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Life

How the Show Has Gone On

The culinary landscape has evolved and devolved over the past 20 years. Back then, chefs worshipped the French canon with fury, finesse, and formality in kitchens like Banc, Est Est Est, and Tables of Toowong.

Today, fire, fermentation and foraged flourishes are the moods of the moment. Think Firedoor, Gerards Bar, Igni. Temples of gastronomy used to be in big cities, whereas today’s ground-breaking restaurants are flung far. Tropical north Queensland is expressed in every bite at Nunu, the terroir of the Southern Highlands tasted at Biota in Bowral, and Brae in Birregura offers a soulful connection with agrarian Victoria.

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Showcasing Australia’s best

The Good Food and Wine Show has been key in reflecting the trends for almost 20 years, telling the story of our farmers, fishers, growers, producers, winemakers, brewers, bakers and chefs in a fresh and innovative way.

Such is the scale of the show, it serves as a culinary state of the union, a snapshot celebration of the best that Australia and the world have to offer. Having been involved with the show, I have seen an increased commitment to shining a light on each state’s best food and wine.

Event Director, Claire Back, explains, “We have placed an emphasis on regionality. When we’re in Perth, for example, we bring the Margaret River and Swan Valley to you.

“I also see my job as ensuring people take away something new. It could be learning that Cabernet tastes different in a Cabernet glass than in a Merlot glass. I want people to be excited about new products and learning a new skill.”

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Star spotting

The show offers inspiration, aspiration and, with upwards of 10,000 guests flooding through the doors each day, perspiration! For many, the aspiration is the opportunity to see their food heroes. This year, star chef Matt Moran will be cooking in the celebrity theatre.

As he reflects, “Over the past 15 years, there’s been an explosion in food. People want to know where it comes from, who’s grown it and who’s cooking it. The accessibility of the chefs is a real positive with chances to meet, taste their food and see them demonstrate their craft.”

Another star of this year’s show is the ebullient Miguel Maestre. For all his mirth and merriment, he takes his cooking sessions very seriously. He believes his class should be 20 per cent laughter, 40 per cent cooking and 40 per cent things people haven’t seen before.

“I have a massive fear of under delivering,” he explains. “I am as nervous as I am cooking for the most fearsome food critic.” 

Wine immersion

These days, the name could be ‘The Good Wine and Food Show,’ such is the ever increasing celebration of our winemakers and wine regions.

In fact, when I get a break, you’ll find me in the Barossa Valley sharing a Shiraz with Rolf Binder or a joust about Jura with renowned wine scribe, Nick Ryan at the Riedel Drinks Lab. While the Wine Selectors Cellar Door offers a dazzling range of classes that reflect our insatiable desire for more knowledge. ‘Fireside Wines’, ‘Meat your Match’ or perhaps ‘Brunch Time, Wine Time’.

The juggernaut that is the Good Food and Wine Show hits the road in June for its national tour. It’s a wonderful weekend to immerse yourself in your passion. The opportunity to learn, taste, sip and be inspired is what keeps me coming back year after year.

