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Red Wine Drop by Teodor MollerQue Syrah Syrah...

Winter has arrived in the Antipodes - for many, the season of red wine. This month we look at some examples of Australia's most popular red grape variety, shiraz - or syrah as some of you know it - as seen through the palates of two upcoming wine writers, Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer. More on this dynamic duo below...

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All existing Winepros Archive subscribers will be able to access automatically, when the new site goes live. So check it out - there are lots of great prizes on offer this month too, including a fabulous seven-course degustation dinner for two with matched wines at The Point Restaurant in Albert Park, Melbourne, and more great wine and food books below.

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But if you think you can simply curl up by the fire with a glass of wine and this newsletter, think again! We also bring you some inspiring things to do in wine and food regions, from the Winter Wine Fests on the Queen's Birthday long weekend, to the fun and enormous Good Food and Wine Show, just held in Melbourne and opening its doors in Sydney June 20-22nd, this year featuring celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

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Navigation: WineWine Reviews - a ruffle through the drawer of Victoria's winter warmers

Taste a new red wine at the cellar door South Australia may have Penfolds Grange and Wolf Blass, the Barossa and McLaren Vale, and two of my old favourites Jim Barry's Armagh and St Hallett's Old Block Shiraz, but as I was fortunate to meet Matthew Jukes of London and Tyson Stelzer of Brisbane in Melbourne recently, this month we feature some shirazes they have reviewed from Victoria, which to me are often steelier than their South Australian counterparts.

Matthew and Tyson make an unlikely pair. Tyson, the Aussie, originally from Tasmania but now a resident of increasingly cool Brisbane, as you expect is tanned, still in his 30s and fit and slim. The (slightly) more reticent of the duo, he's a deep and thoughtful pool, this one. Matthew, a decade older and with huge international wine experience, has a deep voice of the timbre which so melted Fran of Black Books (cult TV show followers will understand, and laugh). Their glue is wine and food, their passion to publish. Quite how they met I have yet to discover, but it's our good fortune that they did, for it led to the birth in 2007 of - yes, another wine guide - Taste Food and Wine.

However, this one is different - it highlights a wine per day, and there are bottles from A$5 to $500, all great value and downloadable to your mobile for those uncertain moments in bottle shops. Then there is their style, so fresh and assuring. 'Choose the right wine every time' is their byline, and with this book you probably can (if you have not yet seen it, we have three copies of Taste Wine and Food 2008 to give away in this month's competition, courtesy of the authors). Here are some examples of what they say, leading with the amazing Mornington Peninsula, a rarity amongst wine regions in that its varied terrain can produce a good shiraz (which requires warmth) as well as outstanding pinot noirs, thanks to those cooling sea breezes:

  • Paringa Estate Peninsula Shiraz 2005. Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. A$24.

    Lindsay (McCall) is justly famous for his Pinots, but don't for a second overlook this amazingly perfumed, herbal, spicy, redcurrant, black cherry and raspberry soaked Shiraz. It is controlled, but at the same time extroverted and flamboyant. [Ed: much like the two authors!] Mornington is such an important wine region in Australia and wines like this deliver the message unwaveringly to a massive and thirsty audience.

    Read our interview with Lindsay McCall here, or watch the video!

  • Paringa Estate Shiraz 2005. Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. A$45.

    Packed with exotic spices and fresh blackberries, cherries and stewed plums, this is a serious and ever so slightly demonic Shiraz with great length, very tight acidity and fine tannins. You really need a few years to see this wine at its best, but there is more than enough intrigue already, so we won't mind if you take a quick peek - as long as the rest of the bottles are secreted away to age gracefully. Paringa Estate Reserve Shiraz 2004 (A$77) is even spicier, with greater levels of regal control and deafening excellence.

    Discover more about the reds of the Mornington Peninsula by Jeni Port.

  • Paradigm Hill Shiraz Col's Block 2005. Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. A$35.

    If you experienced the 2003 VH-DOC last year you will have, like us, been waiting like an impatient child for the release of another wine of such sophisticated precision... We are pleased to announce that George Mihaly has come back in force with the same delightful herbaciousness, pork crackling complexity, wood smoke vapour and Northern Rhone subtlety that we adored...

    Paradigm Hill are offering tutored tasting of five vintages with matched food at the Winter Wine Weekend, 11-12 June 8th and 9th. Bookings essential.
Other Mornington Peninsula shirazes worth seeking out are Darling Park and Box Stallion These and many more examples of the 2006 vintage will be available for tasting and purchase at the Mornington Peninsula Winter Wine Fest, to which we have just dispatched tickets to three lucky winners of our May competition, courtesy of the Mornington Peninsula Vignerons' Association.
  • Mt Langi Ghiran Cliff Edge Shiraz 2005. Grampians, Victoria. A$27.

