Archive for category ‘Wine’

Cocktail alchemy

Posted by Martin Field on 21 December 2009 in Wine, Wine Tasting

The sub-tropical clime of Noosa has led to a marked change in our drinking habits. In Melbourne, it was mostly beer and red and white wines, winter and summer. In Noosa’s summer heat and humidity, the drinking diet has varied somewhat and now includes a fair whack of mixed drinks and cocktails, as well as the tried and true.

After some research, the bar is looking well-stocked: a stainless steel cocktail shaker from the local op shop, Angostura Bitters, vermouth, all sorts of spirits and liqueurs. No teensy umbrellas. And in the fridge, the usual tonic water, dry ginger, and soda water. Not to mention various cordials, and limes and lemons and buckets of ice.

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Star Drinking

Posted by Martin Field on 21 December 2009 in Wine, Wine Tasting

Yarra Burn Blanc de Blancs 2004 – $45 – ****

100% Chardonnay. Very pale yellow with an edge of green, fine bead. White flower petals, light biscuity yeast and a hint of green apple on the nose. Youthful, dry and elegant in the mouth with delicate Apple Danish flavours against a background of beautifully integrated lime acidity at the finish.

De Bortoli Rococo Yarra Valley Rosé NV – $22 – ***

A sparkling blend of chardonnay, pinot meunier and pinot noir. The colour is a pale, just off-white, candy pink. Lively fragrant nose of rose water and strawberries. Shows a dry, clean palate of new season summer berries with a tang of lemon zest at the finish. Ideal summer luncheon fizz.

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A jug of wine, no loaf of bread

Posted by Martin Field on 27 October 2009 in Food and Wine

Bread has all but disappeared from restaurant tables and we should all lament its absence.

In mediaeval days, they served meals on trenchers instead of plates. The trencher was a thick slice of stale bread and the meat and gravy were ladled on to it. When the meat was finished, nobles and peasants alike gobbled up the gravy-enriched trencher as a second course. Read the rest of this entry

Wine casks cause glut-feeling

Posted by Martin Field on 27 October 2009 in Wine

Every wine cask (bag in box) has a silver lining. At least for wine drinkers.

 You can more or less judge the state of the Australian wine industry by the quality of wine available in casks. When cask wine is generally crap, it’s bad for consumers and means the industry is making a packet, selling all it produces across the price spectrum. Read the rest of this entry


Posted by Martin Field on 27 October 2009 in Food and Wine

Macrobiotic hippies London, 1971

I shared a flat with a couple of low pH* hippies in London in 1971. Their diet, which was therefore my diet, was allegedly macrobiotic. No meat, no tomatoes, a bit of yin, brown rice, a pinch of hing, an occasional dollop of yang, (see yin) carrots, green tea, no onion or garlic. That was it.

 It was inexpensive, but not too appetizing. I didn’t dare ask about alcohol so I’d sneak off to meditate, adopt the full lotus position and slurp a glass or two of cheap claret (chateau-bottled, in Bulgaria) for a vitamin boost. Read the rest of this entry

Star Drinking

Posted by Martin Field on 27 October 2009 in Wine, Wine Tasting

Holey Dollar Over Proof Rum – seen around at $55 to $65 ***

This is a powerful drop at 57.2 per cent alcohol, but the power is smooth and constrained in its rich mouthfeel. Flavours are reminiscent of molasses, vanilla, walnuts, chocolate, toffee and warm spices. It goes down very well on its own, with ice, or with a splash of water. Try also as a fine mixer. For a Dark ‘n Stormy, pour one measure of rum over ice and add about four times that amount of dry ginger ale, garnish with a wedge of lime.

Chandon Vintage Brut 2006 – up to $40 ****

Yarra Valley, Victoria. Pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot meunier blend. This bubbly spent two and half years on yeast lees and the lees contact is evident in the aromatic, bakery oven nose. The palate shows brioche like flavours along with new season white peaches and a hint of lime juice. It finishes with lip-smacking zest. Read the rest of this entry

Pricy Sommeliers

Posted by Martin Field on 6 October 2009 in Food and Wine, Restaurant Reviews

‘My own experience with sommeliers is that they invariably offer the highest price wine. So wrote Peter Robotti, restaurateur, in 1972. (Key to Gracious Living. Prentice Hall.)

I believe Mr Robotti’s quote holds pretty much true 37 years on. Sommeliers are meant to advise diners about wine selections and food and wine matching but in Australia they often end up as wine marketers for restaurant owners.  And if it’s not always the highest priced wine they suggest, sommeliers and wine waiters do have a certain knack of upselling… Never has any sommelier ever suggested to me selections from the inexpensive wines on a wine list.

A visit to a Swiss alpine fromagerie

Posted by Martin Field on 5 October 2009 in Food and Wine

Friend and cheesemaker Christian Nobel, writes about his family’s recent trip from Australia to visit relatives in Switzerland.

The mountain path

 We start at the valley bottom very early in the morning. The weather forecast is great and although there is no indication yet of the rising sun, the mountains are starting to appear as the darkness disappears. After a strenuous passage through a dense pine forest, we continue up a rocky path that has never seen a car or truck before.

These alpine trails are only for hikers or one or two wild alpine farmers riding motor bikes, which have been specifically adjusted for crazy and steep paths. Up in these high alpine areas, one either walks, or if available, transports goods by aerial ropeway or even by helicopter.

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The sun sets over Kuta Beach – 1975 & 2009

Posted by Martin Field on 17 September 2009 in Food and Wine, Restaurant Reviews, Wine Travel

Kuta Beach Club Hotel, Bali, 1975

Kuta has an obvious village atmosphere. Bare-chested old men in sarongs sit on platforms and groom their fighting cocks. In and around the thatched buildings, scabrous dogs, chickens and swayback pigs root around, wistful-eyed cows graze in nearby coconut groves.

Traditionally dressed women place little woven trays of flowers, rice, and incense, as offerings to the gods at shrines and strategic sites. Soldiers with guns walk around the market stalls. Hippies and Bali Boys ride motor bikes along the beach waterline.

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Drinking books

Posted by Martin Field on 17 September 2009 in Wine

Under the Influence – A history of alcohol in Australia

Ross Fitzgerald and Trevor Jordan. ABC Books, Paperback. $33.

Booze consumption, its benefits and abuse, have been an integral part of the history of Australia since the days of white colonisation. The authors present readers with a well-researched, academically referenced yet eminently readable account of the sometimes over indulgent foundations of this alcohol-girt land.

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