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Life
Cellar Doors Italian style
Words by Alessandro Ragazzo on 20 Aug 2015
Like most producers in the world, Italian wineries are constantly looking at making better quality wine. In Italy in recent times, this search has become a study of the ‘fashion of form’ – uncovering the intricate concept of structure of wine to help conceive that perfect drop. This thinking has also extended to ‘Turismo Enogastronomico’ (food and wine tourism) with spectacular results. Old estates have been transformed by a collection of famous Italian architects, so that the cellar door and winery has become as much the centre of attraction as the wine. It is a union between tradition and modernity, a road map that directs guests and the curious to an unexpected and beguiling journey. These new concept wineries have been designed by architects and engineers in conjunction with Italy’s most famous contemporary sculptors, and using biodynamic principles so their designs are at one with their environment. Gone are the boring rusty tinned walls of decaying estates, ushering in is a new era of engineering that utilises the natural shape of the landscape as the centre of attraction. Buildings don’t just go up, they also flow out, around and even down inside the earth. Natural inspirations The choice of materials, most of the made from recycled or sustainable products, and the sensitivity for the surroundings have been critical elements in this architectural revolution. The most precious inspiration for Arnaldo Pomodoro, one of Italy’s greatest contemporary sculptors and designers, was a turtle, a symbol of longevity and stability. In this case, the shell of the turtle became the domed copper roof of the Tenuta Coltibuono di Bevagna , a winery in Umbria. Pomodoro had produced many sculptures in his time, but this was the first for the wine industry and the success of the project reverberated on an international scale and set the tone for the design wave to come in the Italian wine industry. Other wineries followed suit, embracing the art of the concept and seeing it as a way to reinvigorate tourism to the wine regions. Designers and architects Paolo Dellapiana and Francesco Bermond des Ambrois collaborated to conceptualise the Cascina Adelaide di Barolo in Cuneo, Piemonte. This amazing structure has been built into the hills, and from a distance it almost disappears into the countryside, perfectly camouflaged with the rest of the habitat – almost like a Hobbit house full of wine, if you will. Structure and form While many of the structures are dazzling from the outside, just as much thought and design has been applied to the internal workings. Everything from barrel halls to crushing rooms have transformed wineries’ inner workings into virtual exhibition halls. The new Antinori Cellar Door in the Chianti Classico area near Florence is a perfect example. Designed by Mario Casamonti it is a truly unique structure. With a surface area of 24,000m2, it took eight years to construct, with an investment of 40 million Euro. The structure is developed horizontally rather than vertically, with the winery hidden in the earth. The production facilities and storage are spread across three stunning levels. And the interior design is simply breathtaking with terracotta vaults to ensure perfect temperature and humidity levels.   The new world order Where Italy once had wineries they now have monuments. And while there are still plenty of the old style ‘casale’ with moulded walls and giant dirty barrels, the way forward is for large, clean, bright and spacious structures with areas dedicated to each individual phase of wine production.   This concept of wine and design seems to be resonating around the globe with architects working on amazing structures   from California to Chile, from Spain to France, from Alto Adige to Sicily, and even right here in Australia – think Chester Osborn’s big Rubik’s Cube plans for d’Arenberg in McLaren Vale. The future is now and it is an exciting time for those who appreciate design in architecture and in their wine glass.
Wine
Pinot Gris vs Grigio: What’s the difference?
