Monthly Archives: May 2015

Next stop….outside the big city limits….Wagga Wagga & Newcastle

12.16pm, Sunday 31st May, Central Station, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Officially the afternoon now folks, and I’m waiting on a train to take me up to Newcastle where we’ll be catching up with some old very wine switched on mates from Merewther through to Lake Maquarie. They’ll be coming to see us tomorrow either during the day at Customs House, or at dinner right on top of the Newcastle harbour with Neil of Scratchleys. I love the trains, and have done my fair share on UK Rail and Amtrak, so it’s nice to do the short northern run to Newcastle in my own country. About the same time on the rails gets me from Baltimore to New York on the ‘Capitol Corridoor’ – it’s weird sometimes when you compare these things. Biggest city on that run that you go through? Philadelphia. Biggest town on this run? Probably Gosford. The one thing both worlds have in common? The train stations in each city are beautiful old buildings, with treasures like this lurking in every corner…. 

So I’ve got 45 minutes until we leave, so I’ll try and catch you up on what we’ve been doing for the last couple of days. Friday morning we drove from Canberra down to Wagga Wagga – yes the cruel jokesters do say “the town so exiting that they named it twice” – but I like it. It’s home to a lovely old clubhouse, complete with snooker tables and cellar – The Riverine Club – that puts on a wine dinner for the locals when we bring our new Rare & Fine releases to town. And that’s what the plan was for last Friday night, and 65 of the Club members and their friends thought it was a good one.

When Mick – our man that looks after Yalumba in Canberra and Wagga Wagga – and I went across to the Club early to open the wines – it all promised a great night out was on the way. We had everything you need – proper glassware, a top local chef at the stoves,  a tremendous Cellarman Dennis who’s been there for every dinner we’ve done going back 8 years, and really enthusiastic local folk who love wine and have  taken us under their wings as favourites. Thanks very much Paul, the professor(s), John, Dr Sleep, and Magic Fingers – you all know who you are. (Well actually, Magic wasn’t there on this occasion, but he was missed! At least by me! )
I did well at the start, grabbing a pic of an excellent pre dinner canapé – heres the ‘Lamb mignon topped with truffle honey and dates’ – gluten free as well!

Just as a ‘by the way’ – these would be fab with our 2014 Bushvine Grenache, 2014 Y Series Shiraz Viognier or 2012 ‘Cigar’ little bit lush Coonawarra Cabernet Sauv…..just in case you’ve got a bottle floating around.

Oh hang on – lost track of time……I’d better get through the gate and on to the platform, we’re off in 20 minutes. I’ll be back when we’re on the train.

OK – on board. Here’s my home base for the next few hours – for the folks who often get a bit caught up with the glamarama side of the road wineselling warrior role…

So, back to The Riverine Club dinner in Wagga. I didn’t get any photos of the excellent entree, main and dessert courses, as I was flat out getting around the tables a couple of times – everybody wanted to have a chat, and there a lot of really good questions. Plus….for the first time….I worked in tandem with the Riverine Club’s specialist wine appreciation group “Six at Six”. It’s an excellent idea. On Thursday evenings at 6pm, the group gets together at the club, and they taste six wines – and they try and focus on a ‘vertical’ (that’s several vintages of the same wine for the interested novice readers) of something interesting. The ‘6 at 6’ Tasting Session usually goes for about an hour, then they do dinner afterwards. The current ringmaster of the group is a very dapper winewordsman (yes! That’s one of my very own invented terms) Duncan Farquar, and he presided over a table of 22 group members on the night – and summarised their thoughts on the wines……course by course. They’re a pretty creative bunch when it comes to wine descriptors, and they had some pretty memorable winey things to say!! Long live Wagga’s ‘6 at 6’ crew! And yes, I should’ve taken a picture of Duncan and the long table of ‘Sixer Sippers’.

Back to the menu…..sorry abou the no illustrations !