    This year Duran Ghiran released a fascinating family of single vineyard wines to showcase the diversity of the regions from which the Cliffy is blended [Ed: buy the book to read the ingredients!]... which confirm once and for all what we have suspected all along - that Dan Buckle is a veritable magician who has perfected the art of blending a wine that transcends the sum of its parts...

    Read more about Trevor Mast and Dan Buckle's wines here.

  • Taltarni Pyrenees Shiraz, 2004. Pyrenees, Victoria. A$28.

    Wow, this is a superb wine from the historic Taltarni winery. The lifted pepper and clove notes are stunning, and the dark, oil slick of Shiraz is truly impressive. Give it a good fling around a decanter and it will be a delight right now, but its firm tannins will easily let it live for a decade.

  • Dalwhinnie Moonambel Shiraz 2005. Pyrenees, Victoria. A$57.

    [Ed: One of my very favourite wine estates, something I have in common with Matthew and Tyson] With his dramatic vineyards and sensational microclimate, David Jones can't but make superb, spicy, mineral-encrusted wines. His Shiraz is a thoroughbred ... in every way imaginable... Spicy, fine and alluring. It's an absolute treat and very good value...

We could go on through some famed shirazes of Bendigo, Heathcote and Macedon, but I think you get their style - fun, refreshing and approachable. Taste Food and Wine 2008 sells for the even more remarkable A$19.95.

To end in the Yarra Valley with a brief review by the illustrious Jancis Robinson:
  • Yering Station, Reserve Shiraz Viognier 2005. Yarra Valley, Victoria.

    Real lift on the nose, ripe tannins. Still very youthful, chewy. Embryonic. Just an outline for the moment. Points: 18. and are currently in a race to see whose new website can launch first - currently Australia is ahead by a nose! Stay tuned, and remember, all Winepros Archive/ subscribers can receive A$50 off her annual subscription fee when you sign up via our via our subscribers-only special offer*. (Simply click on the link and follow the instructions to get your special access code).
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Navigation: FoodFood - Regional fare showcased in style.

Becasse Restaurant, Sydney This month we interview renowned chef Justin North of Bécasse Restaurant in Sydney.

Apart from running one of Australia's leading restaurants, Justin is the co-author of two sumptuous books, Bécasse - Inspirations and Flavours and French Lessons. Bécasse was published in 2006 and is already nearly sold out, although serious foodies amongst you can buy one at his restaurant, where he may even sign it for you.

The idea came following Justin's return to Australia after working in Europe, where regional produce is rich and celebrated. His aim was to explore and source some of Australia's leading produce, and to give its growers, makers and producers the recognition and exposure they deserve - a man after our own hearts! The book covers fine fare from outback salt and Tasmanian black truffles through to Petuna Seafoods and Woodside Cheesewrights, South Australian makers of famed goat's cheeses from single-batch, single-herd dairies.

French Lessons, by Justin NorthJustin is a generous man and not only shares his deep knowledge of ingredients but also provides mouth-watering recipes. The tournedos of Castricum lamb would be a fine match for the Dalwhinnie shiraz! Justin himself does not have a favourite food and wine match, often deciding depending on mood, but enjoys creating fresh dishes to match a particular region's style.

Closely followed in 2007 is French Lessons, and this month we have 3 copies to give away to lucky subscribers, courtesy of the publishers Hardie Grant. This is a book primarily devoted to cooking techniques and their application, and again Justin bares secrets that other chefs guard closely to their chests. It contains 24 lessons, well-seasoned with evocative photographs, and is destined to become a food-spattered classic of my kitchen.

Read how girls led Justin North into his culinary career at Bécasse Restaurant...

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Navigation: TravelWhat's on in Wine Country around Australia this month?

Food hall at MP Winter wine weekendWith the Queen's Birthday long weekend fast approaching (7-9 June), there is a lot happening in wine and food regions around the country.

The vignerons of the Mornington Peninsula cannot think of a better way of celebrating than their Winter Wine Weekend, a calendar 'must' since its inception in 1988. Experience a three-day immersion in fine wines from this unique cool maritime wine region.

The launch event is the Winter Wine Fest (Saturday 7 June, 11am - 4pm at Red Hill Showgrounds, Mel Ref 190 J3). Archive will be there in the food hall, so come and say hi and collect a lime green wristband, and go in the draw to win a case of Mornington Peninsula wines. (Three lucky winners of our last month's competition are on their way!)

Over 200 wines will be on taste and sale from 51 Mornington Peninsula vineyards including Ten Minutes by Tractor, Main Ridge Estate, Eldridge Estate, Five Sons, Yabby Lake, Paringa Estate, Stumpy Gully Vineyard and Kooyong - all undercover. Tutored Tastings with key winemakers will be offered during the day - learn and enhance your appreciation of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and cool climate Shiraz (book early on arrival). Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door.

