What are Australia’s best wines? | 2014 National Wine Show

by Christine Salins on November 23, 2014

www.foodwinetravel.com.au, food wine travel, National Wine Show, 2014 National Wine Show award winners, Len Evans Memorial Trophy, Lerida Estate Shiraz Viognier, Yabby Lake Pinot Noir,

If you want to know what wines to look out for from the last two vintages, here’s a tip: Pinot Noir and Shiraz are the star performers, according to judges at the National Wine Show.

The show is considered the pinnacle of Australian wine shows because entries in the premium and single vineyard classes have to have won a medal in another major show. The winners were announced in Canberra during the week, and for only the second time in the show’s history, a Pinot Noir won the top gong.  We’ll get to the winners shortly.

Chair of the judging panel, McWilliam’s chief winemaker Jim Chatto, was effusive in his praise for the show entries. “The 2012 and 2013 were great vintages in so many regions – we have been extremely lucky,” he said. “The Shiraz class was remarkable – of the 250 wines tasted we awarded a pretty incredible 23 gold medals from no less than 14 regions. Great stuff.”

www.foodwinetravel.com.au, food wine travel, National Wine Show, 2014 National Wine Show award winners, Len Evans Memorial Trophy, Lerida Estate Shiraz Viognier, Yabby Lake Pinot Noir, The champion: Yabby Lake Pinot Noir

I’ve long had a soft spot for Yabby Lake Pinot so it’s great to see this Mornington Peninsula producer taking out Champion Wine of the Show for its 2013 Yabby Lake Block 2 Pinot Noir. It also won best dry red table wine, best single vineyard dry red and best Pinot Noir.

Another Mornington Peninsula winery, Paringa Estate, won a new award, red wine of provenance, intended to recognize not just a single vintage but a wine that has performed brilliantly over many years. Its 2002, 2008 and 2013 Pinot Noir beat two stellar Margaret River cabernet blends in the trophy taste-off – Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon and Houghton Jack Mann.

The White Wine of Provenance award went to Peter Lehmann Wigan Riesling for its 2004, 2006 and 2014 vintages, beating two different single vineyard Tyrrell’s Semillons for the prize.

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The chair’s pick: Lerida Estate Shiraz Viognier

As a long-time admirer of Lerida Estate, it was pleasing to see it take out the Chair of Judges Award for its 2013 Lake George Shiraz Viognier.

The Canberra District has established an enviable reputation for Shiraz Viognier and this one from Lerida has won a string of medals over the years. Among other awards, the 2006 vintage was champion wine of the 2007 Canberra Regional Wine Show and the 2009 won a trophy at London’s 2012 International Wine Challenge.

At 700 metres above sea level, Lerida Estate’s Lake George vineyard is actually marginal for Shiraz. But owner Jim Lumbers said, “Thankfully, 2013, like 2008 and 2009, was slightly warmer than average at Lake George, and, proving the truth of the French saying, ‘Greatness is found on the boundary of the possible’, allowed us to make an exceptional wine. In cooler, wet years, like 2011, we struggle to produce this level of quality.”

The 2013 Lerida Estate Shiraz Viognier will be released in mid-2015 and I’m looking forward to trying it.

Have you tried this Aldi wine?

As a footnote, it’s interesting that Aldi won Best Value Red Wine for its 2013 The Tudor Shiraz. Have you tried it? Let me know what you think.

www.foodwinetravel.com.au, food wine travel, National Wine Show, 2014 National Wine Show award winners, Len Evans Memorial Trophy, Lerida Estate Shiraz Viognier, Yabby Lake Pinot Noir, Here’s the full list of 2014 trophy winners:

