Glory to Barossa
“Glory to Barossa,” chanted Andrew Caillard as he sipped 100 year old Para port from a silver chalice both blessed and tarnished with a lifetime of memories. “Glory to Barossa,” chanted Bernie Hickin, appropriately humbled by the moment, before passing the chalice to the grinning giant beside him. A murmur of good will rippled through the crowd as big Bob...
Featured Winery Q&A - Laurance Wines
Who are you and what’s your role at Laurance? Dianne Laurance, Founder & Chairman. I’ve been involved in a diverse range of successful business ventures including establishing restaurants, design, manufacturing and property development. Ten years ago I entered the wine industry after purchasing a vineyard in the premium wine growing region of Margaret River in Western...
Featured Winery Q&A - De Bortoli Wines
We recently had the fortune to meet one of Australia’s truly great winermakers, Steve Webber of De Bortoli, at Landmark Australia, where he was giving a Chardonnay Masterclass to a panel of international wine communicators and educators. It opened our eyes as to what these guys at De Bortoli were making these days out of their Yarra Valley Winery, and I tell you it was all good from where...
Landmark Day 5 - Fortified Masterclass
“Not sure about the 08, it’s showing a bit closed, and a bit youthful,” Paul Henry shares. “The 1908, they were referring to.” This is it, the last class of this indescribable week, and you’d hate to say they’ve saved the best till last, but strap yourselves in, this is something special indeed. Stephen Chambers from Chambers Rosewood and Colin Campbell...
Landmark Day 5 - Chardonnay Masterclass
It is with restrained, yet persistent drumming in my head that I sit down in the pourer’s bar, laptop on my lap, sunglasses on, ready to report on the Chardonnay Masterclass with Steve Webber of Debortoli Wines. The headache is on account of last night’s dinner at Giant Steps, but was worth it :) Chardonnay - what a ride Australian Chardonnay has had. A young variety with only a few...
Landmark Day 4 - Pinot Masterclass
Ahh, this is one of the masterclasses we’ve been waiting for with baited breath (being BIG fans of Pinot, both Jusin and I), and peeking at the line-up of this blind tasting of Australian Pinots, we’re salivating - so many we’ve never tried! Tom Carson, winemaker at Yabby Lake, has pulled together 15 of Australia’s finest, some of them dating back to 1997, which...
Landmark Day 4 - Riesling Masterclass
Who else but Jeffrey Grosset to take our international guests on a journey through Australian Riesling? This morning’s masterclass begins with a very brief history on Riesling, which has been around for over a thousand years, but what about Australia? In the Eden Valley, Riesling vines date back to the 1840’s, with the Clare not far behind. In an interesting and somewhat...
Here’s a sneak look at these incredible wines from the Historical Perspective Masterclass at Landmark Australia, including the 55 Grange!
Landmark Day 3 - An Historic Perspective
Let me first say that the title is understating it a bit. When James Halliday and Andrew Caillard go to the cellars to pick out some wines that tell a story of Australia over the ages, you should sell your car, hell - sell your kids to get there. The list of wines is profound. We qwoff boys are but newborns, led blindly and trustingly into the big wide, wonderful world of wine. Let the journey...
Landmark Day 3 - Cabernet Masterclass
(Check out http://www.landmark-wineaustralia.com/ for a full list of the wines tasted in this Masterclass, and the official Wine Australia Landmark blog, with video interviews with the presenters!) As the crowd shuffles in from tea and scones for morning tea, Mr Brian Croser (or Sir Brian, as we call him in worship) takes his seat to the big horseshoe of vinous wonderment. 15 glasses of red wine...
Backstage Day 3 at Landmark for the Semillon Masterclass
Landmark Day 3 - Semillon Masterclass
Check out http://www.landmark-wineaustralia.com/ for the official Wine Australia Landmark blog, list of wines, and interviews with the presenters! Good morning! Day 3 and some of the delegates and all of the staff this morning are feeling the toll that even great wine in consistent and relentless quantities takes on we delicate souls. But thankfully this morning’s session is not only a...
A little sneak peak iphone video - backstage at Landmark Day 2 with Justine Henscke, the guys from Wine Australia, not to mention some classic old Australians. Enjoy!
