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Win the Ultimate Hunter Holiday

A warm welcome to winter

With winter just around the corner, it’s time for both new friends and our long-term loyal customers to warm their palates with our Tasting Panel's new mouth-watering discoveries. From robust red wines that glimmer in the glass to your favourite refreshing whites, there’s something here for everyone.

This month, not only will you have access to mouth-watering gems from Australia’s biggest producers and best boutique wineries, you’ll also read some fantastic new articles. We’re giving you the scoop on which white varieties to enjoy as the weather turns cool. Also read about the magic of wine and chocolate pairings with wine educator Michael Quirk and unleash your inner cook as we dish out the secrets to cooking with wine.

In addition, we’re celebrating the launch of 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, and a simple click on the amount will link you through to your Order History page, where you can view where your fantastic savings were made and on what!

So this winter, warm yourself up with a glass of virtuoso-vino and enjoy the better way to buy wine.

Cheers – the team at Wine Selectors

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Winter Whites
Winter Whites

The season is turning and the weather is getting cooler – the idea of curling up in the warm comfort of your home with a good glass of wine sounds very inviting. Most people when they conjure up this image picture a bottle of red wine on the table next to them, but there is also a fantastic range of bold white varieties out there too. This month we’re shining the light on one such ‘seasonal-sleeper.’

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Viognier, Semillon, Riesling are all fantastic examples that would fit well here, but the focus of this article is Chardonnay. In the past, the heavy use of oak has unfortunately turned Chardonnay drinkers off, but this classic white is now having a huge resurgence.

Chardonnay is grown in every Australian wine region and is one of our most widely loved white grape varieties. It can be many things, from youthful or aged, to lighter unwooded or full-bodied oak matured in style. If you prefer melon, peach, fig and citrus flavours, look for an unwooded style Chardonnay. But if it is depth and complexity that you’re after, look for wines that have a few years in the bottle and are displaying vanilla, toast, yeast, honey, cashew and even butterscotch flavours..

Crafting easy-drinking Chardonnay can be an easy task for winemakers, but you really need perfect soils and climate to craft that special bottle. It’s still not uncommon to come across wines that have been excessively oaked or picked late in an attempt to tart-up inferior product. But quality Australian winemakers are now creating wines of a more refined and elegant nature – it is these producers who are spearheading the triumphant return of the variety.

There are bold and distinctive flavours to be found in every-day drinking Chardonnay, which warm the palate as fantastically as any red. It’s light enough to enjoy on its own all year ’round, but its often broader texture in the mouth also means it pairs very well with food.

Imagine the warmth of your kitchen after a long week of work. You’re sitting down to enjoy a plate of steaming fish, chicken or pork. Included in the recipe are mouth-watering spices, which can be either Italian or Asian-inspired. The ideal wine for such a meal would be something you can casually sip at, something to be enjoyed long after the dishes have been cleared. For such an occasion, there’s no better option than Chardonnay.

We have an extensive range of Chardonnay here at Wine Selectors — so discover a great bottle today and bring a little white-warmth to your next winter meal.

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A match made in Heaven
Lindt May 2012

Now that the weather is cooling, we’re shining our spotlight on beautifully warm and decadent wine pairings. And there’s nothing more decadent than chocolate. Joining us is Wine Educator Michael Quirk, who has spent the past 30 years in the Education/Training, Retail, Hospitality and Wine industries. His experience makes him the perfect go-to for discovering wine and chocolate pairings that are vibrant, balanced and full of flavour.

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Thanks for joining us, Michael! Could you explain to us some of the basic rules of chocolate and wine pairing?

Firstly, if you’re going to do this then you have to use top quality chocolate and wines – otherwise it just doesn’t work. I recommend Lindt’s Excellence and Lindor range. Next, choose chocolate with similar characteristics to the wine, without being over the top. For example, take the Excellence Intense Blueberry — it will complement wines with blackberry flavours like Shiraz, Durif and Chambourcin. Matching chocolate with wine is all about getting the balance right.

What type of wines pair with dark chocolate, versus wines that complement white?

Always remember that white chocolate isn’t really chocolate, it’s cocoa butter, milk powder and sugar. That’s not a bad thing, but the sweetness is always going to be the biggest issue here. So why not match it with the sweetness of the wine as well? The Grant Burge Moscato Frizzante 2010 is a spritzy wine that will give you the perfect balance you’re looking for. Alternatively, try an oaked Chardonnay. As for dark chocolate, it all depends on the cocoa levels. The Lindt Intense range encompasses everything from 47% cocoa to 99% —but remember, as the percentage rises, so does the bitterness, intensity and mouthfeel, so the wines need to not only compete, but also shine through. The classic combination is 70%, matched with Leconfield Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Delicious!

What is it in chocolate that draws out the characters of the wine?