There is Pinot Gris and then there is Pinot Grigio, but what if any, are the differences? We chat with Adam Walls and Dave Mavor from our Tasting Panel, plus some super-passionate Pinot G winemakers to set the record straight. “Pinot G is hugely popular with Australian wine-lovers, but there’s still so much confusion surrounding this fresh and fashionable white,” says Adam Walls, Tasting Panellist, Wine Show Judge, Wine Educator and 2019 Len Evans Tutorial Dux. “To put it simply, they are both made from the same grape variety, but are crafted to produce two different styles.” “The grape variety is a member of the Pinot Noir family and has two different names thanks to the two countries in which it is most commonly grown: France and Italy,” explains Adam. “Across the two styles, the common aroma and flavour descriptors include apple, pear, strawberry, honey, brioche and nuts.” Just to add to the confusion, across the wine world it also has several names: in Germany the grape is known as Grauburgunder, in the Loire and Switzerland, it’s called Malvoisie, it’s known as Pinot Beurot in Burgundy and in Hungary, it’s called Szurkebarát which means grey monk. PIÙ LEGGERO PINOT GRIGIO The word Grigio is the Italian for "grey" and has made a name for being a light, crisp wine ideal for early drinking and is most famously known in the regions of Veneto and Friuli. Bonjour! is it gris you’re looking for? Gris is French for "grey" and in France it finds its home in the Alsace region. French Pinot Gris is generally known for being a rich, full-bodied white with a smooth, silky texture. AUSSIE PINOT G GOODESS The variety was first introduced to the Hunter Valley with the James Busby collection of 1832, however, it wasn't until the 1990s that it started to emerge. Thanks to winemaking couple Kathleen Quealy and Kevin McCarthy, Pinot G is now one of Australia’s most popular white varietals. Kathleen and Kevin started their vineyard in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in 1998 and set about planting a range of varietals suited to the climate, including Pinot Gris. They released their first commercial Pinot Gris in 1933, and have huge success since, and are now seen as setting the benchmark for Australian interpretations. Their son Tom, a winemaker at Quealy wines, has inherited his parents' passion for Pinot G and has completed vintages in the homes of both the Gris and Grigio styles. "I’ve worked vintages at Domain Paul Blanck in Alsace, where Pinot Gris is one of four premium varieties", he explains. "Their vineyards define the quality and the personality of each of their wines. They revel in the power and voluptuousness of these wines, from bone dry with the generous dollop of extract in the middle palate, to off dry with enough flavour and structure to make the wine balanced and suitable with a main course. They’re able to make and market their even richer sweeter late harvest styles. The wines are beautiful to drink, slightly drying out with a few years bottle age, and suit their dishes of duck and pork. "I have also worked and spent time in Friuli. Their lighter soils and their food culture define their Pinot Grigio style: crunchy pear, dry and textured. The winemaking art of blending abounds. There are field blends and regional blends of many white varieties, with Pinot Grigio a central component." AUSSIE WINE REGIONS PINOT G LOVES According to Wine Australia “While it’s nowhere near the heady heights of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot G, is growing rapidly with plantings of the grape outstripping Viognier, Verdelho, Muscat, Colombard and Riesling, and it’s now nipping at the heels of Semillon.” In Australia, the cool climate regions of Mornington Peninsula, Tasmania, Adelaide Hills, Orange, King Valley and Great Southern have the ideal conditions to produce high quality fruit and that allow winemakers to experiment with styles. MORNINGTON PENINSULA Tom Quealy says the  Mornington Peninsula 's superior suitability for Pinot G is down to a combination of regional factors. "It's the climate - cool, maritime, Indian summers. It's the cloud cover and sea breezes. The Red Hill and Main Ridge flank creates intimate valleys of rich volcanic soils that hold onto the rainfall. The dryland farming keeps each berry and bunch tiny and concentrated. Then there's a winemaking fraternity reared on  Pinot Noir  and now applying these skills to their love child Pinot Gris."  ADELAIDE HILLS Another standout Aussie Pinot G producer is  Wicks Estate  in the  Adelaide Hills , where, Tim Wicks, explains, "The cool evenings promote great acid retention in the fruit, along with a gradual flavour ripeness without excess phenolic development. This allows the variety to retain a charming aromatic lift which combines beautifully with the subtle textural elements." At Wicks Estate, they make a Gris rather than a Grigio, but as Tim describes, it may be akin to the Gris style, but it maintains a hint of the Grigio aromatics and racier acid lines. This is reflective of the Gris-Grigio overlap that Tim sees as common in Australia. "We have countless fantastic wines that tend towards either the richer Gris characters or lighter aromatic Grigio characteristics. There are also wines that exhibit traits of both, take our  Wicks Estate Pinot Gris , for example. We like the sharpened focus and aromatic style of the Grigio, but tend to lean towards the textural qualities of Gris on the palate. The styles have their own identity; however, we have diverse terroir and climate in Australia that can lend itself to a hybrid style." Celebrated Adelaide Hills winemaker