Monthly Archives: July 2011

Big blue Barossa sky here – snowcaps in Queenstown there

2.53pm, Thursday 28th July, Yalumba Clocktower, Angaston, Eden Valley, South Australia
It’s a lovely, clear-but-still-a-bit-crisp afternoon out there in the Barossa folks, and the pruning teams are loving it – working in their shirtsleeves for the first time in weeks. The Barossa looks so jolly neat and tidy this time of the year as the freshly pruned canes are wrapped down on to the wires, row after row after row of them.

And meanwhile, our travelling winemaker Andy La Nauze is currently over there in New Zealand on the Yalumba bandwagon. Last night he did a top job at First Glass Wine & Spirits in Auckland; today he’s off to the snowcapped jewel in the South Island – Queenstown. He’s working with our bloke who babysits the southern half of the South Island, AJ Humphreys, and they will be a formidable double act this evening at the Queenstown Resort College – presenting a solid lineup of 10 wines.

And me? I’ve just finished the wine list details for our first event in Sydney next week. That would be the Yalumba dinner at Sea Level, the family-owned and -run seafood restaurant right on The Esplanade at Cronulla – one of Sydney’s southern beachside suburbs. It’s going to be a gangbuster week next week in Sydney folks, and I shall make sure I get lots of photos for the blog – especially if the weather cooperates.

Felled by the freight train flu!

3.28pm, Wednesday 27th July, Yalumba Clocktower, Angaston, Eden Valley, South Australia
OK folks – today we start on a bit of a medical tangent! What is roxithromycin? It is a ‘semi synthetic macrolide antibiotic’ that stops bacteria from doing nasty things to your body – specifically it treats respiratory tract infections. And I’ve been pumped full of those antibiotics for the past five days – flat on my back, felled by the vicious flu-like infection that is whizzing around the Barossa at present. So sorry for dropping off the air, and Air NZ Flight 792 went to Auckland without me last Friday for our Yalumba week in New Zealand.

We were in luck though, as young gun winemaker Andy La Nauze was home at the winery, and he has stepped in to the freezing conditions over there in the Land of the Long White Snow Cloud. Today he’s working in Auckland and has been at our office for lunch with the troops. Ali our engineroom over there organised a selection of cupcakes for dessert, knowing that the quest is always on to find the best fluffy sponge and buttercream creation in the world – and was good enough to send this photo of them through to me … so I didn’t completely miss out. I do like the look of the lemon meringue whip thing cupcake in the foreground!

The cupcakes Jane missed

Tonight will see Andy at First Glass Wine & Spirits at Takapuna for the annual Yalumba wine lovefest catchup with the seriously staunch customers of that store – and their NZ Wine Options Team lynchpin / store owner Kingsley “I know you like me, Ferrari” Wood! It is always a huge night over on the Auckland northside, and this year will be no different. There are 12 wines on for tasting – degustation style – and I have no doubt that they will have a blast with Andy. So I will keep up to date with how they’re travelling over there, and meanwhile at home I’ll be getting set to go to Sydney next Monday for two weeks of events through the city, the suburbs, out to Wollongong, Newcastle, Lake Maquarie – finishing in Canberra and Wagga Wagga.

Good luck with it all, Andy, and don’t get roped in to too many bets on the World Cup outcome! My early tip? Australia v England in the final. Call me nuts but I like those two backlines!

The Oxford Landing Boathouse Restaurant at The Good Food & Wine Show – Perth

9.19am, Tuesday 19th July, Yalumba Clocktower, Angaston, Eden Valley, The Barossa, SA
It’s a misty foggy morning in Angaston, and before I get excited about next week’s Rare & Fine adventure in New Zealand, I just want to finish off the “Oxford Landing visits Perth” story. This ‘Boathouse Restaurant’ idea has been a magic way to take one vineyard’s wines around Australia on this Masterchef inspired roadshow, but with their own matched food dishes. Throw in the tasting booth manned by winemakers and viticlturalists, and the wine interested public – no matter whether beginners or advanced – get an amazing opportunity to understand the winegrowing world for Oxford Landing – from vineyard to restaurant plate. So here is how some of it worked:

Pip, Matt and Adam

First,  the six-wine Oxford Landing masterclass in the Riedel Tasting Theatre – with Pip (in the role of Mother Clucky Hen keeping us all focussed on the job!), Matt talking the wines, and Adam talking the vines. Showing the three whites – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio – from the new 2011 vintage gave folks a clear idea of what a good season it is for fruit drive that lifts even when the wines are chilled. And for a town like Perth that sits on the beach and has had most of the year between 30 and 42 degrees C – that’s got to be a good result!

Now to the Boathouse Restaurant.

Poh's stays

Here’s the food by Poh Ling Yeow. The entree of ‘Malaysian Beef & Chicken Satays with fruit and vegetable skewers’ was paired with the 2011 Oxford Landing Chardonnay. The recipe book that everyone had to take home explained in detail how to make the marinade from base spices, and with a bit of zing from the sauce and the chilled fruit of the Chardonnay – nice combo. Especially with the tart pineapple and cool cucumber skewers to clean up after the dark soy, brown sugar, garlic and lemongrass in the sauce.

Nonya curry

The main course of ‘Nonya Chicken Curry’ was paired with the 2010 Oxford Landing Shiraz. Again the recipe book gives you the method to put together a fairly good version of Poh’s traditional dish. It’s lashings of curry leaves, coconut milk and cream, cinnamon, coriander, chillies,cumin, fennel and star anise with potato and chicken pieces – all simmered together until fall-apart tender. No wonder it went so well with the juicy berry fruit velvet of the Shiraz!

And to finish off, we had a huge amount of help from the sales folk based in Perth who look after the sales of Oxford Landing throughout Western Australia – thanks Dean, Jacki, Lee, Emma, Pia, Byron – and we were powered by the fabulous turkey kranskys from the Mt Barker Free Range Turkey Company. I got it wrong earlier, folks, and said they were from Margaret River. Wrong! Mt Barker – specifically Kendenup – is where Lynette & Belle and the crew are from. The turkeys are raised on natural pastures and grains and are free of hormone and antibiotic growth promotants. And just for this Good Food & Wine Show event, they made the turkey kranskys with low fat cheese. Did they taste great!

Emma and Jacki and the famous turkey kransky

Have a look at these happy customers – our Emma (left) and Jacki. We sent a lot of folks down to get one of these meals on a stick, and there was a general thumbs up for the kransky with the 2011 Oxford Landing Sauvignon Blanc. Thanks again girls, and we hope to see you again, down the food and wine track.

OK – that ‘Boatshed Restaurant’ rolls on to the Brisbane Good Food & Wine Show next, so if you’re up that way from the 4th – 6th November, make sure you check it out.

Now it’s about getting set for next week in New Zealand. Napier, Auckland, Taupo, Wellington, Queenstown and Christchurch – here we come!

See you later Boomtown, back to the Barossa

3.46pm, Sunday 17th July, Gate 9, Perth Airport, Western Australia
There are a couple of very tired kids sitting here ready to fly back across the Nullarboar to Adelaide, then jump in the car and drive back up to the Barossa. It’s an absolutely memorable day in Perth, and on the way out to the airport, we saw people waterskiing along the Swan River in the sunshine! We, on the other hand, have been inside the convention centre at The Good Food & Wine Show over the past three days.

What have we been up to?

We have talked to thousands of people from all parts of Perth and beyond about where Oxford Landing is and how we grow grapes there, and then we’ve shown them six of the most fruit-driven, easy-drinking wines that are ready to jump in and make just about any meal taste better. We’ve done wine masterclasses, we’ve had contest winners come in for a meal with the chef Marian Grasby and viticulturalist Adam Hall, we’ve interviewed rockstar chefs, and we’ve spread good wine will left, right and centre! And now we’ve got scratchy voices and are ready to go home.

