Dec 26, 2014

#WW Odonata 2013 River Skimmer

We can he here the quizzical question now. A white Rhone style wine from Santa Clara County, produced and bottled in Santa Cruz and purchased at the tasting room in Monterey County. Who made this wine you ask? It is made by Denis Hoey of Odonata Wines. Denis blends old world methods with new world technique to make engaging wines and this little cracker is no exception.
After a glass or two one hot Friday afternoon at the Santa Cruz location and a subsequent taste that same weekend at the Odonata south location on River Rd  a bottle was purchased. With a light honeysuckle, citrus and floral nose and with honeydew melon and a hint of stone fruit on the palate it has a round mouth-feel with a subtle mineral backbone with a lite acid finnish.

The 2013 River Skimmer 55%  Viognier, 35% Marsanne and 10%  Grenache Blanc and at $20 is simply a killer wine value.

This great little WW would make a nice companion to grilled or seasoned chicken steamed veggies and rice pilaf and a range of asian style food. Went great with our Chinese food dinner. A **** wine we give a 6+.

Go by either Odonata North or Odonata South and get a taste of Denis's wine and find your next WW.

Happy Wine Adventures,

Kiwi & Koala

Dec 21, 2014

Why you should order wine online!

Who among you has ordered wine online?

We have, but we typically are ordering something specific that we have had before, know well and like the deal we found online.

While we love the hunt and visiting the tasting rooms and cellar doors, there is no doubt that getting access to wines that are outside your normal tasting range is priceless. Being able to taste the world with the click of a button is too good to pass up. Get your group to once a month have a tasting from somewhere else in the world by having it delivered to your door!

One online resource that is full of great deals is

They recently hooked us up with some bottles to taste and review to give you an example of just whats available and what a great balance of price and quality they have.

The message we received was 'We have sent you a few bottles to try'. Given this challenge we pulled out all the stops and and gathered around the tasting table with actual real glassware and pens and tasting note sheets and even waited for Somm Dave to join us with his educated palate to keep us in line. 

We tasted the wine by itself, with nibbles and with our meal to get a broad impression. 

White Blend from Italy
Sieano Bianco - A pretty bright straw colored medium - light body wine with honeysuckle, cut grass, pear and apricot on the nose and some nice melon, pineapple and grapefruit and citrus fruit flavors and a soft acidic finish this nicely balanced wine is a winner at **** and a solid 6 that we all enjoyed. Think arugula / Grapefruit salad and shrimp / pineapple skewers as well as many summer style foods.
wine bottle label

Nero d'Avola from Sicily, Italy
Siciliana Nero - A bright garnet color with a light medium nose of red and blue fruits with a noticeable floral quality. As you taste the flavors of bing cherry and blue berry as well as some raspberry and plum. This light to medium body well integrated wine is a nice easy drinker with soft tannins and nice finish that embraces its typical Italian heritage. At **** and a 6 this is a fun go to for some Italian flavor at a bargain price. Great for midweek dinner of flank steak or grilled chicken.

Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
Baracchi Merlot - This is a MERLOT... Quite big and bold red garnet colored with black currant, blackberry and raspberry as well as some tobacco and cigar box on the nose. The black currant and plum fruit scuffle for position with the earthy medium plus body that has a strong tannin presence that asked to go head to head with food. At *** and a 7 this is a take to dinner wine that could benefit from a littl decant. Big meals like lamb shank, Pork belly or ribeye with Mushrooms will love being in the company of this solid drinking Merlot. Now this is a Merlot worth pulling the cork on.

Two of these wines are nice drinking great value wines that bring Italy to your home. The third is a bigger more complex wine looking to hook up with some big food and to go to dinner at friends or at your favorite restaurant. This was a lovely sample of what is available a . Just based on this small sample we are very encouraged to go look at some other regions and see whats available to expand our wine world. So get online and order a couple for a friend or for yourself to share with friends and have some fun exploring the world one online wine order at a time. We recommend you do.

Happy Online Wine Adventures,


Kiwi & Koala

Dec 17, 2014

Corkage, WTF!

