Tag Archives: Tip the bottle blog

It’s time to celebrate some fabulous Australian ladies in wine – Olivers Taranga

Right about now, there’s an awards night happening in London to celebrate Australian women in wine http://womeninwineawards.com.au/

While I’m am all the way back here in Melbourne, Australia, I thought I would celebrate Australian women in wine my own way…

Let me introduce you to Olivers Taranga

I love wineries that have great stories behind them, whether it’s about the history or about the people behind the wine label.

Olivers Taranga is one of those wineries embedded with family history. The head winemaker behind Olivers Taranga is Corrina Wright. Corrina is joined by Brioni Oliver – vineyard, cellar door, and wine stock manager. Both Corrina and Brioni are part of the sixth generation at Olivers Taranga.

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tip the bottle Brioni.jpg Top – Corrina Wright, Bottom – Brioni Oliver (Credit http://www.oliverstaranga.com)

Olivers Taranga was the feature winery at the last fabulous ladies wine society event in Melbourne at Lumé restaurant.

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Ladies getting fabulous at Lumé (Credit @fabulousladieswinesociety)

Olivers Taranga features a diverse range of wine varieties; varieties which are not all that common here in Australia just yet, like Vermentino, Fiano and a Rosé that’s made from Spanish grape variety Mencìa (pronounced “Men-thee-a”).

To kick start the evening we were treated to a unique sparkling wine  – A sparkling Fiano called ‘The Hunt for Mrs Oliver’.  I’ve never come across a sparkling Fiano before, as it’s traditionally made as a still white wine. ‘The Hunt for Mrs Oliver’ was fresh out of the barrel. So fresh in fact, that the Fabulous Ladies Wine Society were one of the first in the country to taste this amazing drop. It’s expected to be released later this year.

Fresh, light, bubbly, and acidic, its crisp finish made it a very easy drinking. Some may say too easy!

This sparkling wine is the first sparkling in the Olivers Taranga range. Corrina, being a lover of bubbly wine, had been wanting to introduce one in to the range for some time. She experimented by using the Fiano grape, turning it into a bubble using the Traditional Method. Voila! Success!

What’s the Traditional Method? It’s the Champagne wine making method of bottle fermenting, riddling and disgorging.

‘The Hunt for Mrs Oliver’ was born. The story behind the title and label came from their grandma, Marjorie Hunt. Marjorie was the matriarch of the family.  On the label you’ll see flowers and feathers, which symbolise the flowers and feathers she used to collect. It’s a wine that pays homage to the great lady herself.

Next on the tasting list was the Vermentino, an Italian variety. The Vermentino was light with loads of length, and a crisp finish – The perfect wine that can be paired with seafood.

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The wine lineup! (Credit @fabulousladieswinesociety)

Number three on the wine tasting list was the Fiano, the non-sparkling style. It was great to taste the Fiano without its bubbles, as it took on a different character; textured, nutty, with great acidity.

After we finished the whites, next came the pink! The Rosé.

This Rosé was made from Spanish grapes called Mencìa. I’d never heard of this variety before, so I was super keen to try it. In fact, Olivers Taranga are the first in Australia to be growing Mencìa grapes. After the vines were planted and the grapes were picked, Olivers Taranga decided to test it out by making a Rosé. Turns out it was a success, and it’s now into its 4th vintage!

What’s a vintage? Vintages are used to describe the year grapes are picked in from a vine.

The flavour of the Rosé was refreshing, just like munching into a watermelon on a hot summers day. After tasting the wine, it left me with a warming toffee-like finish in my mouth. Delicious!

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Those watermelon summer feels

Now it was time to move on to the reds! Here’s where the party is at! There is nothing better than sitting down with a glass of red, cosied up in front of a fire during Winter.

The Grenache was the first up on the red wine tasting list.

