Xabregas Riesling – Mount Barker, Great Southern

Please find my notes below for the 2017 and 2018 Xabregas Rieslings from Mount Barker in Western Australia’s Great Southern region.

Xabregas 2018 Riesling

After trying the 2017 Reisling below, the lovely team at Xabregas in WA’s Great Southern wine region offered to send both me and my Mum a bottle of the 2018 Riesling to try – how sweet is that 🙂 Thank you Xabregas! Continue reading

How To Spend A Day In The Ferguson Valley Wine Region

Happy Birthday To Me

I recently celebrated a 30-something birthday and my birth date can be both a blessing and a curse.

  • Blessing: My birthday is held over the Australia Day long weekend and I am always guaranteed a ‘recovery’ day.
  • Curse: It can be really difficult to try and get friends together, as it is a good time to go away. And this year was a three-day long weekend.

bryce and naomi at bushshack brewery sitting at a table drinking small beersContinue 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.

WA Qantas Wine Awards 2013

The Qantas Wine Awards are Western Australia’s most prestigious wine show which has been running since 1978. I was completely blown away to be invited along by the lovely team at Evans & Tate to the Awards Dinner at the Hyatt Regency in Perth.

The night was full of glitter and glam as the winners of the each categoray were announced. In between the announcements and entertainment we were served up some absolutely delectable morsels of food, which were paired with the top wine of each category.

It was an amazing experience for both Mr. Spittoon and myself to attend as guests and mingle with WA’s elite winemakers and sip on the best drops in the state. Plus I have to admit it was pretty cool to be sitting at the table of the winery that won 7 out of the 19 awards. The 7 awards won by Evans & Tate (E&T) included the prestigious trophy for Most Successful Exhibitor as well as the Highest Aggregate for a Winery. Well-done Matt Byrne and the E&T winemaking team.

It’s safe to say I will be stashing away a few bottles of the E&T 2010 Redbrook Chardonnay (which won Best White Wine and Best Chardonnay) and the 2011 Redbrook Shiraz (which won the Best Wine of the Show, Best Red Wine and Best Shiraz) when it is released in April 2014. Check out Evans & Tate blog post on the awards night here.

Another fantastic result was seeing Mandoon Estate from the Swan Valley pick up three trophies for; Most Successful Exhibitor Processing under 250 Tonnes, Best & Most Distinctive Character for their 2012 Cabernet Merlot and Best Red Blend also for their 2012 Cab Merlot. Well-done Mandoon!!

Click here for a full list of the 2013 trophy winners.

IMG_4180_2The food was definitely worthy of the award winning wines with the main dish being slow-roasted Liveringa Beef rib, white soft polenta, Manjimup truffle oil, braised leeks, sautéed cavolo nero, vine ripened tomato, glazed baby carrot and red wine jus and dessert was a rhubarb and Valrhona chocolate delice, hazelnut biscotti, symphony of tomato and raspberry. Click the image on the right to see a larger version of the menu.

It was an amazing night and it was so great to get to known the E&T team who are just so much fun and down to earth. Definitely no wine snobbery there, they simply love to make great wine and share it with everyone.

Well done to all the award winners and wines entered. I feel truly lucky to be living in a state with so many fantastic wines and wino people! For more photos from the night, check out my WA Qantas Wine Awards Facebook album here.

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