The entree was duck – Peking style – popped into crispy spring rolls with ginger, lime, coriander and plum sauce on the side. Just the right combination to jump into the ‘exotic aromatic’ double – our 2013 Roussanne and 2014 ‘Virgilius’ (barrel selection from a single vineyard) Viognier. The Sixer Sippers were struck with the “silky and rounded” Viognier…..which reads “voluptuous” to me!

On to the main event…..Pork Belly. Not just any old ‘seen on every smart menu across the world so we better do it here in Wagga as well’ Pork Belly. This was nearly the best fall apart fibres of pork without that gluggy fat character stuff that I’ve seen this year…..and that’s including across 6 states of the USA and one province of Canada! Straight from the menu it was “Crispy Roast Pork Belly with poached pear” – and you could have easily substituted quince for the pear….its that caramelised sweetness that helps cut through. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well it held hands with our two quite lush layered bigger reds – the 2012 ‘Cigar’ Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, and the big gun 2012 ‘Signature’ Cabernet Shiraz. The Signature, which at 53% Cab to 47% Shiraz is pretty much half and half – shows that way on the nose and in the flavours. One moment it’s red berries and cassis on the nose – all Cab – then next look it’s chocolate and plum – all shiraz. It’s lush though, and because the tannins are so well soaked in together with the fruit – it’s deceptive. It appears to be so ready to go that our biggest problem is going to be to convince people to leave the cork in, and not polish it off with a T Bone tonight!mGood problem to have!

And then, just when you thought it was all done….on came the ‘deconstructed’ Etonian Mess – one of my favourite sweet treats that I first hadon my travels through england. There, I’ve always had the cream + raspberry + meringue concoction presented almost in a ‘thrown together’ fashion in a parfait glass or similar. At the Riverine Club dinner, we had it sitting like a sweet sugary caterpillar spread along the plate. So good, and completely happy with the honey, nougat and apricot of our 2014 FSW (Fine Sweet White) 7B Botrytis Viognier. A suitably sticky finish to an excellent wine and food showcase…….in my humble opinion. I knew there was a jolly good reason for including Wagga Wagga on our Rare & Fine wine release roadshow!!

So a big “Thanks Very Much” must go to Riverine Club for having us back to visit, keep up the good work Duncan Farquar and the ‘6 at 6’ers…..and with any luck we’ll see you all – same time, same place – to do it all again,  next year.

PS and I do like all the antiques in the club!




The Canberra Wine & Food Club – unique!!

3.51pm, Thursday 28th May, Ainslie Avenue, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Afternoon folks, it’s a sunny day here in the nation’s capital, but it’s still icy cold! We’ll be off to the ‘Sirens’ restaurant out in Gungalhin – on the outskirts of Canberra – this evening, to do our first ever Yalumba dinner with them, so I’ve got a bit of time to catch you up on one of the best annual events on our Rare & Fine release calendar. And that would be the Canberra Wine & Food Club lunch.

The Canberra Wine & Food Club is one of those fabulous stories that sit out there in the Australian suburbs, and every now and then you get lucky enough to stumble across one of them. Like the day about 12 years ago when our Yalumba sales man for Canberra, the ACT, and all the country through to Bega and Batemans Bay – David Shaw – suggested we take our new release top wines around to these keen Canberra wine interested folk that had their own ‘clubhouse’ and would cook a lunch up for as at the same time. Sounded like a good idea at the time – little did we realise that we were being let into a great co operative world where like minded people get together and enjoy wine and food on a regular basis……and we’ve caught up with them for a lunch just about every year since. But not just any lunch folks!

The Canberra Wine and Food Club started back in 1953, and was pretty much a group of blokes who sought out good wine direct from wineries – by the barrel – and had get togethers to bottle it off and sell it to mates – under a special licence! – then they started making a picnic of it with home cooked food. Then, they decided it would be a sart move to build a cellar to store their wine, and why not put a clubhouse on top of it with a dining room, bar and kitchen – and they’d be set! And that’s exactly what they did. Approached the Department of the Interior back in the day, outlined what they wanted to do, and got the green light. And instead of taking up a block of land in the city – too flat – the CWFC founding group found a top block of land, on a slope so that a cellar was possible, and the current Clubhouse at 13 Fitzroy Terrace, Forrest eventually went up. Not without a stack of working bee days to dig the cellar, set the floorboards, and actually build the place. Let alone later developments to carpet the dining room, improve the lighting, and upgrade the kitchen. And that, in a nutshell is how the whole thing started. And we’re lucky enough to be associated closely with the club today, and it’s a very big red wine letter day for us when the date is set for the annual Yalumba Rare & Fine Lunch at the CWFC. 

