As we are now only one day away from New Year's Eve, I thought I should talk about the original party drink, Champagne. And what better story to tell at this time of year, when family is so important, than about the brother and sister wineries of Champagne, Bollinger and Ayala.
Bollinger would have to be one of the most recognisable Champagne brands in the market. It has been around for 190 years and is synonymous with James Bond and the TV show Absolutely Fabulous. It also has one of the most distinct bottle shapes in Champagne. But none of this compares to why it tastes as amazing as it does.
The grapes come from over 85% Grand Cru and Premiere Cru vineyards. Pinot Noir represents 60% of the House’s vineyard, corresponding to the exact proportion of this demanding grape variety in the Special Cuvée blend. Complex and powerful, it provides Bollinger wines with their remarkable structure. After primary fermentation in small stainless steel or wooden casks, the wine is bottled in spring and taken down to rest in the pervading silence of the chalk cellars. Special Cuvée champagne will remain there for at least three years, this is 18 months longer than what is required for Champagne, meaning the complexity and flavour of the wine is at its peak when you pull the cork. This is in direct contrast to most of its competitors who will only leave their wine for the bare minimum time. This is just the beginning of the story of what the Chef de Cave (winemaker) Gilles Descôtes does to make sure this wine is one of the greatest representations of masculine, pinot noir dominant Champagne there is.
Then there is Ayala, which is literally next door to Bollinger. Founded in 1860, this phenomenal champagne has flown under the radar for far too long. This little-known winery was purchased by the Bollinger family in 2005 and has since been refreshed. Ayala crafts wines that are popular for their precision and feminine delicacy and their style based on freshness and elegance. Well-balanced blends giving Chardonnay a major role (unlike there Pinot dominant big brother) and low dosage (sugar) levels. These are all elements that define the House’s unique personality provided by one of only 3 female Chef de Cave’s (winemaker) in all of the major Champagne houses, Caroline Latrive. Caroline also rests her wines for a minimum of 3 years and has the joy of being able to pick her grapes from a high level of Grand Cru and Premiere Cru vineyards.
So, if you want to indulge this New Year’s and see what the Champagne region is really capable of, you have to check these two wines out. From the soft elegant style of Ayala to the more robust full-bodied Bollinger, these wines will surely send your and your guests taste buds into celebration mode.
For any other recommendations please do not hesitate to send me an email or Facebook message.
From all of us at All in Good Taste, we wish you the most wonderful New Year’s Eve and look forward to spending time with you in the coming year.
For this week’s wine of the week, I would like to talk about Yalumba's The Signature. We were so blessed to have the wonderful Jane Ferrari join us last week at our Birtinya Cellars opening and showcase this amazing wine, so I thought I would say thanks by naming this our wine of the week.
It all started with Sir Robert Menzies, who in the early 1960’s declared Yalumba’s claret the best red he had ever tasted. Claret at the time being classed as a dry red wine with a firm finish (meaning it could be made from what the maker felt like). So, on the back of this Wyndham Hill Smith, the head of the Yalumba family at the time, decided that the best barrels of his Cabernet and Shiraz would be put aside to make an exceptional wine and with the 1962 vintage that wine was named The Signature.
Each vintage would recognise someone who lives and breathes the culture of Yalumba, a contract between the world’s wine lovers and Yalumba’s winemakers, signed with the name of a true believer. The Signature is a celebration of wine and people – more than 50 vintages, 50 names and 50 stories – encapsulated in one historic Cabernet & Shiraz.
Since 1962, more than 50 signatories have been recognised, with their name and story on the bottle, for their hard work, inspiration, dedication and that most old-fashioned of virtues – loyalty.
This wine has always been made using the very best of cabernet and shiraz that Yalumba produce. As quoted from Jane Ferrari (winemaker at Yalumba) “the cabernet provides this amazing structure almost the backbone of the wine, whilst the shiraz has this gorgeous juicy fruit that sits beautifully on that framework”.
Yalumba has been around for almost 160 years and have some of their very oldest grape vines still producing fruit. This wine comes from vine plantings as old as 1925, 1935 and 1945. This makes the fruit super concentrated and dense allowing for a full bodied beautiful red wine.
This wine opens with perfumed fruits, showing pretty blue exotic florals and cranberry with milk chocolate and liquorice depth. Very stylish, very approachable and very drinkable. Decant and enjoy with a char-grilled rump or eggplant steak with all the trimmings.
A variety of the increasingly popular family of ‘Sour Ale', Gose is a traditional German style ale. First brewed in the 16th century, it has been revived in the last 30 years with the rise of the craft breweries.
Traditionally brewed with a large amount of wheat malt with salt and coriander, Gose typically has a distinctly sharp and refreshing sourness. Modern interpretations often have fruit, herbs or other spices added during the brewing process, with effects ranging from sweet, fruity, zesty and dry.
Try Green Beacon's '7 Bells Passionfruit Gose' for a style exhiting good tartness and passionfruit sweet aromas, or Sailors Grave 'Down She Gose' for a more mineral like freshness.
If I was to ask viticulturists and winemakers what the most challenging grape varietal to grow and make a good wine from, they would definitely say Pinot Noir. Due to very small leaves and tight bunches, it is very susceptible to fungal diseases. Due to a thin skin, it is susceptible to mould and the vine in general is very low yielding.
However, ask them what their favourite wine to make is and almost all of them would say Pinot Noir.
Stolen straight out of Wikipedia - Joel Fleischman of Vanity Fair describes Pinot Noir as "the most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, and so powerful a punch that, like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarrassingly poetic." Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon calls pinot "sex in a glass".
The thing I love about Pinot is that due to its small bunches and thin skin, it is very impressionable to its terroir. Without getting too wine nerdy on you, that just means it will taste very different when grown in different regions. You can get a super light wine with juicy strawberry and blue berry flavours on one end or you can get a heavy, rich version with plums and blackberry or savoury medium bodied versions with a grippy tannin structure - all depends on where it's grown and who’s making it.
For anyone who likes any red wine, I bet I can find a Pinot Noir to suit you!
So, lets chat, what’s your favourite Pinot Noir?
XPA has only become a beer in its own right within the past 5 years with some people saying that it actually isn’t a real beer style. An XPA sits somewhere between an IPA and a Pale Ale. It’s a hop forward beer with a lighter bitterness than an IPA. Wolf of the Willows Brewing was one of the first to brew this style of beer in Australia, but the style really exploded with the success of Balter Brewing Company's debut into the market with their first beer being an XPA. Another style that would sit in the same category would be a Session IPA.
Try one today at any of our three stores:
Balter XPA 4pck $20.99
Hawker’s XPA 4pck $15.99
Philter XPA 6pck $22.99
Did you know ...
If you were to ask anyone who worked in the wine industry what their go to white wine was, I guarantee that 99% of them would say it was Riesling. This would have to be the most under rated white wine in Australia. A lot of people also still think this wine is sweet…oh how wrong they are.
Most Rieslings are bone dry with lemon, lime zestiness. It is super refreshing with amazing floral notes. One would have to say that our Queensland weather is made for this wine. It matches perfectly with all types of seafood, Asian fusion and fresh salads
Do yourself a favour and visit one of our stores (Cellarbrations Brightwater Hotel or Cellarbrations Wises Road) and grab yourself a bottle, I promise you won’t be disappointed.