It’s easy to get your knickers all in a knot over paying all that money (Wasting The Finances), for some waiter or waitress, to open your bottle of wine. Look, it only takes a second to open and you carried it in! Stone the crows, are they bloody kidding! $20-30 dollars to open a bottle! They even have the stones to charge by the standard bottle for magnums etc. That is two corkage fees for a single magnum! It’s the same principal for larger format bottles as well. Someone has a couple of roo’s loose in the upper paddock. 

Or do they?  First off BYOB is not legal all over the globe. Do your homework first and know the laws in your area. For those places where it is legal the welcoming  smile or the scowl of bringing your own bottle will vary depending on where you are. That being said, in California it is legal and generally well accepted, with the aforementioned corkage fees. So how much is too much? Is any amount too much? Well, here are some thoughts on the subject.
Most restaurants are a small margin business and as such are always looking for a way to keep that margin. That way they will be around the next time you want to eat out. Let’s face it, you are using the establishment’s stemware and the staff time to clean it, deliver it fill it after uncorking or unscrewing your bottle. The disposal of your bottle, the replacement of the broken stemware and the investment in the special wine glass washer, are all a factor, and when added up is not insignificant. Now before you think we went to the other side read on!

Look, our personal beef is not with the basic corkage fee, but the multiplying of that fee for large format bottles. So restaurants take note! We at WineWalkabout propose that a magnum, instead of 2 times corkage should be perhaps 1.5 times. A Jeroboam instead of 4 times corkage fee perhaps 2 times the standard corkage. You get the picture. It’s not like they are changing out the stemware (like they should be) as if you have multiple bottles of different wine. We think this strikes a balance that meets the needs of the Restaurant and their valued customers.

The purchase price of wine at a well stocked Restaurant is also up for discussion, but for now we will stick to discussing corkage. Your other choice is to just purchase from the wine list. Now typically at 2 -2.5 times the normal retail sale price that takes your average $40 bottle of wine to $80 -$100. Corkage added on to your $40 bottle now makes it $60. Do your own math on the savings. Now it’s not always convenient to bring your own so on the occasions you do, just remember that for the next bottle purchased at the restaurant, you can apply that savings and it all averages out.
It’s always a smooth move to ask if the wine person / sommelier person would like to try your (fine) wine.  That can sometimes result in a diminished or non-existent corkage fee, worth a shot right, and all it cost you was a couple of ounces and a smile.

Another reason to BYO sometimes is the plain and simple truth that good restaurant chefs cook better meals than we do. At least in our case the best meals deserve the best wine and a trained chef preparing a fine meal at a lovely restaurant screams bring a good bottle or two. There are times when we want to be able to enjoy our special (and not let them die) bottles of wine with good food / friends and therefore, occasionally to pair our great wine with their great food.

Happy wine adventures



Dec 14, 2014

6 Tried and True Wine Pairings for Traditional Foods

When you think about pairing wine with your food, you might think about fancy cheeses or gourmet meals. Although wine is obviously very complementary to these things, you can still pair wine with your favorite every day, traditional foods.

1. Salty Snacks with Champagne

If you love munching on salty snacks, such as salted peanuts, chips or pretzels, then you should consider pairing them with a nice, bubbly champagne. For some reason, the slight sweetness and fizzy flavor and consistency of champagne seems to go great with the salt in these popular snacks.

2. If the Meat or Sauce is White, Serve it With White Wine

Who says that you have to serve white wine with fancy meals? Instead, pair it with any white meat, such as fish or chicken, or any white sauce-based meal, such as an Alfredo dish. Even if you're making a casual skillet dinner during the week, your favorite white wine can wake it up a notch.

3. Serve Red Wine with Red Meat

If you are serving red meat, such as steak or a cheeseburger, then you should enjoy a glass of red wine with it. Even if you're having something basic, such as a burger that you made on the grill during an outside summer party, a glass of tart red wine can be the perfect complement.

4. Pair a Dry Red Wine with Cheese

Whether you're serving a cheese platter or a cheese-based dish, a dry red wine will go great with it. Even if you aren't going fancy with a nice cheese platter, you can serve your dry red wine with a grilled cheese sandwich or another basic cheese-based dish. Regardless, you're sure to enjoy the way that the wine pairs with the cheese.