These days our Yalumba man in Canberra is Mick Riddle, and this year Mick and I wanted to make it all a bit special – last year we featured the 2010 Signature Cab Shiraz, yes, the one that I was thrilled to bits to be asked to sign! – so this year we thought it might be nice to do morning tea before the lunch. We would chase down some super muffins and cupcakes and the club members could bring along their Signature to be ‘signed again’ – which a lot of folks have been keen to do. So that’s exactly how the plan for yesterday came together. 

One minor setback though, before we even got going….the fire alarm at the hotel where I was staying went off at 4.06am, so I probably looked a bit ordinary around the edges heading off to the bakery and on to the bottle signing! 


Yep!! And it was jolly chilly in the cellar! But hang on, I’m getting ahead of the story. We made arrangements from the winery last week with excellent local Canberra bakers ‘210 Degrees’ (at the Hughes shops) for cupcakes and muffins, and Mick and I went over to collect them – and have brekky. Should’ve tried their bacon and cheese pie, but I knew it would end up on my clean shirt, so went for the ham and cheese croissant. If you live in Canberra – you should definitely drop by.

Hmmmmm…….what goodies could be in those boxes? And that’s a very neat sales set up in the car Mick!

Delivered safely downstairs – without any sampling I might add! – to the CWFC cellar for the Signature signing morning tea….left to right….choc chip muffins, chocolate sponge chocolate cupcakes, red velvet sponge vanilla iced cupcakes, and raspberry & white chocolate muffins. Yes, they tasted as good as they looked!

OK – just got the call from the boys, and I’ll be collected in 10 minutes to go across to Sirens (Gungalhin) for tonight’s Rare & Fine dinner, so I’ll finish this when I get back tonight.

See ya for now 


This is the cellar folks – our home based Cooperage  barrel head that we sent over for the 50th Anniversary of the Club – and it’s now fitted out with racking to babysit the substantial (and quite historical)  Club wine collection. This was the natural choice for morning tea and the bottle signing… 

And we saw some very interesting things come out of the woodwork! The absolutely sensational 1996  Signature – that would be the one with James Wark’s signature on the back label, financial supremo from not too many years ago, and Yalumba Company Secretary in fact. This wine is one of THE best vintages of Signature ever sealed, and it was a privilege to add the good karma Irish quote “May the most that you hope for….be the least that you get” to it.


10.46pm, same day, back at the hotel from the Sirens (Gungalhin) dinner

OK, where were we? Back at the Canberra Wine & Food Club – yesterday – our morning tea went tremendously well. For two hours folks came in with their bottles of Signature, had freshly brewed coffee – thanks Graham (current Cellarmaster at the Club) – with their muffins and cupcakes…..and just took the time to catch up. Very civilised morning had by all!

“Hey Phil, make sure you drink this with someone you really like”

Then it was time for our lunch – Jansz and canapés downstairs in the bar…. 

Well done on the zucchini pancakes gals!


Meanwhile….in the kitchen, it’s a collaborative volunteer kitchen crew preparing lunch. That’s the way it all works at the CWFC



First course? Albert Caton’s (ex Club Cellarmaster forever!) Pumpkin & Prawn soup with just a bit of chilli paste, fish stock and shelled prawns! Spot on with the Roussanne and Eden Valley Viognier


I didn’t get any more photos – the excellent lamb casserole with glaze components that absolutely set off the lush fruits of the 2012 Signature, and the Garden Gully dried fruits and cheese plates with the Botrytis Viognier – I got caught up answering questions around the tables – very good problem to have. It was a very happy room folks ……late into the afternoon.

