Category Archives: Wine Events

2011 Citibank NSW Wine Awards

Wine Awards

Last night Aussie Wine Guy and his assistant good friend Paul made their way to Circular Quay, by the harbour side in the Sydney Central Business District.  Our destination: the Cargo Hall of the Overseas Passenger Terminal where this year’s CitiBank NSW Wine awards were held.

From around the NSW wine producing regions, 40 “best of the best” assembled to be at the mercy of the discriminating palate of (presumably) select Citibank customers, as well as Aussie Wine Guy and company.

Upon arrival we were presented with our complimentary (and branded) wine sampling glass, and after some brief chatting, we began our wine tasting journey through New South Wales.

The hall was arranged counter-clockwise, so that a wine enthusiast could navigate 180 degrees from right to left and taste the various wines in the most appropriate aromatic combination (whites to reds to dessert, no fortifieds).

Starting in the Canberra district (and greater area) we began the evening in  the mixed company of white wines – Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Hunter Semillon.  Highlights were Thomas Wines’ (Hunter) 2006 Semillon (Trophy for best mature dry white), Ballabourneen’s (Hunter) 2011 Majors Lane Semillon and Thistle Hill (Mudgee) 2011 organic Riesling (winner of an Australia’s best organic wine trophy).

We also joked with a lively couple from the Hunter’s Mistletoe Wine, enjoying their trophy winning 2009 Chardonnay (wine of the year).

After an hour of white wine (and lively debate, chatting with the winemakers) we switched to Red, starting with the Centennial (Southern Highlands) 2010 Reserve Pinot Noir (showing signs of being a very well rounded wine) and onwards towards First Creek Wines (Hunter) who nabbed the award for best young Shiraz with their 2010 Winemaker’s reserve Shiraz.

Highlights from the second half of our evening include Ravensworth (Canberra/Murrumbateman) 2009 Shiraz Viognier (channelling  similar magic to Clonakilla) and the Italian inspired 2004 Secco Aged Release Rondinella Corvina from Freeman Vineyards (Hilltops), which had a drop of inspiration added to peppery overtones and spices.

We finished the evening on De Bortoli’s 2008 Noble One (Trophy, Best Sweet White) and with surprising Riverina region winemaker Lillypilly and their fragrant and pleasantly surprising Sauvignon Blanc Botrytis (Family Reserve) which had one of the most sweet and delectable bouquets of a dessert wine we’ve had the pleasure to sample.

More notes to follow.

A Visit to Witches Falls


Witches Fallsimage

Taking a bit of time out from our tour of Bordeaux, here is a quick wine tasting report from the weekend of a vineyard in the Granite Belt in Queensland.

On the weekend we resumed the wine trail and drove the short distance to the top of Mt Tamborine and visited with Witches Falls vineyard.  They have debuted their 2007 range of Reds and a vast array of their local Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

With Durif still growing, one gets the sense that they are about ready for a real renaissance in the Granite Belt and at Witches Falls in particular.  Although the critical praise hasn’t quite arrived as yet (most vintages still rating in the low 90s from names like Halliday and company) the wine is gaining momentum and winning a few awards.

While at the vineyard and cellar door, we tasted the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, and the 2006 Prophesy Cabernet Sauvignon of which we bought two bottles for cellaring and later consumption.

The former (2007) was very young and fresh with a nice variety of fruits and tannins and would make for easy drinking now and for the medium term.

The latter (2006) reserve was a real surprise, a dark horse if you will, with a very subtle but complex undertone and a pleasant aftertaste.  We’d like to say that the balance (perfect) and length were more restrained and deeper (less fruits, more oak).   The two wines seemed to be in different leagues, and we are left to wonder at just how much more complex the reserve will get with age.  Hence, the purchase of two bottles.

You can visit the cellar door whilst marvelling at the view west from Mt Tamborine daily from 10 am – 4 pm and they are located at 79 Main Western Road, North Tamborine QLD 4272.