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Brash Higgins Zibibbo 2013

Date: Sun, Feb 16, 2014 Wine Tasting


Bottle 330 of 660. 12.6%. Muscat of Alexandria aka Zibibbo. Approx $A44

Aromatically and texturally compelling, this is perhaps the most interesting Australian white wine I've tried for several years. . . It reminds me of the the Occhipinti SP68, it certainly has that wonderful combination of fragrance, prettiness and grip. Blood orange, citrus blossom and almond meal; it's generous and in the mouth it speaks with a marzipan and clementine accent. A+



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Cecchi's

Date: Sat, Feb 15, 2014 Wine Tasting

I had incorrectly assumed that the restaurant was named after the legume. It is in fact the name of the family who now runs what used to be da Bruno's on Beaufort street, Inglewood. The space is much brighter and more airy than before, the two rooms open onto the courtyard, and there's a mural of Pinocchio, eyes divergent, bottle of cheap wicker encased chianti in hand.

The team is warm, informative and relaxed. It's BYO (though there's also a short list available) and they are happy to help or leave you alone to do as you please with your wine. The later is always my preferred option.

The menu is short, a single page with ten starters ($3-26), four home made pastas ($35), a quartet of mains ($38-48) and a selection of sides (such as house cut chips $9). The desserts are unlisted, a verbal offering at the end. The food is wonderful, a combination of comfort, care and detail. The quail polenta and mushroom was the most satisfying starter, crisp and mostly deboned, the other elements creamy and soft. The pappardelle was beautiful - silk like to touch but with the faintest resistance in the mouth; the ravioli were filled with pleasure and mascarpone. The duck breast was suitably pink and was also the only plate with cecchis, in this case a creamy and zippy puree. The pork loin was beautifully plated and slightly flushed, but when it comes to things porcine the loin is my least favoured cut.

It's stylish and clever, but relaxed and importantly BYO.Yes please.

Cecchi's on Urbanspoon
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Ayam panggang

Date: Fri, Feb 14, 2014 Wine Tasting


with apologies. . . Instead of a whole chicken, I used thighs - 10 of them; and to cook, the grill function of my electric oven instead of a charcoal fire and rotisserie.

For the paste:

3 chillies - seeded
5 shallots - approx 160g
8 macadamia nuts
3 stalks of lemon grass - white part only
15-20g of belacan - toasted
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of salt
3 teaspoons of sugar
1/2 tsp white pepper

How?

Process all of the above in a food processor. Then add 540mls of coconut milk and mix well. Add the chicken pieces (in this case 10 thighs, with skin on), mix well and set aside in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, and grill (220 degrees C) in the oven. Approximately 10-15 minutes per side, until each surface has had a chance to colour and the skin is starting to bubble. Place the remaining marinade into a pot and bring to the boil, allowing the sauce to thicken and cook, basting the meat occasionally. Serve with white rice and fresh coriander.
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14/2/14

Date: Fri, Feb 14, 2014 Wine Tasting

Though the nights and early mornings are cooler, the 'real' chill of a Perth winter seems far away. My favourite fruit has just come into season, and I've spent the last two days stuffing myself with figs, jamon and fresh mozzarella. Meanwhile my dear sister in New York sends me photos of the seemingly never ending snow. . .
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Side project wines Riesling 2013

Date: Thu, Feb 13, 2014 Wine Tasting


Bottle 60 of 500. Sealed with natural cork. The label lists the following - hand picked, basket pressed, wild yeast, french oak, no fining and no filtration. It's a curious wine, which is a polite way of saying, I'm sure this will only appeal to a small percentage of drinkers. It's cleaner and brighter than the Orange riesling made by Xabregas, but it is quite similar in scent and feel. Bruised pear and cider on the nose, ginger bread and baking spices. . . the lime zest is there, but covered with ginger. Slippery and fleshy, a suggestion of saltiness before expansive warmth and spice. yes.

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Etienne Sauzet Bourgogne 2010

Date: Tue, Feb 11, 2014 Wine Tasting


12.5%. Cork. Approx $A60.

Being antipodean I can't help but compare this to what I know best. It smells and moves like something from Margaret River, but the line is tighter and the flesh paler. It's more spring than summer perhaps. . . Stonefruit, flint and even pineapple. It's bold and bristling in the mouth, but there's less weight and heft than you might expect. It's tense and stone like to open; cool, hard, quick, edgy and sappy. . . There's a concluding suggestion of citrus pith and peanut skins, but in time this becomes creamier and more giving, while never losing its shape or line. Yes.


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Nuiton-Beaunoy Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos du Chapitre 2009

Date: Tue, Feb 4, 2014 Wine Tasting


13%. A monopole in Gevrey-Chambertin. It sounds promising, but the reality is something more plodding and dull. I'd take something brighter and from a more humble address any day. It's spiced and dusty, scented with earth and sticks being rubbed together. Firm, meaty and granular in the mouth, there's too much farm yard grit and over stated shadow; and not enough soft pleasure or playfulness.