Day 2 Landmark - The Great Australian Blend
Wrapping up a mighty day of Australian wine at Landmark, following debate-worthy line-ups of Sparkling and Shiraz, enter Mr Charlie Melton. Now we have the pleasure of being able to say we know Charlie, and you’d be hard pressed finding a more passionate and romantic advocate of wine, and particularly Australian wine, than Charlie. Famous for his Charles Melton Nine Popes GSM (Grenache...
The Qwoff Boys grab winemaking legend and Australia’s first Master of Wine, Michael Hill Smith, hot after his debut presentation at the Landmark Australia Tutorial, for a chat and a drink.
Landmark Day 2 - Shiraz Masterclass
So the delegates could be forgiven for thinking they were in for a heavy session here, but like myself, they were surprised by this morning’s second session. Tim Kirk (lovely bloke) from Clonakilla introduced himself to the room, telling tales of the first Shiraz cuttings being brought out from Hermitage in Northern Rhone in the early 1800s. Worth a note that since phyloxera wiped out most...
Landmark Day 2 - Sparkling Masterclass
And what better style to tackle after last night’s dinner at Giant Steps (with a few bevvies I might add) that Sparkling. The delegates are gathering, the bubbles are pouring, we’re all getting set for a look at Australia’s finest fizz in a masterclass presented by peerless Sparkling King and head of bubbles at Constellation (who make the legendary Bubbles) and Dr Tony Jordan of...
Day 1 of Landmark Australia - The Reds
So as Michael Hill Smith’s personal selection of Australian wines continued, it was on to the reds, starting with Pinot… “The emergence of Pinot outside Burgundy is one of the most exciting things in my life,” Michael stated. “We’re not getting Burgundy out of Burgundy, we’re getting Pinot from Pinot.” We liked that one. “The Pinot evolution comes from true believers,...
Day 1 of Landmark Australia
It was a good old-fashioned Melbourne welcome of rain and drizzle that greeted us as we zoomed along the highway from the airport – destination: Yering Station, Yarra Valley, known for this week as Landmark Australia HQ. Stunning property (Justin’s quote was “so much for the wine glut” – no scrimping on this estate!), and we were directed to a beautiful old barn sitting humbly next to the...
The Big Landmark Semillon Tweet Up
Hosted by the Qwoff Boys LIVE from Wine Australia’s Landmark Australia Tutorial, with legendary Hunter winemaker Andrew “Thommo” Thomas from Thomas Wines. As part of the phenomenally exciting week that is the Landmark Australia Tutorial, we’re hosting a Semillon Masterclass, streamed LIVE on video and twitter from Landmark HQ. This is shaping up to be the biggest Tweet Up in Australian wine...
The Qwoff Boys Live from Landmark Australia...
Fire up the modem and warm up your taste buds, because next week it’s time to shout out to the world how bloody good Australian wines can be. The Landmark Tutorial is on, and we’ve been given the job (jackpot) of corresponding (spying) on what will be a week of celebration of Australian wine in all its diversity. And we want YOU to be there with us. Well, virtually. We’re going to be tweeting,...
Happy Birthday Mr Trott
Do you know what the single greatest validation is that I’ve chosen my path in life well? It’s being reminded that wine, and this crazy wine industry we’re in, seems to draw and inspire people with vision and passion, people who want to create things - places, wines, a way of life - not because it makes the most financial sense (and indeed in most cases it makes no financial...
Road to Vino Eps 22-23: Peter Lehmann Kitchen
We’ve had the honour, along this awesome journey, of meeting some of the greatest legends of Australian wine. But few have done as much as this great man (and woman!) to save a region, and shape the way wine would move forwards in the world. And so it was with humbling excitement that Justin and I rolled up the drive to the stately manor of Peter and Margaret Lehmann, where we ...
Road to Vino Ep 21: Old Bastards and Orphans
Day 2 in the Barossa, and this day is all about one thing – old vines. And Justin has sprung a nice surprise on us – an invite to the famous Orphan Bank Day at Langmeil. The Barossa, and Langmeil specifically, lays claim to having the oldest Shiraz vines in the world. Now they say “arguably”, but we’re going all the way. These things are ancient. And they call us the New World… So into the...
