Pinelli Estate 2018 Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is a white wine grape variety originally from France. It can be made into a still or sparkling wine alongside being dry, off-dry or even made into dessert wine. Its naturally high acidity makes it a very versatile grape.

Pinelli Estate 2017 Chenin BlancWA’s Swan Valley produces some stunning examples of wine made from Chenin Blanc and this Pinelli Estate Wines 2017 Chenin Blanc is one of those. Continue reading

The Winery Of Good Hope 2017 Bush Vine Chenin Blanc

It’s safe to say I’m slowly making my way through the South African wines that The Wine Gallery has on offer. I picked this Winery Of Good Hope 2017 Chenin Blanc for The TC Wine Club as SA Chenin’s are pretty darn good!

And while we’re talking about Chenin, check out my Guide to drinking Chenin Blanc here on the blog.

The Winery Of Good Hope 2017 Bush Vine Chenin BlancIt’s one of South Africa’s stand out varieties and is also the most widely planted grape variety according to Wikipedia stats. This one comes from the Stellenbosch wine region which has been high on my wine travel bucket list for sometime now. And not just because of the wine either, do a Google Image search and you’ll see why.
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Your Guide to Drinking Chenin Blanc (& Why It’s Awesome)

Your Guide to Drinking Chenin BlancOn the weekend I attended a Vertical Chenin Blanc tasting at John Kosovich Wines here in the Swan Valley and it really got me thinking about this white wine grape variety. As winemaker, Arch Kosovich, said – it was probably one of the only/first vertical tastings of Chenin Blanc in Australia. I really enjoyed the tasting, so much so, that I simply knew I had to write-up a post purely dedicated to this variety. Continue reading

Wine & Chocolate Master Class in the Swan Valley, Perth

Coward and Black wines and Margaret River chocolate tasting at Providore in Swan Valley PerthWine, chocolate, chocolate liqueur.. does life get any better? The master classes are at 11.30am every Saturday and Sunday, or by appointment at Providore (5123 West Swan Road) in the Swan Valley you can participate in a wine and chocolate master class for $30pp. You’ll try 4 chocolate liqueurs, 6 wines and 9 chocolates PLUS you will get a bottle of your favourite chocolate liqueur to take home. At $30pp this is an absolute bargain!!

Coward & Black Vineyards along with their sister company, the Margaret River Chocolate Company are the fantastically tasty companies behind this incredible 30 minutes of your life. Not only do you get to eat and drink your way to pure happiness but I have to admit I walked away with a lot of new knowledge on all things chocolate.

A friend and I decided to book in for the class on a Monday to avoid the masses and luck was on our side as we were the only 2 participating on this particular day. Unfortunately there was a mix up in their system with our booking and as a result they weren’t set up for us however they shouted us a complimentary coffee at The Margaret River Chocolate company while we waited for them to set up. Free coffee is always a good thing in my books!
Margaret River Chocolate Company truffles wine tasting Swan Valley

Matthew the half Aussie half American manager of Providore took us through the tasting. I was shocked to see how much was included in the tasting, I was expecting a handful of chocolate and a couple of wines, but no make that 10 items to sip and 9 chocolates to melt in your mouth. I actually had to get a little bag to put half my choccies in as I couldn’t get through them all.

We started with the 4 chocolate liqueurs; the original, hazelnut, macciato and the mint chocolate liqueurs. ABSOLUTELY DIVINE! Each one was so chocolatey and divine I knew the decision of choosing my favourite was going to be a tough choice. The difference with these chocolate liqueurs is that the chocolate is in your face and the alcohol hits you at the end. In the end I choose the macciato to take home as Matthew told us it’s fantastic to go in your homemade espresso martinis! Check out their favourite espresso martini recipe below.

Next up we learnt about the international cacao and tasted our way through them as Matthew explained to us the all important ‘pop’ with chocolate (I won’t spill all the secrets!).

After tasting the buttons, we moved onto the 6 wines from Coward & Black and the chocolate and truffles suggested to match these. What I found very interesting and never spotted on the Coward & Black labels before is that the clouds are in the shape of England and Western Australia – a homage to the owner’s heritage. From the Cabernet Sauvignon through to the Chenin Blanc and white chocolate through to salty caramel truffles and dark chocolate lemon truffles I was in heaven.

