TarraWarra Estate 2012 Shiraz

TarraWarra Estate ShirazGamey styles of red wine may not be a power partner for cheese and cracker platters, but at least in my dining room, they have their place alongside fare like venison, squab, rabbit and the like.  And I can assure you that Albondigas Soup wasn’t on my radar when I recently cracked a bottle of the TarraWarra Estate 2012 Shiraz, but having sampled its wild earthy flavours, it will likely be my “go to” cellar selection when next I serve my (not so world famous) braised venison with rosemary roast vegetables.

Given its Yarra Valley birth right, the TarraWarra is unsurprisingly lean but has pungent plumb and liquorice aromas on the nose.  Across the palate, however, the red stonefruit flavours subside as the star of dark cherries rises in the middle, momentarily before the vanillin toasty oak characters develop at the back end.  The gaminess, however, is in the finish where an aniseed and anise undercurrent toast the reluctant plumbs and cherries to a cedary and spicy tannic conclusion.

At around $30 a bottle, it’s a fair value proposition and won’t let the side down when game meat dishes are the luminary of the menu.

The Basics of Negotiation

NegotiationThe word ‘negotiation’ tends to conjure images of suits, handshakes, boardrooms, leather briefcases and fresh notepads. This vision is not necessarily incorrect. What used to be known as ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution’ is no longer truly alternative as many law firms and companies embrace negotiation and mediation over the more expensive route that is litigation.

In reality though, negotiation is not reserved for corporate high-fliers. Most of us need to negotiate constantly in daily life. If you’re a small business owner, you will need to negotiate with suppliers, customers and retailers. We also negotiate with our spouses, children and friends. There are few parents who have not given into bargaining tactics that look a little something like this: ‘if you want to have/eat [insert shiny new toy or sugary snack du jour] you will have to eat/do [insert some form of green vegetable/household chore].’

Whether your negotiation takes place in a sleek boardroom, over coffee meetings or in the back of a family SUV, having some clever negotiation tricks up your sleeve are always useful. So, if you identify with any or all of the above scenarios, you can brush up your negotiation skills by getting your hands on a copy of Getting to Yes.  This hugely successful negotiation guide by Fisher and Ury, was first published in 1981. Some excellent negotiation tips to take from it are:

  1. Separate the people from the problem.
    This can be easier said than done. The foundation of this principle is to view the person you are negotiating with as a partner in negotiation rather than an opponent. Where either or both parties are emotional about an issue, those emotions can hinder the negotiation process. Sometimes, emotions can be effectively diffused by one party making an apology. You can express regret over a situation without necessarily accepting guilt or blame.
  2. Focus on interests, not positions.
    Your position in a negotiation is your end goal, and represents what you want to get out of the negotiation. Your interests are your underlying reasons for wanting that particular end goal. When the parties focus on their interests, rather than their positions, they might find that they have more in common than they realise. Focussing on mutual interests can go a long way to helping the parties find common ground and ultimately achieving an end goal that will serve the interests of both.
  3. Invent creative solutions.
    Once negotiation partners have established some common interests, it will be easier to brainstorm creative solutions. Often there are a myriad of possible outcomes or options. Many of those solutions will not be win/lose situations, but instead, will have benefits for both parties. Think as creatively as possible. Sometimes wild ideas can lead to alternative solutions that will ultimately produce a successful resolution.

Maria van der Walt
Lawyer, North Lakes
STOLaw, part of the Slater and Gordon Group
07 3482 0500

Shingleback Davey Brothers Shiraz 2012

Shingleback Davey Brothers ShirazMother Nature can be fickle at times but she certainly aligned all of the moons for the 2012 vintage in South Australia’s McLaren Vale.  I’ve seen some great wines come out of the region over the years but the quality can be variable season by season.  There’s no doubt, however, that the 2012 crop has produced some exceptional wines, including those selling at a quaffing price point.

The Shingleback Davey Brothers Shiraz 2012 sells in Dan Murphy stores at only around $17 to $18 a bottle.  While I normally don’t like giving a plug to anything that appears only on the shelves of the majors, I’ll make an exception to that rule for exceptional wines, and the Davey Brothers is definitely worth spruiking.  It sells at around $17 to $18 a bottle and is drinking better than many twice its price point.

