Blind Corner & Cow Bay Cheese, Margaret River

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 2 No tags 2

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One of things I most enjoy about what I do is that I get to drink wine all the time. Duh. I also love that I can travel the world and experience places and meet new amazing people through the lens of wine and food. I’m spoiled rotten and I shouldn’t forget it for a second. While in Margaret River, Christina and I stopped in to see Ben at Blind Corner. He plopped us down on his patio and opened up a bunch of cheese while we tasted through some of the wines. It’s hard to think of better ways to enjoy wine than al fresco and with cheese. I mean, right?

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Ben’s brother makes cheese at Cow Bay so he had quite a few things hanging around for us to nibble on, including two little wheels of camembert – one young and fresh, the other a handful of weeks further down the road in its cheese life. You can see the difference below with the younger version on the left. The older, the funkier. And…wrinklier. One thing I didn’t realize before visiting is that Margaret River is a region known for cows and dairy production. So we were basically having the full Margaret River experience right there.

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Thanks to Ben and Naomi for the hospitality and the smashable wines. Smashable is something the Aussies say and I’m super into. It seems a tad more more civilized than, say, chug-able. Anyway, I really enjoyed their chenin blanc/shiraz petilant naturel and the nouveau style carbonic shiraz. Keep up the good work! And the opening of delicious cheese for guests. They will, as I do, love you forever for it.

Paris Wine Co. at Night + Market Song

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 0 No tags 0

champagne at night + market song

I love wine dinners. Well, certain ones. Domaine LA organized a dinner at Night + Market Song with Josh Adler of Paris Wine Co., who was in town visiting and making the rounds, and I didn’t want to miss it. His wines, French and natural, had just been introduced to the west coast and I’m not gonna pass up dinner at N+M. Cause, I mean, this crispy rice salad tho.

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You can learn more about Josh and see more photos over on the Domaine LA blog.

Si Vintners, Margaret River

Monday, April 13, 2015 0 No tags 0

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The end of my time in Australia was spent in Perth with one of my best friends, Christina. During that week in WA, we decided to take a little road trip to Margaret River and see some of her wine pals down there. Christina and I have been going on wine adventures together for several years, the only difference with this adventure is that we had an extra buddy in tow – her newborn baby girl Alba. Safe to say this trip was a bit more tame than in previous years, but perhaps even better? We went to bed early, didn’t get too drunk and stayed hydrated! It was kind of great.

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The highlight of my time in Margaret River was getting to meet Iwo and Sarah, husband and wife winemakers of Si Vintners. They are two of the most kindhearted people and they make damn good wine. They first bought their property in 2010, which came with 20 acres of 35 year old vines. They farm organically/biodynamically and make wine as simply as possible with no additives apart from a small amount of SO2 at bottling. We were able to taste through quite a few wines from bottle and barrel and I was just so impressed. Clean and well-made, but not lacking in texture, soul or personality.

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They work with pinot noir, chardonnay, semillon, and red Bordeaux varieties and use old french barrels, concrete eggs and some stainless steel. They also play around with aging the semillon in concrete eggs under flor, which is super cool. I only wish they made more wine and that it was available to me in LA. I should stop whining. PS- If you want to know what steam cleaning a barrel looks like see below. PPS- If you want to know the most consumed beverage in any winery anywhere in the world, and no it’s not wine, you can also refer to one of the photos below.

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Thanks to Sarah and Iwo for such a lovely visit. And to my dear Christina for introducing me to all of the special people and talented winemakers I met in Australia.

Harvest at Brash Higgins, McLaren Vale

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 0 No tags 0

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While I was staying in Adelaide Hills, I took a few day trips out to Barossa and McLaren Vale. While in The Vale, I visited with Brad Hickey at Brash Higgins. We emailed back and forth trying to schedule something and he alerted me that harvest would probably be just beginning upon my arrival and did I want to get my hands dirty. Um, yes. Bring on the grapes! When I pulled up to the cellar, several tons of shiraz from their Omensetter vineyard were arriving as well. Grapes come in, they are destemmed (some are left on the stems), and dumped into open-top fermenters. Brad was doing a mix of whole berry and whole cluster fermentation AND some foot stomping, in which I got to partake.

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After working up a little sweat I got to taste the current Brash Higgins line-up as well as several things out of barrel. Brad is a former NYC wine director and sommelier that, after a visit to McLaren Vale, decided to leave the city behind and move to Australia. Everyone arrives at their place in the wine world via different paths and it’s always so interesting see how.

Still a somewhat young operation, I’m excited to see what Brad has up his sleeve. He was the first one in the area to really work with nero d’avola (the hot climate there does very well with Sicilian varieties) as well as ferment in clay amphora, something that others are now doing. He’s a trendsetter with vision and amazing ability to market wines. I’m sure that savvy ability comes from years working the floor of fine dining establishments – he knows how to sell wine and what people want. He also has one of the best wine vocabularies I’ve ever heard. He’s like a damn poet when describing the sensory experience of a wine.

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Thanks to Brad, Nicole, and the BH crew for letting me crash harvest, foot stomp for the first time, and ride around the vineyard on a four wheeler!