A Special Wine for that Special Occasion

By David Ellis from vintnews.  

Schild Estate must rate among the Barossa Valley’s more amazing family success stories, a young Edgar Schild taking the reins at just 16 years of age when his father passed away in 1956, and going on to replace his Dad’s small mixed farm with a-now 182ha (450 acres) at Lyndoch on which three generations of the family live today - and producing from it some of Southern Barossa’s finest wines. 

Leading those wines is their flagship Pramie, in German meaning bonus or premium, and which could not be more appropriate – the just-released 2013 Pramie Shiraz an exceptional limited-release for giving serious thought to for that next special-occasion dinner or celebration. 

Judy Watson, one of today’s Schild Estate family owners, says 2013 was an “incredible” year for Shiraz in their part of the Barossa, enabling the family to achieve their constant aim of creating wines reflecting both the best of the vintage, as well as the best of the land from which the wines come. 

With intense upfront plum fruit flavours and obvious but fine tannin, this is a Shiraz well worth the $70 asking price, and ideal with flame-grilled fillet of beef. Available from select retail outlets and restaurants for that special occasion; if you’ve trouble finding it, go onto schildestate.com.au

One to note: For those doing the Christmas in July thing this month, a rewarding drop to enjoy with a Christmas pudding is Rymill’s 2013 June Traminer – a luscious, botrytis-affected “sticky” whose full-on flavours will go just so well with the pudding and a dollop of custard or ice-cream.

While most consider Traminer a dessert wine to enjoy with puddings and sweet delights like lemon curd tarts and passionfruit pana cotta, you’ll find it a good drop too with such Thai cuisine main courses as beef satay with peanut sauce or Indian chicken and coconut curry, or if you are not into the hot and spicy, with pork chops heartily peach glazed. Well worth it at $21 for a 375ml bottle.

Lighter Alcohol and Fewer Calories

By David Ellis from vintnews. 

 

Lindeman's now have no fewer than eleven red, white, sweet and sparkling wines under their Early Harvest label, a range that delivers wines 25% lighter in alcohol - and that of course equates to 25% fewer calories as well – without compromising on flavour or enjoyment.  

 

So it means not only can you cut down on alcohol and calorie intake, you can enjoy that extra glass with lunch or dinner without feeling guilty, or an extra bottle with family or friends on a week when you’ve maybe decided to limit just how many nights you’ll uncap one at dinner-time.

The Early Harvest 2014 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is a particularly nice crisp and refreshing drop sourced from vineyards across a reach of South Eastern Australia, and brings together fresh fruit flavours from the Sauvignon Blanc component, coupled with signature citrus from the Semillon.

Well priced at $16 it makes for a good choice on the table with grilled Moroccan spiced chicken and salad.

One to note: although Campbells of Rutherglen have been making their Bobbie Burns Shiraz since 1969, Winemaker Colin Campbell says he’s confident the 2013 that they’ve just-released evolved from one of their finest vintages ever.

“It was a wonderful vintage that’s sure to be very special in time,” Colin says. “Plentiful Spring rain prepared the vineyard well, and mild to warm conditions over Summer gave the fruit time to ripen evenly, and to maintain good acidity for harvest.”

While rewarding drinking now with plum and mulberry fruit flavours, fine tannins and suggestions of liquorice and cacao, it’s a wine to tuck away to age contentedly for even greater enjoyment around a decade down the track.

A great steak wine, at $22 match it nicely too with grilled lamb loin chops or a slow-roasted lamb leg.

And for an interesting conversation piece over your dinner choice, the core fruit for this wine came from 50 year old vines on the Bobbie Burns Vineyard – that was the site of the first Campbells’ plantings 145 years ago in 1870. As well, playing a role in the making of this 44th vintage wine was Jules Campbell who is Colin’s daughter, and a fifth generation Campbell Winemaker.

Taste of Kingscliff & Tweed Coast

Explore the best of Kingscliff and Tweed Coast's foodie offerings by heading down to the inaugural Taste of Kingscliff and Tweed Coast festival this July.

Running from July 10 - 19, this ten-day festival showcases a series of food-inspired, family-friendly beachside events throughout the Tweed area, with a focus on the region’s fresh local produce.

