Archive for December, 2011

Going blackjack+1, 22 wines – what i’m drinking at the time 17.12.2011

Crazy crazy day today! Almost felt like I was a professional wine taster! Big thank you to Dan Murphies Bulleen to putting on a premium wine tasting session of 19 wines including vertical tastings of Rockford Basket Press, Moss Wood and a Magnum of 10 year old Grange. So pour self a glass, sit back, listen to this can get comfortable cos this is epic.

The world warriors:

Sriyan, Eugene, Michelle, Alex, Simon and Me

The bad boys:

Read more…

2001 Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz Mourvedre – What i’m drinking at the time 14.12.2011

Welcome to Wednesday wine night!

First off, I would like to thank my first 2 followers “Binnotes” and “fridaywinetime” and to all my friends who have been both impressed and encouraging with my blog (and even started trying more wines!). I’m very happy to be able to encourage your good food and wine habits. This will definitely spur me on so thank you all.

Ok, so today, I’m having a phenomenally frustrating day at work and the only thing keeping me sane is the thought of being able to write a wine blog today. I get a phone call. Its my brother “Hey, were going out to dinner tonight”. Bugga, looks like its going to be a grapeless night for kenny. Sigh, I am tired anyways, so no biggie. Judging by the title, you can guess what happens.

We head off to Springvale for some chinese food and whist were munching on some delicious food, the boss lady whose a friend of my parents asks “where the wine!?” ZING! She runs off and returns with some chinese rice wine (bad…ass btw)…and…*drumroll*

Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz Mourvedre 2001

What a champ. Looks like I shall be posting after all :P. Penfolds, everyone knows Penfolds. At 14% alco, its said that it keeps very much to the Penfolds “house style” (i.e. what you expect when you open a bottle of Penfolds). No percentages of Shiraz/Mourvedre but by taste, it seems a fairly even split.

Ok you know the routine, sniffy sniff. The nose is strawberries and liquorice with a touch of oak. You can definitely tell there is some age to this wine (how about 10 years…maybe? hehehe) since there is a thinness to the fruit sweetness. The initial attack is very firm, you can tell this wine can take care of itself. It’s quite balanced, nice tannins and strawberries but there is also random spikes of alcohol here and there. The mid palate is more mellow and this is where the vanilla (oak) kicks in which does make it a bit too sweet. The finish is rounded, lush and smooth, a bit confectionary like milk chocolate, think kinder surprise. Tannins a gentle and pleasantly massages the gums. You can tell its a “GSM” kind of blend, reminds me of the “M. Chapoutier Chateauneuf du pape” style. After leaving it in the glass, the nose develops a bready character, reminds me of a cinnamon doughnut and the tannins of the palate tighten up a little.

At around $34 bucks, its ok, but I think I can find better expressions of this kind of wine at this price point. I must point out that this may be because I’m not a big fan of this style. It’s too sweet for my palate and the sweetness is not a fruit sweetness, it almost feels like refined sugar/fairy floss kind of sweetness. People will enjoy this wine no doubt, whist others like myself can appreciate this wine, but not necessarily like it. And that my friends, is the beauty of wine and why we love to discuss and why you should go and try try try.

Till the next glass, stay cool San Diego.


Chateau Bellevue 2009 Bordeaux & McWilliams Regional Collection Coonawarra Shiraz 1999 – What i’m drinking at the time 11.12.2011

Continuing the French theme, we got some more Bordeaux today. Presenting….

Chateau Bellevue 2009 Bordeaux

Nat’s parents got this as a present today so lucky us. Retails for around $10, and screw top on a french bottle! Wow, times are changing. Looking at the label, it’s within the same category of wines as I have been drinking recently; the Cheval Noir and the Chateau Haut-Madrac. Randomly going on a running theme here shall we say.  This guy is again a Merlot dominate wine with Cabernet Sauvignon blend and at 13.5% alc./vol. Passed once through an aerator. Shall we taste?