5. Serve a Sweet Wine with Anything Sweet

If you are serving a sweet dessert, make sure that the wine that you serve is even sweeter. Even if you're just enjoying a nice dessert at home, such as a bowl of ice cream before you go to bed, a glass of sweet wine can pair very nicely with it.

6. Serve Dry Wine with Dark Chocolate

If you're munching on a nice, dark chocolate, then try pairing it with a dry red wine. The pairing is rich and decadent, and it tastes great.

As you can see, you can pair wine with all of your favorite foods, even if they are rather traditional. Try these tips, and your wine and meal pairing is sure to be perfect.

Guest post provided by special guest Crystalizeonline.

Happy Wine Adventures,

Kiwi & Koala

Dec 7, 2014

Big Sur Food and Wine Grand Public Tasting 2014

On Saturday November 7th we were promised 50+ wineries and over 20 chefs at the Pfeiffer State Park in the majestic Big Sur for the 6th annual Big Sur Food and Wine Festival. With our personal invites most likely lost in the mail we had to purchase our own tickets. With a lot of the events sold out a decision was made to go to the Grand Public Tasting and Silent Auction and as a shift from our normal mode of transportation get a couple tickets on the shuttle bus from Carmel Rancho.

Come to find out the shuttle was to leave at 11am. We had no idea and re looked at all our correspondence, tickets and emails and found no reference to this. We had planned to be there at 11 but extremely heavy traffic on Hwy 1 made us 15 min late. Luckily we were not too late and there were others that were later. We left at 11:30 and arrived 10min after 12 but the entry line was almost gone and we were whisked right in. It wa a comfortable ride with some spectacular views of the spectacular Big Sur Coast.

Upon entry we were given a glass and a program that listed what we were at and all the things we missed. Maybe next year. It was a lovely warm day that was just perfect for tasting wine and food in a spectacular setting amongst the redwoods and sycamores.

So first off were there 50+ wineries? Maybe... Started to count but decided to taste instead. There were a lot and probably close enough that no one should care. Not sure there were 20 chefs and there was a line for food most of the afternoon.

At least at the good stuff as long as it lasted. The crowd was what you would expect but never too crowded and with few exceptions no more than a few seconds wait for a taste, although for the ribs it was a good five minutes.

There were top notch wines from Napa, Santa Barbara and Paso Robles as well as Monterey. A solid collection of wines for the novice to the experienced. A little odd tasting to the sounds of Brazilian carnival beats from Samba Le'Gal but all in all a crackin day that we quite enjoyed and gives us reason to probably attend again next year.

The bus ride back to Carmel was a bit on the fraternity side, with two stops for young ladies (using that term to avoid using the one we want) to pee on the side of the road and two for one of those and a couple others to vie for chunder champ of the trip. We will probably look for a more private mode of transportation next year. Just saying...

From what we gathered from some folks we talked to the other events all seemed to be very much enjoyed, and so next year we will be looking to expand our presence and tell you more about more of this event. For the event we attended this year we would 'recommend' you go next time and check it out.

Happy Wine Adventures,


Kiwi & Koala

Nov 27, 2014

30th Anniversary Edition of Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Complete Wine Course

We recently were given the opportunity to review the 30th Anniversary Edition of  'Windows on the World Complete Wine Course' by Kevin Zraly (Sterling Epicure, 368 pages, $27.95): (Buy it here for 30% off) This book was written by the guy who was at 25 to be cellar master at the famed restaurant on top of One World Trade Center in New York City. This is an incredibly comprehensive book. With things like weather, styles, terroir, pairing, history, regions and much much more. As it so happens the 2007 edition sits on the our bookshelf and has been a great reference book, albeit one that has not been as well used as it should have been.

 The style of the writing is clear and the organization is very inviting and unintimidating. The book also contains quizzes with page number references to get you focused on not just reading but learning. A cracking go-to guide to be sure.This book is great for the novice or someone who is well versed in wine and all that surrounds it. With some truly wonderful diagrams and charts to help explain some very complex things in a fashion that almost anyone will get this is a must have reference and all around good read for anyone interested in the world of wine. Did we say world? Why yes we did. With in depth information from wine regions from literally all over the world this is a truly comprehensive read. There are sections on our favorites like Australia and New Zealand as well as California and Italy. Ok anywhere that has good wine is our favorite but there are some we have not been exposed to before and now we want to.  Come to find out we still have a lot to learn.

