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Nothing to wine about…

Between the savings, the benefits and the mouth-watering wines our Tasting Panel has assembled for you, Wine Selectors has well and truly got you covered. This June, journey behind the vines to meet the team at the award-winning Bunkers Wines and join us as we shine our spotlight on a selection of alternative varieties for new climates in an article that is bound to get your mouth-watering. And as always, we have a spectrum of exclusive offers on display, ensuring that no matter the occasion, you’ll have that perfect bottle of wine at hand.

Also, don’t forget about our dynamic Customer Savings feature, which can be found at the top of your email. This interactive tool allows you to view your total accumulated savings since January 2012.

Now that’s nothing to wine about! So sit back, swirl, and savour the better way to enjoy wine.

Cheers – the team at Wine Selectors

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Producer Interviews - Bunkers

The team at Bunkers Wines don’t just craft stunning vino; they celebrate some of Margaret River's greatest surf breaks. We recently sat down with Sally and Amy Calneggia, two of the driving forces behind this award-winning winery and dove beneath the waves to discover the secrets of the Bunkers success story.

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Can you tell us a little about Bunkers Wines?

Sally: Bunkers is named after the magnificent and beautiful Bunker Bay, the pristine natural beauty on the tip of the Cape Naturaliste peninsula in the Margaret River wine region in Western Australia. Bunkers unites surfing, fashion and wine – three of our greatest passions. Each wine is a reflection of its namesake Margaret River surf break so we have a "Lefthanders" Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, "Honeycombs" Chardonnay, "Windmills" Rosé, "Guillotines" Shiraz, "Bears" Cabernet Merlot and "The Box" Tempranillo (my favourite). We like to say these are serious wines… for not so serious people.

How long have you two been in the wine business?

Sally: I’ve been working alongside my husband Mike Calneggia in the wine industry since 1984. It’s been a long, exciting and rewarding journey for us both. Bunkers wines have been largely inspired by the youth of our daughter Amy, our love for the Margaret River region and my family’s background of fashion. I’m excited about the journey ahead of us and immensely proud to be working with my very talented and beautiful daughter.

Amy: I joined the family business in my late teens, working part-time in a marketing support role while studying at university. Before that I did the usual wine family stuff working odd jobs in the winery and the vineyard, which hooked me into the fabulous world of wine. I feel very passionate about Bunkers and what we have achieved so far, and I am even more excited about what’s to come!

Bunkers is a close-knit team. Do you find you have to wear multiple hats, and if so, what are they?

Sally: We’re grape growers first, winemakers second and by necessity, business people third. My role is to run the day-to-day administration and to manage our staff relationships, which dovetail into my brand ambassadorial roles along with Amy. As a small business owner it’s a matter of trying to organise the day to fit it all in. Amy: I’ve definitely learned to multitask! I look after the marketing but also very involved in sales. I also work closely with our winemaker Brian Fletcher in keeping an eye on our wine styles and our innovation.

Word has it that your wines are going to be showcased on Qantas flights…

Sally: We are super excited about Bunkers being selected for Qantas flights! The Bunkers "Bears" Cabernet Merlot and Bunkers "Honeycombs" Chardonnay have been selected for the 187 ml program (little bottles) for international flights. It’s fantastic news. So from New York to Mumbai, Cape Town to Rio and everywhere in between, you’re within arms reach of going Bunkers.

What are the biggest challenges in your respective roles?

Sally:  Having been in the wine business for over 25 years, Mike and I have been part of both the “ boom and bust years”.  I would have to say the last ten of which have been the toughest. With an oversupply of grapes and the GFC of the last 5 years, we have all been put to the test. We have been forced to work even harder to become better business people in order to stay in this industry, which we are so very passionate about. I’m happy to say that we’ve succeeded. Amy: The biggest challenge is prioritizing tasks with limited resources – we are a very small team and we set our goals high so we all have to work very hard to achieve our goals. But we’ve done it!

What do you love about the wine industry?

Sally:  The thing I love most about the wine industry is that although we’re very serious business people, being involved with wine allows us to still be very passionate and creative. It allows you to create new and exciting projects as we have done with Bunkers. I love the fact that we have been able to travel the world as a family, and no matter where we go, everyone loves to discuss what you do – and are always happy to share a bottle of your latest award winning wines. Amy: I love the evolution from the vineyard to the bottle. It’s thrilling. Plus, the wine industry is such an amazing group to be a part of – it’s full of interesting, creative and passionate people. Wine is a universal language that brings people together… It’s been around since the beginning of time and will continue to be an important part of our lives. Nothing can replace wine.

Sally and Amy, thank you so much for joining us.

If you feel like going bonkers for Bunkers, try the Bunkers The Box Tempranillo 2010. It presents ripe, lifted red and black fruit aromas with savoury, toasty oak and a ripe, full-bodied palate that has a juicy core of fresh dark fruit and textural tannins. This gem is also our June Wine of the Month, so not only can you enjoy these fantastic flavours, you can also indulge in 20% savings!

