Category Archives: Wine

Royal Melbourne Wine Awards goes Organic

Reflecting the growing industry trend, production techniques and consumer interest, the renowned Royal Melbourne Wine Awards (RMWA), Australia’s most respected wine show, will for the first time recognise organic and biodynamic wines with the introduction of a new Best Organic or Biodynamic Trophy in 2016.

“It is our ongoing commitment to ensure the awards continue to be most relevant and valuable to the industry, identifying new classes and categories that will recognise the evolving nature of grape growing and winemaking,” said Tom Carson, Chair of Judges.

“Organic grape production increased by 120% from 2011-2014 with evidence the trend is continuing. The introduction of the new Best Organic or Biodynamic Wine Trophy is a nod to the increasing production of these types of wines in the country, and the outstanding quality we have on offer.”
Royal Melbourne Wine Show

Conducted by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), the RMWA gives producers the opportunity to benchmark their wines against industry standards; seek advice from an independent panel of experts; and to promote and market award winning products using the RMWA’s seal of excellence.

Other accolades to be awarded, include the much coveted Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for Best Young Red Wine, The James Halliday Trophy for Best Pinot Noir, The Douglas Seabrook Single Vineyard Trophy, The Kym Ludvigsen Trophy for Viticultural Excellence, The Victorian Trophy for Wines of Provenance, The Francois De Castella Trophy for Best Young White Wine, The Trevor Mast Trophy for Best Shiraz and The Bill Chambers Trophy for Best Fortified.

The winner of the 2016 Jimmy Watson Trophy will also secure the scholarship sponsored by RASV.  The scholarship includes a $15,000 bursary for the winner to embark on an international study tour, providing professional development opportunities and increasing knowledge of the global wine industry.

“As a previous winner of the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy I can attest that an award win at the RMWA is an honour of long-standing tradition, and is highly regarded amongst the national industry and around the world, leading to increased sales, greater export opportunities and significant growth,” said Mr Carson.

Entries for the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards open on Tuesday 28 June at and will close on Friday 19 August, with early entry encouraged.

Wirra Wirra 2015 12th Man Chardonnay: Wine Review

Oh the travels Chardonnay and I have been through over the years. Its been like globetrotting with a haut-couture model. There was the big oaky behemoths phase, then the skeletal stainless steel no-oak chardonnays, the natural-looking just a touch of oak phase.  No wonder the consumer still says ‘Oh, I dont drink Chardonnay’. They probably don’t know what to expect.

Wirra Wirra 12th Man Chardonnay


Just to keep it interesting, the 2015 Wirra Wirra 12th Man Chadonnay takes a step away from the style of the 2013 12th Man Chardonnay.

The aroma of the 2015 12th Man leaps from the glass with good intensity. There are complex aromas of dusty straw, mandarin and citrus zest, ripe peach, and a creaminess. With an interesting hint of lanolin. On the palate it a delicate balanced between crisp white peach and stonefruit, fresh acid, but also lots of texture. A riper style offering fullness in the mouth, but still finishing clean and lively.

Is this a classically-styled oakier Chardonnay? Possibly, and the perceived oak does play a greater role than previously. Is this showing that winemakers love to play and tweek styles in an ever changing marketplace? Probably.

What are your thoughts? Has this found a balance between austerity and fullness?

Alcohol: 13.5%
Price: $31.50
Region: Adelaide Hills, SA
Source: Provided by producer

Calabria 2015 Nero d’Avola: Wine Review

Calabria Nero dAvola

Its good to see more of this variety being grown around Australia.  Originally from southern Sicily, it seems to be gaining traction in Australia’s warmer regions like McLaren Vale (SA) and Riverina (NSW).

This example, 2015 Calabria Nero d’avola, shows lovely bright red fruit on the nose. With hints of dried Mediterranean herbs.

On the palate there is a gentleness with the flavours, while still being medium bodied.  Fresh and juicy red fruit, like cherry and raspberry, with a approachable savoury spine flowing down the middle. A little spice and the herbs appear again.  Soft and supple.