  • Best Value White Wine: d’Arenberg 2014 The Dry Dam Riesling
  • Best Riesling: Peter Lehmann Wines 2009 Wigan Riesling
  • Best Semillon: Australian Vintage Ltd 2007 McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon
  • Best Chardonnay: De Bortoli Wines 2012 Yarra Valley Section A5 Chardonnay
  • Best Dry White Other Varieties: Bay of Fires 2014 Pinot Gris
  • Best Single Vineyard Dry White: Xanadu Wines 2012 Stevens Road Chardonnay
  • Best Sweet White Table Wine: DiGiorgio Family Wines 2011 Lucindale Botrytis Semillon
  • Best Sparkling White or Pink: Domaine Chandon 2010 Blanc de Blancs
  • Best Value Red Wine: Aldi Stores 2013 The Tudor Shiraz
  • Best Rosé: Shingleback 2014 Haycutters Salmon Rosé
  • Best Pinot Noir: Yabby Lake 2013 Block 2 Pinot Noir
  • Best Shiraz: Leura Park Estate 2013 Shiraz
  • Best Cabernet Sauvignon: Xanadu Wines 2011 DJL Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Best Blended Dry Red: Brookland Valley 2012 Cabernet Merlot
  • Best Dry Red Other Varieties: West Cape Howe Wines 2013 Tempranillo
  • Best Single Vineyard Dry Red: Yabby Lake 2013 Block 2 Pinot Noir
  • International Judge’s Award: Brown Brothers Milawa Vineyard 2014 Devil’s Corner Riesling
  • Chair of Judge’s Award: Lerida Estate 2013 Lake George Shiraz Viognier
  • Best Fortified Wine: Grant Burge Wines 20 Year Old Tawny
  • Best Dry White Table Wine: De Bortoli Wines 2012 Yarra Valley Section A5 Chardonnay
  • Best Dry Red Table Wine: Yabby Lake 2013 Block 2 Pinot Noir
  • Best White Wine of Provenance: Peter Lehmann Wines 2014, 2006, 2004 Wigan Riesling
  • Best Red Wine of Provenance: Paringa Estate Winery 2013, 2008, 2002 Estate Pinot Noir
  •  Champion Wine of the Show: Yabby Lake 2013 Block 2 Pinot Noir

Images supplied by Liquid Ideas.

Meet winners of previous National Wine Shows.

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Jamie’s Italian Restaurant, Brisbane

by Christine Salins on November 21, 2014

www.foodwinetravel.com.au, Food Wine Travel, Jamie’s Italian Restaurant, Jamie Olivr, Karen Westfield, Brisbane rstaurants, Brisbane dining, best places to eat in Brisbane, beetroot and vodka cured salmon, tutti frutti lemon meringue pie, grilled Angus rump steak, lamb and ricotta tortellini, polenta chips, arancini balls, mushrooms baked with buffalo mozzarella, zucchini fritters.

Last year I went to the opening of Jamie’s Italian Restaurant in Canberra and this week I visited the newest addition to the stable, Jamie’s Italian in Brisbane. It’s impressive to see how this hugely popular chain is evolving. In a few short years since it opened in Sydney, Jamie’s has opened in Canberra, Perth, Adelaide and now Brisbane.

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Some things remain the same, like the menu, the wine list, the wooden planks for serving dishes, even the “Crapper” toilets. Yes, really! Yet inevitably, each restaurant has a unique identity born out of its location. The Brisbane restaurant is located in Rowes Arcade, a heritage building on Edward Street dating back to the early 1900s.

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The look is urban-cool with stone, timber, leather and brass fittings. The restaurant is bigger than it looks, with seating for up to 240 across two levels. The top level has an eye-catching antipasti bar, chandelier, leadlight glass, pink leather and brass fittings. Down in the basement, leather banquette seating and lower ceilings create a more intimate look.

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The general manager of Jamie’s in Australia, Karen Westfield, who I first met in Canberra and caught up with again this week, says the Brisbane restaurant’s prep kitchen is a first for the company in Australia. Flanked by glass walls, it allows diners a sneak view of what’s happening in the kitchen.

