Pio Cesare Il Nebbio 2011

Pio Cesare Il Nebbio 2011Nebbiolo is a classic Italian varietal that is typically high in tannin, relatively light in colour and somewhat dry and acidic in style.  It’s often described as “tar and roses” because of its floral nose and obvious tannins.  But not all examples are the same.

I happened upon the Pio Cesare Il Nebbio 2011 after it caught my eye on a local bottle shop shelf.  I had lofty expectations given its $30 price point and my experience with some Italian Barolo and Barbaresco wines that I’d recently tried, both of which are also made from the Nebbiolo grape. But it seems that there is Nebbiolo, and there’s Nebbiolo!

While the Pio Cesare is a bright fire engine red in the glass, it’s more tar than rose petal on the nose.  In fact, I’d say that the nose was licorice and the palate dry tobacco with a hint of savoury strawberries.  There’s an earthy spiciness that reveals itself as you chew your way through the finish, but the Pio Cesare probably needs to be served with gamey meat dishes to present itself in a positive light.

Nebbiolo is a terrific grape, but there’s no doubt that the Barolo and Barbaresco vinifications from the Piedmont region will provide a much more gratifying experience with the style. But don’t let my recent experience put you off experimenting a little as there are some terrific Italian wines out there, and many are made from Nebbiolo grapes!

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

Samuel’s Gorge Grenache 2012

SamuelsGorge-Grenache-2012The relentless pursuit of my passion for all things wine has, over the years, seen me visit dozens of regions, hundreds of wineries and taste thousands of different wines. But in my travels, I don’t think I’ve ever met a winemaker as oddly hip and rastafarian funky as the Samuels Gorge Winemaker, Justin McNamee.

Justin worked vintages all over the world before becoming winemaker for Tatachilla in 1996 until he left a little over a decade ago to set up his own winery, Samuel’s Gorge.

It’s not far out of the McLaren Vale township and only a hop, skip and a jump from Chapel Hill, but the harshness of the geology is obvious from the ancient rocky outcrops that rise above the nearby Blewitt Springs Valley.  And what better vines to harness the sandy flint and gravel soils than gnarly old bush vine Grenache that are dry grown and harshly treated in order to tease out a remarkable intensity of flavour.

The 2012 Samuel’s Gorge Grenache is perhaps more graceful than opulent with ripe red cherries married to cumquat rind marmalade on the front palate, but consummated on a bed of savoury white pepper and oregano at the back.  The balanced blackberry sweetness captivates my taste buds, but it’s the fine dusty tannins that carry it through to a bright and lively conclusion.

It’s hard to fault and, even though you might have to order it through the cellar door, it’s worth every cent of its $40.00 price tag.

Travelling during the holidays

Holiday TravelsWith the holiday season almost upon us, we’d just like to remind everyone that is planning on driving on the road to prepare and take care.

  • Make sure you familiarise yourself with the roads you will be taking by mapping out the route you plan to take.
  • Ensure your car has been checked and fixed of any problems that may cause you delays or issues on your trip.
  • Take breaks on long drives, there are plenty of rest places to stop at to have a break and stretch those legs and get some fresh air.
  • Always wear a seat belt. Ensure your children are equipped with the right seat belts and car seats, especially young children and babies.
  • Never drink and drive or be under the influence of drugs and alcohol when driving. Not only can you risk your own life, but others who are also on the road.
  • Stay alert, and don’t get distracted especially by electronic devices.

Fox Creek “The Vixen”

Fox Creek Wines VixenAptly named, Fox Creek’s sleek and sexy sparkling red is called “The Vixen” and lives up to her feisty reputation.  She’s a blend of 74% Shiraz, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc from their McLaren Vale vineyard and she’s as sweet as she is seductive.

At first, the Vixen smells a bit like leafy musk and chocolate but her effusive fine sparkling bead punches out flavours of sweet red licorice and preserved blackberries across the palate as she entices you to pour another glass.  But the nasty side to this rich foxy creation is her crisp acid backbone and curt tannic skeleton that confines the crème brulee sweetness that might otherwise overbear on her vanillin oak finale.

