Pyramids Road 2014 Mouvedre

Pyramids Road MouvedreThe Granite Belt wine region centered around the town of Stanthorpe in Queensland’s South East is well regarded for its range of whites but rarely seems to impress wine show judges with its red wine offerings.  At least until now!  For years the area has been seen by many as a “one trick pony” because of the exceptional quality of the Verdelho it produces, but having recently tried the Pyramids Road 2014 Mouvedre, I suspect that all of that is about to change.

The deep vibrant purple hue of the Mouvedre in the glass has your taste buds standing on end in anticipation of a lively and vivacious sensation in the mouth.  And the Pyramids Road doesn’t disappoint.  The slight dustiness on the nose quickly gives way to spicy plum and blackcurrant flavours that explode in a cascade of mulberries, blackcurrants and dried cranberry characters on the back palate.  And while the fruit is forward, the fine tannins only become obvious across the finish.  The gentle support of French and American oak adds depth, complexity and balance but you’ll need to decant the wine, or at least give it time to relax in the bottle, to see it at its best.

I don’t mean to sound condescending, but if you’ve harboured any prejudice towards wine from the Granite Belt, the Pyramids Road Mouvedre will change that for good!

Justifiably, it sells at around $35 a bottle and is probably the best Pyramids Road vintage I’ve ever had the privilege to sample.

Mt Rosa 2011 Riesling

Mt Rosa RieslingThe Central Otago region in New Zealand’s South Island may be world renowned for its sensational Pinot Noir, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice to overlook their Pinot Gris and Rieslings next time you are scouring the shelves for a suitable white.

With only about 86 hectares of Riesling vines in the Central Otago region, it’s very much the little sibling when you consider that the area grows almost 1,500 hectares of Pinot Noir.  But scattered throughout the rocky canyons are some small producers creating exceptional Riesling at a very fair price point.

Tucked away in a tin shed that was once used for shearing Merino sheep, the Mt Rosa cellar door serves up a range of regionally distinct wines and amongst them, some outstanding Pinot Noir and Riesling.

The 2011 Mt Rosa Riesling is a very dry style but still shows a delightfully pineapple and cumquat nose which emboldens if you are patient enough to allow the glass to warm a little.  Its attraction, though, is on the palate where blood orange characters meet Moroccan citron and Kaffir lime and dance a zesty jive across the roof of your mouth.  There’s a mineral edge to a very clean, almost quartz like finish that sucks in your cheeks until you take another sip.  It’s a style that will last the test of time thanks to generous acid but at only the $20 to $25 price tag, it won’t hurt to try a couple now and put the rest aside.

Being a boutique producer, Mt Rosa wines aren’t readily available but can be found at but it’s worth keeping an eye out for in case it makes an appearance in your local bottle shop!

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.

August Young Achiever – Juade Maguire

Thank you to Hot 91 for putting on another awesome outside broadcast for the Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers, part of the Slater and Gordon Group Young Achievers Awards. Juade Maguire was the recipient of the $1000 prize for her academic and community achievements. Juade will be putting her winnings towards an end of year trip to Cambodia where she will be helping out a disadvantaged community. In order to help Juade achieve this, Principal Dr Wayne Troyahn wanted to contribute in some way so he surprised her by giving the $1000 that the school won to assist with her overseas mission. What an amazing thing to do! Congratulations Juade and we wish you all the best with your trip.

Domestic violence – the real ‘emergency’ facing Australia

Leisa ToomeyThis week has tipped the scales further for serious and immediate intervention for people in domestically violent situations and even as I write this another domestic incident has taken place in Victoria.

Whilst I understand the need for the Government to concentrate on drug related issues such as the ice epidemic, the real emergency is in our homes and those toxic relationships that are tearing apart families and placing untold strain on the resources available to assist people in crisis.

There are many reasons people don’t leave their very, very difficult home circumstances from a misplaced sense of loyalty to fear of the unknown which of course is understandable.  Now more than ever its imperative focus on offering a safe haven without the red tape that currently exists for emergency accommodation.

