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Best of Member Wine Tastings 2016

In 2016, some fortunate Wine Selectors members had the pleasure of joining our tasting panel to put Hunter Shiraz, Pinot G and Sparkling to the taste test.

Hunter Shiraz

The winemakers of the Hunter Valley craft a style of Shiraz that's unique to the region with its vibrant, fruit-driven appeal. While wineries and experts are on board with this style, we wanted to find out what wine-lovers think.

Our guests discovered Shiraz that lived up to the regional reputation for being medium-bodied and savoury, but also found the Hunter could produce excellent fuller styles such as those from The Little Wine Company and Pepper Tree . The wine that drew unanimous praise was the De Iuliis Shiraz 2014 ,which was described as having "beautiful balance with long, spicy, elegant tannins." Overall, our members vowed they'll explore and add more Hunter Shiraz to their collection. Find out more about our Hunter Valley Shiraz member tasting experience here.

Pinot Gris and Grigio

Over the last few years, Pinot Gris and Grigio have become very popular white wines, but generally the drinking public don't know the difference between the two, so we invited some members to discuss the difference in styles. In a nutshell, Grigio is the Italian style that's fresh and zesty with a savourycharacter, while the French Gris is richer with more body, stonefruit flavours and some spice.

Mainly due to marketing, winemakers in Australia have tended to use the trendier Grigio on the label, even if the wine is more in Gris style, which understandably only adds to the confusion.

Fortunately, the big thing to come out of this tasting was the development of winemaking techniques that show that noted producers, at least, are making Grigio and Gris more in line with their European counterparts. Find out more about the differences between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio we discovered here.

Sparkling

Which Sparkling is trending this summer? We asked some lucky members: Traditional, Prosecco or Blanc de Blanc? The results of this very festive tasting revealed that all three styles are well liked, it was just a matter of what type of occasion our guests were attending that would determine their choice of bubbly.

One of our members, Trudi Arnall voiced everyone’s thoughts when she said, “If I was to turn up for an afternoon BBQ with the kids in the pool, a Prosecco would be great. If I was going to a dinner party, I’d go with the traditional Sparkling and if I really wanted to impress, I’d go with a Blanc de Blanc with some age.” Find out more about the results of our tasting here or learn more about the difference between Prosecco and sparkling wines with our handy infographic and guide.

Find out more about becoming a Wine Selectors Member today!