The Grenache, for Olivers Taranga, is more of a traditional variety. It’s one they feel works well with their philosophy of trying new things, but also sticking to well known structured wines like the Grenache. It had a slight oaky and pepperyiness to it, and was described as an easy pizza drinking wine. Hello! Any wine that’s teamed with pizza has my tick of approval.

 

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Wine – Tick!, Pizza – Tick! Happy Days

Next up there were two more traditional style of wines – the Shiraz variety. It was asked what would be the plural of Shiraz – which Jane, the Fabulous Ladies Wine Society host, aptly stated that it was ‘Shirazeses’. Try say that one!

A fun fact about Olivers Taranga: Their Shiraz grape also goes into making Penfolds Grange – a high quality red wine

To start off the Shiraz tastings we had the 2015 Olivers Taranga Shiraz, which was one of their newly released wines. Alongside the new released Shiraz was an older release; the 2013 Olivers Taranga HJ Reserve Shiraz. This wine took on a dark choc, rum and raisin flavour which was velvety and smooth – wow, sounds like I’ve just described a block of Cadbury rum and raisin. Yum!

And for the finalè, to cap off the night, we finished off with a 20 year old sticky fortified wine called The Banished.

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So much stickiness! The Banished

Again, a great story as to how this one came about – second generation brothers to the winery used to live the good life of drinking, smoking and gambling rather than working on the vineyard. As a result they were banished. Ruth Oliver, married to Archibald Oliver, took over the winery and was head winemaker. You go girl!

So there you have it, some fabulous ladies in wine, making great bottles for the rest of us all to enjoy. To all the ladies in wine out there, Cheers!

 

Until next time winos,

Cheers!

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Wine, Corks and Canvas – A fundraising event for the National Breast Cancer Foundation

I’m no Picasso, but put a glass of wine in my hand, with a paintbrush in another, and Picasso has some competition on his hands. Just sayin!

Corks and Canvas is an art studio located in Melbourne. As per the name of the studio, Corks and Canvas allows you to paint, while sipping on your favourite wine.

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Some encouragement before we paint

I went to Corks and Canvas as part of a fundraising event for the National Breast Cancer Foundation on Friday night, where all money raised went to this fabulous cause.

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Important paiting equipment

To kick-start the night, we filled our glasses with wine and took our seat in front of a blank canvas. We were shown the art piece that we would be painting for this evening, using acrylic paints – The iconic Brighton Beach Boxes, which looked bright, and fun to paint.

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The example of what we were going to be painting!

Our art teacher took us through each step in creating our masterpiece, starting with painting the sky, then the sand, and finally the water. From there, we then got our creative flair on, and painted our beach boxes. Throughout the night we took breaks to fill up our glasses, chat and mingle with others, and see how everyone elses masterpieces were developing. It was so much fun!

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I am ready to get my Picasso on!

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Step by Step, with wine in between

While painting is a relaxing activity, adding wine in to the mix makes for a super relaxing activity – almost as relaxing as a massage! At the end of the night, we all ended up with our masterpieces to take home! And best of all, we helped raise money for a great cause.

If you too want to get your creative flair on, you can! Corks and Canvas offers many classes which you can book in to at your own leisure. Check it out, and get your Picasso on!

If you’re looking to donate to this great cause, click here

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credit @corksandcanvas

Until next time winos,

Cheers

 

 

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Battle of the old vs. new oak – wine terminology

Have you ever come across the wine terms ‘old oak’ and ‘new oak’? Many wineries will refer to this when they’re describing their wine: “this wine is 80% old oak, and 20% new oak”. So what does this all mean?

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Getting the low down on old and new oak at Cloudy Bay Winery NZ

‘Old oak’ and ‘new oak’ refer to the types of oak barrels being used to house the wine. When a winemaker uses percentages to describe the wine e.g. ‘80% old oak and 20% new oak’, it means 80% of the wine has been stored in old oak barrels (which have been used time and time again), while 20% of the wine has been stored in new oak barrels. Storing wine in old oak barrels tend to give off subtle oak characteristics, while new oak barrels enables the wine to exhibit a lot of characteristics of the oak.