The festival will open at Babalou on Friday night for an evening of cocktails and canapés along with guests, Chef Shan Tan as well as writer and food personality Maureen Ow before moving to their signature event on Saturday called Taster@Salt which will include an array of local produce, products, food tastings, cooking demonstrations and expert commentary in the Taste of Asia tent. Rub shoulders with award winning celebrity chef Steven Snow from Fins along with local icons such as Craig Scott from Tumby Sauces and cheese-maker Debra Allard.

For wine buffs, Peppers Salt Resort & Spa is holding Wine Wars on Saturday July 11 where winemakers from Brokenwood and Rymill will go head to head with two masked wines poured in accompaniment to three featured dishes on a five course degustation menu. Seats at the Wine Wars Dinner are only $155pp and bookings are essential as spaces are selling out fast. See their website here. 

The festival will conclude at Tweed’s seaside picnic on Jack Evans Boat Harbour, an outdoor fiesta that will feature market stalls, local chef demos and live entertainment, making it the perfect family day out. 

For more information and to book ticketed events, head to their website here

Good Food, Good Life, A Book Review.

“Through tasty well-cooked food prepared with fresh, quality and seasonal produce, you can have an incredible life.” – Curtis Stone.

With recipes such as barbecued rib eye steak paired with mouth-on-fire salsa and roasted banana soufflé with caramel sauce found in Curtis Stone’s sixth book Good Food, Good Life, how is it possible not to have an incredible life?

Good Food, Good Life is all about savouring the entire experience that goes with preparing mouth-watering dishes and enjoying it with loved ones (although you may find it a little bit hard to share the highly addictive bite-sized chocolate salted caramel kisses on page 244…). True to Stone’s signature structured style, Good Food, Good Life neatly categorises the 130 recipes into seven sections from ‘in the morning’ to ‘dinners’ right down to the equally important bits in between such as ‘sweets.’

Roasted Banana Souffles with Caramel Sauce. p. 159.

The 287-page paperback also steps away from the glittering lights of the television studio kitchen and the fast-paced restaurant environment with its high-tech gadgets; instead, it focuses on dishes that Stone himself cooks at home for his family, making this book accessible for everyone. Simple meals such as penne with sausage and kale are perfect for the time-poor novice cook – the dish only takes minutes to assemble and makes do with pantry staples like tomato sauce. Of course, kale is not necessarily something that is normally found in all homes, yet the recipe works just as well without it. Meanwhile, those with a leisurely Sunday afternoon to spare might like to give Stone’s beautiful slow-braised pork with spicy chipotle sauce a go; don’t let the 8½ hour-cooking time put you off – the slow-cooker does most of the work.  

Another element that makes Good Food, Good Life a pleasure to read is the added personal touch that Stone gives to the book through anecdotes from his life, bound to make readers smile. The ‘good morning’ green juice in the ‘drinks’ section features cute little stories involving his son Hudson, while the carrot cupcakes topped with brown sugar cream cheese frosting are a nod to the wedding cake he made for his wife Lindsay on their special day.

Meat Pies. p. 71. 

Stone also pays homage to his Aussie roots through recipes such as meat pies topped with buttery pastry (“when I think of meat pies, I always think of being at an AFL footy game in my hometown Melbourne”) and pavlova with fresh strawberries and rhubarb. Furthermore, in between, there are dishes inspired by Stone’s time in the United States such as the light and zesty Californian-style Baja salad with crispy tortilla chips and the super-indulgent peanut butter, jam and banana burrito.

A delight to read from first page to last, Good Food, Good Life is sure to be a staple in both the North American and Australian kitchen. 

Good Food, Good Life by Curtis Stone (Random House Australia), $39.99. Available now in all good bookstores and online. 

By Libby Margo. 

Let's Talk Truffle

...let the truffle speak for itself...   –   Shawn Sheather, AGFG Resident Chef. 

Rich, earthy, mysterious and exotic with an overwhelming aroma, yet exuding a fine, subtle flavour like no other; a little goes a long way.  Passions ignite, dogs are trained and recipes are readied for the beginning of Australia’s truffle season, running from late May through to early September. 

Enthusiasts of the truffle enjoy fresh fungi from farms across the country in regions like Manjimup, Northern Tasmania, the Yarra Valley, the Otways and even Gippsland, giving Australia confidence to claim itself as the fourth largest truffle producer after France, Italy and Spain. Fruits of the fungus are becoming increasingly rare worldwide due to environmental and societal factors, namely the reduction of natural forests; however, the demand for truffles worldwide is increasing, putting pressure on the industry and a hefty price on produce. Here’s to hoping that predictions are accurate and we will soon surpass our European friends within the next decade to produce these sought-after delicacies in our own backyard. 