Domestic violence has become our national emergency, not the budget, and until we as a nation concentrate on supporting families in crisis we will continue to see the tragic types of incidences from this week alone.

As lawyers we are conscious of assessing people in crisis and learn to pick up on what is not being said rather than what is being told to us by our clients who are considering separation or are separating.

It can become abundantly clear that some clients don’t realise they are in the middle of something that can lead to tragic consequences.  We as lawyers can only guide our clients but what would make our role easier in providing advice to clients in these circumstances is a proper government frame work that can offer real hope to break free.

If you need help you can contact DV Connect via 1800 811 811 or if you are in danger now call 000.

Leisa Toomey is a Practice group leader of Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers – part of the Slater & Gordon Group. She is an Accredited Family Law Specialist with the Queensland Law Society

TarraWarra Estate 2013 Chardonnay

TarraWarra Estate ChardonnayIt may be a style that waxes and wanes in its popularity, but at least from my palate’s perspective, good Chardonnay never goes out of style.  And I accept that at times Chardonnay can be pricey and occasionally become over oaked and sometimes even fall flat, but if you stick to cool climate regions, you’ll seldom be disappointed.

There are any number of successful cool climate regions in Australia, but probably none better than the Yarra Valley, north-east of Melbourne where TarraWarra Estate are creating a Chardonnay that will charm and seduce your taste buds without offending your wallet.

At the $25 price point, I wasn’t expecting to be dazzled by its decadence, but the 2013 release of the TarraWarra Estate Chardonnay proved to be full, ripe and beautifully balanced from the very first sip.

There are hints of nectarine and green peach on the nose which ripen as the wine crosses your palate. It’s a wine of only medium weight but with a powerful creamy rockmelon and butterscotch calling card that it leaves lingering at the back end where the finish is long and stylish.  The influence of French Oak is unmistakable, while the time spent on lees gives it a character that enhances, without dominating the fruit.

This just has to be one of the best value Chardonnays you will find in the country and pleasingly, it’s available at most major bottleshops.

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

Fake Windows 10 Update Leading to Ransomware Attacks on Small Business

Windows 10 Ransomware

Click on image for a video showing the consequences of running the ransomware program

The Australian Government Department of Communication has put a warning out to small businesses recently that ransomware disguised as an installer of the new Microsoft Windows 10 operating system is encrypting Australian user and business computers costing thousands of dollars to the owner of the infected computer to rectify.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks or limits access to your computer or files, and demands a ransom be paid to the scammer before they will unlock your computer.  Obviously such ransomware can have a devastating effect to a small business owner who cannot access their business records.

In the recent Microsoft Windows 10 scam the ransomware is downloaded into the user’s computer when they receive an email that claims to be from Microsoft and offers a free upgrade to Windows 10.  If the file attached to this email is run, it will encrypt any important files, including Word documents and photos on the user’s computer.

Unfortunately, it is very common for scammers to attack small business operators with such ransomware because they are acutely aware that small business operators are busy and have fewer resources than larger companies to take advantage of and as such, they take advantage of this weakness.

Business owners should protect themselves by ensuring that they and their staff do not open attachments or click on emails or social media messages from strangers.  The appropriate response is just to simply delete the email to avoid malicious software to be installed onto the computer.  If business owners can afford it, they should check any upgrades with relevant IT professionals rather than attempt to perform IT updates themselves.  If it is not possible for the small business owner to afford the costs associated with an IT professional, it is worthwhile to always keep business computers up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a good firewall.  It is also worthwhile to only buy computers and anti-virus software from reputable sources and to sign up to the Scam Watch website which is a website developed by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission for free email alerts on new scams targeting small businesses and consumers.  It is also important to report if it is the case that your computers have been compromised to the Australian Cyber Crime online reporting network and to the ACCC who will actively investigate the report.  From January 2015 to the present the ACCC have been made aware of 437 ransomware attacks.

Peta Yujnovich
Principal Lawyer
STOLaw, part of the Slater and Gordon Group
07 5413 8900