It’s all about support, getting the complementary flavours to work together and about not losing the original flavours. It’s a delicate balancing act. As you know, if the wines are not Bronze medal standard then we don’t sell them, which makes chocolate pairings a great deal easier! Start here and you’re off to a flying start.

Can you give us a hypothetical pairing? What are we looking for and what should we expect?

Lindt is about to release a new ‘Excellence’ chocolate this month called ‘Strawberry Intense.’ Match it with the Yering Station Mr Frog Pinot Noir 2010! Expect the fruit flavours of the Pinot to come right to the front of the palate and the freeze-dried strawberries will be super-intense due to the acidity of the wine. The 47% cocoa in the chocolate helps smooth the tannins of the Pinot, and the finish is long and rich without bite or sweetness. It doesn’t get any better!

You have been doing Wine and Chocolate tastings for a while now — what are people’s common reactions? Do they enjoy them? Are they surprised?

I’ve been trialling and mixing wine with chocolate for the past three years. Recently, with the introduction of the Lindt Excellence ‘Touch of Sea Salt’, I’ve really hit a winner. Match this one with the Fermoy Estate Nebbiolo 2007 and the taste is brilliant. There are many customers who have never tried sea salt chocolate at all, let alone wine and chocolate pairings. For those who are little wary of mixing “dairy” with “alcohol”, I just slip them some of the Lindor White Block and a glass of sparkling Moscato. After this, they’re in heaven.

Looking for more wines to pair with that perfect piece of chocolate? Visit our website to view our exclusive range. Feel free to follow Michael on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin today.

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Wine. Dine. Divine - The Secrets to cooking with that perfect bottle of wine
Wine & Dine May 2012

Look around your kitchen… Are there bottles of half-finished wine lying around? A Clare Valley red here, a Hunter Valley white there. Waste not, want not – it’s time to put these leftover wines to good use and to resurrect those flavours in the pan. Cooking with wine is a joy, but there are some basic rules to remember.

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The golden rule to cooking with wine is to never cook with what you wouldn’t drink. Bad wine does not magically taste better when you fry it up in your mushroom risotto, it simply makes your risotto taste bad. Just as there are joys to pairing your wine with your finished meal, there are joys to be found in pairing wine over the hotplate. Wine works as a liquefying element and is a suitable substitute for water in cooking, leaving behind the rich flavours of the fermented grapes. The alcohol content will evaporate, leaving you with a wonderful cooked-down wine base. If you’re adding wine later in the cooking process, you’ll get a richer sauce with less alcohol loss.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Adding wines to marinades will tenderise red meat;
  • The weight, flavour and sweetness of a wine has to be considered when de-glazing – anything that isn’t going to cook for too long will need to be more seriously selected;
  • You’ll get your best results when cooking with wine over a long period;
  • Avoid using marketed ‘cooking wines’;
  • Definitely use those left-over bottles, but try to use them soon after opening – when you re-cap your bottle you’re trapping air inside, which will will reduce the quality of the wine;
  • What do you do if your recipe doesn’t provide you with a specific grape variety and just recommends red or white wine? When in doubt, use medium-dry to dry wine. For example, when cooking with reds, use Pinot Noir and when cooking with non-specific whites, use Pinot Grigio.

Cooking is an adventure, but the rewards are worth it. And for those who struggle in the kitchen, fear not — wine experts unanimously agree that the whole process is a lot easier with a glass in-hand. Enjoy!

Visit our website to view our extensive range of wines to find the perfect variety to match with your next meal.

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Putting the great in Great Southern
Great Southern May 2012

The grand eucalypt trees near Denmark and Albany. The striking boulders of Porongurup. Amid these scenic landmarks lie world-class vineyards from some of Australia’s biggest names. All of this and more are waiting for you here at Wine Selectors —our Tasting Panel have done the searching on your behalf. Their discoveries are yours to enjoy!

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West Australia’s Great Southern region covers a significant landmass – 200km by 100km, which is huge by Australian standards. It contains the sub-regions of Albany, Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker and Porongurup, and accounts for 37% of all wine grapes produced in WA. The climatic conditions are generally maritime, with continental characteristics showing the further inland you move. It is also moderately continental and showcases an ever-changing topography. All of these factors align to create stunning wines such as the Howard Park Flint Rock Chardonnay 2010, which has a terrifically textured and restrained palate with youthful fruit flavours and savoury persistence.

Winemaking in this area dates back to the mid 1800s, when settler George Egerton-Warburton planted vines on his property near Mount Barker. Two years later saw his first vintage bottled. Despite this, Great Southern was primarily an apple-growing region with a healthy yet small wine-industry until the 1960s, when wines finally took off and the region bloomed.

This diverse region is known for its mouth-watering Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Malbec. Visitors passing through must stop off at the award-winning West Cape Howe Wines, the environmentally conscious Plantagenet Wines and Frankland River’s Ferngrove, which was awarded 5-stars by pre-eminent wine critic James Halliday earlier this year.

