|Posted by Casey on May 19, 2013 at 6:10 AM||comments (0)|
I seriously wanted to get a bunch of wine and a range of chocolate to work out the perfect matches for you all but my bathroom scales put up a strong argument as to why I shouldn’t do this! So instead I reached out to the twittersphere via the Travelling Corkscrew twitter page and asked my awesome fans on the Travelling Corkscrew facebook page what their ultimate wine and chocolate matches are.
I hope you all enjoy reading these as much as I did – and I warn you that you’ll have serious cravings after this!
I told you that you would have major chocolate and wine cravings didn't I!! Thank-you to everyone for your tips and tricks on wine and chocolate matching and please feel free to leave comments with any other great matches you have tucked away.
|Posted by Casey on May 13, 2013 at 7:15 AM||comments (0)|
If a man turns up at my door with chocolate and wine, he is a keeper (and damn sure to get lucky!).
Claire Preen, Chocolatier and Sexpert has put together a collection of 63 sexy recipes to tantalise your taste buds and I'm giving you the chance to win your very own copy!
From chocolate infused balsamic vinegar to delectable desserts, savoury chocolate dishes and body scrubs you'll be choc-orgasiming over the divine recipes in this book all night long.
The winner will be announced on the 1st June on the Travelling Corkscrew facebook page - goodluck everyone!
Terms & Conditions do apply (please see the entry form for more details) - this giveaway is for Australia only.
|Posted by Casey on April 21, 2013 at 7:45 AM||comments (0)|
I’ve made it to 100!! Yes that’s right, so far this year I have tried at least 100 different wines in my adventure to taste 365 wines in 365 days. This is no doubt the best New Years resolution I have ever taken on and I have to admit I am feeling very confident.
I thought it would be interesting to do a full break down on what I’ve tried so far this year and see if any trends or patterns are emerging. To find out more about my 365 wines in 2013 challenge please click here.
Here are some of the interesting results i found in the first 100:
Wine by type:
Dessert = 2/100
Rose = 8/100
Red = 20/100
Sparkling = 23/100
White = 46/100
Wine by region:
Barossa Valley (AU) = 2/100
Burgundy (FR) = 2/100
Alsace (FR) = 4/100
Champagne (FR) = 8/100
Marlborough (NZ) = 14/100
Margaret River (AU) = 16/100
Swan Valley (AU) = 17/100
Other regions tasted include: Veneto (IT), Loire Valley (FR), Rhone Valley (FR), Mendoza (AR), McLaren Vale (AU), Manjimup (AU), King Valley (AU), Tasmania (AU), Geograhe (AU), Perth Hills (AU), Pemberton (AU), Coonwarra (AU), Clare Valley (AU), Nelson (NZ), Coromandel (NZ), Martinborough (NZ), Kumeu (NZ), Gisborne (NZ), Wairarapa (NZ), Waipara Valley (NZ) and Central Otago (NZ).
I’ve still got 265 spaces to fill, if you have any suggestions on some interesting wines to taste and add to my list, please let me know.
And please keep an eye on my 365 Wines in 2013 Facebook album to follow my progress. Cheers!
|Posted by Casey on April 14, 2013 at 6:50 AM||comments (0)|
Feel like a trip back to your childhood? Back to a time when you were climbing trees and having super important club meetings in the ‘No boys/girls’ allowed tree hut? As soon as I walked into the restaurant at Darlington Estate in the Perth Hills I felt like I was in a secret tree top getaway.
Darlington Estate is located abut a 10-15 minute drive off the Great Eastern Highway. Upon arriving at the estate, having driven further and further into the hills I felt like I was in a majestic hideaway from the rest of the world.
The Estate is natural looking to reflect it’s surroundings, it blends right in. The brick floor and tree growing up through the middle of the restaurant perfectly decorates the space full of dark wooden tables and French Café style chairs. The expansive windows allow you to soak up the full view and then there are tiny touches like fairy lights, which give it that magical feel. It’s Peter Pan’s ultimate watering hole!
The wine menu has a great selection of Western Australian wines and there is also a South Australian Verdelho on the menu if that takes your fancy! I opted for a glass of the Darlington Estate 2010 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc for a very reasonable AU$7.50. This SSB was exactly what you want out of an SSB; yellow-green on the eye, with aromas of herbs, minerals and tropical fruits on the nose and in the mouth it has that lovely thick silky Semillon feel with flavours of passionfruit and gooseberry coming through from the Sauvy B.
