Lunch at Mash Brewing – Swan Valley, Perth

I am very partial to the Mash “West Coast” wheat beer. However it’s never tempted me to have a meal. Recently a friend invited me to lunch at the craft brewery as it’s one of her and her husbands favourite spots in the Valley for a meal, so how could I say no 🙂 Continue reading

WIN Wine Glass Writer Pens!! COMPETITION CLOSED!

I love Christmas and I’m in the mood for giving! I have 2 packs of Wine Glass Writer pens up for grabs! Each pack includes a metallic gold, a silver & an emerald green coloured pen valued at $16.80

Simply leave a comment on this blog post before 5pm AWST on Sunday 24/11/2013 telling me:
What is your favourite wine accessory and why?

It could be an existing accessory like why you love your corkscrew or an accessory you’ve dreamed up! Perhaps it’s the bottomless wine glass, or Harry Potter’s water into wine spell or the secret wine cellar at the back of the wardrobe. The 2 most entertaining or convincing answers will win! For inspiration, check out my My 6 favourite wine accessories of the moment!

Wine Glass Writer pens are a fantastic way to mark your wine glass and keep track of it. The ink dries within 1-3 minutes and easily washes off with water & a cloth leaving no residue on the glass. The pens are made with a patented non-toxic ink that writes on leaded crystal, plastic and glazed ceramics – making it a multifunctional pen! Watch the video here.

For more information please check out the Wine Glass Writer website here or check out the Wine Glass Writer Facebook page.

Goodluck and Merry Christmas fellow winos!

Competition T&Cs

  • Competition is open to all Travelling Corkscrew readers with an Australian postal address.
  • Two Travelling Corkscrew readers who have commented here with what their favourite wine accessory is and why will be selected to win a 3 pen pack of Wine Glass Writer pens valued at $16.80
  • Competition closes 5pm AWST Sunday 24/11/2013 and the winners will be notified by email on Monday 25/11/2013. If the winning readers do not respond within 72 hours with their postal details, Travelling Corkscrew will redraw the competition and notify new winners.
  • Once the two winners are confirmed, the results of the competition will be published on the Travelling Corkscrew facebook page, twitter page and blog.

Viva Verdelho 2013 in the Swan Valley

World-renowned Master of Wine, Jancis Robinson once said that the Swan Valley makes the best Verdelho in the world. I completely agree!

Viva Verdelho is the annual Swan Valley celebration of the Verdelho grape variety. Originally from Portugal the Verdelho grape thrives in the warm weather of the Swan Valley. It is a realitively straight forward grape to grow however it can be prone to diease in the vineyard. It produces a full-bodied white wine which can be bone-dry or sweet, drank young or aged and typically has notes of lime and honeysuckle.

What I loved about Viva Verdelho 2013 is that you are focusing all your attention on this one grape variety. We were able to taste Verdelho’s from 15 different Swan Valley producers and it was amazing how the wine styles differed between one winery to the next.

The majority of the Verdelho’s on show were dry 2013s. However Garbin Estate, Sittella & Lancaster also had off-dry to medium sweet Verdelho’s to taste, Lamont’s had a backlog of Verdelho’s to try including a 2005, 2007, 2012 and their 2013 which was incredibly interesting to see how the wines age and Talijancich and Harris Organic had fortified Verdelho’s to taste.

While we were tasting our way through these delectable tipples, a panel of 4 critics were judging the wines. The panel consisted of; Ray Jordan wine reviewer for the Western Australian newspaper, David Prestipino wine reviewer for the Sunday Times, Paul Murray journalist and radio broadcaster, and Fleur Bainger from White Noise Media. The judges evaluated the wines by themselves and then with 3 dishes created by head chef Jamie Skinner from Stewart’s at Brookleigh.

The food was AMAZING! Literally the dishes were a work of art and every morsel on those plates melted in your mouth.  All the ingredients were carefully chosen to compliment the flavours of the Swan Valley Verdelho’s. Please click on the image to the right to see the mouth-watering menu. I can’t decide which was my favourite dish, both the tortellini and the quail were heavenly. Mr. Spittoon couldn’t stop gushing over the pork belly, he even declared it to be the best pork belly he has ever had! Big words!

During the afternoon raffles to win packs of Swan Valley wines were up for grabs and we, the consumers, were also asked to vote for our top 3 wines which would ultimately determine the ‘Peoples Choice Award’.

After the 3rd course I was well and truly in wino-foodie heaven. Thank goodness for wearing stretchy pants!! It was also great how in-between the courses we had the opportunity to get up and try more wines and speak to the winemarkers/winery representatives. Mr. Spittoon and I had some fascinating conversations – it’s safe to say we now know a a lot more about Verdelho and the Valley. So it wasn’t just an afternoon of eating and drinking, it was educational!

So who did the critics and the people deem to have the best 2013 Verdelho in the Swan Valley you ask??

