James Halliday Gives O’Leary Walker Wines Five Stars

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James Hallidayis an Australian wine writer and critic and senior wine competition judge. Since 1979 he has written and co-authored more than 40 books on wine, including contributions to the Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine and the The Oxford Companion to Wine. In 1986 he published his first annual overview of Australian wine which (since 2000) has been entitled James Halliday Annual Wine Companion. Jancis Robinson has described Halliday “as Australia’s leading wine writer”. Halliday’s career as a wine judge started in 1977 and he has been accorded the role of Chairman of Judges of the Victorian Wine Show, Sydney International Winemakers Competition, Adelaide Wine Show and National Wine Show Canberra. He also has judged in wine competitions in the United Kingdom, United States, South Africa and New Zealand.

In his most recent Annual Wine Companion ( for 2010) Halliday scored the O’Leary Walker; 5 Stars out of 5 Stars. This score is only possible a winery that regularly produces outstanding wines of quality and typicity. Only a very small percentage of Australia’s wineries are award this score. The following is a break down of how Halliday scored some of the O’Leary Walker wines we have in Stock. A score of 90-93 represents a highly recommend wine with great style and character and a score of 94-100 is reserved for outstanding wines that are of the highest quality and distingusihed pedigree.

2006 Clare Valley/McLaren Vale Shiraz Rating 95

2006 Clare Valley/McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon Rating 95

2008 Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc Rating 93

2008 Watervale Riesling Rating 91

2006 Blue Cutting Road Cabernet Merlot Rating 90

2008 Blue Cutting Road Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Rating 90

2004 Hurtle Pinot Noir Chardonnay Rating 88


Food with Wine Part 4: Semi Hard Cheese

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Stilton & Port A Classic Combination

In the last post in the food with wine string we looked at the soft cheeses, this time round I’m going to focus on the semi-hard cheese including the one we all have in our fridge, ceddar. Remeber the following matches are not set in stone and everyones palate is differernt so what works for you or me might not work for everybody.

Ceddar: The most widely purchased and eaten cheese in the world. Cheddar cheeses were originally made in England, however today they are manufactured in many countries all over the world. This popular cheese originated in the village of Cheddar in the Somerset region of England. It’s a firm, cow’s-milk cheese that ranges in flavor from mild to sharp, and in color from natural white to pumpkin orange. Depending on the strenght and style of ceddar there are many wines to try, for mild ceddar a nice creamy Chardonnay or if your feeling a bit more flush a sparkling wine from Champagne or a new world sparkler made in the Champagne method. For red wine drinkers a rounded Rioja such as a Tinto or Crianza is a good match with mild ceddar as well as sharp ceddar. However for sharper cheddars a nice Cabernet based Bordeaux or Australian Cabernet does the trick perfectly or a nice crisp Chilean or Australian Sauvignon Blanc.

Gouda: was named after the Dutch town of Gouda, just outside Rotterdam. It accounts for more than 60% of the cheese produced in Holland and it has a very long history. Gouda is a traditional, creamery, hard cheese, similar to ceddar. It is round with very smooth, yellow, waxed rind. The flavor is sweet and fruity. As time passes, the taste intensifies and becomes more complex. Mature Gouda (18 months plus) is coated in black wax which provides a stark contrast to the deep yellow interior. Gouda is considered to be one of the world’s great cheeses. It is both a table cheese and a dessert cheese, excellent with fruit and wine. Gouda is now made globally, again like ceddar. Wine matches with Gouda are like those for ceddar, Champagne for those who like to splash out, but if it is a still wine your looking for Riesling is the only man a zesty citrusy Aussie Rielsling or a slighlty drier Alstain are delectable partners with gouda. For red lovers a fruity new world Merlot or a fruit forward Cabernet do the job especially if it is mature.

Stilton: Historically referred to as “The King of Cheeses” Stilton is a blue-mould cheese with a rich and mellow flavor and a piquant aftertaste. It has narrow, blue-green veins and a wrinkled rind which is not edible. Stilton is milder than Roquefort or Gorgonzola, and is equally excellent for crumbling over salads or as a dessert cheese. The classic cheese and wine combination is Stilton and Port. But if you feel like being a bit more adventerous try a spannish red something from Ribera del Duero or a crisp Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc from Nelson or Waipara.

Give it a go! Part 3: Unoaked Chardonnay

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I know Chardonnay is not the most popular of grape varieties at the moment but it is certainly worth trying some of the fablous unoaked options that are out there. If it was the heavy buttery texture and vanilla and honeyed notes which sent you fleeing from this wonderful grape have no fear there is little to none of those here. Oak aging, literally aging the chardonnay in oak barrels, to impart flavour and texture to the wine. In many cases however cheaper methods such as adding a large tea bag full of oak chips to the wine, the result was oceans of terrible cheap chardonnay.
The fight back has begun however, with many producers allowing chardonnay to express itself in all it’s unoaked glory, this means the wine will not have come into contact with any oak and as a result is delightfully refreshing and fresh. If you have been thinking about giving chardonnay a second chance now is the time pick up a delectable unoaked Chardonnay.