The wine was a match made in heaven with my meal; angel hair pasta with blue swimmer crab, chili king prawn, champagne emulsion & crisp capers for AU$38. The meal was just awesome, those crispy capers with the melt in your mouth crab meat was to die for. My only critique would be that I wasn’t fussed on the prawns being in the meal. They were beautiful prawns but there rather strong flavour stole the well-deserve spotlight from the delicate and mouthwateringly orgasmic flavours of the rest of the dish.
My lunch at Darlington Estate was a naughty tease really as the menu is just divine and now I really need to go back again as I just want to try everything on the menu. It is the perfect spot to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s time to go back to that childhood tree hut, but this time it’s even better as you’re allowed great wine and food (as well as the opposite sex!). Check out the Darlington Estate website for more information.
I don’t really want to tell you all this, because I really want to win it for myself but…
|Posted by Casey on April 4, 2013 at 9:40 AM||comments (0)|
I love breakfast. It’s a meal, which is totally acceptable to be either sweet or savoury. And breakfast is the perfect excuse to sip on wine at such am early hour of the day. Whoever came up with the idea of a Champagne breakfast is a total legend in my books!
So when I heard about Jezebelle's breakfast philosophy, I just had to check it out. A Q&A (found at the back on the menu) revealed the following:
Q: Can I have Champagne with breakfast?
A: Absolutely, it's 12 o'clock somewhere isn't it?
Simply put, you say "Champagne", I say "where?"
Jezebelle is located in Guildford on James Street (opposite the well known Alfred's burger bar), an easy walk from Guildford train station. As you walk in, you have a small bar to the right, the front counter with coffee making facilities and then to your left and stretching to the back of the building is the main dining area.
I have to admit I'm not fussed on the interior. Dim the lights and I'm sure it would feel a bit like a brothel in Eastern Europe. Not that I know what ones of those is like! It's like they are going for a funked up vintage decor with the animal print (pornstar) covered uncomfortable chairs and stringy curtains to improvise makeshift walls. Since they are a breakfast-lunch-dinner establishment I presume from the decor that they are targeting themselves more so at the nighttime dinner crowd. However I don't see why as having now dined twice from their lunch/dinner tapas menu and now also their breakfast menu I think breakfast is definitely their forte.
On the breakfast drinks menu they have all your normal coffees and juices but also some 'Breakfast Bubbles' & 'Bubbles with Orange' options. I opted for an AU$18 glass of H.Lanvin & Fils NV (non-vintage) Champagne, yes I know, my boyfriend is the luckiest man having a girl with expensive drinking taste! Read my full tasting note here.
To match my 9am Champas I decided to go for the Jean-Pierre Sancho rye, grilled mushrooms, scrambled eggs & ricotta for a decent price of AU$14. My beverage was pricier than my meal - talk about priorities! My food was excellent, the scrambled eggs were divine, not being a huge fan of my eggs this way, I am definitely now a convert! They were buttery yet still eggy and they just melted in the mouth. My only critique of the meal would be that the mushrooms were seriously lacking flavour. They were large and voluptous but tasted like a sponge more than anything.
Overall I had an awesome breakfast at Jezebelle, it was a fantastic way to start my weekend. I can't wait to go back again so I can try the buckwheat pancakes with bacon & maple syrup (AU$14), or the hot smoked salmon cake, poached eggs, wild rocket & avocado (AU$16) or the ultimate Jezebelle brekky: two free range eggs, bacon, tomato salsa, hot smoked salmon potato cake, mushrooms, chipolatas & toasted sourdough (AU$24)... Dammit it, I admit it, I want to try the whole lot!
Check out the Jezebelle Breakfast menu here (please note some items may differ slightly from the in store menu) and if you have any questions feel free to ask them on the Jezebelle Facebook page or website.
Happy Champagne breakfast all!
|Posted by Casey on March 31, 2013 at 7:00 AM||comments (0)|
I decided to take a drive today out to Northam in the Avon Valley today to check out the Easter weekend Vintage Festival. The festival was held at the Northam Recreation Centre (about an hour and a half drive from Perth) and it was AU$10 to enter. From antiques to swing dancers to vintage clothing and market stalls, there was something for everyone. My thing was the wine tasting!
It was a pretty low-key laidback event, perfect for a chilled out day trip. The 3 wineries attending the festival with stalls were Barton Jones Wines from the Geographe region, Neilson Estate from the Swan Valley and Briery Estate from Bindoon. They were all super friendly and excited to be showcasing their wines.
