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Hand-selected wines from 500+
Australian wineries delivered to your door!

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Wine

A bounty of bling

“The Royal Queensland Wine Show is one of the first in the series for the year and it’s a real honour judging alongside some of our industry leaders,” says Nicole.

Over 4 days, 26 judges, including new chief judge David Bicknell, tasted over 1,801 entries from 243 wineries from across Australia.

“Yes, that is a lot of wine,” says Nicole. “With my fellow panellists I judged everything from Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Sparkling to Muscat, Cabernet and red blends, but I was especially impressed by the 2014 Shiraz, 2015 Semillon and 2015 Pinot Noir brackets.”

“What is really exciting is that the House of Arras 2007 Grand Vintage from Tasmania made history by becoming the first Sparkling to take out Grand Champion Wine of Show,” says Nicole. “And to further reinforce its consistency and the excellence of Tasmanian Sparkling, the same wine was named Best Wine of Show at Sydney. And again, this was the first time a Sparking had won the major award since the show’s inception.”

Royal Brisbane Wine Show 2016 Trophy winners include:
Brokenwood Wines 2009 ILR Reserve Semillon – Best Semillon of Show, Best Mature White of Show, Best Single Vineyard White of Show and RNA Best White of Show.
Yabby Lake 2015 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir – Best Pinot of Show, RNA best Red of Show, Best Single Vineyard Red of Show and Best Young Red of Show.
Norfolk Rise Vineyard 2015 Shiraz – Best Shiraz of Show

While the House of Arras took out the top prize at the 2016 KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show, the other big winner was the Chalkers Crossing CC2 Shiraz 2014 with Trophies for Best Shiraz, Best Value Red, Best Single Vineyard Wine, Best Red and Best Small Producer Wine.

The Hunter Valley maintained its reputation as the nation’s top Semillon producer with Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillon 2005 taking out the Trophy for Best NSW Wine. Brokenwood Wines 2009 ILR Reserve Semillon won Best Semillon and Best Mature White, while Best Value White was awarded to De Iuliis Wines for their 2016 Semillon.

Nicole Gow and fellow Tasting Panellist Adam Walls attended the trade tasting, which allowed them the opportunity to taste the entire range of wines.

“It’s always exciting to taste the entries of the Sydney Royal Wine Show and this year was no exception,” says Adam.

“For me, the thing that really stood out, and was a common thread through all of the wines I tasted, was that they had great vibrancy and acidity that made them immensely drinkable. From the biggest, richest reds to the lightest whites, they were all mouth-watering, vibrant and full of energy.”

“So many of the wines were a mid-weight style which really reflects the way people are enjoying their wines, “ Nicole says. “ There were some smart alternative and food-friendly whites, and a great diversity of elegant Chardonnays showing a lot more experimentation and refinement from all of the regions.”

Enjoy exclusive access to some of the Gold medal winners from the KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show for just $17 a bottle.

