Mount Michael Bessie’s Block Pinot Noir 2013

Mount Michael Bessie's BlockPinot Noir is a finicky grape to grow but a truly magnificent style of wine; but only if all the stars align in the vineyard!.  And in Central Otago in New Zealand’s South Island, the celestial objects are seemingly well trained as average vintages are the exception to the rule, at least in so far as their Pinot Noir is concerned.

If the Mount Michael Bessie’s Block Pinot Noir 2013 is any guide, the 2013 season was obviously very good despite a chilly start to the Spring.  Winemaker, Sarah-Kate Dineen, has made the most of the region’s hot dry summer, crafting their Pinot Noir juice from their Lowburn vineyards into an exceptional wine of power, presence and finesse. It’s unmistakably “Otago” and exhibits all the hallmarks that the metamorphic schists in the loamy well drained soils of the region are famous for, but with perhaps less of the cool climate sophistication and more of an up-front fruit focus.

As their Premium Reserve wine, you’d expect something special, but that quality is evident from the first whiff of its chocolate and sage nose in the glass.  There’s a certain punchiness to the sweet cherry and preserved plum fruit characters that swagger their way across the palate before meeting a savoury herbaceousness and some gentle tannins at the conclusion.  The exposure to new French Oak adds finesse and balance and although it’s definitely not cheap, I reckon it’s worth every penny of its $50+ price tag.


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

Protecting your property

Leisa Toomey Leisa Toomey, Practice Group Leader of STOLaw, part of the Slater and Gordon Group explains the importance of engaging a lawyer when separating and that not all matters will end up in court if all appropriate avenues and steps are been taken.

Q1. Why is it important to engage a lawyer in the early stages of separation?  To understand your rights and obligations and to ensure you make an informed decision on matters regarding children and property settlement.

Q2. How can a lawyer assist someone going through a separation? By providing relevant advice and guide them through those things that have to be considered to ensure a fair and just outcome for them.

Q3. What is the most important factor/s to consider when separating? Seeking out skilled and informative advice from a lawyer that specialises in this type of work to understand what options are open to you to resolve your matters.

Q4. There is a common misconception that seeing a lawyer will mean you will have to go to court. Is that correct? No, this is not correct. Lawyers in this area of law should always investigate settlement prospects through mediation to avoid unnecessary expense and the wasting of valuable time for the client.

Summerfield Reserve Shiraz 2000

Summerfield Reserve Shiraz bottleThe Pyrenees Region in Central Victoria is home to some outstanding vineyards and wineries and perhaps, some of the most collectible Shiraz that Australia has to offer.

There are any number of local vineyards worthy of mention, but none less so than Summerfield Estate which is situated near Moonambel in Central Victoria.  The Estate has always been a producer that focuses exclusively on red varietals, but it’s their Shiraz that I believe should put them on the radar of collectors and connoisseurs alike.  In its youth, the Summerfield Shiraz is generally a deep reddish purple in the glass with a bouquet of dense red fruit and spice. Somewhat surprisingly, despite years spent lying on its side, the Shiraz changes very little, perhaps due to the quality of the fruit and the skill of its maker.

I recently sampled a bottle of the 2000 Reserve Shiraz by Summerfield which, despite being 16 years old, was still lively in the glass and had lost none of the ripeness of fruit or mouth-filling vanillan oak characters that make the style so enjoyable in its infancy.  The passage of time has left a slightly burnt edge to the finish, but there is still a delightful glow of prunes and dried fig across the mid-palate and an appealing elegance to its finish.  The relatively high alcohol (at 15%) has done its job and provides a luscious mouth-feel without too much burn at the back end.

Summerfield is a winery that is growing in reputation though regrettably, sells wines which are increasing in price, but is destined to take pride of place in the cellars of discerning collectors.

Two in the Bush Shiraz 2014

Two in the Bush ShirazThe Adelaide Hills has a diverse range of soils and climate and is renowned for producing crisp, clean Riesling, aromatic Sauvignon Blanc and austere Chardonnay.  And while the whites from the region are superb, it was a sneaky quaffing Shiraz from the Mt Lofty Ranges that recently captured the attention (and affection) of my tastebuds.

The 2014 Two in the Bush Shiraz is made by Winestate’s Winemaker of the Year, Kym Milne using fruit from Bird in Hand’s Mt Lofty Ranges vineyards.  The spicy crème brûlée aromas on the nose quickly make way for waves of chocolate, nutmeg and ripe plums on the palate.  The finish is dignified by delicate tannins and the influence of French oak, although it does, perhaps, fall away ever so slightly before the cool climate complexity has fully tantalized and titillated your tastebuds.

At only around $20 a bottle, it’s exceptional value and will figure prominently at some of our casual Christmas holiday barbeques.  The Bird in Hand winery are one of Australia’s most celebrated vineyards winning awards such as Australian Winery of the Year, World’s Greatest Shiraz and any number of individual blue gold and gold medals.  So against that background, it’s probably not surprising that even their low end Shiraz from a recent vintage is so impressive in its youth.


It’s a short tune consisting of only six notes, but one which is known and used around the globe yet until earlier this year, “Happy Birthday to You” was considered to be subject to copyright held by Warner/Chappell Music.  The birthday compilation is thought to have had its genesis in a Kentucky kindergarten in around 1893 at which it was sung to kindergarten children as “Good morning to you”.

Since then, the copyright has changed hands a number of times and has resulted in Warner/Chappell Music reaping millions of dollars in royalties each year because whenever it is used in television shows, movies, print or even publicly, Warner/Chappell claimed to be entitled to a royalty fee.

But all that has now changed because a US Federal Court Judge has recently ruled that the copyright originally filed by another entity in 1935 only gave them rights over specific arrangements of the music rather than the actual song itself.

The decision may seem rather trivial but it means that people can sing or play the song now in restaurants, schools, clubs,  and other public venues  without fear of being hit with a law suit by a music industry behemoth from across the globe.

So now, when it’s that special day of the year for you, feel free to sing that familiar tune as loudly and boldly as you like, because you can’t be made to pay for the privilege!


by Travis Schultz