In fact, we covered a lot of ground. We did wine tech talk, cork and stelvin closure updates, new developments in our vineyards, new vineyards of old vines that we now have access to and are bottling as individual ‘Distinguished Sites’ wines, and even travel tips for London to New Orleans! This event had everything!

So thanks a million to the Canberra Wine and food Club – we love your work!! and we’ll see you same time, same place with another top wine set – next year.

OK – lights out, because we’ve got a big day tomorrow. We’re driving to Wagga Wagga, NSW to catch up with our friends at the Riverine Club. See ya when it’s Friday, and we’re in New South Wales

It’s the Caledonian Hotel for a Rare & Fine night out in Adelaide

10.34am, Thursday 15th May 2015, Krispy Kreme Adelaide Central Market (couldn’t help myself!), South Australia

Morning folks, I just couldn’t walk past Krispy Kreme this morning without investing in one of their ‘Kruffins’ – basically a muffin with the centre drilled out and replaced with a Krispy Kreme cream filling! Here’s the coffee flavoured number I chose….so much more interesting than the old Apple bran or berry baked goods! 

So here we go. With my annual travel schedule being so busy, it’s a rare treat to be doing events in my own back yard here in Adelaide, and last night was a biggie at the Caledonian Hotel private dining room.Being  a South Australian crowd you know you’re going to have a pretty wine savvy audience, so it’s all about having that mix of behind the scene detail and Barossa wine story time. The kitchen at the Caledonian is outstanding with head chef Mark assisted by Ben and Will at the stoves, so with that part of the evening well under control, I’m pleased to report that our wines jumped out of the bottle and performed well.

We started with Jansz NV (the Methode Tasmanoise sparkling from Pipers River owned by the Hill Smith Family – Yalumba proprietors and Vignerons for 166 years continuously this year) and canapés……..but not just any old smoked oysters on crackers here! For starters – seared tuna with wasabi cream – thanks Rhiannon….

And then the house favourite….’Jins chicken’ – this is a secret marinade situation, then the chicken is rolled in potato starch and flash fried, which is why it’s a light crusty shell and not a thick greasy batter – fab! The staff call it ‘jintucky fried chicken’ and I’ll be going back to the Caledonian on my own time for another basket full! It was just the right thing for the sparkling, and had a herb aoli for dipping…

Then we were into the dinner proper, and the boys got serious at the stoves……thanks to head chef Mark….

And chef Ben…. Who definitely loves his work


scallops are an excellent choice for our ‘exotic aromatic’ Yalumba double of 2013 Roussanne and Eden Valley Viognier, and Mark’s ‘Pan Seared Scallops, cauliflower purée, peas and baby endive’ was just the ticket for the lime lights of the Roussanne and the slippery palate and stone fruit nose on the viognier. The cauliflower is that little bit extra that works. these were the comments from folks around me, as I unfortunately can’t eat scallops.

***so here’s what Mark made specially for me – barramundi with the same extras as were on the scallops!

Into the in between entree and main course – yes folks – the dining fan favourite ‘Pork Belly, book Choy, baby carrot & shiraz jelly’ – with our Yalumba Cabernet Shiraz blend 2012 vintage double header …..The (little brother) Scribbler and (big brother) The Signature. You cannot beat pork belly done well with that just crispy enough pressed crust and fall apart fibres, and the shiraz jelly and purée really showed out the lush dark plum fruit in both of the Reds……particularly the lush opening of the 2012 The Signature. Yes…..our main problem with that one is going to be convincing folks to leave the cork in for a little while! But then, that’s a good problem to have – theres a stack of beautifully integrated tannin there that’s going to hold it together well into its late teens and early twenties……but anytime you want to pull that cork…..the 2012 The Signature – named for our current spiritual leader and proprietor Robert Hill Smith – it will not let you down! Promise!

Then for the special interest Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignin fans, out came the ‘Slow cooked beef rib with pumpkin purée, leeks and red wine jus’. We opened the 2012 The Cigar (named for the ‘terra Rossa cigar’ which is the cigar shaped limestone ridge on which Coonawarra sits) and 2012 The Menzies to soak up this meaty goodness, and ……make a note……2012 is a stellar vintage and this applies to reds from the regions Barossa, Coonawarra, Clare and McLaren Vale in my opinion. Just look at the colours in the glass, that tells its own story.