Nose is pretty deep with black fruits, blackberries. A big lush nose with some oak, almost Barossa in style. The attack is lean, medium bodied with a nice mix of acidity and fruit. Lacks structure until it hits the mid palate where the tannins come in to balance out the acid and bring something to the mouthfeel. Finish is dry on the gums and very  long with some lime characteristics and a bit salty. Tastes haps better after more and more time in the glass, less oak and more smooth and fruit. Not much happening here but a nice tasting wine and reminds me of Penfolds bin 28. Initially I thought this was going to be crap but all things considered, I’m kinda impressed given the label. Don’t judge a book by its cover hey? Not a great wine but getter than most standard casual wines, and better than the CHeval Noir and Haut Madrac at a better price point. I would guess that this would be a $20-$25 dollar wine so it’s not without merit.

But wait, there’s more….

Mid writing this review, I had to drop some things off at parents house. My brother and his girlfriend was there and started shouting “Ken’s here! Another reason to open a bottle!” At 11.00pm I thought? You cannot be serious?! Apparently, Pol (brothers girlfriend) came back from her work Christmas function where that had unlimited drinks! (just the nonalcoholic kind…yeah…). My dad scrummaged around so I can’t let my family do all the heavy lifting, if I must I must. So if your still reading, we get a special guest of wine number 2.

McWilliams Regional Collection Coonawarra Shiraz 1999

Got a bit of ages to it too! 13.5% just like the previous. We aerated this into a decanter for about 15 mins? No justice but it was getting late sooo….Lets get right into it!

The nose brought me straight into middle earth (or New Zealand) with green and lush rolling hills. French oak is present with dried cranberries. Some initial sharp sourness made me gasp…hope its not vinegar! Attack is weird. It’s watery, background of tannin, well integrated fruit and acid. Balanced but feels unbalanced. Mid palate is cranberries and no increase or decrease in intensity of flavours from the initial attack. Some burnt wood and pineapple, the bits you get towards the skin. Finish is smooth light tannins, oak comes out to party here with vanilla notes. It’s a long long, very long finish with some apricot flavours you get at the seed, persimmon and leaves you with a very waxy mouth.

This feels like a matured wine, mellow and just chilling out. It has some complexity to it, solid mix of richness, smoothness and fruit flavours but does feel like it’s past its prime and wasn’t intended to taste this way. Bottle notes say its full bodied, cherry, spicy, plum and clove (which you get from the numb wax mouth). The fruit has faded into shadows and the supposed find grained tannins and spicy oak is a ghost. Not a bad effort, but again, nothing to write home about.

Sweet dreams!


What i’m eating at the time 10.12.2011 – Bistro Guillaume

Lovely sunny day today, especially when your eating at Bistro Guillaume.

Bonjour! A while back we received a crown voucher from my cousin in law’s Cam and Steve. Seeing as it was nearing it’s shelf life, we just HAD to use it, sigh, such a hard life we lead. Thanks guys, we owe you one!

We sat outside in the lovely sunshine greeted by some lovely (and cute, says Nat) actual french waiters in their lacrosse polos. Bonjour! We got to choose from a lovely and simple dinner selection which you can see here. Initially we were going to have different wines with entrée and mains but decided to go a bottle instead (persuaded by our waiter no less). We went the burgundy.

Bouchard Pere & File 2009 Bourgogne Reserve

I shall start with the wine. This is a Pinot Noir from Beaune in the Cote d’Or which is kinda known as the daddy of Burgundy. This is a Bourgogne which is the table wine of the region so expect nothing too amazing but still, expect the unexpected! Nose is musty and you get a bit of wet socks and cherries. Ummmm wet socks. It’s a very common smell you get from terroir driven Pinot noir, that barnyard smell. I do like it though others…maybe not. You also get a whiff of wet dirt and rock. Taste, the initial attack is a bit weak, some acidity and a touch of alcohol burn (which is bad), some kick of chilly and white pepper. The transition into the mid palate is more earthy, dark dark chocolate/coco or coffee beans with loads of cherries (think something like a dark chocolate cherry ripe but less sweet and more bitter and some lemon thrown in there). It has a grippy finish and you get some woody notes and bark.

