Matua Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Matua Sauvignon BlancIt’s only the last decade that has seen Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc rise to the top of the charts in terms of white wine sales in Australia, but it was back in 1974 that visionary winemaker, Bill Spence, produced the first vintage in the region.  And it wasn’t just a first for Matua and the Marlborough Region, but also for New Zealand which, until then, had never made a commercial Sauvignon Blanc.

And what a journey it has been.  Bill, I am sure, would never have imagined that just 40 years later, Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough would be the white wine market leader right across Australasia.

Now I have to admit that Sav Blanc has never really whet my whistleA, but its commercial appeal is unsurprising.  The Matua comprises grapes from more than 100 individual vineyards across the Marlborough region and is an amalgam of the best that the district has to offer.

It is a rather light colour in the glass but typically pungent as the first whiff delivers a smorgasbord of guava and ripe gooseberry aromas while on the front palate, the tropical fruits really start to reveal themselves.  There is a hint of sweetness in the nectarine and canned pineapple characters which develop through the middle, but just enough acidity at the back to protect its modesty.

It’s not a keeper for the cellar but at only around $9.00 a bottle, it will be hard to resist for a Friday afternoon tipple.

Leeuwin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Leeuwin Estate Cabernet SauvignonI know I’ve been banging on about Margaret River Cabernet for some time now, but having recently enjoyed an encounter with a 2007 Leeuwin Estate, I feel compelled to sing its praises one last time!

Leeuwin Estate has been a reliable producer of world class whites for many decades, but until the last few years, I’d always found their Chardonnay to be far more consistent in quality than their Cabernet or Shiraz.  But if recent vintages are anything to judge by, their Cabernet can be relied on year after year as a world class example of the style and even those with a bit of age on them are standing the test of time.

The 2007 Cabernet is remarkably youthful for a wine that is now eight years old.  It still shows bright perfumed stewed mulberries and red fruits on the nose and even looks lively in the glass.  The depth of redcurrant and chocolate flavours belie the age of this crimson creation, and deliver ripe powerful cassis characters, with just an edge of chocolate and tobacco.

The opulence of the wine is almost embarrassing but it’s an ignominious pleasure that is driven by brilliant fruit yet has its modesty preserved by some lingering chalky tannins.  The Leeuwin Estate Cabernet is a little on the expensive side now that it’s reached $50 plus a bottle, but on the world stage the Europeans would consider that cheap for its quality.

Woolworths Avoids $50,000 Fine For ANZAC Campaign

One of Australia’s supermarket giants, Woolworths, has avoided a fine of $50,000 for using the word ‘Anzac’ without permission. The recent launch of their “fresh in our memories” website was also pulled down as a result of an intervention with Minister for Veteran Affairs Michael Ronaldson.

Social media was flooded with consumer comments, saying that the “company exploited Anzac Day for commercial gain.”

The website allowed people to pay tribute to the Anzacs by using a photo generating program where users could upload a photo of someone who had been affected by war. The Woolworth’s logo and text saying, “Lest We Forget Anzac 1915-2015 Fresh in our memories” was then attached to the photo.

However, according to the Financial Review (, the program was violated with users posting photos of “Adolf Hitler, Tony Abbott, Kevin Rudd and cats” and uploading to Facebook and Twitter, which was not the intention Woolworths had.

“When you’re looking at running bold campaigns like this that involve user-generated content it’s important to research the market and get a feel for what the response is likely to be,” one social media expert, who declined to be named, said.

“With this one we would have spotted potential issues quickly. You’re dealing with highly emotional areas where a commercial body could be perceived as trying to exploit a national day of remembrance.”

The below statement was released on the Woolworth’s Facebook page:

“We regret that our branding on the picture generator has caused offence. This was clearly never our intention,” the statement said. “Like many heritage Australian companies, we were marking our respect for Anzac and our veterans.”

Warning To Insurance Companies To Keep Up With Technology

Car InsuranceInsurance companies need to ensure they are keeping up to date with the latest in technology due to the ever evolving car industry. Those insurance companies who specialise in motor vehicle insurance have been told to look at the future of their policies with the possibility of driverless motor vehicles (DMVs) being the way of the future.

With most motor vehicle policies only covering the individual driver, we could potentially see a shift in liability with the blame put on the manufacturer or software developers due to the driver being separated from the actual vehicle.

Insurance companies could therefore look at amending their policies to a more ‘product’ specific cover.

Russia Bans Memes

MemeRussia has banned memes after the court ruled one of the country’s singers, Valeri Syutkin, had his privacy violated by a particular meme.

