Tag Archives: shiraz

Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend – Rutherglen Winery Walkabout – Part 2

Okay, so where I left off in my last post was the morning of the ‘big day’, the Sunday of the Rutherglen Winery Walkabout.


All aboard the bus dressed in ‘Around the World’ theme, it certainly was a sight to see. Penguins from Antarctica, a Belly Dancer from the Middle East, Statue of Liberty from the USA, a Japanese Geisha, Parisians, and Germans, all complete with Pooh bear sitting up the front. That’s right; Pooh bear joined us from out of the woods of Ashdown Forest for the day.

Who knew Pooh bear loves a glass of Shiraz?


10am, and the first stop of the day was Cofield.

With an early start to the day, the cellar door was certainly buzzing with many getting their first sip of wine for the day. I even spotted Olaf from Frozen sampling some wine – I wonder if he could feel his feet?

Olaf deciding what to drink

Considering the hour of the morning, I figured a glass of sparkling was in order – a crisp 2012 Pinot Noir sparkling Chardonnay.

A glass or two later, and it was back on the bus to the next winery.


11.30am, stop number two was Pfeiffer wines.

This winery is great for its Frontignac – a beautiful floral, slightly sweet, and fresh wine. While this wine was on the menu for tasting, the cold weather certainly called for reds ‘a-plenty’. Testing out the reds, it was the 2012 Carlyle Cabernet Merlot that my Japanese Geisha friend and I purchased. We quickly found out, that with the lengthy lines at the wineries, bottles were the way to go. With Jukebox on site, and backstreet boys power ballads on play, it was clear to see that the party vibe was certainly starting to ramp up.

I do ❤ Pfeiffer Wines

One of my favourite costumes from the day!













Quick stop over at the toilets on the way back to the bus, and boy oh boy were the lines long. It became clear that none other than a bus of elderly ladies were occupying the toilets. These gals were certainly a highlight of this winery. They really played out their roles as grannies to a tee. One granny was even spotted leaving the toilets having “accidently” tucked her skirt in to her underwear, putting her diaper on show for all to see. Classic! It certainly got the crowd cheering and laughing.


Respect your elders!


1pm, next stop was Stanton and Killeen.

This winery excites me with its brilliant range of fortifieds. You can even purchase bottles dating back to the 80’s in magnum-sized bottles! A great gift for anyone born in that era.

With a belly full of red from Pfeiffer’s, I opted to just do a taste test of the wines here. One wine that caught my attention was the 2014 Chardonnay – slightly oaky, with a beautiful crisp finish. Just the way a Chardonnay should be. With one bottle purchased, and in my bag, it was off to the final destination of the day.


2pm, last winery of the day was none other than Campbell’s.


This is one magnificent winery. If you ever find yourself here, be prepared to get stuck in to the reds, and fortifieds.

With their full list on offer to taste, my number one pick of the day was the 2012 Shiraz Durif.

Wine, Wine, Wine, Wine…Water

Barrels of gold










After the tastings, we searched for food. Along the way I had the privilege of getting a photo with the man himself – with none other than Colin Campbell, 4th generation owner of Campbell’s wines. Lets just say I was just a little bit chuffed.



As the day moved along quickly, it was at this winery was where the party kicked in to over gear when the band played Bruno Mars Uptown Funk. That song can get anyone up on their feet.


Once it reached 5.30pm, it was back on the bus and in to town to the pub for dinner, where the party continued on well in to the night. But that’s a story for another time.


Suffice to say, the Rutherglen Winery Walkabout is a brilliant festival on the Victorian calendar. With many great wineries taking part, this is one event that you should not miss out on getting yourself to. Highly recommend.

Happy Birthday Queenie!