And to finish? Quite rightly the variety that has become synonymous with the word’Barossa’…….shiraz. We put up the 2009 The Octavius Old Vine Barossa Shiraz, which has been a condensed brick of flavour and aroma up until quite recently as its started to blossom – and it’s ‘little brother’ The Patchwork Shiraz 2012. Lovely full stop to a top Yalumba Rare & Fine release roadshow night out in Adelaide…..with cheese

So thanks to  Fiona from The Caledonian and Kate from our distributor Samuel Smith & Son….. 


Because these folks had a thoroughly good time! 


With any luck we’ll see you same time, same place, with another top wine set…… next year!

Taking care of business in Perth…..with a Twist (Club)!

6.09pm, Monday 11th May,The Panorama Room, Adelaide Convention Centre, On the Torrens River opposite Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, South Australia

Evening folks, and it’s a cold drizzly one at that as I’m waiting for the dinner crowd to arrive at The Panorama Lounge, one of the top dining rooms with a view at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Tonight is the opening Presidents Dinner for OzWater15 – the big international water fest on here in Adelaide for the next 4 days. Our wines are on the menu, so I’m doing the dinner chat.

Whilst I’m waiting, I thought I’d write up one of my favourite events on my annual calendar – that’s held in Perth –  capital city of the wild wild western part of Australia. It’s the Twist Club Businessmans lunch folks, and it was on Thursday lunchtime last week, at Mosmans Restaurant, nestled into a nice quiet corner of the Swan River. Why is it one of my favourite events?

1. Because the Twist Club is a fabulous group of Perth business blokes who have managed to stay ‘old school’ enough to keep one day each month to gather, swap business stories, and celebrate the excellent local Perth food and top wines from across Australia.

2. Because it always coincides with the Rare & Fine release roadshow, so I’ve always got a bag of red hot reds under both arms! Always good when you’re trying to impress the Perth business elite!

3. Because I’m the only girl in attendance, and hang me – but I do love having 35 bouncy business blokes to myself for a couple of hours!! And no… funny business!!

What more can I say? Oh wait….there’s more. Did I mention that some of these boys are really really good looking? You cannot blame me for running these lunches well into the late afternoon every single time!

And for the record, this year we were back at the most splendid Perth riverfront restaurant Mosmans….

And the view from every seat in the house?

And if you were thinking of motor boating across to Mosmans for lunch last Thursday…….sorry……all the parking spaces were taken….

And as for the meal – so good! The entree was ‘Corn Three Ways (creamed, roasted off the cob, and pop) with Scallops’

And then……the main event! The new 2012 vintage Signature Cabernet Shiraz, named for Robert Hill Smith – proprietor and vigneron. He couldn’t be at the lunch in person, but we did the next best possible thing to make sure he didn’t miss out on the day.

And as the sun started to set on yet another massively memorable lunch with my Twist Club boys, how did we rate the day? Gordon and I say…….tops! And we’ll see you next year……..stay safe and keep the Yalumba faith.

Thanks Mosmans, thanks Twist Club, thanks Perth for pouring on the weather…….I had another one of those days folks wish they could have!

“Whiskey and wine…..and fine fine fixins” ……….

8.05am, Rose Deli, Royal Street, East Perth, Western Australia

Morning wine fans – here’s hoping that this is going to be a bit of a different start to your usual morning reading. Let’s begin with Buck Owens….legendary American country music crooner, king of the ‘Bakersfield (California) sound’ that Dwight Yoakham keeps on keeping on. These boys are Americana to a ‘T’……and last night we tapped in to some of the same, delightfully crossed over with the best of Australian wine and foraged food! Yep, right here in Perth, Western Australia. Buck had a great song  “Cigarettes, and whiskey and wild wild women”… know the rest! And last night we turned that on its head with our first event of the ‘2015 Yalumba Rare & Fine – Changing of the Signature Cab Shiraz Guard’ Roadshow at Varnish on King – a whiskey bar that does fine wine and food…..really really well.