Then stay for the weekend of tastings, lunches and dinners around the Peninsula! Our picks are the dinner at Prancing Horse, Elgee Park's open day (the last one ever!), an Indian barbecue and Bollywood dance clinic at Nazaaray and Paradigm Hill tutored tastings, but with so much to eat from 5 course degustation lunches at Heronswood to game pies at Vines of Red Hill it's sure hard to decide. Scorpo has some interesting varietals on offer that I've yet to try… Noirien and Aubaine.

But if you can't make it to Victoria's south, in the north-east you can choose from a Weekend Fit For a King (or Queen) in the King Valley, where you can taste artisanal wines made from exciting varieties new to Australia including Tannat, Tempranillo, Vermentino and Arneis, from 19 participating wineries, or the famous Rutherglen Winery Walkabout.

This is another long-standing event, having grown from small beginnings in 1974 to now attracting over 20,000 visitors annually, and has been named 'Best Festival in Australia'. This year they have combined everything into one package for just $20, and there is a Winery Shuttle Bus to take you between wineries for another $20.

If you are heading (or live) somewhere warmer, in NSW the Shoalhaven Coast Wine Festival has slow food, boules, Italian music and food, and lots more from eleven wineries, or in South Australia there is the Bank SA Sea and Vines Festival 2008, with wines matched to seafood. Quite why people feel the need to head overseas with all this on is beyond me, especially with our own clean, green and fabulous food…. which on a world scale remains incredibly cheap (and try driving in Europe if you are unhappy with our petrol prices).

Later in June there is the Good Food and Wine Show in Sydney. This culinary and vinous extravaganza has basically assumed the mantle of the former Wine Australia, and here you can find everything from the latest designer apple peeler to fabulous wines from hundreds of vineyards around the country. Live cooking demonstrations all day, and this year celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is hosting master classes - the sensitive may take your earplugs! The show is repeated (minus Gordon) in Perth WA from July 11-13.

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Navigation: CompetitionOur Monthly Competition

Point Albert Park Lake restaurant, MelbourneThis month's Winepros Archive and Competition is to win a seven-course degustation dinner for two with matching wines at The Point Restaurant, Albert Park, Melbourne

Delight in the stunning views over Albert Park Lake, as you enjoy a seven-course degustation meal for two, matched to a range of Australian wines, featuring the Mornington Peninsula region. Offering the best of Australia's finest beef and fresh produce, The Point's Executive Chef, Scott Pickett handcrafts each course to create your superb dining experience.

The Point is located on Aquatic Drive in Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria.

Special terms and conditions

The prize does not include travel, airfares or accommodation. The value of the prize is A$310 (including wines), and must be takes an offered. A voucher will be issued to the winner which is redeemable for lunch or dinner anytime EXCEPT Saturday nights, and is valid for 12 months from date of issue. Booking must be made with the restaurant at least 48 hours before the dining date and the voucher is to be mentioned on booking and given to staff on arrival. Subject to availability. You must be over 18 to enter - see general Terms and Conditions.

Book: 'Taste Food & Wine 2008Second prize is one of 3 copies of French Lessons by Justin North (see review above), courtesy of the publishers Hardie Grant (RRP A$59.95).

Third prize is one of 3 copies of Taste Wine and Food 2008 by Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer, courtesy of the authors (RRP A$19.95). Read more about these books in the wine and food sections above.

Enter here now to be in the draw for this fabulous dining experience at The Point, or one of our featured wine and food books.

[Note, this link will NOT be active once our new site opens in mid-June, so if you delay, please go direct to our new website and enter via competitions on the home page.] These prizes can be posted anywhere in the world. Good luck!

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Navigation: Coming SoonComing later this month

Our new look website is opening in mid-June!

June 2008 is an exciting month for us - and for wine and food lovers nationwide - as we unveil your new look website, the first national website dedicated to the pleasures of wine, food and travel - golf, walking, spas and other enjoyable pursuits included.

With over 30,000 products listed (including more than 3000 wineries, cellar doors and vineyards), around 20 wine and food writers contributing fresh new articles, heaps of videos, interviews and more, this will be a regular must-visit site for anyone interested in the latest on wine and food around Australia.

We've simplified our search, and it will be much easier to find what you are looking for, from wine reviews to somewhere to play golf and enjoy wines, take a massage and spa retreat in a food lover's region, or to discover what's on in wine country this weekend. You can book accommodation and events Australia-wide (in real time), buy tickets, and even reserve a seat at your favourite regional restaurant.

Our newsletter will have a new look, too. There will be more great opening month prizes on the new website, including (with The Age on June 25th and July 5th) a fabulous 3-course lunch for two and tutored wine tasting experience to the value of A$225 (including wines) at the sensational Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove on the Mornington Peninsula.

Until then, happy reading, wining and dining…

Robyn Lewis, VisitVineyards.comRobyn Lewis
Acting Editor,

Winepros Archive and Newsletter.

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Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association

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