"Kevin Zraly is the finest wine educator I have known" -- Robert Parker

This book is a great gift for your wine lover. That includes you! Simply stated "This book is for every wine lover, a must read" or in our wine rating this is a '9 and with our discount ****'.

So what are you waiting for, click on this link and get a few before they are all gone!

Happy Wine Education Adventures,



There is a sober in the book that lists the 72 workers who died on Sept. 11, 2001

Thanks to Kimberly at YC Media for Stirling Epicure for the privilege of reviewing this wonderful book.

Good Wine Hunting

Aside from the obvious reasons to go wine tasting you may be surprised by some of the reasons we go taste. First and foremost is the thrill of the hunt. Yes thats right 'the hunt'. A wine adventure, or as we are prone to calling a WineWalkabout! We love to venture out and hunt for the next amazing wine. You know, the excitement of going to new places to meet new people, to taste new wines and to find the next perfect one, or at least the next great one to amaze your friends with. It is often not a 10 on the scale but a great buy for good wine. 
Maybe it’s to say you went to this winery or that because of their reputation, and how just going there improves your standing with the cool wine group. Those are important to us because as most of you know we are shallow.
While finding the next fantastic wine is always a hope, what we believe should at least occasionally be the goal, is to find good wine at a good price, from good people trying to do a great job. Family owned small production wineries working hard to produce the best they can with what they have. Now we know this sounds like pre-election rhetoric about supporting the poor and middle class wine makers, but really, it’s not. This is not to say that these types of wineries don’t produce some magic wine but more often than not it is, well, just good. Rather than looking at this as a shortcoming, we believe that this is a great place to find unique and interesting good wines that are priced in the **** category and are very worthy enjoyable everyday wines. We need more Weekday Winners (WWs) that we don’t feel guilty opening or heaven forbid not finishing (ha ha fake out, we never have left overs).

The other advantage that hunting off the mainstream gives you is the element of pure surprise. The surprise you feel when out of the blue and off the beaten track you do taste an inexpensive wine that makes you say, strewth, bloody good drop that!
Every time you go to the wine fridge is your selection based on cost or rarity or can you just pull one out cause their all good and inexpensive.

Just one great example of cost / taste surprise.
Let ‘s face it we don’t all have the budget to open $100 plus bottles of wine every night for dinner or for that matter even $40-$50 bottles, so finding good enjoyable drinking wine for about $25 or less is a great find and a part of a responsible budget. Obviously, a low price alone isn't enough. The real surprise lies in finding fantastic quality and then looking at the low price. Of course neither of these surprises happen with expensive wines.
We can’t overstate the fact that there is a lot of good wine made in this price range and finding it is not that hard. But maybe it does take a little bit of a different focus while out tasting. You are perhaps tasting a little more for the mmmm factor not the OMG factor. In some ways just being able to open a bottle without thought to cost or occasion and just pour a glass, grab a book or watch the All Blacks thrash the Wallabies (again) is how wine is meant to be enjoyed. There should be no concern as to cost or availability or whether or not you may not drink the whole bottle before it turns, or share it with troglodytes that may not appreciate it the way you do. Simply relax and enjoy a good drop and enjoy the hunt as we do.Go and enjoy your WineWalkabout...

Happy hunting Adventures,


Kiwi & Koala

Nov 23, 2014

A visit to Alien Central, Bonny Doon Tasting Room

There are a lot of urban legend type stories about Randall Grahm and he has been called many things, ranging from mad man, wine industry's court jester, irreverent, creative, master promoter and genius. He has been inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame and his book, "Been Doon So Long," won a James Beard Foundation Award.

