Jul 26, 2015

Here's to new friends, Showblock Wines

We have said this before but it is always so wonderful when it happens again. One of the greatest things about the wine industry are the people you meet along the way.

Recently while cruising around a hip wine event in Adelaide, South Australia one of our Instagram posts was tagged and we received an invitation to stop by and taste the wines of ShowBlock. How could we resist? Never ones to refuse a taste we went in search of the ShowBlock booth. The event, was 'Adelaide the Wine Capital of Australia' held at the Market Shed on Holland . There was food, wine and music all afternoon for the hip and happening crowd in Adelaide (#atwc). We found ShowBlock and it was like a welcomed family reunion! In short order we got stuck into some serious tasting and discovered some lovely wines. The first one that stood out was their sparkling Shiraz. What a delightful drop. Purchased a couple bottles on the spot to share with friends (yes that good).
Wait what? Who is ShowBlock? Here is a start;

(from their website)

The ShowBlock Wine Story

We'd like to tell you we know exactly how many generations our family has been making wine from grapes they lovingly grew, but let's face it from 600BC to now you kind of lose count. It's true our forefathers watched the Mediterranean sun set over their vineyards. Sounds romantic, but so is watching the Southern Cross appear over our moonlit vines every evening in the heart of South Australia's beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula.
Our philosophy in life is simple: take the time to breathe and always have fun. If it's not fun don't do it (get somebody else to do it). Our philosophy in wine is also simple: take the time to let wine breathe and only drink good wine. If it's not good don't drink it (let somebody else drink it). Great wine should be enjoyed with delicious food, the fulfilling company of family and friends and enhance the joy of life.
On our vineyards we grow grapes for flavour, not schedules and make wine for friends, not shareholders. Many scientists out there will be disappointed to learn that we trust in the wonderful perfection that nature offers and don't tamper with things that don't need fixing. After all humans have been making wine successfully for a really, really long time. A natural approach to grape growing and wine making will produce charismatic wines that reflect the terroir and have distinct varietal characteristics. They may not be perfect, or taste the same from vintage to vintage, but every wine we produce will tell it's own unique story. We hope you enjoy drinking our wines as much as we have enjoyed making them for you.
John and Sarae Adamopoulos

Good reading but this really does not tell the whole story! While covering the dry stuff it in no way tells you about John and Sarae. Sarae is a warm, welcoming and friendly person and one that has possibly never met a stranger. She is the marketing force behind these wonderful wines and a fantastic enthusiastic ambassador for ShowBlock and the wine lifestyle in general. What an amazing and fun person to be around. A generous hostess and great cook. How do we know she is a great cook? They invited us to their home in the beautiful McLaren Vale wine region and again, we could not say no. On the Monday following the event we sat outside on the patio on what was  a pleasant winters day overlooking the beautiful vineyards and rolling hills of McLaren Vale eating grape leaf wrapped spiced rice, lamb sausages, garden grown sun dried tomatoes and some fantastic cheeses and crackers. For something a little sweet there was a Greek style apple turnover. While enjoying this amazing feed John was pouring the wine. It was just wonderful. John is just as passionate as Sarae he just shows it in a different way.

John is absolutely dedicated to making the best wine he can from his family vineyards. He grew up around these vines and has an intangible connection to how they are doing each and every year based on decades of familiarity. John is a thinker and as we talked it was apparent he remembers all the things he observed in the vineyard growing up. He loves these vineyards and it shows in the wine. John and Sarae truly make wine in a style that they like to drink and it shows. These are lovely drinkable wines that are well priced and great value (60% are ****) with all being three stars (***) and better.

As we talked about this wonderful wine world experience with our friends, telling of this serendipitous meeting that had such an uplifting effect on our trip, it reminded us of just what a great industry it is. The icing on the cake was as we left John and Sarae, they loaded us up with oranges, lemons and grapefruit from their garden and a couple bottles of wine to see us good on our journey home. Priceless!

Thanks to John and Sarae for their wonderful hospitality and generosity. We look forward to when we get together again. Oh and by the way we are also keeping tabs on the growth and success that is sure to follow.

Look, go find ShowBlock wine and give it a go and tell us what you think, we highly 'recommend' you do!

Happy wine Adventures,



Jul 20, 2015

Extreme Chocolate and Wine at Hahndorf Hill Winery

Who would not love to relax in a climate controlled glass-enclosed tasting room with spectacular views of a vineyard in the beautiful Adelaide hills and the surrounding Hahndorf countryside? Add some crackin wines and a variety of chocolate and wine pairing opportunities as well as a great platter menu and for us, this is heaven.

The Hahndorf Hill Winery is not a new experience for us but one that always delivers, and as such we go back when we can to just simply enjoy the offered experiences. Each time we try something different and have never been disappointed. Owned by Larry Jacobs and Marc Dobson, who operate this boutique business together in the Adelaide Hills and run it with a dedicated team. The signature experience of this venue is their ChocoVino Experience.

