Dryish cruising

Posted by Martin Field on 19 May 2010 in Wine Travel

Water water everywhere…

In late March, early April, we sailed on the Legend of the Seas from Shanghai to the Japanese ports of Miyazaki, Kobe and Fukuoka and to the South Korean port of Busan, before returning to Shanghai.

The Legend’s restaurant wine list was typical of cruise lines – a fair range of wines with over the top prices. To give but one example, a bottle of Wolf Blass Yellow Label Merlot cost a whacking $46.50 (Australian dollars, including an obligatory 15% gratuity, at the then current ship exchange rate). This wine is easy to find in Australia for less than $10.00. Read the rest of this entry

Star Drinking

Posted by Martin Field on 19 May 2010 in Wine Tasting

Peter Lehmann Princess Moscato 2009 – 500ml – up to $18 – ** – Red frontignac, carbonated, low (7.5%) alcohol. Faintest onion skin tinge of colour. Pleasing raisiny nose and palate in a mid-sweet, spritzy style.

Yellowglen Bella Bianco 2009 – up to $20 – ** – Low (8%) alcohol bubbly. A blend of white frontignac and riesling. Bouquet of ripe pears and apricots. Notably sweet palate continues the fruity pear theme with maybe a hint of oranges and lemons at the finish. Pleasant luncheon or picnic style. Read the rest of this entry


Posted by Martin Field on 19 May 2010 in Wine

‘Anything but New Zealand sauvignon blanc!’ A friend muttered as we perused a wine list recently. It’s claimed that eight out every ten bottles of wine sold on Australia’s Sunshine Coast are NZ sauvignon blanc so it is hardly surprising that locals’ palates are jaded.

Nothing wrong with the stuff, occasionally – but every day? Like watching endless re-runs of Frasier – monotonous.

The river of NZSB flowing into Australia has turned into a torrent. And especially at the cheap end there tends to be a certain sameness of style: underdone, lightweight, green grassy, acidic and thin.

At least Australian SBs exhibit a wide range of styles – from tropical to cool climate, but to this palate NZSB has become a cold-climate, one–dimensional trip. I mean, how many hits of hyper-methoxypyrazine can a wine drinker handle in a year? It’s almost enough to drive one back to Australian over-oaked chardonnay.

Urbane Toolangi 10th Anniversary

Posted by Martin Field on 17 March 2010 in Food and Wine, Restaurant Reviews


two kinds tofu

Two kinds of Tofu

Gary Hounsell, owner of Toolangi Vineyards in the Yarra Valley recently hosted a lunch at Urbane in Brisbane to celebrate Toolangi’s 10th anniversary; your itinerant reporter was there.

Gary showed guests a selection of his estate and reserve chardonnays and pinots dating back to the 2001 vintage. In an unusual approach to winemaking he explained that in its short existence, Toolangi wines were made by different winemakers at a number of wineries, among them Giaconda, Shadowfax and Yering Station.

Read the rest of this entry

A light luncheon in Noosa

Posted by Martin Field on 13 March 2010 in Restaurant Reviews

iS Tapas Bar (249 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville, Queensland, 07 5447 1818). In usually sunny Noosaville it was gusty and alternately raining and shining, looking for a light lunch we stopped at the open-fronted iS Tapas Bar and were given a table with views of the Noosa River.

iS is fully licensed but allows patrons to bring their own wine ($4 corkage fee per bottle) and we took along a 2003 Petaluma Hanlin Hill Riesling. Despite its rather warm cellaring in our house it was in excellent condition – sprightly and lemony with just an occasional hint of that aged riesling character that we all know and love yet find hard to describe without annoying winemakers.

From the longish menu we chose Chili mushrooms – in a light sauce/marinade of butter, lemon juice, chili, garlic and finely chopped herebs; Parmesan crumbed artichokes – these were served with the stems (quite edible) attached and looked a little like chicken drumsticks – served with a truffle and lime mayonnaise; Manchego cheese croquettes – crumbed, about the size of pool balls – with a quince paste sauce, and Tempura vegetables on skewers -tiny morsels of crisp veg in the lightest of batter.