The new policy now makes it illegal for a celebrity to be used in a meme if there is no actual association to that celebrity.

According to Russia has also outlawed cussing in all forms of media and has banned films that threaten national unity.

Seville Estate 2012 Pinot Noir

Seville Estate Pinot NoirAs Autumn strikes and a slight winter chill arrives in the evening air, it may not yet be fireplace weather but many of us tend to spend our (late) Friday afternoons searching the cellar or bottle shop for a softer style of red to welcome in the weekend. And if a lighter but lively style of wine floats your boat, a Yarra Valley Pinot Noir may well be your thing.

The cooler climate of the hills to the east of the Victorian Capital are renowned for producing high quality Pinot and the Seville Estate 2012 Pinot Noir is no exception.

On the nose, there are rose petal and strawberry aromas, the intensity of which belie the lightness of the rose like translucence of the wine in the glass.

Across the palate, the cherry flavours drive their way to a spicy nutmeg and cinnamon conclusion without any great influence of tannin or oak. There is just enough acidity to give integrity and cleanliness to the finish, but the sweet cherries linger and linger until the next sip is taken.

It is no wonder that the Seville Estate Pinot consistently rates highly with good judges like James Halliday and with the sub $30 price tag, it is hard to go wrong!

Our wine reviewer, Travis Schultz, is a practice group leader of Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers, part of the Slater and Gordon group, and lover of fine food and wine

Parents Assisting with First Home Buyers Loans

Home LoanThe National Australia Bank has found that first home buyers applying for home loans with the backing of either a family member or friend has increase by 1.9%, lifted from 4.8% in 2010 to 6.7% in 2015.

Family members and friends are assisting first home buyers enter the housing market, due to the competitive market and price growth.

The risk associated with family members or friends assisting with loans, is that they are putting their own assets on the line, for the portion of the loan that have guaranteed.

Angus Gilfillan, NAB’s executive general manager for consumer lending has said “rising house prices and fierce competition from investors had made this option more popular with first home buyer customers.

“It’s getting a lot tougher for first home buyers to enter the market. The rise in house prices has been pretty well-documented, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney, where prices have increased by circa 50 per cent since 2008,” he said.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s MoneySmart website has asked parents and friends to think carefully before guaranteeing a loan, especially in the instance where the child/friend may not be able to make their repayments. Can you afford to make the repayments on their behalf?

“The risk associated with providing a guarantee is something that we talk to guarantors about and suggest that they get external advice first,” Mr Gilfillan said.

The Importance of Complying With Liquor Licensing Laws

AlcoholDuty manager, Mr Firth and company of a hotel on Kangaroo Island has pleaded guilty to seven offences under the liquor licensing laws after a drunk patron was served alcohol for a period of nine hours before being killed in a car accident on his way home.

Mr Read was served 20 drinks and purchased six cans of rum before he went home. The duty manager served drinks to Mr Read as he continued to tell him he wouldn’t drive home.

“[He said] he wasn’t going to drive his car home … that he’d made arrangements to stay in town overnight at a friend’s place,” Mr Firth told the hearing.

Mr Firth said a number of people drink and drive on the island due to the lack of public transport available and no police station.

Brevet Sergeant Brannan said “the offending was extremely serious and the court needed to send a clear message that intoxicated people should not be served more alcohol.”

Realtor falsely advertised ‘waterfront’ ‘riverside’ property.

HouseA real estate in Tasmania has pleaded not guilty to falsely advertising a riverside property in Franklin last year.

After a complaint by the general public, an investigation by Consumer Affairs Tasmania found that the land was in fact separated by a highway and two other pieces of land.  A further investigation found another two properties were also falsely advertised.

The director of the Real Estate said that the properties were close to the water and if buyers were interested in the property boundary information, they would be provided with the details.

Coles Penalised by ACCC for Bread Misrepresentation

BreadLast month, the ACCC penalised Coles for the misrepresentation of their baked bread. Coles has been ordered to pay $2.5millon dollars for its misleading conduct in promoting their breads.

Coles had been promoting the products as “Baked Today, Sold Today” with some labelled as “Freshly Baked In-Store” however, this wasn’t actually the case. A supplier was in fact partially baking the bread off site, and then distributing to Coles where they would be finished at the Cole in-house bakeries.

“The ACCC took this action because it was concerned that Coles “Baked Today, Sold Today” and “Freshly Baked In-Store” claims about its par baked bread were likely to mislead consumers. The conduct also placed independently-owned and franchised bakeries that entirely bake bread from scratch each day at a competitive disadvantage,” ACC Chairman Rod Sims said.