A great way to think about old oak and new oak terminology is by using the humble teabag – When you use a new tea bag, you really get the full flavour of the tea leaves – this is like new oak. After having dunked the bag a few times, the tea bag only releases a small amount of flavour from the leaves – this is like old oak.

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I know what you’re thinking; “what a great analogy”…or “all this wine talk, I need a vino!” Am I right?!  Either way, you’re welcomes 🙂

Until next time winos,

Cheers

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Champagne – Where sparkling dreams are made

If you follow me on Instagram (@tipthebottle), you would have seen my many insta-posts of Champagne bottles, me in amongst Champagne vineyards, me drinking Champagne…

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Yes, I went to Champagne. Yes, I absolutely loooooved it!

Tripping to Champagne has been one of the best experiences of my life. With so much history and insight in to the Champagne making process, it has made me more knowledgeable on the sparkly drink, and appreciative of the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that go in to one bottle. Actually, it’s really not blood, sweat and tears that go in to Champagne, it’s three grape varieties (and always these three grape varieties) Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay all sourced from the Champagne region in France. This is what makes Champagne, Champagne.

My learning experience of Champagne all kicked off with a full-day guided tour with France Bubbles Tours.

Our tour guide was Amanda. Amanda was a local from Reims, which is located in the Champagne region. She really demonstrated her knowledge of the region, and was dropping little Champagne truths all throughout the day.

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Tour guide Amanda dropping her Champagne truths

So I thought I’d share some of these little truths with you:

The Region

  • Everyone in the Champagne region will have some sort of involvement with a Champagne house – from growing the grapes, to selling the grapes to Champagne houses.
  • The Champagne region experiences approximately 250 days of rain. That’s a lot of rainy days in one year!
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Each of the houses had a Champagne sign out front. I need one for my place!

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Passing through a Champagne village

The Vineyards

  • Because of the climate, Champagne vines are grown compact and close to the ground. This protects the grapes from the frost, and cold wind.
  • It’s hard for a Champagne house to be organic, as they need to treat and protect the vineyards from disease.
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Champagne that grow close together stays together 🙂

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The Champagne grapes – Not yet to harvesting stage – still growing

  • There’s no irrigation, which means that the vines will compete with each other to get as much as they can from the earth. Because of this, the roots go deep into the ground.
  • The Chalk in the ground provides the vines with much of what they need to flourish.
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The side of the hill shows just how much clay is below the surface

  • Each Champagne house will source from a Cru based on the climate and terroir. The sourcing for each grape variety needs to be from one Cru. What’s a Cru you ask? In Champagne, a Cru is a village. The Champagne quality is linked back to the Cru, which essentially is the quality / terroir of the villages’ vineyards. There are different levels of quality, with the top one being a ‘Grand Cru’. A Grand Cru Champagne is a Champagne that has been sourced entirely from one village that has been classified as a Grand Cru. These grapes have a hefty price tag attached to them, which is why you will see a ‘Grand Cru’ Champagne fetch a high price tag.
  • At some wineries they replant some of their vineyards every 30 years. This keeps the grapes young, which can then be blended with old vines. If a winery replants their vines, they need to wait 1 year before replanting, plant, then wait another 4 years before they can begin harvesting. Good things come to those who wait I guess!
  • There is a limit that the Champagne growers can pick each year. In fact, some wineries try to sell off their grapes (illegally) to other wineries.
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Now that’s a view!!

 

The Bottles

  • The best years for Champagne in the 2000’s so far have been 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008. While the best wine years have been 1996 and 1998. You’re welcome 🙂
  • The corks that are squeezed in to a Champagne bottle are also from Champagne – Everything about Champagne has to be from Champagne. It’s the rule!

The Champagne Coin

  • It costs €1.6 million to buy just one hectare in Champagne – Where’s my cheque book?
  • The cost to make 1 bottle of Champagne is around €7 per bottle – this explains why this sparkly drink has such a sparkly price tag.

