Attica tops Gourmet Traveller Awards

Ben Shewry’s Melbourne eatery, Attica, has been named the number-one restaurant in Australia by Gourmet Traveller magazine at an awards ceremony held at the Sydney Opera House last night.

Attica in Melbourne

Attica in Melbourne

The magazine’s editors singled the restaurant out for its surprising and highly personal take on fine dining, incorporating both indigenous ingredients (red kangaroo with bunya nuts, say, or whiting and pearl meat cooked in paperbark) and touches of whimsy, whether in the naming of some of the dishes, or leading guests into the garden, mid-meal, to stop by the ice-cream stand for a cone.

Other winners include Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall in Brisbane for Bar of the Year, and Magill Estate’s husband and wife team Scott Huggins and Emma McCaskill awarded Best New Talent.

Wine List of the Year went to Perth’s The Print Hall, Nick Hildebrandt of Bentley Restaurant and Bar was named Sommelier of the Year, Christian McCabe from The Town Mouse won Maître D’ of the Year and the peer-voted Chef of the Year award went to Martin Benn of Sepia. Victorian restaurant, Brae, took out two awards – New Restaurant of the Year and Regional Restaurant of the Year.

The full list of winners can be found in the September issue of Gourmet Traveller.

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d’Arenberg Accused of Being Well Dressed

I’m sure d’Arenberg’s Chief Winemaker, Chester Osborn, has never been accused of being stylish or well-dressed – especially with those shirts.  But their icon wine Dead Arm Shiraz recently had an update, the first time since the wine made its debut in 1993.

d'Arenberg Icon Wines

d’Arenberg Icon Wines (image supplied)

The labels of their icon series (including Ironstone Pressings and Coppermine Road) are indeed very stylish and well dressed.  They all still retain the distinctive red sash across the front.  d’Arenberg’s Icons wines are the product of a complex array of elements, very old and low yielding vines, age old winemaking techniques and rigorous barrel selection.

“Our Icons are powerful, complex and concentrated, yet perfectly balanced. The 2010 vintage was an ideal growing season that produced grapes displaying beautiful fruit characters at lower sugar levels. The resultant wines are strongly varietal and free of oily fatness,” Chester said. “We’re excited about this vintage release, and thrilled that these wines now proudly display labels that are representative of the wine these bottles contain, elegant, sophisticated and premium.”

Have you had any of the new releases? What were your thoughts?

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Less is More with Turkey Flat 2012 Shiraz: Tasting Note

Typically at the more restrained end of the Barossa spectrum, this Turkey Flat Shiraz doesn’t disappoint.

Turkey Flat Shiraz

Turkey Flat Shiraz

From the fantastic 2012 vintage, and partially sourced from some of the worlds oldest Shiraz vineyards, planted in 1847 in Bethany (second only to Langmeil’s Freedom Shiraz planted in 1843).  This is sensational value, even at double the price.

It is packed with delightful perfume of ripe dark berries and dark plums, hints of the typical Turkey Flat liquorice/fennel seed.  Subtle spicy French oak in the background.

On the palate the Turkey Flat Shiraz has great depth of flavour without the over-powering ‘Barossa-shiraz-iness’.  Its pretty much full bodied, with an elegant sophistication. Its full of ripe dark fruit, supported by subtle cedary oak.  Tannins are apparent, but all in balance with the fruit.  A classic wine which will reward cellaring for up to 15 years.

RRP $45
Alc 14.5%
Region: Barossa
Sample: Provided by producer

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Appellation at The Louise Wins Trio of Major Wine List Awards

Appellation, the restaurant at The Louise Barossa Valley, has just received the third in a row of highly sought after recognitions for its wine list. Two of the 2014 awards are international in scope and one is an Australian national award.

Topping the series is a newly announced World’s Best Wine Lists Awards by London based publisher World of Fine Wine. Starting with 4,000 entries, a jury of wine reviewers selected 225 restaurant lists from across the globe to receive their inaugural top level three -star rating, including Appellation. The restaurant’s list is one of twenty one award winners based in Australia and is the only winner from South Australia.

US based Wine Spectator announces its annual Restaurant Wine List Awards with each August magazine issue. Appellation has been named in this prestigious listing for the past five years, and this year is named with a higher level Best of Award of Excellence, again the only restaurant in South Australia with this ranking out of 883 restaurants worldwide. Wine Spectator magazine is one of the most widely accessed wine publications in the world.

At a gala event in Sydney last week, Appellation’s sommelier accepted for the seventh year in a row the Wine List of the Year Award from Fine Wine Partners and Australian Gourmet Traveller  Wine magazine for another ‘Hall of Fame’ ranking as South Australia’s best restaurant wine list. This year, the South Australia award is shared with new entrant FermentAsian, another Barossa based restaurant with a strong wine focus.

The Appellation wine list offers over 600 choices, with a natural concentration on Barossa varietals such as Shiraz, Cabernet, Semillon, Riesling and blends including many excellent examples of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro. The list also features wines from across Australia and the great wine regions of the world.

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Culinary trail breaks new tourism ground in Margaret River

A new food and wine trail handbook has been created to provide visitors with an exclusive guide to the Margaret River Region’s small-batch producers of food and wine. The guide, which is being officially launched today at Fair Harvest

Inspirational Food and Wine Journeys

Inspirational Food and Wine Journeys

Margaret River, is the brainchild of the Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association (AMRTA) and has been produced collaboratively and with funding assistance from the Shire of Augusta Margaret River and the Margaret River Regional Producers Association. Titled ‘Inspirational Food and Wine Journeys’, the handbook contains profiles on 19 local producers, personal recipes and a map to allow visitors to follow the trail around the region.

AMRTA’s Simon Latchford said “Visitors want to do more than just take a photo these days. They want to touch, smell, taste, get their hands dirty; go behind the scenes to meet a winemaker, a chef, a gardener – it’s not just about the produce itself; it’s about the people behind the produce.

“This guide also celebrates the ‘little guys’ – the aim is to build awareness for the outstanding food, wine and produce being generated by these smaller-scale, somewhat understated farmgate producers, who don’t necessarily have the brand power of some of the bigger stakeholders in the industry,” said Mr Latchford.

Copies of the guide are free, and will be available at the Margaret River Farmers’ Markets, the Margaret River and Augusta Visitor Centres, and selected local outlets.

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Wirra Wirra 2013 12th Man Chardonnay: Tasting Note

Straddling the middle ground of Australian Chardonnays can be a difficult balance. The Wirra Wirra 12th Man Chardonnay is not as lean as some, nor as broad and flabby as others. Basically the Elle MacPherson of Australian Chardonnays – that is “well fit”. Showing elegance and grace, with curves in all the right places.

Wirra Wirra 12th Man Chardonnay

Wirra Wirra 12th Man Chardonnay

The Chardonnay fruit for this comes from the cool climate of the Adelaide Hills Lenswood subregion. Lots of ripe stone fruit aromas, and some fresh citrus juice characters. A baked custard and biscuit aroma adding to the depth. Noticeable oak is balanced with the intensity of the fruit.

On the palate, its manages that middle ground very well.  Neither big and over blown, nor light and lacking.  More stone fruit, white peach, and vibrant orange/lemon freshness. Some roasted nut complexity. Subtle vanilla oak adds to the finish.

Alarmingly drinkable now, but will probably reward patience with a few years in the cellar.

Serve with Blue Swimmer crab linguine.

Also see the Wirra Wirra Catapult Shiraz and Wirra Wirra Woodhenge Shiraz.

RRP $31.5
Alc 12.5%
Region: Adelaide Hills
Sample: Provided by producer

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