The Critics Choice Award:
1st = Chester’s Restaurant & Heafod Glen Winery
2nd = Faber Vineyard
3rd = Lamont’s

The People’s Choice Award:
1st = Lamont’s
2nd = Sittella Winery
3rd = Olive Farm Wines

The day ended perfectly with cheese from the The Cheese Barrel and nougat and chocolate from Mondo Nougat as well as fortified Verdelho’s to taste and new release reds from the Valley. I have to mention that the stilton blue cheese went amazingly well with the Harris Organic Fortified Verdelho, it truly was cheesey-wino heaven! Want to see more delectable photos? Check out my Viva Verdelho Facebook album here.

A big thank-you to the Swan Valley Winemakers Association for inviting me along to this great event. Bring on Viva Verdelho 2014! For more details on other Swan Valley events please click here.

Here are a selection of Swan Valley Verdelho’s I have tasted this year, please click the links for full tasting notes:

Viva Verdelho 2013

viva-verdelho-2013-swan-valleyAn event not to missed! Seriously, great wine, fantastic food in the beautiful Swan Valley – what’s not to like? If you do anything in the Swan Valley this year, Viva Verdelho should be on your list.

This weekend on Sunday the 10th of November twenty Swan Valley wine producers will showcase their best Verdelho’s matched with food at the lovely Stewart’s at Brookleigh restaurant (I can personally vouch for how great Stewart’s is, read my post here). Tickets are $82 per person for this long-table style lunch from 12:30-4pm.

Viva Verdelho is an interactive afternoon which invites wine and food lovers to sample wines and match them over three courses created by head chef Jamie Skinner at Stewart’s. The afternoon will involve raffles, interviews with the judges and the coveted ‘People’s Choice Award’.

So what’s on the menu you ask? Here is a sneak peek…

  • 1st course: Beetroot and fennel cured kingfish, petite panzanella, fried Lilliput capers and crispy mandarin. This has been designed to be a fresh, zingy and fragrant dish to compliment the more delicate Verdelho’s on tasting at the event.
  • 2nd course:  Swimmer crab and prawn tortellini, nero, samphire, mussels and verjuice cream. This dish is a little richer than the entree and will go well with some of the Verdelho’s with rounder and more tropical flavours.
  • 3rd course: Thyme confit quail, walnut gnocchi, waldorf flavours and apple slaw – a more earthy and nutty dish compared to the other two previous courses, to pair well with some of the more developed Verdelho styles at the event.

After lunch there will be feature tastings of new red wine releases and fortified Verdelho matched with cheese from The Cheese Barrel and chocolates & nougat from Mondo Nougat.

I am already having foodgasms at the thought! For more information please check out the Viva Verdelho Facebook page and to book tickets please click here.

What is Verdelho?
It is a white grape variety which thrives in the Swan Valley. It is a very aromatic variety which is typically full-bodied and it can be enjoyed young or it can be aged. With great fruit and acidity balance it is the perfect accompaniment with fish, chicken and Asian cuisine.

I hope to see you all on the weekend!

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My 6 favourite wine accessories of the moment!

Like most women, I love to accessorize! Here are 6 of my favourite wine accessories:

1. Wine Glass Writer Pens

I only discovered these recently and I love them! You can doodle all over your wine glass and it simply washes off with a cloth and water. A great way to personalise glasses at a dinner party so everyone can remember exactly which glass is theirs! The pens also work on various other surfaces and containers, which I find handy in the kitchen. A versatile wine accessory!

2. My WineStein

Is this not the perfect glass for October, or should I say Oktoberfest?? Whether you’re a beer or wine drinker this glass let’s you have it both ways – elegant wine glass on the inside and manly beer stein on the outside, the best of both worlds!

3. Ice bucket

Summer is on our doorsteps and yes this is going to sound lazy, but instead of keeping your bottle in the fridge where you have to get up and get it, just pop it in your ice bucket and keep it by your side. A man/woman’s best friend!

4. Cooler bag

I love these bags! They help keep the wine relativity chilled, look funky and make it easy to transport your wine out to your favourite BYO restaurant or over to a mates BBQ. Plus a tip: always get one which carries at least 2 bottles, it’s smart to have a backup – especially if it’s dinner with the in-laws 😉

5. My Corkscrew

This of course is the number one. You’ll find that most bottles are screw cap these days but I bet at some point you won’t realise you’ve picked up a bottle with a cork closure and then it literally could be the worst night of your life if you can’t get into the wine. Also don’t bother with those fancy, bulky and usually expensive corkscrews, ones like the one pictured below are truly the best (ask anyone working in the wine industry). They do the job and are easy to use.

6. Sparkling wine stopper

Everyone says they don’t need one of these because they drink the lot in one go. I normally do too, but I like to pop one of these on in-between glasses to preserve the freshness as much as possible as I normally Iike to pre-taste test before the guests arrive so I can make sure it is a-okay… quality assurance! Plus you can get some super cute and ultra-glitzy stoppers covered in diamantes and cute bits and pieces these days… accessorize girls!

If you have a favourite wine accessory let me know by commenting below.

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