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Some extra stats!

  • Champagne represents just 2% of the wine in France. Not all that big when you think about it.
  • To claim that you’ve tasted from every Champagne house, you would need to try 10 Champagnes a day for the next 20 years. I’d happily accept that challenge!
  • Each Champagne house has approximately 10 years of stock, just in case a bad harvest occurs.

 

That’s probably enough Champagne truths I’ve dropped for now. Stay tuned for more posts on my trip to Champagne!

 

Until next time winos,

 

Cheers

 

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Tunes and tannins – Pairing music with wine

If you’re looking to pop a bottle of wine and chill-out to some good tunes, I’ve provided a matching list of tracks that team well with some popular wine varieties.

 

Durif

Adele – Hello

A serious red wine with massive tannins teams best with Adele’s massive voice, and heartfelt lyrics.

Hello red, can you hear me?

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Chardonnay

Rufus – Take Me

Perfectly chilled music teamed with a perfectly chilled chardonnay – it’s a match that’s surprisingly smooth and satisfying.

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Sauvignon Blanc

Lorde – Tennis Court

A New Zealand voice for a wine that New Zealand is famous for.

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Rosé

Vance Joy – Riptide

While most of his songs would be consumed over a red, this upbeat tune goes well with a chilled Rosé. It reminds me of summer.

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Shiraz

Aretha Franklin – Respect

A classic full bodied wine with aromatic spices, deserves a classic song that everyone knows and loves to bust out the words to. It’s the wine you want when you get home.

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Cabernet Sauvignon

Drake – Hotline Bling

With enough glasses of this wine you too can dance like Drake. Nuf said.

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Merlot

Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud

A smooth and well-rounded wine you can drink with a friend and really think out loud.

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Pinot Noir

Justin Bieber – Love yourself

The Biebs just keeps getting better with age, just like a Pinot Noir. You too, should go and love your Pinot Noir

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Pinot Grigio

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Downtown

A crisp tune with crisp lyrics that you can rap to. It’s one wine that I would head downtown for.

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Tempranillo

Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars)

A boppy tune that gets everyone’s feet moving. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a wine that appeals to the masses.

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Riesling

Taylor Swift – Style

A slightly sweet tune that packs an edge to it.

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Moscato

Maroon 5 – Sugar

Sweet song for a sweet wine. The high sugar content of this wine will lift your vocal chords to another level, just like Adam Levine.

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Champagne

Beyoncé – Single Ladies

The bubbles in this wine brings the girls together, and even gets the guys popping out their Queen B moves.

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Port

Van Morrison – Moondance

With Port being the perfect wine at the end of an evening, you’ll easily have one last dance left in you, so why not make it a Moondance.

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Let me know what you like to listen to when you tip the bottle.

 

Until next time winos,

 

Cheers

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Melbourne Food and Wine Festival – Dal Zotto Wines

In Australia there are over 2,400 wineries. In Victoria alone there’s just over 700 wineries – the most of any state in Australia. Go Victoria! (Sorry other states!)

So many wineries, so many wines to taste!

 

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Thankfully, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival helped us out in tasting some of Victoria’s best wineries in a one-stop-shop at the City Cellar showcase, on the banks of the Yarra River. While there were many brilliant wineries on show, there was one standout for me – Dal Zotto Wines.

 

 

Dal Zotto Wines is located in the King Valley region of Victoria. This region is approximately a 3 hours drive from Melbourne up the Hume freeway, nestled at the base of the Alpine National Park .

What makes King Valley unique is not only the amazing mountainous region it’s surrounded by, but also it’s migrant heritage. Many Italian migrants settled in the King Valley back in the 1940’s and 50’s. Along with the migrants came many European wine varieties including Pinot Grigio, Tempranillo, Barbera, and the infamous Prosecco. In fact, the King Valley can be considered Australia’s home of the Prosecco.