Group shot! I think I found Wally


Until next time wino’s





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Queens Birthday Long Weekend – Rutherglen Winery Walkabout – Part 1

Wineries, winter sun, bonfires, dancing, eating, dress-up costumes, friends, and lots and lots of wine all on a long weekend!
Say hello to the Rutherglen Winery Walkabout. An annual event held over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. The event attracts over 20,000 people to the Victorian wine region, and is one of the most exciting times of the year. I was thrilled to pop my Walkabout cherry this year, and take part in this event, alongside with some of my best friends.
rutherglen tip the bottle
Held over the entire long weekend, Sunday is considered the ‘Big Day’ of this event, with many embarking on the region in fancy dress costume to celebrate all the goodness of what this region has to offer. Oh, and to celebrate the Queen’s birthday of course – Happy 89th Birthday Queenie!
Located close to the New South Wales border, the three hour drive to Rutherglen with two other girlfriends passed by quickly, thanks to some beat-rocking-beats, and plenty of road-tripping snacks.
road trip tip the bottle

Can you guess our roadtrip soundtrack?!

Once we had arrived at our destination, we stopped off at Valhalla winery for tastings and lunch. Housed in their straw bale constructed winery, their range featured Three Little Birds (a blend of Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne), Viognier, Marsanne, Moscato, GSM (a blend of Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre), The Goat (Shiraz), 2012 Shiraz, The Ranga (a blend of Durif and Shiraz), and a 2012 Durif. valhalla tip the bottle
The stand out for me was ‘The Goat’ – an easy drinking, smooth style Shiraz with berry notes. We purchased a bottle to team up with our gourmet lamb sausages, topped with homemade relish, straight from the BBQ. Delish!
The Goat

The Goat

As the sun went down, we headed across the border to where we were staying in Corowa, with 40 other friends. Along the way, we stopped off at the bottle shop and picked up a local ‘All Saints Shiraz’ for night-time drinking.
With a bonfire in the backyard a-blazing, the excitement was definitely building amongst us all, particularly for the host, who immediately got in to character of Ron Burgundy; which was his costume for the Sunday. In true host style, Ron ensured that our glasses were full by sharing a vintage cleanskin red that was found in a mate’s garage when they had moved house. This was then followed by a fortified containing a blend of three different ports all mixed by Ron, the man himself.
Filled with good wine, and marshmallows, it made for a good nights’ sleep before the big day.
Marshmallowy goodness!

Marshmallowy goodness!

Waking on the Sunday morning it almost felt like Christmas.
Everyone bounced out of bed, pulled on their costumes, and boarded the bus. Our groups’ costume theme for the day was ‘Around the World’.
Stay tuned for my next post, as I take you on what was certainly a trip around the world…or Rutherglen at least!
Until next time wino’,
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Hop yourself to Nagambie over the Easter long weekend for some great wine!

The Easter long weekend is approaching! If you haven’t planned what you’re going to do, here’s one suggestion – a trip up to the Nagambie wine region. I did this little round trip last Easter, and only takes an afternoon. Being autumn, it’s the perfect time of the year to taste and stock up on some great reds, ports and fortified’s in preparation for winter.


First stop – Mitchelton Winery



This winery is about an hour and a half’s drive from Melbourne up the Hume Highway. Driving up the driveway, you will instantly notice the ‘legendary tower’ peaking up above the winery. This tower was designed by architect Ted Ashton in 1974, and has a great lookout at the top across the vineyard. Don’t worry there is a lift up to the top, which is very handy after you’ve completed your wine tastings.

The legendary tower!

The legendary tower!

View from the top

View from the top


With a variety of wine on offer, and at many different price points, you will be sure to find a wine that suits you.


Tip the Bottle’s top picks:


2012 Mitchelton Marsanne

2010 Heathcote Shiraz

2012 Mitchelton Shiraz

2012 The Blend – Cabernet Merlot


Got me some wine!

Got me some wine!

Winery lyf

Winery lyf


Second stop – Tahbilk

If you ever want to go to a historic vineyard, this is the one to go to. Established back in 1860, the vineyard was taken over by the Pulbrick family in 1925, and has been in the family ever since.

Historic buildings

Historic buildings

On arrival, when driving up the driveway, one of the first things you will see is the old vineyard. It’s enough to get your taste buds excited. Once you hop out of the car, take your time to wander throughout the cellar door, and take in all of the history on offer. See the many bottles of Marsanne dating back years (I can’t remember how many exactly, but there was a lot), and the change in colour as it has aged. Wander down below the tasting area to the old underground cellar and see barrels as old as 100 years!


Even Prince Phillip has visited Tabhilk!

Even Prince Philip has visited Tabhilk!

So much wine to taste!

So much wine to taste!