Tim Knappstein sources fruit from a single vineyard near Lenswood to craft his Riposte The Stilletto Pinot Gris. “For the 2018 around 25% of the free run juice was fermented in French oak hogsheads and barriques of which 10% were new,” explains Dave Mavor, Tasting Panellist, Winemaker and Wine Show Judge. “It was then blended with the fresh tank fermented portions to provide a balance of fruit and complexity resulting in a wine showing a juicy pear and lemon fruit core, bright and fresh acidity, lovely texture and mouth-watering persistence.” KING VALLEY The landscape of Victoria’s King Valley is extremely varied, from the flats of the Oxley Plains to the heights of the Whitlands Plateau, one of the highest vineyard areas in Australia. It’s a melting pot for Mediterranean varieties due to its climatic similarity to Italy and Spain making it a top location to grow premium Pinot G. “What makes our Pinot Grigio style so distinctive is the decision to harvest the fruit early to achieve light floral fruit flavours with good natural acidity. The juice is handled oxidatively to naturally remove any colour and unwanted tannins prior to settling and racking, then fermented cool in stainless steel to preserve fruit flavours followed by a short maturation period on lees during autumn and winter, before bottling in the spring,” explains Chrismont winemaker Warren Proft. Chrismont also produces Pinot Gris as a partner to their Italian-inspired La Zona Pinot Grigio – the end result presents a compelling case for the diversity of the variety and its suitability to the King Valley region. With their Italian family heritage, it’s a no brainer that Alfredo and Katrina Pizzini produce excellent Pinot Grigio from their King Valley vineyards. Made by their winemaker son, Joel Pizzini, their 2017 Pinot Grigio is a pure expression of the style, It’s dry and savoury with a fresh line of acidity driving the white and yellow fruit core through to the chalky finish. ORANGE Located in the New South Wales Central Ranges, the Orange wine region has the perfect cool climate and soil types to produce outstanding Pinot G expressions. It’s geographical indicator starts at 600 metres and has vineyards at elevations right through the scale to 1200 metres above sea level; Orange is the highest wine region in Australia and ranks among some of the highest in the world. Winemakers have the luxury of cool weather to retain delicate flavours and enough sunlight to achieve ripening. “The Trophy and 2 x Gold medal-winning Angullong Pinot Grigio 2019 and Gold medal-winning Printhie Mountain Range Pinot Gris 2018 are both fantastic examples coming out of the Orange region,” say Adam Walls, Tasting Panellist, Wine Show Judge, Wine Educator and 2019 Len Evans Tutorial Dux. “Simply put, the Printhie is one of the best we’ve tasted in 2019 – rich and full-bodied, with concentrated fruit flavours, grapefruit-like acidity, supple mouthfeel and a creamy finish in a solid Gris style. More proof, if it was needed, of the Orange region’s ability to excite with the sheer quality of wines that it’s producing,” Adam says. “Certain to take out more awards, the Angullong Pinot Grigio delivers soft, savoury yellow fruits with subtle herbaceous notes, pear, nectarine, ginger and dried herb and a juicy acid finish.” GREAT SOUTHERN The Great Southern region of Western Australia is a relatively new playground for Pinot G producers. It’s cool-climate wines are carefully crafted against a striking backdrop of some of the world’s most diverse National Heritage landscapes by wineries including West Cape Howe, Ludic Wines, Howard Park Wines and more. “Our 2019 Pinot Grigio was been sourced from three vineyards – Mount Barker, Frankland and Margaret River,” explains Gavin Berry, West Cape Howe Managing Director and senior winemaker. “The later 2019 season meant the fruit ripened in generally cooler conditions, preserving the Pinot Grigio’s delicate fruit characters.” “Meanwhile, our West Cape Howe Pinot Gris 2019 from Great Southern features crunchy white fruit with hints of jasmine and oyster shell. It’s elegant yet intensely flavoursome, true to the Gris style with a rich, textural and velvety finish.” TASMANIA Tasmania’s naturally elegant wines are made from grapes grown in climates similar to those of the famous European wines – with mild summers and long autumn days that ripen the grapes providing elegance and intensity of flavour. While its wine history dates back as far as 1823, it wasn’t until the early 1970s that the industry began to flourish and it now produces elegant cool climate including Pinot Gris.  Relbia Estate sources it’s fruit from the southern end of the Tamar Valley producing elegant cool climate wines showing crisp acidity, complexity and intensity. Winemaker Ockie Myburgh describes their Pinot Grigio 2017 – “Our Pinot Grigio is harvested ripe to capture full varietal character. The grapes are gently destemmed without crushing the berries, juice is pressed directly to a stainless-steel tank. Fermentation is carried out on light solids to provide a fuller mouth feel with texture and to balance the crisp acidity.”  