Back to Back Issues Page
Alternative wine show results and food pairing for new varietals
November 13, 2006

November newsletter

In this issue
2. Albarino to Zinfandel
3. Broken Earth Wines
4. Fed square shows
5. Cork Jesters Guide
6. New wine distibution method

Last weekend I made a visit (pilgrimage really) to Mildura to catch up on a couple of events at the annual Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. As usual it was a superb event, but too much information crammed into too small a place between my ears...not to mention the business of the spittons.

A few hundred wines are judged in 24 plus categories with entries from all over Australia. The most popular categories are Pinot Gris/Grigio, Viognier, along with Sangiovese and Tempranillo.

Two things stood out in the results. There was only 1 gold medal given to a Pinot G. Last year there were six. Sangiovese also had a reversal of fortunes. In the 2005 show none received gold medal points while this year 5, including one blend with Barbera, achieved top ranking. The young Tempranillos also did well with 1 gold, six silvers and 10 bronzes from 26 entries. You can see my analysis of the results at

Albarino to Zinfandel Food Pairing With New Varietal Wines

I have launched a new website as part of my project to compile food pairing suggestions for alternative varietal wines. New wine styles need new ideas for food. While it is easy to say "just have pasta or pizza with the new Italian red varieties," many people are looking for more ideas and recipes. I have asked some of the wineries and winemakers at the cutting edge of Australian wines to make some suggestions for their particular varietal wines. Some have responded with some home style recipes, others have enlisted the help of local restaurants to provide some pretty swish ideas.

You can search either by grape variety or by main ingredient of the food. You are then presented with several recipes and general advice about matching to that particular style or dish. I'm having fun building this resource, so I hope you can join in.

You can see this work in progress at The idea is to have recipes as pairing ideas for around 30 of the more common of the alternative varieties. I am still collecting recipes for the site and the book, any comments and contributions are most welcome.

Early in 2007 I will have the Albarino to Zinfandel published as an electronic book, and later as a paperback.

Some wine to top up your cellar
Broken Earth was the brand name of the wine division of Tandou, a company operating in the Murray Darling and Riverland region. The company has ceased its wine business but some of its stock is for sale at very reasonable prices. You can get it via THIS SPECIAL LINK on the basis of 2-for-1 at $14.95. So the cost to you is under $7.50 per bottle plus freight.

I have a bottle of the Petit Verdot open at the moment. PV makes some great wines in warmer areas, the variety maintains high acid levels and hence the wines have good structure. The Broken Earth Select Petit Verdot is a fine example and is just the shot for summer BBQ's, it's certainly miles ahead of what you will get elsewhere for the price.

There are other varieties available but they may not last at this price. These wines are not cleanskins, they are quality wines. I suggest you get yourself before it sells out.

The other wine offers from the Wine club are still available, although we have had to substitute another wine. The Aldinga Bay Sangiovese has all sold out, so we now have an Aldinga Bay Sangiovese-Shiraz blend. Remember you can get these wines at the prices of $140 per mixed dozen, $120 for the all whites dozen, and $160 for the all reds. These prices include freight within Australia.

Federation Square Wine Shows
For those of you lucky enough to live in Melbourne there is a monthly wine show in Federation Square that you should check out. On the first Wednesday and Thursday evenings of each month from 4-30pm to 8-30pm.

Every month a different region of Victoria is featured. I'm usually there with some books for sale. Drop by and say hello. The next couple of shows are
6 and 7 December Yarra Valley 3 and 4 January Sunbury/Macedon Ranges 7 and 8 February Geelong Region

A new book, just the ticket for holiday reading
The Cork Jester's Guide to Wine: An Entertaining Companion for Tasting It, Ordering It and Enjoying It, by Jennifer Rosen Some of you may have read Jennifer Rosen's earlier book, "Waiter, There's a Horse in My Wine!" She is a superb writer wrapping sound advice into witty and often hilarious stories. The Cork Jester is a collection of short articles dealing with issues such as viticulture, varieties, winemaking, labeling tasting, marketing and just enjoying wine.

For example, Jennifer enlightens us on why the Brits took up drinking wine in the eighteenth century... to help them forget that they lived in damp castles and drove on the wrong side of the road. There's even a listing of how to say "Cheers" in dozens of languages from "Gezuar" in Albanian through to "Iechyd da" in Welsh.

Order your copy here or drop a hint for Santa to get you one.

New wine distribution method
Just when you think you know it all. The cost of bottling and packaging everyday drinking wine has always been a little high, both in financial terms and in the cost to the environment. Most wine is consumed within days, if not hours of purchase. So why not use reusable containers. Save all those greenhouse gasses that would otherwise go int melting the glass to make new bottles.

Rewine is a new outfit with a spin on the reuseable bottle method. You by your first dozen online and get it delivered. When you want some more you can order in 4.5l containers, including instructions for refilling your bottles. And the wine is good. There is a King Valley Sangiovese that is very good, and Viognier on offer at the moment, with more altermative varietals to come. Check them out, and tell them Darby sent you!

Back to Back Issues Page