But here are some pics that I took on the phone to give you an idea of what it all looked like – everything being organised with the precision of a Swiss watch by Pip “Clucky mother hen in a good way” Hoare.

Here’s the Oxford Landing ‘boatshed’ restaurant – food by Mari0n Grasby and Poh Ling Yeow, wine by Oxford Landing.

The 'boatshed' restaurant

Here’s Marion after hosting a lunch in the boatshed, with the recipe for her confit duck with star anise that has been such a hit this weekend.

Marion and her hit recipe

Here’s Adam explaining the ins and outs of grapegrowing at Oxford Landing to an extremely interested crowd!

Adam and his fans

OK folks, now I’m going to grab a coffee, find a copy of the latest Woman’s Day and kick back. See ya when we’re back in the Barossa.

And Matt Moran dropped in …

8.01am, Saturday 15th July, Same place and time, Perth
Wow! These internet kiosk coin units are vicious! When the money runs out, the time just stops dead – nearly lost that whole section below, and just got the turkey kransky sentence in. But seriously folks, we sent a stack of people over to their little kitchen, recommending they have the turkey sausage with our 2011 Sauvignon Blanc as a benchmark for their day grazing around the event – how stellar food and wine flavours can be when the original produce is so red hot!

Matt Moran

And then during our afternoon food matching masterclass, where each of the sixOxford Landing wines were set up with the matching Poh and Marian dishes, we had Matt Moran drop in to talk about what’s happening in his food world – which is a lot! He’s going back to where he started in Sydney, adding a new restaurant to the fold – with its own produce garden – in the middle of Paddington with Pruniere’s. There’s also a new book, “Dinner at Matt’s”, coming out in October with recipes for the sort of food he does for friends at home. Here he is signing after the session – lovely bloke up close gals … and his chat capped a top day in the Oxford Landing boatshed for us .

Now we get to do it all again today!

Turkey kranskys from Margaret River?

7.22am, Saturday 15th July, the coin in the slot internet kiosk, Perth Covention Centre, Western Australia
Morning folks, it’s just me and Powderfinger (singing ‘My Happiness’) in the place right now. Yesterday the Convention Centre was completely heaving with the Good Food & Wine Show. We were flat out with the Oxford Landing boathouse – I’ll get some photos today – using the snapping new 2011 vintages of Oxford Landing Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and  Pinot Grigio, and the 2010 reds Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Shiraz. These wines were all paired up with food from Marion Grasby and Poh Ling Yeow – those photos are on the agenda today also! – and it was an oasis of relaxed sit down dining with proper cutlery and stemware in there all day whilst the whirlwind of the whole event spun on around it.

Trukey Kransky!

I went on a ‘research run’ early and found the best snack option in the whole Good Food & Wine Show – the Margaret River Turkey Company’s ‘Turkey Kransky’ – 6 inches of solid turkey, spices and low fat cheese on a stick!

Back to Perth for The Good Food & Wine Show

11.15am, Thursday 13th July, Gate 22, Adelaide Airport amongst a stack of road and building works!
It’s a lovely clear day, and Adelaide Airport is overrun with ‘little people’! No, not an Irish leprechaun convention – it’s school holidays, and there are kids of all shapes and sizes everywhere! I’m off to Perth to talk all things Oxford Landing with winemaker Matt Zadow, PR queen Pip Hoare, and viticulturalist Adam Hall. Should be a top weekend, as we’re working with some stellar chefs – Marian Grasby and Matt Moran for starters – plus we’ll have an excellent opportunity to have a good look at the WA produce on show. Then, if we get a bit of spare time, there’s also the AC/DC exhibition on at the Perth Museum – seeing as legendary original lead singer Bon Scott was a West Australian boy. So we’re heading west with a full agenda, and I’ll let you know how we go.

PS When I get back, I’ll fill you in on another hole in the wall eatery I’ve found on one of my rare trips to Adelaide. It’s a Korean version of a sushi train, and not only is it fab flavourwise – it’s a seriously healthy way to eat.