Hahndorf Hill Winery is one of those places that provides such a wonderful number of experiences that you could easily visit a half dozen times a year and not repeat yourself. Not only that, but it is also one of those places that you would, no should, take that special someone. Take your Mum and Dad for a special treat or that group of especially close friends.
Click the picture for video on ChocoVino

Dee had us settled in and the experience chosen was the Extreme Chocolate Experience! What else would it be?

Our informative host talked us thru the perfect way to get the ultimate flavor experience.

1. Look at the chocolate and observe its appearance, it should have a rich and even sheen.
2. Touch it and see how the chocolate feels, silky, cool and dry.

3. Listen as you break it and hear it snap. Good chocolate has a distinctive snap as it breaks.

4. Smell the freshly broken edges and notice how they deliver an aroma of the taste delight to come.

5. Finally taste the chocolate. Let a piece sit and melt on your tongue and release its wonderful flavors and then savor it as all the magical flavors fill your mouth.

6. With your palate primed with these sensual flavors of beautiful chocolate go ahead and take a sip of the paired wine and experience the synergy between the flavors of good wine and chocolate.

To class it up even more you then get to cleanse your palate with the purest bottled water in the world from Cape Grim Tasmania Australia and then start all over again.

The extreme chocolate experience is not for the faint of heart. It even starts with a red wine (Shiraz) and then goes to a white (Gruner Veltliner). The Gruner was paired with a 100% cacao chocolate! With how beautiful this wine is that seemed a bit of a stretch but it was up to the task. Given the award winning status of this Gruner (multiple gold's) and that it stands so beautifully on its own one may suggest that the chocolate is an unnecessary addition. True, it is, but the experience of the taste combination is a very interesting and enjoyable one, and should not to be missed.

Hahndorf Hill Winery is such great place to celebrate any occasion. It provides such a special experience, and for any visit to Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills, a 'must do' Adventure.

Happy tasting Adventures,


Jul 12, 2015

Winemaker dinner with Brandon Armitage

Jeanne doing the honours and pouring a welcome bubbly for each guest.

We were greeted with a palate cleansing glass of champagne or three and after an appropriate amount of social time we were all seated. 

This was a wine maker dinner to showcase and introduce the new and soon to be released wines from Armitage Wines. How did it go? Read on!

We all the got to hear Executive Chef John Paul Lechtenberg and Winemaker Brandon Armitage describe each of the food and wine pairings.

Now I am not what most would consider a foodie. I get all wonky when some one serves cold soup. Crikey, don't be so lazy and just heat it up already! But I digress. One of the first items on the menu was a 64 deg egg. Well we shall see about that was the attitude and with that the dinner was begun...

Course 1.
Duck fat pan toast, miaatakke mushrooms, 64°egg, Pinot braised shallot, pickled cherry tomato, bronze fennel. A collection of wonderful flavors and I even enjoyed the 64°egg.(could have used some toast to dip)
This was paired with the 2013 Carmel Valley Pommard Pinot Noir. A Piñot with some weight. Has tannins that will need a little time to figure out who they really are. This wine changed in the glass over time a lot and time should prove this to be an interesting and enjoyable style Piñot. Lovely.

Course 2. 

King salmon-Charred brassicas (cauliflower and romanesco) pickled zucchini,lemon garlic saffron sauce,arugula  pesto with marcona almond.

This was paired with the 2013 Santa Cruz Mountains, Ms, Roberta Vineyard Pinot Noir. Soft feminine and delicate.

 A sexy young girl who enjoys leading you astray. Oh baby. Hey honey can I keep her? 100% new oak. Would not have guessed. Divine!

Course 3.

Chicken breast cooked in sous vide. Mole, cilantro parm puree, smoked butter-nut squash. Chile dusted chicken skin cracker.

This was paired with the 2013 Dry Hole Vineyard Chalone Piñot Noir.
A full sumptuous, voluptuous wine that has it all going on.

The Marilyn Monroe of these Pinot Noir wines. Great balance and a crackin finish that just checks all the boxes.
This wine is definitely feminine and is a bit like that sultry woman that has that ability to make grown men blush. A siren that one cannot resist.
Please sir can I have some more. No new oak...!

Course 4.
22 hour lamb. Eucalyptus/blackberry sauce, chickpea panisse.
This was paired with the 2013 Santa Cruz Mountains Mt Roberta Reserve Piñot Noir

This is a beautiful svelte wine. With beautiful aromatics and a balanced and round mid palate. The Finnish is  like a great suspense novel from a master that holds you on the edge of your seat for an extended period of time.

A technical descriptor would be 'Yum'.  This is the same as the Santa Cruz Mountains Piñot but selected barrels that Brandon feels is the best of the best. The best of the best is a little more rounded and fuller. A lover with a feel for substance and connection that will make your night one to remember.

The dessert was a lovely cheesecake well presented any very delicious. 

This was a very well prepared and well paired dinner. With enough of that required foodie style that is in vogue and yet with a great connection to real solid food that played well with all.

While Brandon was a little coy in his sharing of too much information about his wines each and every one was a lovely drop. A couple were just fantastic and well worthy of all the praise given over dinner. No matter the bottle opened they were all very nice and this is one wine maker to keep an eye on.

Happy Wine and food Adventures,