As Jackie put it, Barton Jones is the result of 2 crazy Brits! Owners, Jackie Barton and Adrian Jones have a passion for what they do and you can taste this through their range of wines. They have a style to suit everyone whether it’s from their fruit driven Blackboy Ridge range or their premium oaked Barton Jones range.
Top Picks: 2011 The Shilly Shally Chenin Blanc, AU$20& 2008 The Big Wig Shiraz, AU$25
Located in Western Australia’s oldest wine region, the Swan Valley, Neilson Estate can offer you a range of aged wines at affordable prices. Whether you’re in the mood for a 2007 Verdelho, a 2005 Shiraz or a 2004 vintage port, down-to-earth owners Jim and Jenny will be able to help you out.
Top Picks: 2007 Verdelho, AU$18 & 2008 Cabernet Merlot, AU$18
Christine and Ron began Briery Estate in 1994 in Bindoon. Alongside growing well known grape varieties they have also branched out to create stunning wines from Hungarian varieties Harslevelu and Furmint. Each wine and its label are full of stories which Christine and Ron are happy to share with you from Bullamakanka to Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
Top Pick: 2009 Fermento AU$18
For more information on the Avon Valley Vintage Festival please click here.
|Posted by Casey on March 30, 2013 at 8:05 AM||comments (0)|
After seeing the announcement on the Swan Valley Winemakers Facebook page that Tyler’s Vineyard had released a 2013 wine, and a white Grenache to be exact, I just had to get over there are try it! I visited Tyler’s Vineyard shortly after they opened their cellar door in September 2012 (read my review here) so I was definitely overdue for a visit!
I was warmly welcomed back to the property and I was pleasantly surprised that Donelle remembered me from my last visit! Donelle & Colin were both at the property on this particular day – it was great to meet both Mr. and Mrs. Tyler, the couple behind the vineyard. Plus to find out Colin was a Kiwi has definitely earned them super points! As I entered the rustic shed/cellar door I could see they have been busy bee’s over the past few months with many personalised bottle labels adorning the tin sheds wall. At no extra cost you can print up your own personalized labels and stick them on your purchased bottles from the vineyard – an awesome present!
Plus it was great to see the property is still as full of energy as ever with their 11 year old triplet sons and daughter mucking around, Whisper the golden retriever chasing lizards, Lucky the goose following Whisper around like they are BFF and a 6 month old ewe chilling out keeping Bella, the new baby lamb company.
As Donelle chatted away and filled me in on all the happenings of the vineyard over the past few months she poured me a taste of the 2013 Pearl Grenache. I was intrigued by this wine as soon as I heard about it, it is a white made from a red grape which is quite common in the wine world but I have to admit I don’t think I have ever had a white made from the Grenache grape – obviously a grape of many guises!
Tyler’s Vineyard specialises in Grenache it’s the only variety they grow and boy are they perfecting their talent with the variety. Their vines are a century old and non-irrigated. Grenache is a great grape for the Swan Valley as it thrives in hot, dry conditions and if the yields are controlled it can produce some stunning world-class wines.
The grapes for the Pearl were picked and processed straight away, resulting in a crystal clear wine with a slight lemon shimmer. You can see how they came up with the name Pearl! On the nose it is full of freshly cut apple, with a touch of baking spice… It really made me think of a freshly baked apple pie with a handful of raspberries chucked in the mix. In the mouth it is crisp and refreshing with a nice silky texture. Apples, pears, pineapple and citrus shine through with a touch of green herbs, I cant quite put my tongue on which ones though. The finish is a beautiful length with a distinct black olive hint. Donelle also brought out some chili cheese to go with the wine and the hint of spiciness and creaminess of the cheese was an excellent compliment to the wine.
A bottle of this, some Thai takeaway, throw in a couple of candles for ambiance and you’ll have you’re date awe-struck… hint hint. Plus you can personalise the bottle with your very own label to make it extra special – AU$15.50 well spent!
All up it was a great trip out to Tyler’s, they are down to earth people who simply love their vineyard and their little slice of heaven. Their passion and down to earth attitude definitely comes through in the wine, you’ll end up leaving the vineyard as a friend rather than a visitor. Plus, keep an eye out for a sparkling wine coming out at Tyler’s Vineyard in the next 4-6 months! Like the Pearl, the sparkling will be made by the skillful hands of Winemaker, Anthony Yurisich, from Olive Farm Wines.