So last night I had a wonderful time with two delightful young men…….and that is pretty much how the fantasies of a lot of gals that live in my town – Angaston, Barossa Valley SA  population 1600 – start! But if you’re in the subterranean Brooklynesque redbrick, steel beam,  and timber vault with its high top tables and dark Chesterfield style buttoned leather banquettes lit by lovely old shaded lamps that is Varnish on King……and you throw in over a hundred whiskeys, bourbons and ryes from the USA and Canada, plus fried chicken wings, flights of bacon, pickled jalapeños and a great list of wines from the West as well as the rest of Australia… by the said two delightful young blokes – Lachlan Howarth (Kitchen and Wine) and Jamie Passmore (the spirit side of it all)….then that fantasy immediately becomes a tremendous reality. And what a top spot to start our national roadshow!

Sorry about the quality of my photos, the lighting is quite romantic, and I couldn’t locate the flash on my iPad! Here’s the bar….in my opinion – the best collection of bourbons, ryes and whiskey from America and Canada that I’ve seen in Australia. 

The chefs put together a ‘foraged and found’ menu together for the dinner that included sea spinach from Sunday nights surf line at a local beach…..for the salt lights in the Pearl barley mushroom risotto that was paired with our 2013 Risotto

***before we go any further, I’m making up for any high cholesterol stuff last night by having breakfast at the organic Rose Deli this morning – buckwheat porridge with rhubarb and fresh ginger!! I can feel my body thanking me already!

Now the star turn of the night folks – the new 2012 vintage The Signature Cabernet Shiraz named for our fearless leader and fifth generation wine man at the helm Robert Hill Smith – was paired with a ‘Scotch Egg with duck and barrel aged smoked chilli dressing’. Yes, the boys at Varnish have the chilli sauce ageing in a small barrel at the bar, and I suspect the odd bit of bourbon and bacon dust finds its way in there as well as the heat……and it set the shredded duck meat off nicely, once you broke through that crispy outer just thick enough to be a shell layer of ‘the egg’. No photo sorry….but trust me, the lush layers of the Signature loved the texture of the duck, and sometimes it was coffee, dark fruits, cinnamon spice from the wine and twangy heat and richness from the duck – bit of a fabulous food wine ebb and flow really – well done the chefs, and the Signature as well – it loved the chilli!

I didn’t have the last course of the evening, the ‘very cool take on surf & turf’ – “Pressed Beef Cheek with Prawn, plum chutney and bacon powder”, but going by the oohs and ahs of the other diners……it hit the mark paired with the big elegant Barossa Shiraz double header of the 2010  Paradox and 2009 The Octavius!!

So remember how we started this write up? “Whiskey and wine and fine fine fixins**”…….thanks Buck Owens, Dwight Yoakham, and everyone else keeping Americana alive…..and to Varnish on King who have tapped in to its distilled heart and tangled it up beautifully with great Australian wine and local food and talent from the West. Get on to King Street in Perth, find the massive timber doors at number 75, and go down those stairs and introduce yourself. I’m  on their mailing list and you should be too!! 

**fixins in the American South folks means the sides that go with the main course

PS Mike Bennie – they have an excellent green truckers cap too!!

Thanks a million Varnish!! Our roadshow is away!! 


Changing of the Yalumba Signature Guard

9.46am, Monday 4th May, Adelaide Airport, SA, Australia

Morning folks, sorry to drop off the air for a bit – still haven’t completely unpacked from Canada and the USA, but we’re off again – this time around Australia for the “changing of the Yalumba Signature Cab Shiraz guard” from my 2010 vintage to the ‘wine fireworks’ of Rob Hill Smith’s 2012.  


How sharp is that XX 2010 to XII 2012 vintage changeover swords crossed thing….I suspect it would make an excellent tattoo! And I still don’t have one!! Hmmmm!!

So after a most magical year showing the 2010 Signature around the worlds of wine across Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, the USA, New Zealand and at home……and yes we sold out in September last year, so every bottle has gone to a good home – it’s now time to unveil the much anticipated 2012 Vintage.