Another winemaker making a mark with their Pinot G is René Bezemer who sourced fruit from two of Ninth Island’s vineyards in Tasmania, Pipers Brook and Tamar Valley to create their 2016 Pinot Grigio. It’s deliciously textural and rich with good fruit-depth, balanced by lovely crisp acidity through to the long, complex finish. TAKE THE TASTE TEST Whether you choose a  richer Gris or a zestier Grigio , or a mix of both, you can’t go wrong with Pinot G. Explore our diverse range now to discover your new favourites.
Wine
Simply Savvy
Words by Mark Hughes on 19 Dec 2016
It is fair to say that Sauvignon Blanc is the most recognisable wine ever, but Australian producers are doing their best to create a host of appealing new identities. We find out who is doing what to make drinkers swipe right. I’ll come right out and say it. I quite like Sauvignon Blanc. That statement will probably earn me the ire of a few wine critics that I know, but I reckon it is a sassy and wondrous wine, and deserving of far more than the limited adulation we give it. I’d be as bold as to say it has been unfairly heaped with harsh criticism. There are a few reasons as to why Sauvignon Blanc is the kid the rest of the class picks on. Firstly, Sauvignon Blanc is seen as a pretty simple wine – it really is a case of WYSIWYG – What You ‘Smell’ Is What You Get and Sauv Blanc has an unmistakable tropical aroma. No matter where it is grown, it will always smell like Sauv Blanc, and this leads to the second reason why it is ridiculed. Because it is so recognisable, it is the first wine that drinkers new to the game can accurately identify. And for the well-heeled wine critic, that is just so ho-hum. Thirdly, it is popular, and we all know Australians hate anything that is popular. It is so well-liked for the two reasons given above. It is appealing for the novice wine drinker, particularly young women, as its simple tropical and punchy profile is not too dissimilar to the flavour of juices and fruit punches we enjoy drinking as teenagers. And it is popular because the novice wine drinker can identify it. Not only does that give them a sense of assurance that the wine experience they are about to have is going to be an enjoyable one, but it also gives them a sense of pride about their burgeoning wine knowledge. And finally, it is because New Zealand has had phenomenal success with the varietal and Aussies just can’t put that Trans Tasman rivalry to bed. It is a wonder we are still playing rugby given the dominance the All Blacks have had over us this millennium, and for the foreseeable future.   ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW Having said all of that, Australian winemakers are a hardy bunch (even more so than the Wallaby scrum) and they have been busy creating a unique identity for Aussie Sauv Blanc that will have a point of difference from Kiwi SB and be just as popular, or even more popular. “I think Australian Sauvignon Blanc tends to be leaner than NZ wines, lower in alcohol with less residual sugar,” says McWilliam’s winemaker Adrian Sparks, whose High Altitude Sauvignon Blanc from the Orange wine region topped our State of Play tasting. “It is a crisper, more refreshing style of wine. This is what we try to achieve, but you want the wine to say where it is from. “I would hate to see wines from Margaret River , Adelaide Hills and Orange all looking the same. Regional differences are important.” Dan Berrigan, winemaker at Berrigan Wines and avid Sauv Blanc lover agrees. “As an Aussie winemaker, I try to understand what makes the NZ Sauv Blanc so popular, and emulate those characters in my wine,” he explains. “I then weave in the regional Mt Benson personality, which is usually in the form of more fruit weight on the palate, and I feel that it’s this combination that drinkers really appreciate, and are drawn to as a point of difference.”   BETTER WITH AGE Shane Harris, chief winemaker at Wines by Geoff Hardy in the Adelaide Hills makes another good point – we have only been growing and making Sauvignon Blanc for the last decade or two. After a slow start, we are growing better fruit and getting better at making good wine out of it. “When the Sauv Blanc train came to town, lots of the industry was fixated on turning the volume up to 11 on the varietal character, but somewhere along the line, the focus on site was lost and replaced with maximising varietal character with picking times and yeast selection based on volume of varietal character more than reflection of site,” says Shane. “More and more Australian winemakers are learning how to get the best out of the fruit sources they have available to them. Sauv Blanc has a great ability to show the site it comes from if you let it.” “I love Australian wine due to the vast differences in climate and styles. We are so fortunate in that fact and more so than any other country,” adds Adrian. “The altitude of Orange is the key, with its warm days and cool nights allowing the grapes to ripen slowly, retaining wonderful acidity and not tending to have full blown tropical fruit, rather a lovely combination of citrus, herbs and exotic notes.”   