Being alternative: new varieties for new climates

Looking to pour something new in your wine glass? Why not swap the mainstream varieties for a drop from Australia’s growing range of alternative varieties.

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In an attempt to counter the effects of climate change, Australian winemakers are increasingly turning to varieties that grow successfully in Mediterranean climates. The Wine Selectors Tasting Panel samples quite a few of these food-friendly wines and they’ve put together a guide to some of their favourites.

Verdejo: this white grape variety, not to be confused with Verdelho, is North African in origin but is grown most famously in Spain’s Rueda region where it is typically blended with Sauvignon Blanc or Macabeo. Soft and full-bodied, this aromatic white makes a beautiful stand-alone wine with floral, tropical and citrus flavours. Its potential is exemplified by Keith Tulloch’s La Ripetta Verdejo 2010, which appeals with lifted apricot and tropical fruit aromas and has zesty Granny Smith apple and tropical flavours with firm acidic support.

Fiano: a white variety from Southern Italy’s Campania region, Fiano is believed to date back to Roman times when it was used to make the ancient Roman wine Apianum. Characterised by its strong flavours of honey, lemon, spice and nuts, Fiano has its largest Australian plantings in McLaren Vale where the first example of the variety was produced by Coriole in 2005. Their latest release is the Coriole Vineyards Fiano 2011, which delights with a lovely savoury nose of citrus, pear, florals and a hint of lychee. Its silky palate is resplendent in delicate pear and lychee flavours with an excellent mouthfeel and texture.

Petit Verdot: this inky red to purple coloured Bordeaux variety was part of Australia’s first vine collection brought over from France and Spain by James Busby in 1832, but it’s only been recently that it’s taken off as a single variety. Petit Verdot does well in warmer areas, which explains why plantings have waned in its native home but have increased in Australian areas such as McLaren Vale. Petit Verdot is characterised by rustic flavours including cedar and dark fruits. Winemaker John Baruzzi has used McLaren Vale fruit in his Silver Creek Petit Verdot 2009, which shows sweet dark currant, plum and cedary spice aromas with intense, ripe dark fruits and firm tannins on the juicy palate.

Primitivo: this is a red grape that originated in Southern Italy’s Puglia region, but you might be more familiar with its Californian name of Zinfandel. While the number of Australian plantings have a long way to go to match those of California, they are creeping up. As a straight variety, Primitivo makes an incredibly rich, full-bodied wine with ripe dark fruit, licorice and cinnamon spice flavours and Christmas cake-like richness, but it also makes a fine blending partner to Shiraz, adding a lovely vibrancy. The Barossa’s Chateau Tanunda does a great example of Shiraz Primitivo in their The Chateau Shiraz Primitivo 2010, in which the Primitivo contributes savoury berry and spicy characteristics.

Durif: in Australia, Durif arrived thanks to phylloxera. When viticulturist Francois de Castella returned from Europe in 1908 following a fact-finding mission on phylloxera control, he brought with him Durif grafted to phylloxera-resistant vines. These were planted in Rutherglen and thus began the region’s association with this bold red. It’s most famous in Rutherglen where it’s used in straight wines and fortifieds, but it’s also planted in the other warm regions of Riverina and Riverland. Like Petit Verdot, it’s differentiated from other reds by its dense, dark colour. It makes wines that are tannic, earthy and rich with blue and black fruit flavours. A Rutherglen producer who’s had great success blending Durif with Shiraz is Stanton & Killeen and their Stanton & Killeen Shiraz Durif 2009

A Judge above - The world of wine show judging
Tasting Panel

As a Wine Selectors Member, you’d be well aware that all of our wines go through a stringent judging process by our Tasting Panel. But what does that actually mean?

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Every fortnight the Tasting Panel comes together and replicates the standards set by Australian wine shows. This means that all wines are tasted ‘blind’, i.e. each bottle is placed in a white calico bag to ensure that the label is covered, which eliminates any bias.

Wines are tasted in varietal groups, starting with Sparkling whites then moving on to lighter style whites, all the way up to the big, robust reds. The wines are tasted in brackets of six and sessions are limited to a maximum of five hours.

At the end of each bracket, each Panel member reads out their score for the wine and the average score is calculated. To make it into a Wine Selectors selection, a wine must receive a minimum score of 15.5 out of 20, which at a wine show would be a Bronze medal winning score. The Panel member who has the highest score then initiates a discussion regarding the wine’s colour, aromas and palate and his or her comments are recorded. Additional notes are also added by other Panellists and these eventually become the Tasting Notes you receive with your wines.

While the Panel is usually unanimous in their decision on a wine, there are occasional heated arguments and if no resolution can be reached, the final call is left to Tasting Panel Chairman, Karl Stockhausen.

Karl Stockhausen also has an extra job of choosing the wines for the Chairman’s Series. With his extensive and illustrious winemaking record that led to him being named a Hunter Valley Living Legend, Karl certainly has the knowledge and experience essential for recognising celebrated, benchmark wines to go into the Chairman’s Series.