 PS We didn’t bottle a 2011 Signature folks, as that vintage was the first time since 1974 that we got inundated with rain at harvest and consequently battled some outbreaks of powdery and downy mildew in the Barossa. Fortunately due to the diligence of our vineyard crew, winemakers and cellar crew – we lost a few rows at two of our vineyards, but we’re largely unaffected by the mouldy stuff around. However the parcels of Cabernet and shiraz that were ear marked for Signature  were good to very good, but not great – so the decision was made to put all the Signature fruit into the ‘little brother’ Scribbler……and the 2011 Scribbler sold out at a rate of knots!! Consumers aren’t silly – they know exceptional value for money when it jumps out of the glass!
Which brings us to the ‘changing of the Signature vintage guard’. We go from this…….Jane Ferrari (me!) 2010…

To the ‘Big Kahuna at the helm of Yalumba for 30 eventful and handled incredibly well years’ 2012 vintage…..Robert Hill Smith

Tess Fisher – our home based PR guru – asked me “did I have any advice” for Rob as the new signatory coming in….and they popped my answer into the booklet doing the rounds of the events with us, and it goes like this….

“Rob, I’m taking the role of Masters Apprentice here.

My year on the road showing Yalumba The Signature 2010 around the traps was just magic – “old school” is definitely back in style when it comes to Cabernet Shiraz & Shiraz.its been a treat to be the latest in a long, long line of these blends from our house, keeping the Australian ‘claret’ dream alive. So if I had any advice for you at all – seeing as you’re about to take your Yalumba The Signature 2012 around the world- it would be to make sure you have a handful of silver sharpie marking pens on board at all times! 

Why? Because, just like I get my theatre programs signed because they mark a great night I’ve been able to see on stage (one of my favourite things), folks everywhere have loved having their Signature bottles ‘signed again’ – because they mark a great moment in Yalumba wine time for them. And be prepared to be a good listener, because everyone wanted to have a yarn at events all over the world about their best times with The Signature Cabernet Shiraz down the years.

Chief – the stage is set. My 2010 vintage was good….but now – with your 2012 – pull those corks and let the real fireworks begin!”

So folks – we’re off to a flying start with our around Australia 2012 Signature release roadshow tonight in Perth – at Varnish on King – you have to love folks who put on ‘flights’ of bacon and bourbon, and are a wine bar as well! My kind of place, and I’m debuting a new t shirt this evening for the occasion! Fully imported from Abe’s BBQ in Clarksdale, Mississippi – yes folks, that is at the blues “crossroads” of highways 61 and 49 smack bang in the middle of the Delta – where I was having lunch just two weeks ago! Still pulling the charcoal from those rib tips out of my teeth!

If you get a chance, drop by and try the 2012 Signature – here is where we are in the West:

Tonight – Varnish on King

Tuesday 5th May – dinner at Lamonts Cottesloe – thanks Johnny Jens for being such a staunch supporter forever!

Wednesday 6th May – dinner at The Royal Perth Golf Club

Thursday 7th May – lunch with the ever dangerous Twist Club business blokes! At Mosmans

                                 – dinner at Cocos Restaurant, South Perth

Friday 8th May – masterclass at Your Shout Liquor, Mt Lawley – thanks to Neil and the hard core Barossa fans (you know who you are!) for always waving the Yalumba flag

And for folks in Adelaide – we’re at home the week starting Wednesday 13th May with lunch at the Edinburgh Hotel.

Cheers for now, and I’ll let you know how we go at Varnish. They do have Four Roses Single Barrel on their list, so it could all get a little interesting later on tonight as we compare those aromas, flavours and textures with those of the 2012 Signature!!

PS I nearly forgot – heres a massive “thanks very much” to Tony McManus at Perthshire 6PR radio, who rang us up for a chat on the wireless on Saturday night – hope to see you at one of our events, so that you can see what we were talking about with that ‘layer upon layer upon layer’ with respect to the depth of that 2012 Signature. Thanks again!