Once you’ve worked your way through your tastings, wander over to the café, take a seat and relax beside the billabong. I recommend the meat and cheese platter, along with your favourite glass of Tahbilk wine. I can guarantee you will find yourself saying ‘ahh..this is the life’.


While you’re there, sign yourself up to their wine club and get yourself some great discounts.





Tip the Bottle’s Top picks

2008 Old Block Shiraz

2013 Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre

Grand Tawny

Stocking up

Stocking up

If I don’t speak to you again until Easter, I hope you have a very happy and safe Easter break with some great wine and many chocolate easter eggs.

If you have any fab round trips that you’ve done, please share! I’d love to hear.


Until next time winos,


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Shiraz, Shiraz, Shiraz – it’s the Heathcote Wine & Food Festival

So it’s been a few weeks since my last post. I guess you could say I was busily researching wine…

Now that we are in full spring mode, wine tasting events are popping up everywhere. One festival that I went to heathcote wine festival - wine barrellrecently was the Heathcote Wine & Food Festival, or as I call it ‘The Heathcote WINE Festival’.

Heathcote is a small rural town, nestled in central Victoria (90 minutes North of Melbourne). The wineries based in and around Heathcote proud themselves on magnificent reds. With hot-dry summers, cool-wet winters, and sitting on rich Cambrian soil, this wine region is a Shiraz’s paradise. If you’re ever hard pressed when it comes to choosing a red, one from the Heathcote region will certainly satisfy.

The festival is plonked on the grounds of the Heathcote Showground’s, with over 40 wineries on site. While no Bertie Beatle showbags were anywhere to be seen, there was certainly the opportunity to create my own little showbag of goodies to take home with me; which is exactly what I did.

heathcote wine festival sunny day

Not a cloud in the sky

Upon entry, I was handed a glass with the festival name etched on it for keeps. Woo-hoo! Gotta love a free wine glass.

Going against the words of advice from Beyonce ‘to the left-to the left’, I took a right and started off with tasting at Tellurian Wines – which had a mixture of reds, whites and a rose on offer. One particular variety up for tasting, that I had never tasted before, was called ‘Fiano’ – A light, slightly sweet Italian variety with lemon and pineapple notes. Perfect chilled on a warm summer’s day.

With the overwhelming amount of wineries, and only one day to taste (the festival goes over two days!), I had to be choosy where to tip my glass.

Glass tipping time!

Glass tipping time!

Tips on choosing where to tip your glass:

Fewer people at the tent, the better.

    • As deceiving as it looks, a tent with fewer people can look like the wine is no good. Don’t be taken by this, in fact this is where I found some of the best wine was located. Not only does it give you more time to taste and discover, but it also gives you a chance to have a proper chat to the wine sellers/owners. Here is where you can find out some little gems of information, such as the best year for wine in the Heathcote region – just between you and I it was 2010. You’re welcome.

While they say don’t judge a wine by its label, do it.

    • I chose places that had either interesting names, or labels attached to them – makes for an interesting wine tasting experience.

Tar and RosesTry something different

    • Try wines not stocked in mainstream stores like Dan Murphys. This is a chance to spread your taste buds. Enjoy it.
    • Taste different varieties. You never know what you might come across – just like my new found love of Fiano.
Something was really really funny

Something was obviously really really funny

Throughout the day I was making like Santa, and making a list and checking it twice. At the end of the day, I went back to the wineries I ranked ‘top tasting’, to make my purchases, and created my very own Bertie Beatle showbag.

My purchases for the day:

Downing Estate

2011 Shiraz

This winery was crowned ‘Best Red Wine of Show’!

Downing Estate


2014 Fiano

tellurian wines

Tar and Roses

2010 Nebbiolo

Tar and Roses Nebbiolo

Trust Wines

2011 Trust Shiraz

Trust Shiraz

Peregrine Ridge

2005 Winemakers Reserve Sparkling Shiraz

Peregrine Shiraz

While the next Heathcote Wine Festival may be another 12 months away, do yourself a favour and go treat yourself to a drop of that Heathcote goodness. Better still, go pour yourself a glass of Fiano. You wont regret it.

