Tagged "Pinot Noir"

4 basics of Wine: and how they make every glass taste better.

Posted by David Bowley on

Knowing about wine is probably something like knowing how to play an instrument. 

Maybe you can play a few bars, and you probably know someone who's 'a bit of an expert'. Thing is, it's so hard to get good at, and there's never a point where you know everything about it, so why start?

Simple. Aussies love plonk.
40% of the alcohol we drink is wine. Over 400 million litres of the stuff each year! So what if without spending an extra dollar you could enjoy every bottle that little bit more? Read on.

In simple terms the overall experience of a wine, it's body and soul, is made up of 4 basic factors. So let's break them down. 


It's the first thing we perceive when slipping something in our mouth because our sweetness receptors are located right on the tip of our tongue. Sweeter wines will usually have a thicker viscosity and are softer and easier to drink. Sweetness should only be used to describe the residual sugar in the wine and never the fruit flavours. We'll get to that later.  


Like biting into a lemon, acidity in wine can have a massive impact on your receptors. Wines with a high concentration of acid (low pH), like Riesling and Sparkling White feel fresher and lighter. Those with lower acid, like Chardonnay and Marsanne having a feeling of richer body and sit slightly heavier in the mouth.

Sweetness & acidity go hand in hand. It's all about balance, so in wines with some noticeable residual sugar, look for the acidity that lurks beneath as a sign of good quality.


Tannins are the most misunderstood thing about wine, so what are they exactly?
Natural chemical compounds that give a flavour of bitterness and a feeling of dryness in the mouth. Tannins are found in some pretty everyday items, like Tea, and understanding their impact can really make a difference to how you enjoy your wine.
Next time you brew a cuppa try putting the damp tea bag in your mouth to taste the bitterness and feel the drying sensation. 


Pretty much all wine varieties are characterised by the fruit flavours it shows the most of. Start getting to know what they are and you're in the box seat. 
Sauvignon Blanc - Passionfruit. Snowpea.
Riesling - Lime.
Pinot Gris - Spiced Pear.
Shiraz - Blackberry.
Pinot Noir - Sour Cherry.
Tempranillo - Raspberry & Ripe Cherry. 

They say knowledge is power, so nail these four basics of wine and you'll feel more confident the next time you've got a glass in hand. We even think it might taste better too...  

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Why you should put Red Wine in the Fridge

Posted by David Bowley on


A meaty glass of red wine is one of life's greatest pleasures.  And it's easy to plonk a bottle straight from the wine rack onto the dinner table.  Unlike white wine which needs a good chilling in the fridge, red wine makes sense at room temp, right?

No. Not always.

In Australia, our room temp isn't always ideal. When Steve Smith and the Aussie XI are punishing the Kiwis on a sunbaked MCG, your wine rack might be sitting in a room that's 25 degrees. And a Shiraz served at room temperature on a warm summer night may look sophisticated as hell, but it's actually a furry proposition. The tannins (that puckering dryness) will be exploding. The wine will taste overly rich and alcoholic and at $30+ a bottle, ain't nobody got time for hot wine.  You'll end up wishing you'd wasted your tastebuds on a Midori Sunrise instead. Yuk.

Numbers of red wine sales are booming with two-thirds of us now preferring to slurp red over white. Still the big guys pump out the same beastly reds they always have. This is where you can get creative and with our help, find the wines that can be drunk chilled in the middle of the Aussie run chase. 
You read right.  Red wine. Chilled. 

Lighter reds that taste great from the fridge include Pinot Noir, Gamay and Montepuliciano. How cold you ask? Experiment to find what you like but aim for 10 to 14 degrees. Give it 20 minutes in the fridge before serving. Chilled reds generally taste spicier. Less powerful. With fruit flavours that are more like cherry and red berry. Refreshing for a hot day. 

Next in line are the medium bodied varieties and blends, with many to choose from: Grenache, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo and Sangiovese.  Pop them in the fridge for 20 minutes and serve them with caprese salad and you'll notice how fresh the wine becomes. 

When it comes to the big guns – full bodied reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or Merlot, are best avoided. If served above ideal temperature they take on hot and alcoholic characteristics. The fruit flavours will resemble raisins. You can tell if they're too hot by the taste - they'll seem overly rich and mouth coating. If that's all you have in the wine rack, it's not the end of the world, just be gentle with the chilling and keep a cold glass of water on hand. 

Our tips for cooling things down on a hot day? If you can't find the fridge, break ranks and throw a cube of ice in there. Give it a swirl.  Leave the ice in for a minute while people look at you quizzically and then fish it out and discard it. Bringing the temperature of the wine down will allow its best expression, as the winemaker intended, and the most satisfying feeling for you. 

Rules are made to be broken.  Stick to the light bodied reds and get into some serious cool summer drinking, you red head. 
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Tuesday Test Kitchen // Chargrilled Pork Sirloin + Brussel Sprouts

Posted by David Bowley on

Part two of our look into the delicious but often overlooked morsels of these beasts. 
A Porcine predisposition is not uncommon, but in the Pork empire, Bacon is King. Belly is Queen & the Ribs might be the Prince.

This week as we tread the path less travelled and delve into seldom seen Sirloin. 

With these few simple steps and seasonal ingredients, you'll be;
Pork level - MASTER.  


Here's what you need. [serves 2]

pork sirloin steak x 2. approx 250g each. seasoned with salt and pepper. 
150g sliced leg ham. cut into small cubes.
75g danish fetta.
2 cloves garlic. sliced thin. 
4 sprigs thyme.
extra virgin olive oil.
500g brussel sprouts. base removed, blemished outer leaves removed then halved.
100g green beans. tips removed then halved.
2 tbs apple cider vinegar.
1 tsp fennel seed
sea salt flakes.
freshly ground black pepper.

Quick to prepare, this recipe requires a bit of juggling so please read through prior to starting. 

Using a griddle pan, add a splash of extra virgin olive oil and place over medium to high heat. After a couple of minutes, place the pork sirloins gently onto the grill. Keep a close eye on these ensuring not to burn them. Adjust heat as required, 

While the steaks are on the grill prepare the green beans and brussel sprouts by steaming for 3 to 4 minutes to soften slightly.

A minute or two before the steaks are done, add the garlic and cubed pieces of ham to the hot grill. The aim is to get these very crispy for added texture.  

Remove the steaks to rest. Now in the same griddle pan add the brussel sprouts, beans, fennel seed, thyme, apple cider vinegar and a generous splash of extra virgin olive oil. Chargrill for 8 to 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the ham is crispy and garlic and brussel sprouts are well coloured. 

Plate the pork sirloin and pile the chargrilled brussel sprouts and beans on top ensuring to include the sauce at the bottom of the grill. 

Garnish with danish fetta, salt and pepper. 

On the table to match? 
Recent winner of Pinot Palooza Adelaide - Peoples Choice Award; PN/14 Pinot Noir

The grace and power together in this wine along with the sour cherry, woodsmoke and complex dried herb characters make it the perfect match for Pork.

Use the code TEST KITCHEN when you order 6 bottles or more and you'll get free shipping (Aus only); plus we will send you a limited edition VNTLPR snapback.  
Offer expires 29/9/2015.

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OPN/12 - 'ODEON' Pinot Noir - 94pts Mike Bennie

Posted by David Bowley on

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