To view Wine Selectors' great range of Western Australia wines, click here.

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Bridging the gap — Old World vs New World
Dave Mavor May 2012

This month we’re sitting down with Dave Mavor, who apart from being on our Wine Selectors Tasting Panel, is also a well-established winemaker in his own right. Dave spent seven years at Tyrrell's Wines in the Hunter Valley, working his way up from cellar hand to assistant winemaker while studying for his Wine Science degree. He has also worked four vintages in France, and is an experienced national and international wine show judge.

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Thanks for joining us Dave. Can you give us an insight into both Old World and New World winemaking?

Old World wine primarily refers to wine made in Europe and other countries with long and elaborate winemaking histories. New World generally refers to countries and regions with younger viticultural experience, such as the United States, South America and Australia. These terms are used to distinguish between winemaking techniques and practices in different parts of the world at different stages throughout history.

Do you believe that there are misconceptions about New World Wine versus Old World?

There are some misconceptions, and that’s because Old World and New World are just not as distinguishable as they used to be— assuming they ever were. Traditionally, Old World wines are more European in style, with lower alcohol content and a stronger emphasis on texture versus fruit and oak. The latter describes a lot of Australian and Californian wines, which many people refer to as “Bottled Sunshine.” But this is consequential. We have more sunshine and therefore our fruit is riper, hence the higher alcohol content. The distinction between New and Old will primarily come about from location and the age of the country. Australia is still very, very young.

What are some traditionally European techniques that you may still see in operation today?

Often there are deliberate attempts to emulate the European Old World style. We sometimes reduce ripeness by picking earlier, therefore reducing the alcohol content. Or we use less oak, bringing the wine into balance.

And there’s a demand for such wines in Australia?

Oh, definitely. The Chardonnay of ten years ago was very buttery and full of rich oak flavours. Our palates have changed and as a result, the new generation of Australian Chardonnay is considerably more refined.

What are some of the similarities between Old and New World winemaking techniques?

The fact of the matter is that these distinctions are becoming more integrated. This is a generalisation, but traditional Old World winemakers left their red wines on skins for longer for the purpose of extraction, which changed the palate structure. In the New World, we tend to press off imminently at the end of fermentation to retain more fruit flavours. The techniques are different but the outcome is the same: we’re searching for the best wine. We don’t have the long history that Europe does, and as a result, we don’t have the long-established regions, bureaucracies and regulations that they do. In this respect we’re freer. But as the Old World pioneers did back in the day, we’re planting vines in the places that they grow best. It makes sense. This again points out how aligned these two philosophies are.

What do you think is in the future of winemaking? Is it a case of ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it?’

As we move back towards the Old World methods, the New World has been moving towards us. For example, it’s now not unusual to discover ‘Old World style Chardonnay’ that is full of that richer oak quality … The line is blurring and you just can’t generalize anymore. In reality, Old and New World techniques and wines are much closer than you’d imagine. There will be pioneers along the way, but things will generally remain the same. The gap is naturally bridging.

To discover some of the characteristics Dave refers to, discover the Chalk Hill Luna Shiraz 2010 , a fantastic example of New World winemaking and Briar Ridge Karl Stockhausen Signature Release Shiraz 2009, which is made in a wonderful Old World style.

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The Hall of Fame welcomes Garry Crittenden
Crittenden Estate May 2012

March 2012 saw Mornington Peninsula Vigneron Garry Crittenden inducted into the Legends hall of fame in the category of wine at a special lunch hosted by the Committee of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. The Committee annually honours individuals who, in their opinion, have made a significant contribution to the advancement of public understanding and awareness in the fields of food and wine in Victoria.

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Mr Crittenden is the director of Crittenden Wines and he proudly takes a hands-on role in the running of the company from the growing of the grapes to the selling of the wine. He has been in the business for over 25 years and his consummate skill and impeccable taste are widely recognised within the wine community.

The citation in the official historical booklet now proudly reads: “Planting his first vines in 1982, Garry has been inducted as a Legend for his pioneering work in introducing new grape varietals to Victoria including Barbera, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Sangiovese, his commitment to the development of the Mornington Peninsula wine region and for inspiring many Australian winemakers.”

Now that Mr Crittenden has been inducted into the hall of fame, he joins distinguished food and wine connoisseurs like Gilbert Lau, Stephanie Alexander, James Halliday, Elizabeth Chong and Jacques Reymond.

Congratulations!

Wine Selectors has maintained a wonderful relationship with this exceptional producer for many years. Discover some of his most mouth-watering bottles today, including the Crittenden Estate Geppetto Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2011 tropical flavours with pristine acidity, complex minerality and great persistence; or the Crittenden Estate The Zumma Pinot Noir 2010 with its restrained and elegant nose of red fruits and a touch of smoky oak.

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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