Leaving the grounds with my showbags

Leaving the grounds with my showbags

Until next time winos,


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Wine and Food Match test – Jamie Oliver’s Beef Tagine & a Shiraz

This week I’ve decided to road test a food and wine match suggestion I recently read about.


I came across this suggestion through Foxtel’s Lifestyle Food newsletter, featuring their wine expert Angus Hughson. His motto – ‘Life is too short to drink bad wine’. I couldn’t agree more.

Foxtel Lifestyle Food newsletter

The wine suggestion was the 2012 Angove Long Row Shiraz; an elegant spicy Australian Shiraz, described as being medium bodied, peppery, fruity with dark cherry notes.


The food suggestion was Jamie Oliver’s Beef Tagine. For those of you who don’t know me, I must let you know I am a massive Jamie Oliver fan, so this match suggestion had intrigued me from the get-go; yep, that’s me with Jamie Oliver.

Me Jamie Oliver

Armed with the wine suggestion and recipe in hand, off I trundled to my local supermarket to source the ingredients. Unfortunately my local wine seller did not stock this particular wine, however, Angus did suggest a Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon or a Grenache as the best wines to pair with Beef Tagine.

Putting my reading glasses on, I scoured the wine racks to find something that would be of similar style to the Angove Long Row Shiraz. What I came out with was a Partisan Trench Coat Vintage 2010 from McLaren Vale – a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre (or commonly known as a GSM wine).


Partisan Trench Coat

The label stated the style of the wine to be ‘spicy, complex and brightly fruity’, which I figured aligned well with Angus’ first suggestion of pairing it with an elegant spicy Australian Shiraz – A man in a trench coat is elegant right?







After a long 3 hours waiting for the beef tagine to cook, I could not wait to sink my teeth in to the food and wine.


The verdict? Angus you are a star. This was a match made in heaven. The melt in your mouth meat paired perfectly with the spicy and fruity Shiraz – or in my case the GSM.


The Partisan was a dream to sip on – peppery on the nose, and spicy on the palate. I could easily drink this wine without the beef, however drinking it with the tagine really did balance out the 100+ spices that went in to the dish.

Jamie oliver beef tagine partisan

If you have a few hours to spare, I highly recommend you to whip up this dish and have your Shiraz on hand to serve up at a dinner party. I can guarantee you will have your friends coming back with their wine glass asking ‘Please sir, I want some more?’


Until next time wino’s,





Here’s the recipe! Credit to Lifestyle Food channel.



  • 600g stewing beef
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • a small bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 800ml vegetable stock, preferably organic
  • 1 small squash (approximately 800g), deseeded and cut into 5cm chunks
  • 100g prunes, stoned and roughly torn
  • 2 tablespoons flaked almonds, toasted

For the spice rub

  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 level tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix*
  • 1 level tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 level tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 level tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 level tablespoon sweet paprika


*Ras el hanout (Arabic for ‘top of the shop’) is a blend of the best spices a vendor has in his shop. The mixture varies depending on who is selling it, but can be a combination of anywhere from 10 to 100 spices. It usually includes nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, aniseed, turmeric, cayenne, peppercorns, dried galangal, ginger, cloves, cardamom, chilli, allspice and orris root.



1 Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the beef into a large bowl, massage it with the spice rub, then cover with clingfilm and put into the fridge for a couple of hours – ideally overnight. That way the spices really penetrate and flavour the meat.


2. When you’re ready to cook, heat a generous lug of olive oil in a tagine or casserole– type pan and fry the meat over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add your chopped onion and coriander stalks and fry for another 5 minutes. Tip in the chickpeas and tomatoes, then pour in 400ml of stock and stir. Bring to the boil, then put the lid on the pan or cover with foil and reduce to a simmer for 1½hours.


3. At this point add your squash, the prunes and the rest of the stock. Give everything a gentle stir, then pop the lid back on the pan and continue cooking for another 1½hours. Keep an eye on it and add a splash of water if it looks too dry.


4. Once the time is up, take the lid off and check the consistency. If it seems a bit too runny, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more with the lid off. The beef should be really tender and flaking apart now, so have a taste and season with a pinch or two of salt. Scatter the coriander leaves over the tagine along with the toasted almonds, then take it straight to the table with a big bowl of lightly seasoned couscous and dive in.




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