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We grazed through a fair proportion of the menu, with standout dishes being the beetroot- and vodka-cured salmon on the seafood plank, the tutti frutti lemon meringue pie, grilled Angus rump steak, and the lamb and ricotta tortellini (below). This last one is the only dish that didn’t originate in the UK – it’s very much a creation of Jamie’s in Oz.

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We also had Jamie’s famous polenta chips (below), crispy arancini balls, mushrooms baked with buffalo mozzarella, zucchini fritters and more. There are express lunch menus starting from $12.50, set menus from $42, and a kids’ menu at $9.50.

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The bookings policy has changed since the first Australian openings, and all the Jamie’s restaurants now take bookings rather than forcing guests to queue. Despite that, queues were already forming almost as soon as the Brisbane restaurant opened. This crowd-pleaser has hit the ground running.

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Jamie’s Italian Restaurant
237 Edward Street,
Brisbane 4000 Qld
Australia
Tel: +61 7 3144 3000
Open 7 days a week, 11.30am to 10.30pm.
Bookings: www.jamieoliver.com

Disclaimer: Food Wine Travel was a guest at the launch.

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Gasp! | A blast of fresh topical air from Ben Elton

by Maurie O'Connor on November 21, 2014

www.foodwinetravel.com.au, Food Wine Travel, Ben Elton, Gasp, Gasping, Ben Elton’s plays, comedian Ben Elton, who is Ben Elton, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Wesley Enoch, Queensland Theatre Company, Black Swan State Theatre Company, Caroline Brazier, Damon Lockwood, Steven Rooke, Lucy Goleby, Greg McNeill, Christina Smith, Penny Cullen.

Gasp! is a blast of fresh topical air that will leave your head spinning. It’s a very clever rework of Ben Elton’s first professional play, Gasping, originally performed in London in 1990 and masterfully adapted to the socio-political landscape of 2014’s Team Australia.

If you’re wondering where the mining lobby will go after most of Australia is dug up and exported to China, then take a deep breath because you’re about to be paying for your fresh air courtesy of Chifley Lockheart and Lockheart Industries (bigger than Gina and Clive put together).

Directed by Wesley Enoch, Gasp! is a joint production between the Queensland Theatre Company and the Black Swan State Theatre Company. It has a superb cast including Caroline Brazier, Damon Lockwood, Steven Rooke, Lucy Goleby and Greg McNeill as the non-PC, totally profit-oriented Chifley Lockheart.

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Damon Lockwood plays the part of Phillip who along with his corporate rival Sandy (played by Steven Rooke) are Chifley’s top two corporate schemers. Pushed for solutions to the declining mining boom, Phillip is inspired by his girlfriend Peggy’s asthma attack to acquire rights to the Suck n’ Blow machine which, promoted by advertising guru Kirsten (Caroline Brazier), becomes a force 10 success and as indispensable as a mobile phone.

Peggy (Lucy Goleby) has serious moral reservations as Phillip and Lockheart get right off the Beaufort Scale with a monopoly on clean air. Disaster looms.

Christina Smith and Penny Cullen have done a superb job in keeping the set and audio visuals right up there with the very fast moving action and cyclonic script.

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The Food Wine Travel team saw the premiere of Gasp! courtesy of the Queensland Theatre company. Christine worked very late the night before and wasn’t sure she’d be able to stay awake. My job was to give her a nudge if she nodded off. I was too busy laughing and so was she and, judging by the audience reaction, the topical references to Australia’s current political climate were spot on. Gasp! is not just mildly amusing – it’s bloody funny.

We were delighted to see Ben Elton at the theatre enjoying the play. (Is enjoying the right word? It’s probably excrutiating watching your own script being performed.) He made a surprise appearance on stage for the curtain call.

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This play is a great end to the Queensland Theatre Company’s 2014 season and looking at what’s coming up for the 2015 season it may be wise to start marking some dates.

Gasp! is on at the Playhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, until December 7.
Details: queenslandtheatre.com.au

With thanks to Kath Rose & Associates for the first 3 images.

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