Sparkling red is a bit of an “Australian” substitute for champagne and it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  But in my book, the Vixen is all that her namesake suggests: sleek, vivacious and seductive but with a hint of nastiness dwelling marginally below the surface.  At around $23 a bottle the Vixen isn’t cheap, but neither is she nasty.

Hauner Salina Rosso 2012

Hauner Salina RossoWhile it’s the French that enjoy a reputation as being the biggest and best wine producers in the world, it’s a surprising fact that the Italians make about 30% more vino than their near north western neighbours. To put it in perspective, according  to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, Italy produces about 6 600 000 tonnes of wine grapes per annum while France manages about 4 700 000 tonnes  and Australia a relatively  modest 1 200 000 tonnes. Given those volumes it’s perhaps a little difficult to explain why there isn’t an abundance of Italian styles on our local bottleshop shelves.

And while I don’t know a lot about their local varietals, I really like most that I’ve tried.

A wine connoisseur colleague recently introduced me to the Hauner Salina Rosso 2012 over a dinner meeting at a Melbourne restaurant. Its genesis lays in the volcanic soils of the Aeolian Islands (near Sicily) in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It’s crafted from a blend of grapes we don’t see much of in Australia; Nero D’Avola and Nerello Mascalese.

In the glass there’s an unusually vibrant purple hue around the edges and it’s perhaps a little brambly on the nose, but on the palate the blackberry and burnt mulberry flavours are spectacular. There’s a lot less tannic grippiness than in most Italian varietals I’ve tried and around the edges there’s a soft, almost chai latte sweetness that adds a bit of Mediterranean charm. Despite the richness of the fruit it manages to finish dry, balanced and with its integrity intact.

It’s definitely my style of wine and can be found at specialist outlets for around $30 a bottle. It’s worth the effort chasing it if you’re up for a bit of an Aeolian adventure!

Tackling Domestic Violence

Domestic ViolenceThe Labor government has said that harsher penalties are needed for perpetrators of domestic violence and those who breach domestic violence orders with acts of physical violence.

Labor has proposed increasing the jail term from two to three years and also proposed that victims are able to secure more support and assistance whether or not physical abuse was used.

Originally published as Labor plan to tackle domestic abuse.

A Privacy Storm in a Telecommunications Tea Cup

Data StorageA great deal has been said in the press about the Government’s proposed Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill, which will require internet service providers to store details of Australian citizens’ internet usage for a two year period.  Opponents of the bill have criticized not only the cost to internet service providers (ISPs) of storing this data, but also the uncertainty regarding who and what metadata it applies to and perhaps more vocally, privacy concerns.

The ISPs (including providers like iiNet and Optus) have claimed that requiring them to store this data could cost them more than $200m.  The Australian Federal Police, of course, say they need access to this data to be able to fight crime but many, such as Greens Senator, Scott Ludlum, have labeled the proposed legislation as an “outrageous attack” on our “fundamental right to privacy”.

I’m sure that many people will hold different views on the issue, but to my mind, the world we live in today is a very different one to the 20th Century.  The terror attacks on 11 September 2001 signalled the birth of a brave new world.  With the threat of terror increasing and creeping closer to our shores, can we afford to curtail investigative authority’s armoury for the sake of an absolute right to privacy?  Why should paedophiles be able to ply their trade over the internet without fear of their clandestine perversion being discovered?  And why should internet pirates be entitled to shamelessly steal the intellectual property and work of others and sell it online for their own commercial purposes without risk of their deeds being uncovered?

I’m all for Australians enjoying a basic right to reasonable privacy:  but when it comes to the internet, the new world we live in means that if we want to use the net, we have to accept that authorities are entitled to know what we are using it for.  After all, if a small number of Australians are downloading information on how to make a bomb or engage in other acts of terror, wouldn’t we want authorities to know about it?