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Pinot Gris vs Grigio: What’s the difference?
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same grape variety, so what's the difference? We talk to some passionate Pinot G winemakers to find out. While it's fast becoming one of Australia's most popular varieties,  PinotGris/Grigio  still presents a point of confusion for many wine-lovers. Made from one variety, a member of the Pinot Noir family, this grape has two different names thanks to the two countries in which it is most commonly grown: France and Italy. 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 lovely silky texture. Grigio is the Italian for "grey" and in contrast to the French, Italian Grigio 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. Across the two styles, the common aroma and flavour descriptors include apple, pear, strawberry, honey, hay, brioche and bread. AUSSIE HOME
The variety was first introduced to the Hunter Valley with the James Busby collection of 1832, however it wasn't until the 1990s that the variety started to really emerge. This was thanks to a winemaking couple who made their home on Victoria's  Mornington Peninsula  in 1988: Kathleen Quealy and Kevin McCarthy. Having been introduced to Pinot Gris at college, Kathleen felt intuitively that they had come to the perfect region for producing the variety. They released their first commercial Pinot Gris in 1993, have had huge success since, and are now seen as setting the benchmark for Australian interpretations of the variety. Following in their footsteps is their son, Tom, a winemaker at Quealy wines who has inherited his parents' passion for Pinot G. What's more, he's been to the homes of both the Gris and Grigio styles. "I have worked vintages at Domain Paul Blanck in Alsace, where Pinot Gris is 1 of 4 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 are 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." MORNINGTON MAGIC
Back home, Tom explains the  Mornington Peninsula 's superior suitability for Pinot G 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 EXCELLENCE
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."   THE PROOF IS IN THE TASTING At the end of the day, whether you go for a  richer Gris or a zestier Grigio , or a mix of both, only your palate can decide. To help you choose, we've got an extensive range from the Mornington Peninsula, Adelaide Hills and beyond to  explore  .
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Regional Flavours: The sunshine state’s must-do food and wine festival!
From lazy, waterfront cocktails to a bustling market, celebrity chefs and beyond, Regional Flavours presented by The Courier-Mail is Australia’s largest free food festival. Started 10 years ago and held this year on 21-22 July in the stunning South Bank Parklands, the event will again showcase Queensland’s best fresh produce and gourmet ingredients. Celebrities on the Main Stage On the Main Stage in the South Bank Piazza, the specialty dish is entertainment – served fresh from Australia’s best celebrity chefs and culinary experts including Network Ten’s Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris, Miguel Maestre, food goddesses Sarah Wilson, Katherine Sabbath, Jessica Sepel and global flavour connoisseur Adam Liaw. See how to create mind-blowing flavours and street-hawker-worthy meals at home, take in a tutorial on cooking with Queensland seafood, start to incorporate sustainable, plus much more. Entry is free, but spaces are limited, so arrive early to secure your seat. Queensland Taste Stage and Marketplace The thriving Queensland Taste Stage and Marketplace featuring more than 80 stalls from across the state will have a distinct theme of healthy alternatives, gluten and dairy free ingredients as well as vegan and vegetarian foods. On the stage, local chefs will walk you through exquisite recipes using local produce – think black garlic from Gympie, brilliantly-coloured Lockyer Valley beetroots and melt-in-the-mouth Moreton Bay seafood to name a few. Picnic Patch Located on the Little Stanley Street Lawn, Picnic Patch will be abundant with masterfully decorated tables, parlour games, cosy blankets and scrumptious food stalls offering fresh produce from the Lockyer Valley. Kick back in the winter sunshine and taste the tantalizing flavours of Australia’s salad bowl.
Future Food pavilion Take a glimpse into the crystal ball and hear from leading experts on what trends and insights you might expect on your dinner plate now, and in 2050 at the Future Food pavilion. Discover 3D printed food, smart horticulture and more, plus cheer on recent participants in the Future Food Business Acceleration Programs in the daily Grill to Till pitch competition. The Hunting Club Presented by Meat and Livestock Australia and The Charming Squire, The Hunting Club is part bar and bistro, part stage in a fabulous fusion of Queensland’s meat and malt scene. Open exclusively at Regional Flavours, you can head along for lunch, dinner and all-day grazing prepared by popular South Bank restaurateur, The Charming Squire. The Hunting Club also features special, extended opening hours – from 5pm until late on Friday 20 July, and 10am until late on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 July. Kids Collective Pint-sized gourmets can enjoy a spot of food-focused play at the Kids Collective. Located at Central Café Lawns & Arbour View Lawns, Kids Collective lets children get their hands dirty with the Potato Journey by OzHarvest, a truly immersive experience of the life of a humble potato. There’s also a range of colourful craft activities to enjoy including edible fruit caterpillars, rainbow-coloured nutrition and book readings from Brisbane City Council Libraries. River Quay If rest and relaxation in palatial surrounds is what you desire, venture to River Quay presented by eatSouthBank. At Regional Flavours’ most luxe location, revel in the gentle hum of mellow tunes plus food and cocktails from some of South Bank’s five-star restaurants; Stokehouse Q, The Jetty, River Quay Fish, Popolo and Aquitaine at River Quay. Open from 10am until 8pm, so you can savour that spritz just a little bit longer. Is your appetite whetted? To plan your day and experience Australia’s largest free food and wine festival, head to regionalflavours.com.au . 
Wine
Peos Estate | Wine of the Season
History For more than 80 years, the Macedonian-born Peos family has lived in Manjimup in WA, having been attracted to the region’s rich soils and ideal crop-growing weather. The family’s viticultural history goes back to Macedonia, where P.Y. Peos began cultivating grapes and producing wine almost a century ago and he passed this love of wine down to his son, Jim.  With viticulture in their historical veins, brothers Vic, John, Kon and Chris banded together in 1996 to create their dream vineyard as a legacy to their late father, Jim Peos, and late grandfather, P.Y. Peos.  Tasting Notes This  Pinot Noir  from the  Peos Estate   Four Kings range, named after the four Peos brothers, presents dark cherry aromas with hints of allspice. On the palate, intense berry fruit and spice with a silky texture are well balanced by undertones of toasty oak leading to a persistent finish. Winemaking The grapes were cold soaked for 48 hours before inoculation. Fermented in an open fermenter, the wine was punched down three times a day to gently extract skin tannins and flavours. Post alcoholic fermentation, the wine was gently pressed and transferred to 30% new and 70% older French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. The wine remained in barrel for 10 months before final blending.  Graphite Road, West Manjimup, WA peosestate.com.au 08 9772 1378 + Food With its beautiful fine tannins, Pinot Noir needs a food match that’s full of gamey, earthy flavours. Duck is the classic choice, but also try oily fish like salmon or a selection of blue cheeses. Click here for all our delicious recipes
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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