Deisen Pete’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Deisen Pete's Cabernet SauvignonIn this modern age of internet, viral spam and sophisticated marketing, it’s disarming, if not refreshing, to find a winery that does not an ounce of marketing and simply lets their wines do the talking.  And the brand may not be a household name or even mentioned in Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion, but Deisen are producing and selling red wines of archetypal Barossarian quality, without exhibiting in a single show or aspiring to any colour of medal.

The brainchild of Sabine Deisen, Deisen focus on producing premium wines in very small quantities.  The terms “artisan” and “handcrafted” are terms often bandied around by the industry, but perhaps seldom deserved:  though Deisen are a worthy exception.  The Marananga sub-region is well known for producing exceptional reds but probably none better than the Deisen Shiraz.  They have any number to chose from, though very little of any. For example, at the top end, the Backblock Shiraz 2006 sells at around $85 a bottle but only 18 dozen were made.  The 2006 Mataro however, is comparatively prolific as some 180 dozen were crafted and are only now being sold at a $45 price point.

Their back vintage Grenache and GSM blends are sensational, but if value for money matters, at $45 you simply can’t go past the Pete’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2009.  Its Barossa heritage is unmistakable as the wine exhibits a richness and ripeness of the voluptuous fruit from the moment you take your first sip.  There’s a hint of candied plums and sweet spices  on the nose which is quickly overtaken by the exuberant red fruits and their violet edge that massage your palate before some subtle oak characters muster strength at the back end.  It may not be your typical Cabernet, but neither does its maker conform to modern day industry marketing protocols.  It will be perfect with the traditional Aussie barbeque, but just as good all on its own!

Marchand & Burch Mount Barrow Pinot Noir 2012

Marchand & Burch 2

Marchand & Burch

The Great Southern region in south Western Australia is often overlooked by wine consumers perhaps because of the popularity of wine from its northern neighbour, the Margaret River, but is undoubtedly home to some outstanding wineries and their world class wines.  It was the Mount Barker subregion, about three hours south of Perth, that was the first area planted in around 1859 by pioneer, George Egerton-Warburton.  While the district produces great Shiraz, Riesling, Chardonnay and Cabernet, it was one of their Pinot Noir that caught my eye at this year’s Noosa Food & Wine Festival.

The Marchand & Burch Mount Barrow Pinot Noir 2014 is perhaps not as bright and vibrant in the glass as many Pinot I’ve seen, but it’s delightfully perfumed and almost rose petal on the nose.  Despite its youth, it’s welcoming on the palate and you’ll soon find the layers of cherry and preserved plums unfurling themselves on your tongue.  There’s a slight herbaceousness at the edges and ample refined tannins to provide structure and create a sense of elegance that will have you grasping for superlatives.

None surprisingly, I’m told that the vintage is almost sold out despite its $40-$50 price tag, but if you’re fortunate enough to find it on the shelves, don’t miss an opportunity!

Are you taking adequate steps to protect your customers’ privacy?

In June this year the Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, found that Computer systems software company Adobe had breached the Australian Privacy Act following a cyber attack which compromised the personal information held on a backup system by the company.  The system included the companies customers’ information such as email addresses, encrypted passwords, plain text password hints and encrypted payment card numbers and payment card expiration dates.  The company was penalised heavily for the breach.

With more and more businesses adopting cloud based software to store their clients’ personal information, this case demonstrates the importance of applying sufficiently robust security measures to ensure that customers’ personal information is kept safe.

Generally speaking, most small businesses do  not have an obligation to comply with the Australian Privacy Act 1988 (the Act), however, there are exceptions that small businesses need to be aware of.

All Australian government agencies and businesses with an annual turnover of over $3,000,000.00 will have to comply with the Act.  All other businesses will not have an obligation to comply with the Act unless:

  1. They are a health service provider;
  2. They are trading in personal information, ie; buying or selling a mailing list;
  3. A contractor that provides services under a Commonwealth contract;
  4. A reporting entity for the purposes of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Act;
  5. An operator of a residential tenancy database;
  6. A credit reporting body;
  7. Businesses that have opted to be covered by the Act.

Those who run businesses that are covered by the Act will have to comply with the Australian Privacy Principles.

The Act protects personal information about individuals handled by the organisation and an organisation governed by the Act will have to follow the National Privacy Principles which set minimum standards for handling customers’ personal information.