There’s a depth to its colour in the glass that gives it an inky purple hue and a dominating scent of ripe mulberries on the nose.  Across the palate the raspberry and sarsaparilla characters meet spicy cherries and cacao and seemingly pirouette in unison with French and American oak before fine tannins guide the fruit through a lingering finale. It’s perhaps medium bodied but with generous fruit and a lovely texture.

The 2012 vintage of the Davey Brothers Shiraz punches well above its weight and becomes even more approachable if you can be patient enough to let it breathe for an hour or so before pouring.

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.

Lindeman’s Gentleman’s Collection Shiraz 2014

Gentleman's Collection ShirazIt seems that the winemaking world is not immune to the cyclical fashions that seemingly inflict themselves on the rag trade and that what once was old will, soon enough, be new again!

Last month one of Australia’s big guns of the wine industry, Lindemans, launched a new range of wines that turn back the vinification clock by adding a dash of fortified wine to a range of recent vintages.  It’s a practice that largely died out before I was born, but having tried the Gentleman’s Collection Shiraz 2014, I can certainly understand the appeal of the style.

Fortified red wines typically show dried fruit, prune and raspberry jam characters and their presence is certainly obvious in the Gentleman’s Collection Shiraz.

There’s a floral ripeness to the nose, but a roundness to the fruit characters that arrange themselves across the palate.  I just love the violet and fig flavours that emerge at the back end and the softness of its lingering finish which had my sub conscience pouring a second glass before pen had hit paper!

It may not be a style that will impress the Rhone Valley Syrah producers, but pour it at your next Saturday afternoon barbeque and I can guarantee it will outperform its $21 price tag.

You won’t find an easier style to drink and pleasingly, it won’t break the budget!

Be careful of the promises you make….

PropertyA recent judgment handed down by the Supreme Court of South Australia has highlighted the dangers that exist in making rash promises, particularly where family members are concerned.

In Rodda v. Rodda, the Supreme Court of South Australia found that a son was entitled to a proprietary interest in the family farming business and properties as a result of promises that had been made many years earlier that the family farm would one day be his. The trial judge accepted evidence of the son that he had worked on the family farm for 18 years accepting a relatively low wage in the expectation that he would one day benefit from taking over the family business. He had conducted renovations to a house on the farm at his own expense and had not pursued any other career or form of self-employment because of the expectation that he would eventually take over the farming operations.

When the relationship between father and son broke down in 2002, the father attempted to deny the son any interest in the property and claimed that the family business was still owed $135,000.00 by the son for a loan that had been given some years earlier.

At the end of the day, the court found that the representations and promises had been made and that based on those assurances, the son had continued to work in the family business, not sought any alternate career, had expended his own time, money and energy in improving the property and had done so as a consequence of the inducements that had been made. Accordingly, it was found that it would be inequitable for the son to be denied a proprietary interest in the property.

Whilst the case is a rather extreme example, it serves as a reminder of the need to be careful about what you promise and to ensure that any commercial arrangement is well documented, less there be no misunderstanding.

Travis Schultz
Practice Group Leader
Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers, Part of the Slater & Gordon Group
Ph: (07) 5413 8900
Fax: (07) 5413 8958

Emails can form binding contracts

Emails can form binding contractsIn the 21st Century, email has become an important means of communication and, in fact, almost essential for effectively conducting any business; but the apparent informality of the medium can often give the misguided impression that it is somehow of lesser legal significance. A recent decision of the Brisbane Supreme Court underscores the importance of ensuring that all email communication is carefully crafted and well considered because emails themselves can be sufficient evidence in writing of an agreement, to satisfy the legal requirements of the Property Law Act.

In the case before Justice Martin, Stellard v. New Queensland Fuel Pty Ltd, the parties had been negotiating for the sale and purchase of a service station and site. The negotiations resulted in an email being sent by the proposed purchaser which made an offer which was said to be “subject to contract and due diligence as previously discussed”. The proposed sellers’ representative responded by email saying ‘we accept the below offer which we understand will be subject to execution of the contract provided”.

