. The fresh nose is classical Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay, with intensely lifted aromas of ripe yellow pear skins and ripe peach accompanied by hints of fig and cashews from barrel maturation on yeast lees with integrated French oak. These flavours combine into a finely balanced bouquet; the result of very low yielding vines matched with subtle winemaking to preserve the richness of the fruit. The palate displays the mouth filling and intense flavours of fresh ripe pears which is full and rich intermingling with delicious stone fruit flavours. The middle palate shows richness from both the fruit and the lees stirring. The length, always a feature of Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay, is long and full flavoured with a lingering fresh citrus finish. The new French oak complements the fruit providing a wonderful balance of warm toasty flavours on the finish".

I personally did not think too much of this wine, which has a reputation for being one of the best, if not The Best, Chardonnay in Australia, if not the World. I have found myself to enjoy Chardonnay in the past, and thought that this would be something interesting to try. It really disappointed. I gave the rating I did on the basis that I appreciated the quality of the wine, though I did not take a liking to this style. I am confident that with age, this wine is sure to mature into something much more rich, elegant, and complex. The wine is already showing a lot of complexity, but it is very subtle. It’s not a party in your mouth at this stage.

Riedel Madness

Riedel stemware, without a doubt, are the finest instruments for fine wine appreciation. They are also, at times, a real pain in the ass. They are incredibly fragile, and whenever an occasion warrants opening a set of Riedel's, it comes with a great deal of anxiety. First, you can't help but be concerned when your friend's have had a few drinks, and you start to hear your delicate, precious Riedel stemware being clashed into other objects. "Oooops!" - indeed. Then, the greatest of all tests is cleaning them, and trying not to break one.

September 7, 2007

Moet & Chandon Millesime Blanc 1996

Champagne, 12.5%, cork, $125, 94 pts, Drink now-2013.

Lifted, fresh aromas of pear, citrus fruits, and toasted nuts.

Pale pear in colour, looking remarkably youthful for its age. Fine, erratic beads that gently soften out in the glass, slowing down in its efforts to rise to the surface.

The palate is full of consistent fizz, with plenty of richness and fine beads, giving an almost hypnotic/tranquil performance. The finish is extremely long and pleasant, showing hints of vanilla and mouse, in a marriage of youthful, fresh, and vibrant fruit, ending with perfectly balanced acidity that just lingers forever.

Drunk with two close friends, one of which had never had Champagne before, the other who had tried on several occasions, but never the highly acclaimed 1996 vintage. Nobody was disappointed.

September 6, 2007

Longhop Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2006

Terra Felix Shiraz Viognier 2005

Victoria, cork, $15, 89 pts, Drink 2007-2009

red currant, plum and apricot on the nose. The viogner apricot aromas were very evident initially but has since died down after a few hours in the glass/decanter. The bouquet follows on right through to the palate along with sturdy tannins and finishes with fresh acidity. Would make a excellent partner to a rich creamy pasta dish, with that fresh acidity cutting right through.

Watershed Shiraz 2002

Margaret River, 14.0%, cork, $24, 91 pts, Drink now-2009.

Blackcurrant, dark plum and pepper on the nose, with a slightly heady
spirit aspect. The palate reveals ripe black plums, red liquorice and very subtle tannins on the finish. Drinking at its peak now I would say, and drinking very well ind

Yalumba 'The Signature' Cabernet Shiraz 2003

Barossa Valley, 14.0%, cork, 92 pts, Drink 2009-2014.

Quite reserved on the nose, but nuances of cassis, liquorice and menthol coming through. On the palate it fills out with generous fruit, with a strong blackberry and red currant presence, finishing with round but assertive tannins. Big and ripe, but with some years ahead of it to give way for more refined tertiary characteristics.