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Informal Tasting in store this Friday 30th of October with Louisa Rose, Chief Wine maker at Yalumba

Thomas Woodberrys is delighted to welcome Louisa Rose, Chief winemaker with Yalumba. Louisa will be stopping off in the shop tomorrow night, Friday 30th of October for an informal tasting at 7.30 pm. All are welcome for what is sure to be an interesting and informative evening with one of Australia’s top wine makers.

In 1992 while studying winemaking at Rosewood, Louisa worked a vintage in the Yalumba Cellars in the Barossa Valley, as part of her study. She returned to Yalumba the following year, this time as assistant wine maker having graduated from Roseworthy as Dux of her class. Seventeen years and that many vintages later, Louisa has being involved with almost facet of winemaking and cellar management at Yalumba. She quietly stepped into the position of Chief winemaker at the end of 2006, as chief winemaker she is responsible for all the wines of Yalumba. But Louisa still retains hands on responsibility in areas where her work is probably best known: Yalumba’s Viognier wines (a grape where she is considered one of the worlds top experts) and those produced in the Pewsey Vale vineyard in Eden Valley.

Her work has not gone unnoticed outside of Yalumba, having been awarded Barossa Winemaker of the Year Award in 1999. In October 2008 Louisa was named as the ‘Winemaker of The Year’ by the prestigious Gourmet Traveller WINE Magazine – a case of third time lucky following two previous nominations in 2000 and 2005. This award proudly sits alongside Louisa’s 2004 acknowledgement by International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) as winner of the 2004 Women in Wine Award. She started as an Australian Wine Show Judge in 1997; Louisa is now heavily involved in judging at Australian and International Wine Shows including first female Chair of Judges at the Perth Royal Wine Show.


Sherry: More than Grannies and Trifle.

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How many of us assume it tastes like grannys favourite ‘Harvey’s Bristol Cream’ and would leave us turning our face like grandma above. But there is more to Sherry than we think it’s not only a drink for grannies, or indeed for adding to that delicous home made deserts like sherry trifle.

Sherry is as sophisticated and as complex as all other wines. And like other wines the it is in the making that decides the type of Sherry we get, thats right sherry can be divided into diffrent styles, such as Fino, Oloroso, and Manzanilla.

In the manufacture of sherries, the slightly porous oak barrels are deliberately filled only about five-sixths full with the young wine, leaving “the space of two fists” empty to allow the flor yeast to take form and the bung is not completely sealed. The flor favours cooler climates and higher humidity, so the sherries produced in the coastal Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María have a thicker cap of flor than those produced inland in Jerez. The yeast gives the resulting sherry its distinctive fresh taste, with residual flavors of fresh bread. Depending on the development of the wine, it may be aged entirely under the veil of flor to produce a Fino or Manzanilla sherry, or it may be fortified to limit the growth of flor and undergo oxidative aging to produce an Oloroso Sherry.

Sensitive, Hypersensitive, or Tolerant… which are you?

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Its no secret- we all like the taste of different things!! But it appears its not just down to personal preferences… its down to the amount of taste buds we have! Now there are several tests you can do to see whether you fall into the Sensitive, Hypersensitive, or Tolerant catergory! But the easier option is to take this quiz! Can you imagine it? A world where knowledge of “terroir”, ampelography, or even varietal is needed! There’s definatly no disputing that things would be a lot easier in this world- but is it really that simple?

The division into hypersensitive, sensitive, and tolerant goes like this! Hypersensitive people (otherwise known as supertasters!!) have the most tastebuds, and therefore experience a whole host of things at once! Which is isn’t as good as you might think… instead they have a heightened sensitivity to bitterness and other bold flavours! In fact super- tasters will generally not like cucumber because it actually has a bitter taste thats only detectable to hypersensitive people! So if you find cucumber bitter then chances are you’d like wines with finnesse and balance such as pinot noirs or german wines or alsace rieslings!

The next in line is the sensitive taster! I myself fall into this category according to the online quiz! And i have to say that its not a million miles wrong when you look at the wines they suggest! In the whites there’s Chardonnays and Viogniers! Which I love! And in the reds there’s Shiraz, Rhone style blends, and Zinfandels!! All spot on!! And last but not least then we come to the tolerant tasters! the people with the fewest tastebuds! But all this means is they need bigger bolder flavours!! The type that doesn’t even care for whites all that much! And who loves their Bordeaux’s, Barolo’s, and their Rioja’s. BUUUUUTTTT!!! I also like my Bordeauxs, Barolo’s and my Rioja’s…. and i also like my lighter Pinot Noirs and Rieslings! Its true I love an Australian Shiraz more often than not- but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a Wine for what it is in a given moment! Take the quiz definatly cause it is interesting- but never let it deter you from trying something different- because you could miss out on something great!