I find this to be a very simple wine, nothing fancy but not a solid wine and a bit lacking in flavour and complexity. Good for a quick drink but at $70 a bottle (granted it’s a restaurant) I’m not impressed. Could definitely do with at least 1 hour of decanting as at the end of the meal, it gained more socks on the nose and more cherry ripe on the finish. Gotta love me some wet socks!

 OK, now for the real deal, the food!

The Charcuterie Plate

We started off with the Charcuterie plate to share and obviously some crusty bread and butter to lap things up with. Gorgeous entrée. Consisted of 3 different types of salami, sweet pate, pancetta, pork terrine and hock, cornichons with mustard, toasted bread and some greens. The pate was so so soft and creamy I couldn’t stop eating it. All the meats were well seasoned and a great great starter to the meal. Tres bien!


Steak frites with béarnaise sauce

Half a roasted chicken with paris mash and chicken jus

Green beans with confit of shallots

For main, I had the Steak (just edging out my usual french favourite of duck) and Natty had the roast chicken. We also ordered a side of green beans.  Steak, cooked perfectly. Soft but with firmness for added texture and just the right amount of chewyness. The chips were wow, almost melt in your mouth with a side of crispy. Chicken was silky smooth and the sauce matched well with the meal though a touch too salty. The best part of the dish (and the entire meal) was the paris mash. Ho-lee-crap. Best mash ever. Was so so smooth, creamy and buttered so well it was just bang on. Get this as a side dish, it will make you cry. Lets just say, we were pretty full and had to leave some chicken and chips but there was no sign of mash in site on the plate or the cutlery. Beans were a touch overcooked but still had a good crunch to it. A very plesent meal. I was happy but wait, there’s more!


 Desert du jour, Strawberry tart with vanilla biscuit and vanilla creme fraiche

Profiteroles with vanilla bean ice cream and warm chocolate sauce

Coffee with raspberry macarons

I blame Nat for encouraging my sweet tooth but thank you. I had the strawberry tart which was in a word…magic. Sweetness of the shortbread (and the crust…so so good) and the sourness of the strawberries was in fact just magic. I was in heaven with a side of chocolate sauce (I stole some). Natty’s desert was pretty good. What you expect if chocolate, dark chocolate (like coffee) and vanilla got together and made a baby. The macarons was actually pretty impressive, better than (I know it’s a big call) the macarons from Ladurée. There, I said it, google it up.

The food was very honest, warm and true. Defiantly ate too much and needed a wheelchair after this one,  you should try it sometime if you enjoy waking up with a food-angover.


Bistro Guillaume on Urbanspoon

Chateau Haut-Madrac Cru Bourgeois 2007 – What i’m drinking at the time 7.12.2011

Bonjour fello winos! Today I decided to try to trick my dad into liking french wines. Not just any french wines, cheap/inexpensive french wines. Does such a thing exist? We shall soon find out. I bought this bottle about a year ago for around $20, the same time I bought the Cheval Noir.

Chateau Haut-Madrac Cru Bourgeois 2007

Fancy pants name, let me break it down for you. Chateau Haut-Madrac just means it’s from such and such a place. It also tells you that it’s from Medoc appellation meaning left bank Bordeaux, which leads you to think Cabernet blend (this is 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot). It also says “Mis en bouteille au Chateau” which means, and I’m sure you’ve guessed, bottled at the Chateau. The last thing is Cru Bourgeois which translates to table wine and thus not having to abide to any requirements. So, how did it fare?