I was also pleasantly surprised that the chocolates and wines were all matched really well. Who would have thought white wine and chocolate would work so well! My favourites had to be the Chenin Blanc & lemon truffle and the Semillon & Sauvignon Blanc blend with the salty caramel truffle. YUM!

The only downside about this wine & chocolate master class in the Swan Valley is that there are no seats, you have to stand up and let me tell you that the immense pleasure in your mouth will have you week at the knees after each and every sip and nibble!

This has to be one of my favourite wine and food experiences in the Swan Valley, it is great value, tons of fun and  truly delicious. Sorry diet, you loose!

To book in for a Wine & Chocolate master class please click here.

Sittella Sparkling Workshop & lunch

Sittella Sparkling Workshop Swan Valley10:30am on a Saturday morning and I am sampling some of the new sparkling wine at Sittella Winery in the Swan Valley. Such a hard life! This is what I do to bring the latest wino news to all of you!

This past Saturday Sittella held a Sparkling Wine Workshop followed by a 3-course lunch. The tickets were $77.50 per person and quite frankly I just HAD to attend.

The morning started off by being personally greeted by our host and Senior Winemaker at Sittella – Colby Quirk. Mr. Spittoon and I were early one of the first to arrive so we got a head start on the sampling and had some one-on-one time to chat with Colby.
Sittella Sparkling Workshop Sparkling ShirazOnce everyone had arrived (we were a group of about 30) Colby introduced himself and his 16-year winemaking background before taking us through the process of making a sparkling wine as we stood in the winery. He took us through the full process from when the grapes come into the winery to all the machines involved right up to the labeling stage.

During this time, we tasted a couple of base wines (these are wines without the dosage added – this is the addition of sugar and preservatives) as well as the finished products. It’s not everyday that you get a chance to taste the base wines, this was a real treat in my books! Plus we were amongst the first people to taste Sittella’s two newest sparklings which are set to be released next week.
Sittella Sparkling Workshop Yeast in BottleWe then moved into the barrel room, which was set up for the tasting and presentation. The whole event was really casual and easy going, even Mr. Spittoon said that he didn’t get that snobby wine feel that he gets from a lot of the wine events I drag him along too!
Sittella Sparkling Workshop SetupOur first tasting was the NV Sparkling Chenin Blanc: the dosage trial! We had 4 lovely tulip spiegelau glasses in front of us; the first had zero dosage – just disgorged & crown sealed with no additions, the second with 5g/l sugar & preservative, the third was the standard Sittella sparkling Chenin and the forth had the most added sugar at a level of 18g/l and preservative. Again it was this type of exclusivity, which I think, really made the morning so special.

We then moved onto tasting the new yet to be released Blanc de Blanc and Rose made from Pemberton grown grapes as well as the 2007 Pinot Noir & Chardonnay blend and the sparkling Shiraz. Click here to read my tasting notes on the 2 new releases here.

While sipping on the above we also nibbled on tasty cheese & fruit platters with bread and crackers while Colby walked us through the wines and answered any questions we may have had.
Sittella Sparkling Workshop PlatterOnce the tasting commenced we moved onto the verandah of the restaurant. We all sat down at our own tables to look over the menu, which had a great choice for a set menu. Click on the image below to see the tasty delights we were offered.
Sittella Sparkling Workshop Lunch MenuI liked the setup of the entrée, very cool! In terms of the mains I went for the fish and Mr. Spittoon went for the Porterhouse, which was definitely the stand out meal. The meat was cooked to perfection and the onion rings were gone in the blink of an eye. The desserts were both simply amazing. The chocolate pudding was so gooey and moist and the brandy snap strawberry basket oh my… I was just about licking the plate!

With our main meals I had a glass of the 2007 Pinot Noir Chardonnay sparkling and Mr. Spittoon had a glass of Cab Sauv with his steak. Drinks with lunch were not included in the price so our bill at the end was a whole $16. All up it was $170 for the day, money well spent in my books.

It was a great experience and I am really looking forward to Sittella possibly hosting a Red Wine Workshop down the track. I’ll be first in line! Keep an eye on the Sittella website for upcoming events and the Sittella Facebook page.

Click here to see more photos from my visit.