Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Good Food & Wine Show Brisbane 2011

On the weekend I meandered around the Brisbane Good Food & Wine Show with @thewinepunter.

The crowd was huge and the good folk of Brisvegas were having a  ball. Some excellent wines on tasting and the "Secret Stash" was a winner on more than one occasion!

The day kicked off with a visit to Riedel Australia's stand and a chat with Mark. We got talking about decanting and how it brings the wine to life. I posed the question about wine aerators and Mark's comments were very interesting to hear, "Younger wines benefit from aerators because it is the same process as a decanter. Older wines get bashed around too much from them as the molecular structure is effected and torn apart too quickly. In the end, they are a toy that speeds up the process too much which can have drastic effects on the wine."
The discussion moved to decanting, "Allowing the wine to move allows it to start to breath. Letting it sit still in a bottle does nothing. To see the true benefits of decanting, you need to do it side by side. That is, taste the wine prior to decanting and then afterwards. An old bottle of wine needs no more than two hours in a decanter. Leaving the wine for longer periods over exposes it and it will begin to decline rapidly."
Thanks to Mark for his time and sharing his extensive knowledge. He even kicked in a Riedel glass for us both to use as we tasted our afternoon away. Riedel is clearly a popular weapon amongst the people and it gave us much street cred. We had some great discussions with the locals about how the glass makes the experience even more enjoyable. And needless to say, there were times when I could easily tell those around that my stem was bigger than theirs :)

Mission one was to get through some white wines before moving to reds. We got into the mood with some cider. Nepolean apple and pear cider from the Punt Road winery in the Yarra were spectacular. Clean, crisp, and seriously gluggable. A very encouraging way to start off the day.

A look at Taylor's Jarraman Riesling 2011 really caught the eye. Clean, rich palate with a lovely minerality and length. Very different to the Taylor's St Andrew's 2011 which was more slatey with an acid finish.

The Granite Belt precinct was a thriving metropolis. The sheer number of people bouncing off the other's shoulder to get a swig of some of Queensland's finest was most impressive to see, and a credit to all who have continued to build the reputation of the region. Some absolute belters included the Ocean View Estate Viognier and the Raven's Croft Chardonnay 2009.

The Ocean View Estate Viognier 2011 came from a shady and cool vintage which picked up some acid and peachy and apricot characteristics. Some nice grip on the back of the palate to finish up. The previous night Thomas and Kate picked up a Qld Tourism Award. Well done guys and thanks for the chat!
The Raven's Croft Chardonnay 2009 was deliciously moreish with some gorgeous vanilla flavours coming right through the palate. A yummy creaminess to tidy up was very well received. This was the first of the "Secret Stashes" unleashed to us for the afternoon and we weren't disappointed!

Oliver's Taranga was the next stop and the Fiano 2011 was a cracker. Crispy pear with lemons and a minerally edge. The Vermentino 2011 was also refreshing and crisp. Good acid too in this zesty little number.

The last of the great whites we came across came from O'Leary Walker wines. Their two Rieslings, Watervale and Polish Hill, are completely different, yet so good. The Watervale 2011 keeps giving with generous lashings of lime and mineral characteristics, whilst the Polish Hill 2011 from only 9km down the road is more steely and tight.
It was here we washed out the glasses and turned our attention to reds. The O'Leary Walker Reserve Clare Valley Shiraz 2006 set the bar ridiculously high. Great fruit and depth. Gentle spice, chocolate with a nice hint of oak. Smooth polished tannins - this was a delight. Secret Stash number two was an outright outstanding effort. Thanks to Sue for her entertaining discussion as well!

Back to Oliver's Taranga and the HJ Reserve Shiraz 2008 was pulled out from under the counter. A big red with some sweetness, subtle spice and juicy fruit. Finish was long and smooth. What a treat! A big thanks to Brioni and Nicky for their time and the chat.

I was impressed with the reds from Moppity Vineyards from the Hilltops. Their Estate Shiraz 2009 was deep in colour with a lovely nose of violets, cloves, and a smokey bacon characteristic from the oak. Very impressive stuff and a ripper of a bargain at $25. The Reserve Shiraz 2008 was gentler, and the addition of some Viognier contributed to this. The nose of the Estate appealed a little more to me, but the palate characteristics were better in the Reserve. All in all, great wines and a great guy behind them - thanks for the chat Jason!

Murray Street Vineyards from the Barossa is a very smart operation headed by Andrew Seppelt and his wife Vanessa. Their wines are well made and terrific value. Having previously looked at their Semillon and Cabernet, it was time to check out their The Barossa 2008. A blend of Shiraz, Grenache, Mouvedre and a touch of Cinsault, it has a deep colour, inviting oak, and an earthiness which sits at the back, coaxing you back for more. After grabbing a Riesling and The Barossa for the bag, Andrew says, "You better have some of this before you go." The Secret Stash came out, and BOOM, the winner for the day was produced. The Sophia 2008 had a brilliant perfumed nose. Soft and supple, this Shiraz with a lick of Viognier jumped to the wine of the day. Absolutely sensational!!

The last great wine of the day was Pyramids Road Mourvedre 2010. From the Granite Belt, this wine is a limited release with only 120 dozen made. Super dark fruit, cherries, and savoury notes. Minimal oak and beautiful grippy tannins to seal the deal. The wine is made deliberately with minimal influence to have the fruit characteristics take centre stage, and they do. A ripper of a wine.

The show is a great experience for the novice and experienced alike. Talking to many of the reps and winemakers, they were all impressed how well Brisbanites take to the show. But in the end, the fact so many great wineries, small and large, come to showcase their best work, it is a treat. Quite simply, unlike our southern friends, wineries are not on our doorstep - except on a day like this. A big shout out to all the wineries who attend and support this great event, not only giving themselves great exposure, but also the consumer.