In 2002 he held a mock "funeral" for the cork meant to herald support of scew caps which adorn his wines. After visiting his tasting room and tasting his wines some of these statements may be true, but in the end its about the wine. Come to discover we even share a common philosophy about getting started with wine drinking and starting a collection. "You shouldn't buy too much of any one wine when you are getting started".
The Bonny Doon Vineyard has enjoyed a long history of innovation, one of the first was to popularize Rhône grapes in California. But we digress, this is about a wine purchase.

On the day of our visit to taste the wines at the Bonny Doon Tasting room the one bottle rule was busted again. Yes there is a reasonable excuse if not a mandate, because that day there was a two for one sale was happening on one of the wines that were enjoyed. During this visit there were a couple wines that were purchase worthy but the 2012 Pinot Noir “Spanish Springs” got our attention and was a sealed deal with the two for one sale.
Rather than give you our tasting notes, here are the ones from the folks who are intimate with this wine. (in general we agree but we don't pick up all the nuances listed here)

In the nose, wild strawberry, mint, white pepper, anise and allspice. In the mouth, strawberry-rhubarb and beetroot, which is one of the fail-safe signifiers of Pinosity. This is a more delicate expression of Pinot, but one that is incredibly true to Pinot’s Platonic essence.

The Bonny Doon Tasting room is comfortable, relatively spacious and easy to find. The decorations are, well, eclectic and fun and the staff are pretty knowledgable. They are closed on Tuesdays but open from 11 - 5 everyother day of the week.except a few holidays that you can check out on their website.

To continue with a theme than runs all over the Bonny Doon tasting room and the website. This light and delicate Pinot Noir has 'doon' stole our hearts. Giving it a rating of a 7 and because of the two for one sale a **** purchase.



Kiwi & Koala

Nov 16, 2014

Some Random Tasting Room Advice

Can't say enough about this topic.  How often can a bad experience ruin good wine, and a great experience augment ordinary wine! Here at WineWalkabout have discussed this topic on numerous occasions.

For what it’s worth, every time we go on a little wine tasting adventure we notice stuff. And not just the girls and wine. OK mostly the girls and the wine, but that’s not the point. The point is we also notice when a tasting room attendant makes handling a busy room look effortless or look like the Keystone Cops or worse, the soup kitchen on Seinfeld.
As someone who is responsible for a tasting room, it is good practice to know the room dynamics, and to know what you need to, to work in your tasting room. Observe the way things are working behind the counter and most of all, observe and understand the customer experience. What is it that your customers will see, hear, and experience as they enter? Will they fall in love with your tasting room? Will the person they are interacting with win their favor and be a great ambassador for your wines. Let’s face it, the tasting experience has a positive or a negative influence on how your wine is perceived and the delta can be significant.

Here are some random bits of advice from us at WineWalkabout to better aid that potential love affair and hopefully as a side benefit, a more profitable tasting room. Stating the obvious, (you may be surprised by how many times this does not happen) look at, smile and greet everyone as they walk in the door as if they are who you have been waiting for. Cannot tell you how many times we have been greeted as an interruption to emptying the glasswasher being unloaded. Speaking of glassware, have glasses and tasting lists ready as well as your best rendition of “How to win friends and influence people”. Even if you are busy make a point to tell your new guest's that you will get to them ASAP.

Obviously you start serving the first in and up to the bar, but as the crowd builds and they come and go it’s a good rule of thumb to start with the person on your left and move to the right. Basically moving clockwise. And always keep going in the same direction.  Yes you can move anticlockwise if you want but have a plan and pattern that keeps you consistent.  There is nothing more irritating that being an "invisible" patron. Good wine becoming not so good! Often your staff will still have to multi-task, but if people have wine in their glass and can see that your staff or you are moving toward them they're more inclined to be patient. For the wanker that has endless information to impart, and just as many questions that keep you from serving all your patrons, give them the old, "Wow that’s interesting", or "that's a great question. Let me just pour some wine for our other guests and I'll be right back”. Keep moving and pouring and you'll be back to the wanker, er, customer, in no time.
Pay attention when visiting other tasting rooms and learn from them. It may even be to learn what not to do! Don’t force your staff to just parrot a script like a bloody cockatoo, instead teach them about your wines all the way back to the vineyard where the grapes came from, whether they are yours or not, what type of barrels you use. You know, the basics the casual cork dork will invariably ask to impress you and look like they deserve to drink your wine. We know there is a ton to learn but people are interested in vineyard stuff and barrel selection and some stories of why. Let’s face it we all like to converse with someone who is engaging and pleasant and who seems to know about the subject that we are asking about. It’s also great if there are some interesting stories of funny or insider things to share and allow people to connect with your wines.