Best enjoyed fresh, truffles are at their finest within a week of being unearthed, and can be stored in absorbent paper in a dry sealed container or glass jar and a cool place for up to two weeks. For all other times of the year, experience the exotic and unique flavour of truffle infused oil, aioli, tapenade and butter or added to sea salt flakes, mustard, dukkah and even honey. 

Festivals such as a weekend celebration at Truffle Kerfuffle festival in Western Australia’s most predominant truffle growing region are held throughout winter to savour the taste of the third most expensive food in the world, prized for rarity and beguiling aroma. At the festival, you can experience the excitement of a hunt and uncover buried truffle treasure nestled among the roots of Oak and Hazel trees with the guidance of a gastronomic expert and a specially trained truffle sniffing dog alongside an entertaining assortment of other truffle inspired activities. 

Whether a long-time supporter and advocate of the truffle, or new to the scene this season, it’s a great time of year to join in the fun by either buying a ticket to a truffle festival, or by simply getting your hands on some - fresh and in season, or pre-prepared products – and head to our Recipe section of the website for kitchen inspiration. 

By Annabel Rainsford. 

Our Eight Favourite Truffle Recipes

Paying homage to the delectable truffle, we have brought you eight of our favourite recipes requiring this delicious addition. Whether fresh, infused in oil, salt or even honey, truffle can take any dish from average to memorably mouth-watering.

For an impressive dish, attempt this creative Marron with a vanilla oil, fennel, walnut and kipfler forest salad with shaved truffle.

Take entertaining to the next level with a Baked Ricotta Dip paired with Truffle Honey. 

Twirl your fork around this Truffle Tagliatelle. 

Make your weekend breakfast that extra bit special with Black Truffle Fried Egg with Mushrooms and Creamy Blue Cheese. 

Live creatively with this Truffle Infused Fig and Baby Pear dessert. 

This may well become your new favourite dish, try an Italian Quinoa Risotto Lasagne Casserole. 

Create this Roasted Cauliflower and Truffle Soup to warm you on chilly days.

Fancy up your next movie night and snack on this indulgent Truffle Popcorn

Tassie Rewards with a Ripper Riesling

By David Ellis from vintnews.  

A ripper Riesling out of Tasmania’s Pipers Brook Vineyard is their 2014 bottle, that’s a great, drink now, match with Thai pork stir-fry – or give it a little more bottle age through to the end of the year, and you’ll find it marvellous in the party room with Festive Season finger-foods such as salt and pepper squid or whitebait fritters.

The company’s flagship white, this elegant drop with its intensity of aroma and flavour reflects all that is so rewarding about the cool, maritime climate of the West Tamar sub-region of Tasmania’s north. And for Pipers Brook in 2014 conditions were near-perfect for flowering and fruit set in December, to be followed by a long warm Summer and mild Autumn that resulted in small bunches of berries loaded with ripe and concentrated fruit flavours.

This is a wine for true Riesling buffs, steely and awash with flavours of green apples and nectarines, lemon notes, with minerality, slate and great acidity. A buy-now, enjoy-now drop, it will equally reward with sometime in the cellar.

Pay $34 and match with those food suggestions above, or anything Asian with a light spiciness to it. Go to www.pipersbrook.com for help with finding local suppliers. 

One to note: when Aussie beef lovers make a Cabernet Sauvignon one of the country’s most sought-after reds to go with their favourite cut, it’s saying something when the winemaker says he’s let-loose his “most accomplished release to date...”

But that’s what Hamish MacGowan’s had to say of his 2013 Angus the Bull Cabernet Sauvignon, a drop made from fruit hand-selected off some of the most outstanding vineyards in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley (69%,) Heathcote (15%,) Strathbogie Ranges (10%) and Central Victoria (6%.)

Medium to full-bodied, this is a cracker red that’s all about overflowing blackberry and mulberry flavours and firm tannins, and at $22, it’s made purely to put on the table with your favourite steak. 

Waterloo Commemoration

Waterloo Commemoration | June 18 – 21, 2015

This week we commemorate the British before the French (Bastille Day, July 14) in acknowledgement of the 200th anniversary of Waterloo.