Very dusty nose, deep green earthy flavours with a raisin like fruit characters. very old and leathery and black tea. The attack on this wine is mild with some fruit acidity and then some sweet and spicy notes like sweet paprika. There is also a mix of bitter and tannic notes towards the end, think of burnt wood and that black tea. There is not much difference to the initial taste and the mid palate, only that you get some black coffee flavours coming through but its firm and bold in structure throughout. Finish is very long and lingers, little bit grippy  on the mouth and some orange rind. If you have had chinese red bean desert and get that little hint of dried orange peel you know what I mean. It also has a dusty finish but the dust is very brief but noticeable and doesn’t stick to your mouth. Its gives off the illusion of an aged and old wine and you have to double-check the label to see its an 07.

This guy was double aerated and decanted for about 30mins. definitely would have liked more time in the decanter since I liked it more and more as I drank this. Initially I would have said it’s a bit simple in favours but these tea and coffee with some of the raisin fruits get in there after a while. I think it was a surprise of a wine, I think I expected less from it. I think it’s probably worth the price tag but I think some of the italian blends are better value at this price point.

Initially my dad didn’t like it, too tannic and dusty but as the night went on, he got more and more of these old leather, burnt wood and coffee/tea notes which you don’t find often in younger wines which I think piqued his interest. A good start.

Not a bad wine, better for some palates. Still, the hunt for high quality and low low prices continues…


What i’m drinking at the time 5.12.11 – Yellowglen Vintage Bella Bianco 2010

Rightio guys, today Nat was thirsty for some Champagne. She loves some Bella and today we popped open a Vintage Bella Bianco which is the white sister of Vintage Bella. As always, some sexy looking pics 🙂

Yellowglen Vintage Bella Bianco 2010

Bella Bianco is made by Chilly Hargrave with a low low alcohol content of 7.5%. This little guy like to bubble up in the champagne glass so be wary our you may end up wearing it! The nose is of semi baked apples, toast and oaked chardonnay and moscato notes. This champagne is very sweet with notes of lemon and limes. It’s very bubbly which adds a creamy texture. This may sound weird or obvious, but it tastes really like what you think grape juice tastes like – I know right! Who would have thought!

It’s an extremely refreshing and easy drinking wine. Nothing special but very yummy all the same, escpecailly on a hot say, nicely chilled, over a sunday lunch. $10 well spent.


Cheval Noir Bordeaux 2005 Grand Vin – What i’m drinking at the time 4.12.2011

Hello gang!

First off, exciting news! I got my first two “likes” from fellow bloggers so a big shout out to lesleycarter and TechieChef! Cheers guys, hope to keep reading!

Today I wanted to see if I could find some value wine i.e. a good wine at a cheap price. Here’s what I came up with.

Cheval Noir Bordeaux 2005 Grand Vin

13.5% alco

This wine comes from the Mähler-Besse winery in the Saint-Emilion region. You can probably guess this from the name of the wine (I believe is a play on Cheval Blanc, a very famous wine from right bank Bordraux). I don’t know if this is true but that’s what I came up with in my head. The label shows that it’s “Appellation Bordeaux Controllee” which to me means that it’s a low classification of wine made from the Bordeaux grape varieties and in this case, Merlot dominate. I got this bottle for $10 – $15 dollars.

We poured this guy straight into glasses. The wine is dark, blackish purple and looks quite thick. It had a deep deep nose easily smelling black current and some earthyness, think about the smells you get when you’re lying on the grass on a sunny day. Now, lets give it a sip. The initial attach is very subdued and tannic. It builds up to a dry and dusty fruit mid palate. Acidity is in the back balancing out the flavours and zipping in and out in the mouth but makes itself known in the finish, adding to a dry powdery mouthfeel.

Some boldness and fineness to this wine but nothing special about it. A good solid effort but let down with that powdery mouthfeel finish. I think it needed some time to breath. If you try this, be sure to either aerate or decant for 30 min at least. This should smooth out the tannins a touch.

So, value? It’s probably worth a touch more than what I paid for it, maybe a $20 buck wine? Not a crap wine, but not great either. Lets call it an above average weekday wine which saves you $5.