Never have a bottle open too long, even with vacuum or nitrogen and argon systems. Vacuum systems a couple days is plenty and gas systems, well that is a big window depending on the system. Just don’t push it, it’s not a good representation of your wine. You never know if the person you’re serving is on a WineWalkabout doing a review of your wine and tasting room experience.  Make sure you pour an adequate amount of wine in the glass (we like a couple of ounces) but a solid one once pour is minimum! Less than this and accurately evaluating the color,aroma and flavor of your wine is difficult. Besides we feel screwed with that tiny half once pour (equals bad blogs, tweets and posts). Hard to get a good feeling when you feel cheated. If not enough is poured it’s also hard not to pick up some of the attributes of the previous wine. Rinsing the glass with water between pours is not the answer as it will probably hinder more than help.The surface tension of water makes it cling to the glass--which will water down the taste and it also changes the pH of the next pour. Neither of those is good. Just get a two once dispenser and pour light or better yet a one ounce and pour twice for us and once for those that have tasted too much!
Making everyone that comes into your tasting room feel like your favourite customer is a priceless and profitable skill.
When your tasting room gets busy, let your staff focus on making happy tasters! Happy tasters are more likely to open their wallets and bring their friends back! Happy tasting also makes for a more loyal and sticky(translate; buys your wine and recommends to friends) customer!



Kiwi & Koala
PS. We will get around to tasting fee's and the like, so stay tuned.

Nov 9, 2014

#WW 2010 Vasse Felix Cabernet, Margaret River Western Australia,

Winemaker Virginia Willcock spreading the word.

Margaret River is the major geographical indication wine region in southwest Western Australia, with 5,017 hectares under vine and over 215 wineries. Vasse Felix winery was established in 1967 by pioneer Dr Thomas Cullity and is the founding wine estate of Margaret River.

Margaret River area experiences the unique combination of a Mediterranean climate, maritime influence and perfect soils for viticulture. Together, these conditions are ideal for growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The low diurnal and seasonal temperature range means an unusually even accumulation of warmth. Overall the climate is similar to that of Bordeaux in a dry vintage. Although the region produces just three percent of total Australian grape production, it produces over 20 percent of Australia's premium wine market.

The winery is in sorts named after Thomas Timothee Vasse who was a French sailor who was washed of the boat during an expedition off Western Australia’s south-west cape in 1801. His disappearance documented by the French explorers in their records, unofficially naming the area ‘Unhappy Vasse.’Dr Cullity was hopeful that his vineyard nearby the fateful site would enjoy a better fate so he bestowed it with the name Vasse Felix (latin for ‘lucky Vasse’). Ironically, Felix was also the middle name of the expedition’s Captain Hamelin.

Hearing that winemaker Virginia Willcock of Vasse Felix would be at Southern Latitudes Wines in the Crossroads Shopping center in Carmel California pouring her wine we could not resist stopping by for a chat. Oh and of course a taste or three. Then maybe a glass or so. 
Tasting the two Chardonnays we were impressed. Tasting the Cabernet and well, bottles were purchased

This Margaret River benchmark wine has been made every vintage since 1972. 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 1.5% Petit Verdot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc and nurtured in 100% French oak for 18 months (51% new, 49% 1-4 year old)

Rumour has it that this Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon expresses the intense and succulent, yet refined and structured style for which Margaret River Cabernet is known. This was a great drinking well structured and well integrated wine. Great nose with violets, black currants, dark Chocolate and some vanila. On the palate the dark fruit is just delicious with blackberry being the one that stood out. Fine tannins and a long soft finish keeps you going back for more.

An 8 on the scale and ***.

Thanks to the ladies at Southern Latitude Wines for the invite (our local source for Southern Hemisphere wines) and to Virginia for putting up with our silly questions and constant begging for more wine.