The food presentaion was attractive, the waiter was hip and we really enjoyed each dish. The bill for two, including corkage, totalled $42.

Highly recommended.

is tapas

Spain Gourmetour

Posted by Martin Field on 3 March 2010 in Food and Wine

The latest edition of glossy mag Spain Gourmetour arrived recently and I tucked in a napkin to catch the saliva as I read it through.

If ever there was a food and wine magazine with high production values this is it. Even the ad photos look good enough to eat.

Among the classy articles about Spanish food, wine and travel, you will find recipes reflecting Spain as a world leader in avant garde cuisine. I’ve fiddled successfully with recipes in the latest issue: the dessert, ‘Mango, papaya, citrus fruits and orange blossom honey jelly’ was stunning.

Spain Gourmetour is published three times a year. Best of all, it’s free to professionals in the wine and food industry.

To request a subscription, simply email your details and postal address with the subject line ‘Spain Gourmetour’ to the Economic and Commercial Offices of the Spanish Embassy in your country. For email addresses see Spain Gourmetour site.

Star Drinking

Posted by Martin Field on 26 February 2010 in Wine Tasting

Coopers Clear Low Carb Dry Beer – around $15 the six pack

This is a full-strength – 4.5% alcohol – beer sold in clear glass 355ml stubbies. A very different style from Coopers Sparkling Ale but quite enjoyable for all that. Lightish amber in colour with a pleasing malty nose. Surprisingly full-bodied in the mouth with the malt continuing to a dryish finish.

Reschke Coonawarra Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – $19 – **

Pale, hint of lime green in colour. Aromatic, almost pungent fruitiness on the nose, with the faintest hint of grassiness and toasted oak. A rather full-bodied style of sauvignon blanc on the palate, showing notes of tropical fruit salad that lead to an off-dry finish. Read the rest of this entry

A dozen drinks to try before you get old and broke

Posted by Martin Field on 26 February 2010 in Wine Tasting

This one’s been simmering on the backburner for a while, and now that Jeni Port has listed her 10 wines you really must try before you die, it’s time to turn up the gas.

From time to time lovers of fine wines and spirits get to taste those rare or obscure elixirs that comprise the distinctive or even archetypal alcoholic drinks of the world. Most of these, it should go without saying, are either expensive or hard to find, or both.

However, when just a few sips of any of these precious liquors will live in your memory forever, who cares about the cost? If you can’t afford to buy one for yourself, hint that a bottle of this or that might be a fine gift. Failing that, share the cost of a bottle with four or five friends.

Here is my selection of essential nectars of the gods, in no particular order: Read the rest of this entry

Top Ten defences of two buck wine

Posted by Martin Field on 26 February 2010 in Wine

Correspondent Brian Miller writes

10. What else is the winemaker going to do with it?

9. It’s not technically faulty.

8. It’s preferable to alco-pops.

7. It’s better than what you drank when you first Kombi-vanned around Europe.

6. It’s no more ridiculous than $3 bottled water.

5. You can blend it with a $38 wine to make two $20 wines.

4. It’s more economical than pouring expensive corked wine down the sink.

3. Penfolds Grange once cost $2.40.

2.  Your superannuation is partly invested in Woolworths*.

1 It’s $2 a bottle.

*Owners of Dan Murphys who sell the $24 per dozen wine.

Pimientos de Padron

Posted by Martin Field on 21 December 2009 in Food and Wine

I tried some Pimientos de Padron – little green Spanish peppers – at the Noosa Farmers’ Market last week – sensational!

You fry them for a few minutes in hot olive oil – until the skin blisters and shows just a few speckles of brown – then serve hot with a sprinkling of sea salt flakes.

They are not at all chili hot but rather, succulent and sweet. I lied. About one in 15 is hot – adds a little spice to a plateful and the palate.

A brilliant starter dish on any table – you won’t be able to stop eating them.

Serve with cold beer or a chilled Fino sherry.

Links to our Favourite Blogs and their Latest Posts