Winery of Good Hope Chardonay 2008

The name is a bit naff, but the wine is a wonderful easy drinking style, 100% unoaked. It displays notes of citrus zest and has a delightful mineral tang, bedded in stone fruit flavours.
Yalumba Y-series Unwooded Chardonnay 2007
A full bodied and fruity wine, with notes of melon, pineapple and grapefruit flavours. A refreshing citrus acidity on the finish.
Domaine des Valanges, Macon Fuisse 2007
This stunning french wine is loaded with aromas of lemons and citrus fruits with a hint of hazelnut. Rich mouth feel of lemons and apples leading to a lively and refreshing finish. A wine for Pouilly-Fuisse lovers.

Another Great Spanish Alternative

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A few months back I posted a blog about great Alternative Spanish reds, like the wines Toro, Ribera del Duero and Bierzo. These all make fantastic Alternatives to Rioja, and luckily for Spanish lovers we can now add a tasty red from Campo de Borja to that list. The Campo de Borja region is located on South Eastern border of the Rioja Region.

Bodegas Borsao is one of the leading producers in Campo de Borja, and the Borsao Selection 2008 is a great example of the wine this region can produce. The Selection is a blend of 70% Grenache (the most used grape in this region, see previous post about Grenache), 20% Syrah and 10% Tempranillo all from vines at least 15 years old. The wine is an intense cherry red in colour with violet undertones. The bouquet is dominate by cherries and red berries with a slight floral note and on the palate the wine is a delicately medium bodied with well balanced tannin and acidity and again those cherry notes coming to the surface. The finish has a complex and and lasting aftertaste. This is a great wine by the glass for these dreary August days.

New Belvoir Pressés

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Way back in June I posted about the Belvoir Fruit pressé which we had in store and the great response we had gotten to them. So great in fact that we have gone and gotten two fantastic new flavours.

Belvoir Organic Blood Orange & Mandarin

A delicious zesty blend of citrus fruit juices. As well as an energizing alternative to breakfast orange juice, Blood Orange & Mandarin is equally as good on the rocks, as a refreshing long drink.

Belvoir Pomegranate & Raspberry Pressé

A soft, fruity blend of the ‘superfruit’ pomegranate and the sweet summer taste of raspberries. This delicious, exotic combination provides a perfect alternative to alcohol or a great companion to lunch on the go.

Cotes Du Roussillon in Brief

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Over the weekend we had a good few questions as to where or what is the Cote Du Roussilon, many people were in an inquisitive mood when checking out the great offer on the Domaine de Bisconte Cotes Du Roussillon red, 2 bottles for €25. The following is a brief description of the Cotes Du Roussilon

From the hills of Corbières to the Pyrénées mountains, Roussillon, the region around the city of Perpigian, is the sunniest wine producing region in France. The climate, the history and the traditions of Roussillon make it more similar to Spain than to the rest of the south of France. This is maybe the reason why Roussillon wines are still fighting to find an identity and can often be more modern than other french alternatives. The Cotes du Roussillon produce mainly red wines.

Côtes du Roussillon Villages label is rarer and is only granted to 25 villages along the Agly river, just North of Perpignian. Côtes de Roussillon Villages produces only red wine. They express the most of their sunny terroir than do the Cotes du Roussillon.

Carignan is the most important grape variety in Roussillon, and the normally the largest percentage of the blend will be of this grape. Othe grapes used in the blend are, thelocal grape Lladoner Pelut, Cinsault, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Red wines are generally spicy and medium body, with a good fruitiness.

Domaine de Bisconte Cotes Du Roussillon 2 bottles for €20

40% Syrah, 30% Carignan and 30% Grenache, this wine has spent 12 months in oak. Ripe red fruit leads the way in this wonderfully characterful wine. Medium to full bodied with subtle notes of vanilla and soft tannins. The finish is long, and very elegant.

Domaine Seguela ‘Les Candalieres’ Cotes du Roussillon Vilages €14.95

Domaine Seguela is one of the top Roussillon producers and this wine is a great example of why. Made using 60% Carignan, 20% Grenache and 20% Syrah, this wine is pure aromatic and juicy. Quite rounded with good tannins and a delectable long lasting finish.

Food with Wine Part 3: Soft Cheeses

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When people talk about food and wine matches one of the first thing that springs to mind is cheese. But what people don’t realise is there are nearly as many different styles of cheese as there are wines. This weeks food and wine pairings are going to focus on three well known soft cheeses.

Brie: Is a mild soft cheese with delicious savoury flavours and creaminess. It is delectable when served with Champagne or with Sherry. What type of sherry depends on personnel, a sweet Pedro Ximenez would probably be best, however many people prefer a dry Fino or Mazanilla.

Camembert: Is a soft cheese from Normandy and its full expression of flavour by pairing it with a full bodied Chilean Reserve or Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon with this cheese or stay french with a nice Cabernet Sauvignon based Bordeaux. For those of you who drink white wine Chenin blanc is a good match with Camembert particular a full flavoured south African option.

Feta: This cheese is made using sheep’s milk and varying percentages of goat’s milk, it has a slight salty tangy flavour. Feta works fabulously well with Beaujoulais, the young vibrant fruit in the wine bringing out the full expression of the cheese.

Other Goat’s Cheeses: wines are a fantastic when partnered with a grassy Sancerre or a citrusy Vouvray. Another option to try would some of the barrel fermented New World Sauvignons from Chile and New Zealand.

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