Kiwi & Koala

Oct 27, 2014

Merlot Merlot the much maligned Merlot

Its that time of year again. Its Merlot month! We do enjoy Merlot month as an excuse to look for and drink this wonderful variety.
The other day while out on a wine adventure a Merlot was tasted that stopped us in our tracks. Not that the previous Merlots from this winery were not good, but this is very very good. The 2011 Joyce Vineyards Estate Merlot is just a great Merlot.

Hey Miles, get stuffed!

Merlot is just a great red wine to drink or enjoy with a meal. Sure, there are flashier wines out there, even flashier Merlots but the Joyce Estate Merlot is pretty spot on. Like that spouse you've been married to for a long time, but are still excited to see naked every night. Light some candles, turn on some 80's New Wave, perhaps Spandau Ballet,
Always believe in your soul 
You've got the power to know 
You're indestructible 
Always believe in, that you are 
Gold (gold)  and embrace this Merlot as it engages your taste buds with layers of dark berry, exotic spices and velvety textures. Ripe blackberry, a little allspice, hint of toasty oak and blueberry compote dance on the palate. Pair this with a special friend with or without food. Clothing optional...

Go by the tasting room in Carmel Valley and taste the Joyce range and find your favorite.

Happy Wine Adventures,

Kiwi & Koala

Oct 15, 2014

#WW 2008 Jacobs Creek Shiaz

This weeks week night wine that stood out as a great taste and price balanced wine is from South Australia. The 2008 Jacobs Creek Shiraz. What a great drinking value wine. Excellent fruit with violets, dark berries and black pepper on the nose. Rich, ripe blackberry, purple plum and spice with a full, fleshy mid-palate. Outstanding depth of fruit flavor supported by subtle coffee like oak notes and fine velvety tannin's with easy soft finish. A very enjoyable and distinctive example of an affordable Australian Shiraz. This medium bodied easy drinking enjoyable inexpensive wine rates **** and a solid 6. Perfect to accompany your week night meals even if you have guests this is good enough to share without hesitation.  Good and very inexpensive! Cheers!

Happy Wine Adventures,


Kiwi & Koala

Oct 12, 2014

Wine but no Picnic at Hanging Rock

As a child I visited this amazing place called Hanging Rock, a distinctive geological formation, 718m above sea level (105m above plain level) on the plain just a few kilometres north of Mount Macedon (dinner the previous night at Mt Macedon Hotel), a former volcano. Best known as the site where a party of schoolgirls disappeared in February of 1900 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' which is the story my Uncle had told the night before. It was a drizzling wet cold day as it can be in Victoria in the winter and I remember being terrified we would not find our way out and further the mystery of this place. It is a very scary place and easy to get lost when you are ten years old.

It was also the rumoured to have been the haunt of bushranger ‘Mad Dog’ Morgan. It was made famous by the classic Australian novel and later movie Picnic at Hanging Rock, the mythic tale of the Valentine’s Day disappearance of a group of schoolgirls and their teacher while visiting Hanging Rock in 1901.

The legend endures, and an air of mystery and intrigue still lingers. This mound of massive granite outcrops is riddled with caves, tunnels and overhanging boulders, its shapes and acoustic echoes enhancing its already spooky reputation. It is a mystical place that is for sure.

This trip the weather was no different and although a few decades later a strange trepidation lingers about wandering around this amazing place. After an hour or so I was done being cold and getting wet and decided that a different adventure at Hanging Rock was in order. Done with the Picnic idea it was off to the Hanging Rock Winery that was just down the road a couple minutes and offered a dry spot to taste wine. Much more my style.

A nice place for a taste and a large selection of wine where almost anyone will find a new favorite. My favorite after careful consideration and a number of revisits was the 2008 Kilfara Pinot Noir.

The Mt Macedon area is a cool place to visit with the Mt Macedon Hotel (pub) for food and drink, the Hanging Rock Winery among others and the Hanging Rock area itself to spend some time feeling like you are back in 1900.

Happy Wine Adventures,

Kiwi & Koala

The Cellar Door at Hanging Rock Winery