Road to Vino Ep 20: Artisans of the Barossa
“Come on boys, the Barossa is waiting!” was the call from Yappy, our designated tour guide, and with great reluctance handed back our glasses of Rusden Sandscrub, bid the boys farewell, and headed back into the light. The Barossa did indeed await, as did the late lunch that was an institution at Apex Bakery, but we had a few stops to make along the way… Now Toby...
Road to Vino Ep 19: This is Barossa Shiraz
We’ve just gone live with our new Barossa episode of Road to Vino, thought we’d share our tale with you… (Note, we’ve also just launched our new site roadtovino.com - you can follow our adventures there as well) 6am and we’re in the kombi heading up Main North Rd from Adelaide, destination: Barossa. For Justin, this was a long time in the making. Something of a...
12 Reasons to Look Beyond the Usual Wine...
It’d be a real shame to go through life eating and drinking the same familiar foods all the time wouldn’t it? JD
Wine-fed beef? →
You’ve heard of grain-fed beef and grass-fed beef. How about wine-fed beef? Have a read of this article. Is this a little wrong? JD
Having just gotten through the 500 emails that were waiting to mug me on my return, I thought I’d share with you a bit of our Hawke’s Bay experience. Justin and I were over there at the very grandly-named 2010 NZ Wine Business Symposium (I love that word, “Symposium” - I’ve decided we’re never doing another conference, only symposiums!!). As it turned out,...
Integrity vs the Wine Blogger
I’m contemplating my own integrity. Does that mean I’m a wine blogger? I am today. Next week I’m a wine traveler, bound for the land of the long white gooseberry, where Justin and I are going to be workshopping social media marketing with 150 NZ wine producers. Now having got a lot of millage and cheap laughs out of bagging NZ wines over the years (actually more...
Lunch at France Soir
So yesterday Justin and I zipped over to the city of Melbourne for the day for a secret meeting (we can be very mysterious sometimes), but turns out the meeting was delayed, and we found ourselves with a few hours to kill in South Yarra. With a fair few options, I talked Justin into lunch at one of my favourite memories - the institution that is France Soir. Daggy name? Yes. Sounds like a...
Grange Bolognese V - Lunchtime
Phew. On blog post number 5, I feel about the same way now as I did at 9am on Sunday - Game Day. First thing I did was skim the sauce of the oil that had floated to the top - it was tasting a touch oily last night. I also added a big handful of chopped basil, shopped parsley, and a decent amount of sea salt, brought it back to the boil on the stove and popped it in the oven for the final bit...
Grange Bolognese IV
So I poured about half a bottle of 1996 Penfold’s Grange over the meat and simmered. You know it’s a funny thing, but in the end, when we finally sat down and ate the Bolognese, I thought it could have done with a bit more wine. But I digress, where was I? Ah, yes… Reduced the wine over the meat, which turned the richest and most delicious colour as it simmered away in its...
Grange Bolognese III
Saturday, 1pm. Time to cook. Okay, so one thing I’d been playing around with in my mind was the idea of confit-ing. Wasn’t sure what, but I wanted to confit bloody something! I also wanted to have bits in the Bolognese - nice soft bits, but bits of meat, bits of onion, etc. in more of a ragu style than a mince. So I took a ceramic dish and placed in it some basil leaves, the bay...
Grange Bolognese II
Tick this one off the bucket list. Sunday May 9th, 2010 - Made Grange Bolognese. I very nearly chickened out, I’ll be honest, after my wife and most of my friends reminded me of the madness of tipping a $600+ bottle of wine into a pasta sauce, but you know what? This wasn’t about pasta sauce, or even about good wine. This was about doing it. This was like a weekend getaway. I...
It’s always been a fantasy of mine to cook a Grange Bolognese. To me, a good Bolognese transcends the old 15 minute spag bol. I consider it one of those dishes that tests the mettle of a cook. Anyone can chuck together some mince and tomato paste and call it spaghetti, but a truly good one involves a fair bit of technique. And a bottle of red wine. Which brings me back to my fantasy… You may...
Adelaide Hills - Sexy, Dirty Pinot
I’ve been living in Adelaide for the last 5 years, and all this time, the key to my happiness lay but 15 minutes up the road. Call it wine wanking, but I sit here before you in cyberland and proudly proclaim that a special wine can change your life. I, for one, am a happier man for my recent Road to Vino wine adventure in the Adelaide Hills. It started off very Sound of Music. Parked up on a...