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


Airline Delays Become More Costly

AirlinesThe recent decision of the English Supreme Court to uphold compensation payments to passengers who had suffered flight delays will have very significant consequences for the airline industry and air services consumers.

The British Supreme Court had been called upon to hear appeals by two airlines, Jet 2 and Thomson Airways who had both had judgments made against them in lower courts as a result of claims brought by passengers who had claimed damages as a result of significant flight delays.  In the Jet 2 case, a passenger had suffered a 27 hour delay to a flight in October 2011 and in the Thompson Airways case, substantial delays had occurred  in a flight back in 2006. Both passengers had succeeded at trial and were awarded compensation and the Supreme Court dismissed appeals by the airlines.

The English system is a little different to the one we have in Australia and the claims were based on an English regulation which doesn’t exist in this country, however, in our globalised world the shockwaves are likely to spread across the entire industry.  Under English Law, passengers will have a six year limitation period to bring a claim and, consequently, any passenger who has suffered loss as a result of a significant flight delay over the last six years could potentially seek damages.  If thousands or even tens of thousands of these claims were now brought, it would be extremely expensive for the airline industry.  No doubt, the cost of this would have to be factored into ticket prices and that will inevitably be a side effect that is felt well outside the United Kingdom.  It’s probably unlikely that the cases will set a precedent that could be used in Australia but if you ask me, industry concerns are well founded and as anyone in business knows, all costs have to be factored in during the pricing process. Higher ticket costs seem a foregone conclusion!

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




Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz 2010

Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga ShirazAustralia’s most widely recognized wine brand, Penfolds, have generally made their wines in three different styles. There’s the single vineyard approach (like the Magill Estate Shiraz), the single region (aka Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz) and the multi region blends such as their iconic Grange and Bin 707. But since 2008, winemaker Peter Gago has also been trying his hand at a subregional wine using grapes sourced solely from a village in the middle of South Australia’s Barossa Valley.

I had never tried the latest addition to the Penfolds stable until during a recent visit to the Melbourne CBD I stumbled across a bottle of the 2010 release of the  Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz. It’s as dark in the glass as you’d expect of a big Barossa red, and on the nose, there are aromas of burnt coffee and sun softened mulberries. As 2010 was such an outstanding season for the Barossa, I was expecting the first sip to result in an explosion of dark berry flavours on my taste buds but alas, what appeared to be an inky beast in the glass was more of poodle on a leash once it reached the palate. Sure, there are some austere hints of chocolate and blackberry but not the veritable kaleidoscope of jammy bold berries that I had anticipated. It’s not washed out, but perhaps subdued by the weight of French and American oak that exert their tannic influence at the back end.

There’s no doubt that the Bin 150 will stand the test of time in the cellar, but for mine, after a cracking 2010 season in the vineyard, I’d prefer to have seen the Marananga fruit unleashed and allowed to express itself for what it is.

Regrettably, I suspect that the Penfolds Bin 150 is overworked in the winery and at around $70 a bottle, overpriced on the shelf.

Using images without permission

Illegal use of imagesIf you are thinking about creating a new advertising campaign or rebranding, then you may want to consider the types of images and who you use in your campaigns.

Recently an aged care facility decided to use an image of Ita Buttrose to promote their facilities however, they unfortunately did not seek permission from Ita Buttrose or pay the normal endorsement fee of $75,000 to use her face on their promotional material and therefore the matter ended up in court.

In order to settle the case, Ita’s lawyers demanded that $25,000 be paid. They didn’t hear from the company in four months, so issued a second letter demanding payment of $50,000. The Court found that the company was in breach of section 36 of the Copyright Act 1968 and sections 18 and 19 of Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act. They were ordered to pay damages, legal costs and say that Ita Buttrose had never endorsed their product.

Next time you consider using an image for advertising, ensure you have the right to do so.If you are unsure, why not subscribe to companies like Shutterstock, or Istock and use images you know you are legally allowed to.