Later, when the seller had a change of heart, a dispute arose as to whether, in the absence of a signed contract, there was in fact a valid and binding contract which was sufficient to satisfy the relevant statute of frauds. The statute is legislation which requires a contract for the sale of an interest in land to be in writing and signed by the parties, unless a rare exception applies.

In his decision, Justice Martin considered the Electronic Transactions (Queensland) Act 2001 and applied it to the facts and circumstances and found that the email exchange was sufficient to satisfy the legal requirements and that a contract had been formed.

For those of us who use email regularly in the course of our business activities, the lesson is simple. Emails must be carefully considered, appropriately structured and should fully and properly articulate your position so that there can be no misunderstanding. If an important subject matter is the subject of the exchange, perhaps it is best to not hit send until it has been proof read a couple of times!

Travis Schultz
Practice Group Leader
STOLaw, Part of the Slater and Gordon Group
Ph: (07) 5413 8900
Fax: (07) 5413 8958

Contempt of Court for the Advanced Medical Institute: When a Court Order is Ignored

Sarah Dennis

Sarah Dennis, Lawyer

I am sure we can all recall, in recent years, the advertisements plastered over billboards for the Advanced Medical Institute (AMI), promoting treatments for premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction: a nasal spray promising the dream of ‘long lasting, longer sex’ awaited.

About six months ago, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) was successful in an action against the AMI for breaches of the Trade Practices Act and the Australian Consumer Law.  AMI was slammed by the Federal Court for its sales techniques, which were aimed at exploiting the anxieties of its target market.  In particular, the Court found AMI failed to provide any scientific basis for its treatments, nor did it diagnose the medical cause of the erectile dysfunction of its patients.

In his judgment, Justice Tony North found that by using high-pressure selling techniques, including telling potential patients they would suffer “psychological impotence” if they did not agree to treatment, the AMI failed to meet the standards of proper practice established by the medical profession.

Among the additional relief sought by the ACCC, the Court ordered an injunction against AMI to stop its advertising.

So, what’s happened since?

Well, whether it has been a matter of being uncertain of its legal obligations, or alternatively, flagrantly disregarding the law, AMI has recently been taken back to the Federal Court by the ACCC, this time for contempt of Court.  The ACCC alleges AMI, by continuing to make statements and/or representations through their website, television and radio advertising, has breached the previous Court Order.

One wonders what it may take for AMI to learn its lesson, in circumstances where the Court has previously found it consistently elevated its own commercial self-interests above the welfare of its patients.

The matter will be dealt with by the Federal Court over the coming months.  Watch this space.

Sarah Dennis,
STO Law, part of the Slater and Gordon Group
Ph: (07) 5413 8936
Fax: (07) 5413 8955
Email:  sdennis@slatergordon.com.au

Seppelt Salinger NV Premium Cuvee

Seppelt Salinger NVIt’s Spring Racing time and the race that stops the nation is just around the corner.  So we all know what that means…dressing up, studying the form and indulging in a glass (or two) of bubbles.  And whether you’re an equine enthusiast or a once a year mug punter, sparkling wine on Melbourne Cup Day is a great Aussie tradition.  But in that there’s an irony:  why do we tend to drink French Champagne to honour a uniquely Australian event?  it’s not as though we don’t have a smorgasbord of our own sparkling whites to choose from!

The Seppelt range are now a part of the Treasury Wine Estate’s stable, but continue to make sparkling wines of elegance and finesse.  And in the value for money stakes, the Seppelt Salinger NV Premium Cuvee is an odds on favourite.  It sells at less than $25 a bottle and combines Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier from their cool climate vineyards.  There is a definite toastiness to the nose and understated mandarin and citrus flavours at the front of the palate.  Across the middle, there are hints of cashews and the texture turns creamy before a gentle acidity introduces a crispness to the finish. The fine bead of the Salinger is a real asset as it exaggerates the natural citrus characters yet gives and air of sophistication and elegance to the experience.

It may not have the yeasty dry mouth feel of some of the lean French creations, but such is its style and grace that it could almost win fashions on the field!

It may not have the yeasty dry mouth feel of the lean French creations, but such is its style and grace that it might win fashions on the field!

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