Anybody for Chardonnay

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The fabulous queen (not the band above) of grapes has had a though time of late what with that upstart Pinot Grigio stealing the spotlight and the love of the people. But not one to be dissuaded she is making her come back this time as a sophisticated Italian, if it is good enough for the pretender then it is certainly good enough for the Queen. Many of you will be familiar with Antonutti’s fabulous Pinot Grigio currently on 2 for €25 but what many of you will not be familiar with is Antonutti’s ‘Vis Terrae’ Chardonnay, one of the surprise wines of the festival with many customers coming back saying the had forgotten that chardonnay wasn’t all buttery oak. Over the years the vast oceans of cheap chardonnay served up to us has led many to believe that all chardonnay is acidic and intensley buttery not true, this wonderful grape can adapt to many different styles from crisp Chablis to buttery Aussie Chardonnays to pineapple and melon flavours found in unoaked new world Chardonnay. Now is the time to look up an old friend she may not be the most popular at present but she is still the queen. If you don’t believe me then try one of the following.

Antonutti ‘Vis Terrae’ Chardonnay 2007, Italy €16.95 now 2 bottles for €30

Brilliant golden yellow colour, the nose has aromas of fruit pulp with tropical fruit notes and a hint of minerality. The palate is full and rounded with tropical fruits and the finish is long and lingering showing well intergrate oak.

Domaine de Valanges Macon Fuisse 2007, France €16.95

Aromas of lemons and citrus fruit with a hint of hazelnut. Rich smooth mouthfeel with apple and lemon flavours. The finish is lively with well balanced with good acidity and length.

O’Leary Walker Chardonnay 2006, Australia €17.95

Single vineyard wine with a golden colour and aromas of nectarine, white peach and grape fruit. The palate is fine yet powerful with great intenseity and length with peach and hazelnut notes. The finish is clean and well balanced.

Cabernet gets by with a Little Help from Its Friends

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As John, Paul, George and Ringo put we ‘get by with a little help from our friends’ and in the case of Cabernet Sauvignon this statement is very true. Very few wines travel as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, planted in virtually every major wine-producing region on earth, it is a grape that is easily adapted to a wide variety of growing conditions.

France’s Bordeaux region is considered the birthplace of Cabernet Sauvignon, but it is also the birthplace of blending with its friends Merlot, Malbec and others, to improve Cabernet based wines. The ease and acceptance of blending Cabernet Sauvignon, generally other Bordeaux varieties just mentioned, but frequently with something more typical of the host vineyard, is one reason for Cabernet worldwide plantings.

While many classic blends, include Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvinon is adapt at making easy friends with Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Shiraz. Some examples of these fantastic friendships are the following.

IL Poggione ‘San Leopoldo’ 2004, Itlay

This is a wonderful blend of old and new friends, 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc. The wine is an intense garnet colour with concentrated aromas of blackberry and jammy fruit and hints of coffee and vanilla. Soft Elegant tannins on the finish.

Rothschild ‘Escudo Rojo’ 2004, Chile

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and the long lost Carmenere. The nose is full of smoke, spice and blackfruit. On the palate the same smoky meaty flavours come through with plush tannnins and a medium finish.

More To Sicilly then The Mafia

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I know what you’re thinkin (but only if you’ve been following our blogs over the last couple of week- and you better have been!!) another photo of Don Corleone??? Well i’m sorry but he has to be included- especially when you talk about Sicillian wine! La Casa Nostra, or more lovingly known as “the mob”, emerged in Sicily in the late 19th century! And as everyone knows a good mobster needs a good drink- and what could be better than after a long day planning armed robberies and illegal gambling games, than to sit down to a nice glass of Nero d’Avola. Nero d’Avola is the most important red wine grape in Sicily and is suprisingly similar to a new world shiraz! It posses that punchy peppery fist that is wraped in a velvet glove of sweet tannins! A balance between brute physical force and pure class! It is no wonder then to find Cusamano have blended some Nero D’Avola with Syrah (see Shiraz Vs Syrah).

This blend of Nero d’Avola (70%) and Syrah (30%) combines the best known Sicilian indigenous red with the refinement of an international varietal, and a judicious amount of oak. The end result is an unforgettable combination of: a floral perfume, thick red and black fruit, medium to full-bodied structure, and a well integrated oak finish. And now for the important bit, the name of the wine is Cusamao Benuara. Benuara is the name of a local red wildflower, which can be seen on the label.

Organic Wine What Are They All About.

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Organic wine at its most basic level, is made from grapes that have been grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.

But when a label says “organic,” it means the wine has met certain standards that are set by a government agency. Different nations have their own certification criteria, so what’s organic in one country may not be in another. Another complication is that many wineries that are technically organic still choose not to be certified. There are many reasons for this, for instance I have heard of wineries that are almost wholelly organic, but decided against getting completely certified as it would prevent them from use of fertilizers and other products which maybe required in a particularlly challenging vintage. Others do not want the added costs and bureaucracy of registering. Others may disagree with their government’s standards. It can also be a marketing decision. Whatever the case, try asking a member of staff about these nearly but not quite organic wines.


Organic wines are not sulfite-free.

Let me repeat because many people have used sulfites as a bugbear to blame for many things to do with wine, mainly the RWH (see earlier post). The use of added sulfites is debated heavily within the organic winemaking community. Many vintners favor their use, in extremely small quantities, to help stabilize wines, while others frown on them completely. Also it must be noted that most wines, even wines without added sulfites contain sulfites.

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