The Calabria Nero d’Avola was matched perfectly with pork sausages, caramelized onions, and paris mash. Another great value, quality wine from the team at Calabria.

Alcohol: 14.0%
Price: $15
Region: Riverina, NSW
Source: Provided by producer

Calabria 2013 Old Vine Shiraz: Wine Review

The previous Calabria wines which were tasted, Aglianico, Durif, etc have all come from Riverina in NSW.  But the Calabria family also have some lovely old vines around Barossa Valley in South Australia.

Just like the other Calabria Family wines, this Barossa Old Vine Shiraz is sensational value. On the nose there is dark rich ripe fruit, a good sprinkling of vanilla spice and lots of intensity.

Calabria Shiraz

On the palate the Calabria Old Vine Shiraz is medium to full-bodied-traditional-Barossa-Shiraz goodness. Ripe dark fruit, cooked ripe plums, a bit of dusty fennel seed and roasted meats. The tannins are soft and welcoming. Alcohol is noticeable and warming, and ideal for mid-winter catchup with friends.  While there is an absence of refinement and restraint, it makes up for in generosity of flavour.

Alcohol: 14.5%
Price: $26
Region: BarossaValley, SA
Source: Provided by producer

Edited: Amended price.

Reillys 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon: Wine Review

Clare Valley can experience gorgeous warm summer days. Then in the evening the temperature drops noticeably. So its more of a Continental climate, than a Mediterranean one.  All this leads to ripe complex flavours, without many of the overripe characters experienced by warmer regions.
Reillys Cabernet

The Reillys Cabernet Sauvignon shows subtle aromas of typical Clare Valley menthol, dark berries and hints of warm spices. Generally showing fresh and airy aromas.

On the palate some lovely choc-mint, white pepper, and fresh opulent fruit which is in no way overbearing. The Reillys Cabernet Sauvignon is really quite a restrained style. All rounded out with gentle vanilla oak. Tannis are firm and grippy however. Possibly pairing with red meat (even some Clare Valley salt bush mutton) might tame them at this early stage.

Alcohol: 14.5%
Price: $35
Region: Clare Valley, SA
Source: Provided by producer


Pinot Palooza, Australia’s largest annual Pinot Noir and music festival, is turning five this year and is celebrating with its biggest and best tour yet. Returning to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, Pinot Palooza will also visit Auckland for the first time, with eyes on the USA and Asia for 2017.

Brought to you by the legends behind Game of Rhones, Bottle Shop Concepts, Pinot Palooza combines love for everyone’s favourite grape, Pinot Noir, with amazing food from some of Australia’s most celebrated chefs, and rocking tunes! 2016 will feature the best in Pinot Noir from over 100 of Australia and New Zealand’s hottest wine producers across the six events.

There have been over 200 wineries involved since the conception of Pinot Palooza, with seven producers having participated in every single event; Curly Flat (Macedon), Dalrymple (Tasmania), Greywacke (Marlborough), Josef Chromy (Tasmania), Moondarra (Gippsland), Mount Difficulty (Central Otago) and Yabby Lake (Mornington Peninsula).  Other Pinot Noir producers in the 2016 Palooza line-up include renowned Australian and New Zealand wineries – Ata Rangi, Stefano Lubiana, Shaw + Smith, Maude, Kooyong Est, Chatto, Charteris, Giant Steps, Craggy Range and Pegasus Bay, to name just a handful.

In 2016, festival goers can upgrade to the full VIP experience. These limited tickets come in the form of a VIP card on a fancy lanyard. The ticket will give attendees exclusive pre-event access from 11am-1pm, a food voucher, specially selected Burg Bar tasting (three wines), and time with the cities best sommeliers (aka roadies).  The sommelier roadies will personally curate your experience by listening to your individual preferences, and then recommend up to six wineries that you should explore.

VIP tickets are $95.

$60, includes take-home Plumm Vintage Redb glass

$50 early bird ticket

Tickets available at