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Also tasted

Date: Fri, Jan 31, 2014 Wine Tasting


Penfolds Reserve Bin 09A Chardonnay. Adelaide Hills, 12%. Pale, smouldering and with a pineapple like bristle. Flint, curry leaf and struck match, it's layered and complex, grilled with charred edges. Intense, pert, spiced and quite explosive in the mouth. . . Citrus pith, something austere and hard and all the while a veil of sulphur on the nose. A+

Voyager Estate 2008 Chardonnay. Margaret River. 13.3%. Coming after the Bin A Chardonnay, this was only ever going to be flabby and undone. It's much more developed than the Penfolds - diffuse, unknotted and in decline. Melon and pineapple, it's frontal and warm and the tension is long gone.

Happs Three Hills Nebbiolo 2010. Margaret River. 13.5%. Volatile and scented and tasting like tobacco leaf. It's quite unlike any other Nebbiolo I can recall, in emphasis and style it seems more like a Sangiovese. Aniseed and cherry, raisins, rust and something sanguineous and deep. The length is wonderful and there is the impression of wilted leaves and sinew to the very end.

Image: A purple rock crab @ Yallingup's Torpedo Rock.
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Postcard: Balcatta

Date: Thu, Jan 30, 2014 Wine Tasting



If you walk around certain streets in certain suburbs, you will see voluminous piles of rubbish, once loved, now ready for collection. Yes, the annual verge pick up is in full swing, at least where I live. I'm always curious and slightly appalled at what gets thrown out. This year, old barbecues seem particularly abundant. . . Thankfully much of the detritus gets sorted and ordered and reused. I spent a few moments picking through the Balcatta recycling centre;half hoping that I might spot something truly extraordinary and hitherto missed. Instead a shed full of golf clubs, forlorn and armless trophies (mostly plastic), buckets of cutlery and a surprisingly large number of chip free but clunky plates.

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Aravina Nebbiolo 2010

Date: Wed, Jan 29, 2014 Wine Tasting


Perhaps it is sampling bias, but it does seem as if there is a Nebbiolo rush occurring in Margaret River; though I gather the fruit in this and other examples I tried is non estate, coming from just south of the Margaret River town site. Perhaps it will even usurp unreliable pinot noir to become the new number 4 red grape in the region, a long way behind cabernet, shiraz and merlot.

This is quite promising - roughly chiselled, rustic, sinewy and well paced. On the nose dust and aniseed, shellac, menthol and tar. It's effective rather than beautiful. Tart and brisk with meaty, firm, gripping tannins. It's the muscled finish and the imperfections that I found most appealing.

Image: The Motorola CPU from my first computer.



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Bread and water

Date: Tue, Jan 28, 2014 Wine Tasting

For me these are the two irresistible Yallingup sirens. Loaves of bread (sourdough and fruit) from the Yallingup woodfired bakery and the beaches and coastal walks, especially early in the morning from Yallingup to Smiths, stopping at Torpedo rock in between.

The fruit bread is a simple pleasure. Turn up late in the afternoon, around five and the bread will be warm from the oven, like taking delivery of a newborn child the loaf is warm, sweet smelling and soft to squeeze. The remains, if any exist are the perfect companion for an early morning snack as you pick your way through the rocks and waves.

Yallingup Woodfired Bakery on Urbanspoon

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Jean Foillard Morgon 2011

Date: Thu, Jul 11, 2013 Wine Tasting


The first impression, unrepeated mind you, is of liquid rose petals. It's quite striking and definite, though unfortunately transient. A fleeting moment of beauty and absurdity. . . Cherry pips, spice and perfume, while in the mouth something slippery, brisk and refreshing.

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Sardines on toast #2

Date: Tue, Jul 9, 2013 Wine Tasting


I've been reliving childhood meals and perhaps indoctrinating my own children at the same time. Tonight sardines on toast. I remember the blue packaging and the name King Oscar, even though its been three decades since I opened a tin. . . They taste rather bland, poorly cleaned and in need of some salt and acidity, quite unlike my recollection. The Italian wild caught sardines are thrice the price and come drenched in oil and salt. Needless to say they were the unanimous favourite of the pair.

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Giaconda Pinot noir 2010

Date: Mon, Jul 8, 2013 Wine Tasting


Screwcap. 13.5%. Yarra Valley and Beechworth fruit.

Day 1. Enjoyable and yet unsatisfying. Big boned and full, I was hoping for something more undernourished and scrawny. Deeply scented with spice, raspberry and cream. It's savoury and presently clean, but you wonder what it will smell like in another five. Hot and spirited, round and large, it's bold and rich with a suggestion of char and slightly abrasive tannins.

Day 2. The remains of the bottle (left overnight on the bench) consumed withbeef short ribs. It seems mostly unchanged and still I'm unconvinced. It feels polished and extracted, a selective synopsis incorrect in its emphasis and not forming a cohesive argument.


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