Term 2 – $5k School Pay Day

A huge congratulations to St. Andrew’s Anglican College for winning the $5k School Pay Day. The Year 7 students will put the $5000 towards projects they are undertaking within the local community.

The students are working on a range of projects. Some include brightening the lives of very sick children in Nambour hospital, helping the homeless on the Sunshine Coast, raising money for cancer foundations, helping the elderly with chores, improving the recycling and composting efforts within their school.

Capel Vale Debut Pinot Noir 2014

Capel Vale Debut Pinot NoirThe vineyards of Western Australia are perhaps best known for their Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends, but despite the lack of a technically “cool” climate, they can produce a reasonable Pinot Noir as well.  While it might not be graced by the more voluptuous fruit of regions like Central Otago, the winemaking team at Capel Vale have done well with their Debut 2014 Pinot Noir which hits the shelves at only around $18 a bottle.

Hailing from their Pemberton vineyards, the Debut is a lively style which focuses on fruit and flavour more so than grace and charm.  The strawberry and stewed plum characters dominate from the first sip whilst hints of maraschino cherry and black forest cake creep in towards the back palate.

The relatively high (14%) alcohol leaves it a little hot on the finish but there’s enough acid to prevent overt flabbiness developing.

At the price point, it’s obviously good value and with a residual sweetness, it’s well suited to dishes like Sichuan Quail or Peking Duck.  Worth a try!

Woodstock Pilot’s View Shiraz 2012

Woodstock Pilot's View Shiraz 2012If you’ve ever wondered what virtues American Oak can bring to Shiraz, I’d suggest looking no further than the Woodstock Pilot’s View Shiraz 2012.

In its typically McLaren Vale way, the deeply crimson Shiraz is luscious, ripe and voluptuous across the palate yet shackled at the back by the muscular vanilla and coconut American Oak tannins that drive a long, yet sweet and spicy conclusion.

I suspect that the French might consider the style to be bold and lacking in grace but to my palate, the sweet oakiness and the chocolate and vanilla vibrance, makes for a berry-licious marriage of viticulture and cooperage.  With great natural acidity and solid tannins, the Pilot’s View will undoubtedly stand the test of time in any cellar.

It’s only available at the cellar door or on premise, but at around $38, it’s one of the best investments I’ll make this year!

Gibson Bridge 2015 Pinot Gris

Gibson Bridge Pinot GrisIt pains me to once again have to speak highly of a wine from the Marlborough Region of New Zealand’s South Island, but the Gibson Bridge 2015 Pinot Gris is deserving of every accolade it receives.  Unsurprisingly, previous vintages of this Pinot Gris have won numerous awards and the recently released 2015 edition seems destined for similar fame.

It’s a fragrant style with a spicy cinnamon and nutmeg edge at the front, and voluptuous pear and ripe nectarine characters through the mid-palate.  If you allow the wine to warm slightly in the glass, the richness of the fruit becomes obvious and an apple pie and ice cream sweetness lingers on a star anise-like conclusion.

The slightly sweet finish makes it a perfect partner for spicy Asian cuisine or even maple sauce embossed wattles with deep fried ice cream!

Either way, it’s beautifully balanced, aromatic and worth every cent of its $25 price tag.

Wolf Blass Altitude Chardonnay 2015

Wolf Blass Altitude ChardonnayChardonnay is a style that tends to polarise palates at times, but is surely the noblest of white varietals and arguably, the most versatile grape that wine makers have in their armory.

There are times that a luscious, mouth-filling creamy and textural white is required and others, when a lean and tight (if not acidic) wine is the order of the day.  And when that latter situation arises, you could look no further than the Wolf Blass Altitude Chardonnay 2015.

Aptly named from the elevated vineyards of the Adelaide Hills, the Altitude has benefited from the region’s cooler climate and milder sunny days to show a natural crispness that belies the intensity of its tropical fruit nose.  There are abundant nectarine and peach characters at the front but with a hint of toasted oakiness that evolves across the palate.  It is not the heavy, over oaked or malo bolstered type that Kath and Kim would make their staple, but rather, a crisp, light and zesty style that retains its modesty through the long and lean conclusion.

I personally prefer a little more fullness in my Chardies, but at only $20 a bottle, it would be a perfect partner for a fig, pear and buffalo mozzarella salad.