So next time you open a bottle of wine from Wine Selectors, take a moment to savour the thought, judgement and expertise that’s gone into its selection and appreciate that no drop will be poured into your glass that fails to come up to the Tasting Panel’s strict criteria. Of course, you’re the ultimate judge though and if you don’t like a wine it’s covered by our 100% Money Back Guarantee.

Wines from the heart of the nation – a Canberra district vino spectacular!

Imagine the cellar door in front of you and the anticipation a tasting evokes. Scenic, cool climate vineyards stretch across the landscape outside. And above all else, the flavours of the wines are second-to-none, brimming with the regional characteristics that have seen this stunning region emerge into one of Australia’s viticultural hot spots… Welcome to the wonderful world of Canberra District wines.

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The rural ACT landscape encompasses an incredible 140 vineyards with more than 33 wineries within 35 minutes of Australia’s capital city. The Canberra region is divided into three sub-regions, including Bungendore/Lake George, Hall and Murrumbateman. Wine has been made in these regions for approximately 160 years and that incredible heritage is on display in every bottle our Tasting Panel selects for you. The region continued to produce wines for many years, but it wasn’t until the mid 1970s that it began to flourish and thrive, affirming this scenic locale as a hive of winemaking activity, with the area growing to support 350 hectares of vines. The eyes of the world had certainly turned towards Canberra.

The vineyards cover a large altitudinal range of 300 to 800 meters and the climatic conditions are strongly continental, resulting in the crafting of exceptional cool climate wines. Many varieties perform particularly well in the Canberra Districts, including the following examples, which are guaranteed to get your mouth-watering…

Shiraz

Shaw Vineyard Estate Premium Shiraz 2009 – a deep red coloured gem with restrained dark fruit and cedar aromas leading to a rich yet soft core of spicy plums.

Merlot

Mount Majura Vineyard is built on rich, volcanic soil and has proudly earned its 5-star James Halliday rating – their Mount Majura Vineyard Merlot 2010 is brimming with the classic flavours of white pepper spice and polished tannins.

Gewürztraminer

The Brindabella Hills Argenteus Gewürztraminer Blend 2008 allures with multi-layered lychee, lime and pear on the nose, characteristics that follow through to a savoury palate with vibrant acidity and a beautiful finish.

These above wines and more are available to you at an unbeatable price. Discover the viticultural glory of the Canberra Districts today!

A recipe to remember … beautiful lamb shoulder
 

This recipe for slow roasted baharat lamb shoulder with seasonal vegetables is the perfect cure to the winter blues. Serving 4, prepped in 20 minutes and cooked in approximately 2 hours, this meal and wine pairing is guaranteed to keep you warm and satisfied.

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INGREDIENTS

1kg butterflied lamb shoulder (your butcher can debone and butterfly the lamb)

1 tbsp olive oil

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

½ cup (125ml) white wine

BAHARAT SPICE MIX (also available at gourmet food stores)

2 tsp mild paprika

1 tsp ground black pepper

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground coriander seeds

½ tsp ground cassia

¼ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp ground cardamom seeds

SEASONAL VEGETABLES

4 small or 2 medium beetroot, washed

2 small or 1 medium fennel, quartered

1 bunch Dutch carrots, trimmed

1 small eggplant, diced into 3cm pieces

2 small red onions, peeled and quartered

1 tbsp (20ml) extra virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 160°C (140° fan-forced).
  2. Combine olive oil, garlic and baharat spice mix ingredients. Rub well into lamb shoulder. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large ovenproof baking dish on the cooktop until very hot. Brown lambskin side-down for 5 minutes or until golden. Turn and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove from heat, discard any fat which has rendered, pour over white wine, cover loosely with foil and roast for one hour or until the meat is very tender. Remove from oven and rest uncovered for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, after the lamb has been in the oven for one hour, wrap the beetroots in foil and roast on a baking tray for 20 minutes. Remove foil, slip off skins and quarter. Return to tray with fennel, carrots, eggplant and red onions. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and return to the oven for 40 minutes or until vegetables are golden and tender.
  5. To serve, slice rested lamb shoulder into thin slices and serve alongside vegetables.

Is your mouth-watering yet? It gets better! Pair this wine with a bottle of Bunkers The Box Tempranillo 2010 which is named after Margaret River’s ‘The Box’ surfbreak.
This vibrant Tempranillo presents ripe, lifted red and black fruit aromas with savoury, toasty oak. The ripe, full-bodied palate has a juicy core of fresh dark fruit and textural tannins. For a more in-depth look into Bunkers Wines, be sure to check out our exclusive producer interview above with Sally and Amy Calneggia.

Wines supplied by Australian Wine Selectors (AWS) ABN 64 056 402 772 Liquor Licence No: 117140. Subject to availability and prices are subject to change at any time. For the latest prices and availability, visit www.wineselectors.com.au