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Who makes my wine?
Words by Tyson Stelzer on 28 Apr 2016
Walk the aisles of your local Dan Murphy’s or First Choice store and you won’t find a wine labelled “Dan Murphy’s Select” or “First Choice Home Brand”. But lurking on those shelves are more than 100 brands owned by the supermarket chains with no disclosure on the label. In an age in which we are more interested than ever in the origins of our products, how can we distinguish a small family estate from a supermarket brand? The growth in supermarket “Buyer’s Own Brand” wines in Australia has been substantial, estimated to have mushroomed from five percent a decade ago to between 16 and 25 percent of the market today. The wine industry is concerned that this growing category of major retailers could mislead consumers. In February 2016, a Senate Inquiry report into the Australian Wine Industry put forward a proposal from the Winemaker’s Federation of Australia (WFA) “that the Government amend labelling requirements so wine labels must declare whether wine is produced by an entity owned or controlled by a major retailer.” “What we would like to see is that home brands are identified so consumers can make their choice,” WFA Chief Executive Paul Evans told the Inquiry. The enquiry’s report is not binding, but the government is expected to respond within six months. It can choose to accept or reject the recommendations. Not so simple The question of whether it should be the government’s place to legislate on this issue has been widely debated, but even if it is, the dilemma of how it could be defined and regulated is perhaps more pertinent. Buyer’s Own Brand wines have a fully valid and important place in the market, and the major retail chains own perfectly legitimate wineries under which some of their labels are branded. Some retailers’ own brands are even made by small, private estates. Further, many high profile winemakers, including Giaconda, Clonakilla, Oakridge and St Hallett, make exclusive labels for particular retailers under the winemaker’s own brands. Such relationships are of value for all levels of the wine industry. And if retailers are required to declare brand ownership, what of companies like Treasury Wine Estates, Accolade Wines and Pernod Ricard, who together own many more brands and a much greater market share than the supermarket groups? And, for that matter, what of the hundreds of private little “virtual” wine brands who own no vineyards, buy fruit and have it contract made in someone else’s facility? The big issue behind this discussion is the market dominance of Woolworths (who owns BWS, Dan Murphy’s, Cellarmasters and Langton’s) and Wesfarmers (Liquorland, First Choice and Vintage Cellars) and the increasing presence of Metcash (Cellarbrations, IGA Liquor and Bottle-O), Costco, and ALDI stores in the wine market. It is estimated that Woolworths and Wesfarmers together share just under 60 percent of the domestic wine retail market, with some estimates putting this at 70 percent. There is a bigger picture at play here, of which wine is just one small category. Controversy surrounds the supermarket duopoly and its increasing dominance across many categories. Legislative change for wine would not only be fraught with complications surrounding definitions and implementation, but such a precedent would have enormous ramifications for groceries, fuel, hardware, office supplies, insurance, etc.
Wine
Q & A with Luke Eckersley
You’ve had so many accolades for Plantagenet wines, but what are the most meaningful, personally? For myself it is not so much industry accolades or awards, it is more being a part of the Plantagenet history, heritage and consistency and the feeling it gives you. Plantagenet is a Pioneer of the Great Southern and that in itself is an accolade for vision and belief. How did your 2016 vintage treat you? Anything unique crop up? It was a cooler than average vintage with a longer growing period so I found the Rieslings to have really shined! The wines of Great Southern are unique and diverse, but how have they changed over your time working this region? I feel over time there has been a better understanding of what varieties excel in the different sub-regions (along with the subsequent variations in style), and this knowledge has helped winemakers within the region craft wines that have better balance and are true expressions of what the regions can offer. What excites and inspires you living in the beautiful Mt Barker? It is purely the beauty, uniqueness and sparseness of the region, we have the Stirling Range as a back drop and the Southern Ocean hugging us to the south. This combined with the vineyards and the people makes it a truly amazing place to call home! Can you recall the first wine you tried? A mid-eighties Wynn’s Coonawarra Cabernet that my father had brought back (in volume) from a trip to South Australia, tried in the early nineties. A fantastic savoury wine with very good bones! When did you fall in love with wine? Having grown up in agriculture and being involved in a family vineyard wine was always of great interest to me. After completing my studies of both winemaking and viticulture I found myself more drawn to wine. It is the crafting of something that is continually evolving (living) and the enjoyment it can bring to people on lots of different levels. Do you remember that moment? What happened? I think agriculture (both growing and crafting of grapes) is simply in your blood! Do you have an all-time favourite wine to drink? Why is it this wine? I find myself more often than not drawn to Great Southern Chardonnay (from various producers!). The purity, power and fineness always amazes me, the wines lend themselves to so many different occasions from an intimate meal to a winding down ritual on a Friday evening! Do you have a favourite wine to make? Chardonnay obviously (barrel fermented), so many different layers that can be built on the raw wine to craft and evolve a wine with balance and complexity.
Wine
Meet Steve Webber from DeBortoli
The Wine Selectors Wine of the Month for September is the De Bortoli Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2014. So we caught up with winemaker Steve Webber to find out a bit more about the man behind the wine. Can you recall the first wine you tried? Not really. My father enjoyed Pirramimma Shiraz so it was probably something like that. When did you fall in love with wine? I have enjoyed wine since I was 18 (38 years ago) and been fascinated by it, however, I feel I only fell in love with wine about 20 years ago after spending lots of time in France and Italy, breaking out of the wine bubble, enjoying delicious inexpensive wine with friends and secretly enjoying the odd delicious expensive bottle with Leanne (and maybe 1 or 2 friends). Do you have a favourite wine? Pinot Noir . Ridiculously alluring, charming, gracious and great with fatty cuts of pork and duck. What is your favourite wine memory? A bottle of 1996 Salon Champagne that Leanne and I vacuumed after her final cancer treatment. It must be why she is fighting fit today. Other than your own, which wine do you like to drink at home? Pale dry Rosé in carafes from lots of different Australian and French producers. What is your favourite wine and food match? Fine minerally Chardonnay with pan fried John Dory. How do you relax away from winemaking? Hanging out at our beach house on the Mornington Peninsula – good food and the odd bottle. What is your favourite…. Book: McEnroe – talent to burn, had attitude. Movie: The Rock – love the one liners TV show: Rake – too funny Restaurant: France Soir – unfortunately my kids favourite as well Lunch: Dory, Chablis and friends Dinner: Charcoal roasted chicken with the family Time of day/night: Twilight in spring in the Yarra Valley – amazing colours Sporting team: Geelong
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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