Waterloo was a fierce battle between Napoleon led France and the allied countries of Europe (Britain, Prussia, Austria and Russia). Napoleon’s vision of a France dominated Europe ended at Waterloo when the allied forces pushed back his soldiers to a defeat. As it always is with hindsight, we could say that the defeat was for the best as a united Europe has been prosperous, however we can never determine what a French “Europe” would have entailed – perhaps more diverse culinary delicacies?

A two day re-enactment featuring 5000 soldiers, 1000 non combatants and 300 horses as well as 100 cannon will take place on June 19 & 20. June 19 will be based around the famous charge of Drouet d’Erlon (Napoleon’s Imperial peerage – a royal and noble rank within the army) and June 20 will focus on the final phase of the battle. 

For more information visit: www.waterloo2015.org

Image sourced from telegraph.co.uk

Truffle Kerfuffle 2015

June 26 – 28 | Munjimup WA

AGFG welcomes back truffle season with open arms and avid truffle lovers around Australia rejoice! For those who have tasted the glorious truffle, it is almost certain they have been won over and joined the celebration of this fancy subterranean fungus. For those who have not – you are missing out and should certainly try it as soon as you can.

In Western Australia, an entire weekend of fun and festivities are dedicated to searching and savouring the sought-after truffles at Truffle Kerfuffle, now in its fifth year of operation, garnering attention and attendees from all ends of the country from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th of June.

A highlight in Australia’s tourism calendar, Truffle Kerfuffle opens with a Hunt and Harvest Gala Dinner featuring Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans alongside some of the very best chefs in the state, producing a five course feast that showcases fresh, regional produce matched with exceptional local wines.

Following the gala are a multitude of activities and scheduled events with weekend long tickets giving access to the festival grounds for Farmers Markets, the Food Land Culture Stage, truffle dog demonstrations, gourmet food tastings and plenty of entertainment. 

Shadow gastronomic experts and go exploring through the undergrowth and leaf litter of Western Australia’s Southern Forests, armed with a bucket and directed by enthusiastic, truffle-sniffing dogs or perhaps check out a Truffle Masterclass and learn the delights of cooking with the aromatic black truffle. 

Southern Forest Marron with fennel oil and shaved truffle.

Visit the grounds on Sunday’s Family Day for free entry for concessions and under 18s and special family friendly activities and entertainment with live music, face painting, circus acts and an interactive agricultural station for children.

Manjimup locals can enjoy the luxury of this foodie festival being held so close to home at Fonty’s Pool on Seven Day Road, but should you be travelling from interstate, Truffle Kerfuffle gives a guide to travel and accommodation at the bottom of their Frequently Asked Questions page, or take a look at our Western Australian accommodation options. 

By Annabel Rainsford.
 

 

One Well Worth Ringing the Bells Over

By David Ellis from vintnews

There are a couple of interesting things about the Mulligan family and their St Mary’s Vineyard 15km to the west of Penola in South Australia. 

One is that they’re on land that’s made up of Terra Rossa soil over limestone just like their neighbouring Coonawarra, yet they’re defined officially as within the Limestone Coast, and the other is their unusual – and rewarding – Carillon label. 

The first there’s little we can say much about, beyond that to most, their wines appear more Coonawarra than Limestone Coast, but the latter we heartily suggest that you can do something about, and that is to give a try to this Carillon that’s unusually made up of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Cabernet France and Merlot. 

In 1985 Barry and Glenys Mulligan planted their first grapes, reaping the pioneering rewards of these in 1990. They made their first Carillon blend in 1999, giving it the name after the dictionary definition of carillon as “a collection of bells (in their case ‘Belles’?) that work in harmony to produce something special...” 

The newest-release 2013 St Mary’s Carillon is an interesting wine, offering up suggestions of tobacco, cedar, plum and raisin flavours that make for a good match with red meats, or a hearty Winter’s casserole. It’s $40 a bottle in 12-bottle cartons from the winery, including delivery Australia-wide. Details on their website at: www.stmaryswines.com 

One to note: wine buffs who enjoy their seafood know how rewarding white fish fillets pan-fried and shared with a good Sauvignon Blanc Semillon can be.   

One of the latter worth trying is a 2014 from Voyager Estate in WA’s Margaret River, because here’s a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon that’s all about bouncy-fresh tropical and citrus fruit flavours coupled with a lovely natural acidity. 

At $24 you’ll find it good value for the price, and while excellent with those white fish fillets, or other seafoods including shellfish, if you lean more towards meat dishes team it up with veal chops grilled and sprinkled with rosemary.

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