Address: 301 Padbury Avenue (Corner of Moore Road) Millendon, Western Australia
Phone: 0438 296 000
|Posted by Casey on March 14, 2013 at 7:30 AM||comments (0)|
Photos: Anna & a bottle of Giró I Giró Cava - Cava Sparkling Happiness book by Anna - Anna in the snow at her house in Sweden.
Swedish born, Anna Wallner, has a passion for all things Spanish and sparkling. In 2009 she bravely decided to leave her stable day job to follow her passion. After immersing herself in the wine industry she came across a world of wine that she now holds dear to her heart, the world of Cava. Anna has become a patriot of the Spanish sparkling wine and is a true inspiration in following ones dreams!
Intrigued by such a motivated and inspirational figure in the wine world, I just had to have a wee Q&A session with her. Here’s how it went:
1. Let’s go back to basics and start from the start, what is Cava?
Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine made by the traditional method, following the rules and regulations of the DO Cava, controlled by Consejo Regulador del Cava. I’m sorry, that was very technical. ☺ Cava is mostly produced in Catalonia, to be more precise, 95% of all Cava is made in Penedès just outside Barcelona.
2. How did you fall so deeply in love with the Spanish Sparking wine, Cava?
It was during my sommelier studies. I became very interested in sparkling wine in general and I wanted to learn more about Cava, which was much harder than one would think. Learning about Champagne is easy since there are hundreds of books, but books on Cava there were none. When I started to travel in the area I fell in love with everything, the bubbles, the land and the people. It is just amazing, everything!
3. ‘Cava Sparkling Happiness’ is a beautiful book, what motivated you to write the book?
Actually because I did not find any books about Cava during my studies, and thought it was a bit unfair. Cava is after all the most exported sparkling wine in the world, and people should have a fair chance of learning something about what they drink.
4. I absolutely love the food & Cava section in the book, what is your favourite food to enjoy with Cava & why?
Oh I can drink Cava to anything, I just need to have the right bottle. ☺ But I do get a bit extra excited over a nice plate of fried calamari. Maybe it is because we don’t get any nice calamari up here in Sweden, since we need to have them imported and that is not the same. A very nice fresh bottle of Cava, preferably made on the traditional grapes Xarel-lo, Macabeu and Parellada together with calamari, is probably the ultimate Spanish “trigger” for me. But some nice jamon and bruschetta is always nice too. .
5. If I had 1 day in the Penedes, what Cava houses would you suggest I visit and why?
Well, that depends what you are interested in, but to get a good picture of how diverse the Cava production is, I would suggest that you visit one big house like Freixenet and Codorníu to see how good cava is produced on a mass scale. And visit one or two medium to smaller once, for example Raventós i Blanc or Juvé y Camps that are medium houses and make wonderful cava and are both situated in the city of Sant Sadurní. Or smaller houses like Recaredo, Parés Baltà, who are both biodynamic or Giró i Giró that is a fantastic little house that I just love as well. But anywhere you decide to go I’m sure that you will be very well received. The cava producers are a very friendly lot.
6. In one sentence, how would you convince a beer or non-wine drinker to try a glass of Cava?
Because it makes you happy! (And by that, I don’t mean drunk ;-) )
7. If you could take 1 bottle of Cava to a deserted island, what one would it be?
I would take Turó d’en Mota, from Recaredo. It is an amazing cava made from 70 year old Xarel.lo grapes, and it is the most beautiful vineyard I have ever seen, so full of soul. And so it the wine!
8. When you’re not drinking Cava, what are you drinking?
Beer. ☺ I have always had a big passion for beer, and just love it.
Anyone feel like a glass of Cava now? I sure do! If you interested in learning about Cava, or ordering your own copy of “Cava, Sparkling Happiness”, please click here.
Photos: Lali Torello Mata, Agusti Torello Mata of the Cava house Torello Mata & Anna - Anna & her husband cooking for New Years 2012-13.
|Posted by Casey on March 10, 2013 at 5:10 AM||comments (0)|
It was only natural that I spent my 27th birthday at a winery. In January I was home in New Zealand for the first time in 3 years and not knowing where was good to go I had a tough challenge to choose one of the many awesome wineries near Auckland to celebrate.
After taking to twitter and getting an awesome response from @SoljansWinery I just had to visit them! Plus on the day we hadn't actually made a booking so I sent them a quick tweet and they replied to say we could show up anytime and there would be a table. Love the service and hats off to their social media guru!