TINKERING THE TECHNIQUE So what are some of the techniques winemakers are using and what result does it have on the wine? Overall, the answer seems to be to bring Sauv Blanc some complexity. “Winemaking begins in the vineyard,” says Dan. “With the Berrigan Sauvignon Blanc this means managing the canopy to achieve fruit with a balance of tropical and grassy flavours. “In the winery, you then need to extend the skin contact time of the must to ensure that those flavours you’ve worked hard for in the vineyard are extracted from the skins and into the juice. From there, it’s all about minimising the extraction of phenolics, while maximising flavour retention and balance in your wine without oak maturation, lees stirring or fining.” “Oak with the right fruit works very well,” says Adrian conversely. “Lees contact providing texture and depth and some wild fermentation all are providing layers of complexity.” “Sauv Blanc responds to as little to as much winemaking as you wish to give it. Whether that response is appropriate depends on the site and the intended style,” explains Shane. “This doesn’t mean that just because you can do something that you should! A level of restraint is required to bring the subtle characters from your little patch of earth. “For our site I find that some skin contact time, leaving the juice slightly cloudy, and yeast selection are the most important areas of my input. Some post primary fermentation lees contact also helps, but this varies vintage to vintage. “The ability to change and adapt to vintage variation and change your approach is required to get the best out of the variety. Following what you did last year isn’t good enough if you want to get the best out of it this year.”   THE FUTURE While critics predict the popularity of Sauvignon Blanc cannot last, our winemakers seem to believe it will be here for quite some time to come. “The wine style is just so strong in its personality, and with the majority of Australians living in warm, sunny coastal regions, the freshness of Sauvignon Blanc will always have its place amongst our lifestyles,” says Dan. It will always be popular as it’s such an easy drink and suited to Australia’s summer climate,” agrees Adrian. “I hope as an industry we can move with the ebb and flow of consumer preferences and make moves to deliver a style that is relevant and current,” says Shane. “We have to learn to not flog the horse too hard and kill the market and burn the variety, we need to be more sensitive to changes in consumer preferences and move with it, not fight against it. “Keep it fresh, keep it relevant.” Top 20 Sauvignon Blanc 2016 McWilliam’s Wines High Altitude Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Orange) Scotchmans Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Geelong)  Henschke & Co Coralinga Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Adelaide Hills)  Berrigan Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Mount Benson)  Taylors Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Adelaide Hills)  Blue Pyrenees Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Pyrenees)  Redgate Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (Oak Matured) 2014 (Margaret River) Silkwood Wines The Walcott Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Pemberton)  Tamar Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Tamar Valley) Dominique Portet Fontaine Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Yarra Valley) Howard Park Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Margaret River) Alkoomi Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Frankland River) Dandelion Vineyards Wishing Clock Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Adelaide Hills) Wangolina Station Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Mount Benson) Geoff Hardy Wines K1 Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Adelaide Hills) Cherubino Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Pemberton) Eden Road Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Canberra District) d’Arenberg The Broken Fishplate Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Adelaide Hills) Lambrook Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Adelaide Hills) Nannup Ridge Firetower Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Blackwood River)
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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