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There’s no place like home for Prosecco than the King Valley 

 

Dal Zotto Wines prides itself on its family values and heritage. With Dal Zotto founder Otto Dal Zotto being the planter of the first vine of Prosecco in the country, why wouldn’t you be?!

Who better to shine through these family values than Patrick, Dal Zotto’s colourful salesman. As soon as you meet Patrick, his energy and love of wine is infectious. Not to mention his love of food. He took us through each of their wines they had for tasting, and explained the flavour and characteristics of each. He even recommended using their Prosecco to make a mojito! Wow this guy loves to experiment. Something I’ll need to try out.

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Patrick!

 

If you do ever see the Dal Zotto Wines stand at any of the numerous wine shows that pop up in and around the country, be sure to drop by and say hi to Patrick!

 

 

My final take home picks of the day were:

Dal Zotto Wines Rosato 2013

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When you come across a Rosé as good as this one, pick it up and take it home with you. You’ll have no second thoughts or regrets.

 

Dal Zotto Wines Pinot Grigio 2015

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A classic Italian variety that stays true to how a Pinot Grigio should be – Crisp, fruity, with a clean refreshing finish.

 

Until next time winos,

Cheers

 

 

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Hop yourself to Nagambie over the Easter long weekend for some great wine!

The Easter long weekend is approaching! If you haven’t planned what you’re going to do, here’s one suggestion – a trip up to the Nagambie wine region. I did this little round trip last Easter, and only takes an afternoon. Being autumn, it’s the perfect time of the year to taste and stock up on some great reds, ports and fortified’s in preparation for winter.

 

First stop – Mitchelton Winery

Welcome

Welcome

This winery is about an hour and a half’s drive from Melbourne up the Hume Highway. Driving up the driveway, you will instantly notice the ‘legendary tower’ peaking up above the winery. This tower was designed by architect Ted Ashton in 1974, and has a great lookout at the top across the vineyard. Don’t worry there is a lift up to the top, which is very handy after you’ve completed your wine tastings.

The legendary tower!

The legendary tower!

View from the top

View from the top

 

With a variety of wine on offer, and at many different price points, you will be sure to find a wine that suits you.

 

Tip the Bottle’s top picks:

 

2012 Mitchelton Marsanne

2010 Heathcote Shiraz

2012 Mitchelton Shiraz

2012 The Blend – Cabernet Merlot

 

Got me some wine!

Got me some wine!

Winery lyf

Winery lyf

 

Second stop – Tahbilk

If you ever want to go to a historic vineyard, this is the one to go to. Established back in 1860, the vineyard was taken over by the Pulbrick family in 1925, and has been in the family ever since.

Historic buildings

Historic buildings

On arrival, when driving up the driveway, one of the first things you will see is the old vineyard. It’s enough to get your taste buds excited. Once you hop out of the car, take your time to wander throughout the cellar door, and take in all of the history on offer. See the many bottles of Marsanne dating back years (I can’t remember how many exactly, but there was a lot), and the change in colour as it has aged. Wander down below the tasting area to the old underground cellar and see barrels as old as 100 years!

 

Even Prince Phillip has visited Tabhilk!

Even Prince Philip has visited Tabhilk!

So much wine to taste!

So much wine to taste!

YES!!

YES!!

Once you’ve worked your way through your tastings, wander over to the café, take a seat and relax beside the billabong. I recommend the meat and cheese platter, along with your favourite glass of Tahbilk wine. I can guarantee you will find yourself saying ‘ahh..this is the life’.

 

While you’re there, sign yourself up to their wine club and get yourself some great discounts.

 

 

 

 

Tip the Bottle’s Top picks

2008 Old Block Shiraz

2013 Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre

Grand Tawny

Stocking up

Stocking up

If I don’t speak to you again until Easter, I hope you have a very happy and safe Easter break with some great wine and many chocolate easter eggs.

If you have any fab round trips that you’ve done, please share! I’d love to hear.

 

Until next time winos,

Cheers

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