The cellar door and restaurant at Soljans Estate is simply stunning, it has a very natural look to it. It is modern and classy yet at the same time laid back and welcoming. Of course upon entering the estate we couldn't go straight through to the restaurant we had to stop at the cellar door to taste through their range. During the tasting the lovely cellar door staff member explained to us about the rich history of the estate - it was 1927 when Bartul Soljans sailed from Croatia and planted the first Soljan vineyard in West Auckland. For tasting notes please check my #365winesin2013 Facebook album.
After we had swirled, sniffed & sipped our way through the tasting menu (free to do by the way!) we moved onto the restaurant. We managed to get a lovely table outside (which actually got far too hot in the end - I know that's crazy talk for Auckland weather!).
The menu was literally to die for, both the food and wine! What I absolutely loved was that you could order a flight of 3 wines for $NZ10. Therefore you could have one for an aperitif, one with the entree and one with your main. All the items on the menu also mentioned the perfect wine match for that dish, so you literally didn't have to think about it.
The stand out dishes of the day had to be:
The only semi-negative comment had to be from my boyfriend who said that his fish'n'chips had nothing on my pork belly with its magnificent crackling. Plus in the car on the way home I am sure I had to undo my dress just a touch as I was literally so full, I really did overindulge but it was soooo good!
All up in was the perfect setting with great food and wine! Plus the company was top notch. I definitely will be back on my next visit home. For more information on Soljans Estate, please click here.
|Posted by Casey on March 6, 2013 at 8:15 AM||comments (0)|
To celebrate the 2013 vintage the wineries of the Swan Valley are putting on fantastic events over March the 15th, 16th and 17th. Here is a quick look at what you can expect over the weekend. Make sure to book, as spaces may be limited!
A Paella Afternoon - Mandoon Estate Winery
Enjoy eating Spanish Paella whilst listening to live music at Mandoon on Sunday the 17th of March. Tickets cost $45 for adults and $25 for children, the price includes; Paella and a glass of Mandoon Estate wine. Read more here.
Vertical Shiraz Tasting & Mediterranean Platters - Jane Brook Estate Wines
Participate in a Back Block Shiraz vertical tasting from the 1990s through to the current vintage for $25 on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th. Jane Brook will also be serving up authentic Italian & Mediterranean platters this weekend from sensational Italian Vignacourt Platters to European themed dessert tasting plates! Read more here.
Sundowners at the Vineyard - Harris Organic Wine
From 5:30pm on the evenings of the 15th, 16th and 17th you can enjoy a glass of sparkling wine, several vintages of organic Verdelho, Mediterranean tapas, and a specialty dessert with a taster of the renowned Pedro Ximenex. All for a smashing price of $25! Read more here.
Olive Farm Wines & The Cheese Barrel
On both Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th you can enjoy a guided tour of the winery with a chance to taste the new 2013 ferments - an awesome experience and only $25pp! On Saturday the 16th from 6-8:30pm you can enjoy a Spanish Sundowner at The Cheese Barrel. Live music, cheeses, tapas and wine - does life get any better? Tickets cost $65.
Get you Hands Dirty at Upper Reach
Ever wondered how wine is made? Now is your chance to play the role of winemaker for the morning. On Saturday the 16th you can have a 'hands-on winemaking experience'. $22pp from 10:30am-12pm. Read more here.
Annual Vintage Luncheon - Sittella Winery
Watch grapes being crushed, meet the winemaker and owners and enjoy a delectable 3-course lunch matched with exquisite Sittella premium wine releases. $89.5pp. Read more here.
Vintage Weekend at Pinelli Estate
Indulge yourself with a sumptuous 4-course gourmet vintage dinner created by French Chef, Manu Fillaudeau after enjoying a pre-dinner wine tasting with the Pinelli winemaker. A seat at the dinner on Saturday the 16th is $85pp. The Pinelli team are also having a Celebratory Vintage Sundowner on Sunday 17th. Enjoy delicious Italian wood-fired pizzas for $30pp. Read more here.
2013 Harvest Breakfast - Faber Vineyard
On Sunday 17th enjoy a long breakfast with the team at Faber Vineyard and have a taste of the new 2013 wines to see how they are shaping up. Tickets are $55pp all inclusive. Read more here.
Edgecombe Brothers, Houghton Wines, Entopia Wines and Black Swan also hosting various events over the Vintage weekend, please check the Swan Valley Winemakers website for more information.
Cheers to a great 2013 vintage everyone!