The National Privacy Principles cover keeping information secure (in particular using cloud software), paying attention to data quality and accuracy, being open about collection and information handling practices, providing anonymity where possible and protection when transferring personal information overseas.

There are particular rules about handling sensitive information including health information, as well as tax records, Medicare details and the like.  Businesses that are likely to need to comply with the Act should start by reviewing the Australian Government website for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.  This website provides a clear starting point regarding the guide to privacy for small business and their requirements they need to comply with the legislation and also outlines the potential penalties for failing to comply, which as the software company Adobe can attest to, can result in hefty fines and penalties.

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

Lindemans St George Coonawarra Trio Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Lindemans Trio St GeorgeIt’s always been my favourite of the famous Lindemans Trilogy, but the recently released 2013 St George Vineyard Coonawarra Trio Cabernet Sauvignon more than lives up to my admittedly high, expectations.

The St George is invariably spawned of the 45 year old vines in the 12 hectare St George Vineyard at Lindemans Coonawarra home.  The vines may be low yielding but they reliably produce fruit that epitomises the region and its Terra Rossa soils.

At the $60 price point I am not suggesting that it’s a drink now proposition.  It’s certainly one for the investor or at least, the patient cellarmaster.

For the time being, the 2013 St George is tightly wound up and almost anxious in the glass.  The nose sweats a hint of vanilla essence and blueberry but once on the palate, there are generous lashings of dark fruit with an overlay of tobacco leaf, spice and the obligatory Coonawarra white pepper.  But what I really love about the latest St George is its integrity and length of finish.  Fine tannins firmly restrict and constrain the fruit flavours yet leave a chalky, if not slightly dusty calling card at the back of your mouth.

It’s perhaps medium bodied now but you get the feeling that it’s only a matter of time before the plushness of the fruit is unshackled.  It will tempt, taunt and tease you while it lays on its side, but in another five to ten years the 2013 St George will undoubtedly be one of the best drinking Coonawarra reds that will ever grace your favourite glass.

Matua 2014 Pinot Noir

MatuaWhen a light weight red is the order of the day, it’s hard to go past a youthful Pinot Noir.  But as any winemaker will tell you, being a low yielding grape and troublesome in the vineyard, it’s a style which is notoriously expensive when you are looking for a wine of reasonable quality.

And it may be a Dan Murphy’s staple, but the Matua 2014 Pinot Noir is really quite drinkable yet selling at only a $14.00 pricepoint.

Pour it in the glass and there are all the typical Marlborough Pinot cherry and blackforest cake aromas on the nose and an abundance of ripe strawberries once the wine hits the palate.  Its sweetness could tend towards flabbiness, but there’s just enough acid at the back to provide a degree of respectability.  I personally prefer a bit more herbaceous meatiness in a Pinot, but at its entry level asking price, it would be churlish to complain.  Put it with lamb in a rosemary sauce and the Matua will do its best work without breaking the budget.  You’ll find better Pinot on the shelves but you’ll have to be prepared to pay a significantly higher price!

Henri Bourgeois Pouilly-Fumé en Travertin 2013

Pouilly FumeIf you’re a devotee to the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc style but feel like being a tad adventurous, why not take a punt next time you’re at the bottleshop and look for something from the Pouilly-Fumé region instead.

The Upper Loire Valley in central France has two pre-eminent wine production regions, Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre. And while both produce really good Sauvignon Blanc, my own palate leans towards the whites from Pouilly-Fumé; like the Henri Bourgeois en Travertin 2013 which I discovered during a recent research trip around France.

The Henri Bourgeois creation has a somewhat subdued nose with perhaps just a hint of green pear and rockmelon, but once on the palate the gooseberry and grapefruit characters are unshackled and ride on  a citric undercurrent all the way through to a steely finale. There is enough fruit to engage the senses and abundant acid that sucks in the cheeks a little and provides a crisp clean finish that makes it a perfect food wine for the most delicate of dishes.

Where  the Kiwi Savvies tend to be high in residual sugar and hit the mouth like a tropical fruit firecracker on Guy Fawkes Day, the French (at least in the Pouilly-Fumé region) tend to produce medium bodied conservative types of white wine that can be enjoyed on their own, but won’t overshadow the meal.

You’ll expect to pay $25 or so for a decent bottle, but if you are a card carrying and flag waving member of the Sauvignon Blanc fan club, it’s a journey well worth the price tag.