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Taylors Wines

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Check the temperature of your wines before drinking


Are you drinking your red wines too warm, or your white wines too cold? 

Quite possibly. 

You have to remember that when wines were enjoyed at room temperature in the past, those rooms were often in cavernous, cold French chateaux, not Brisbane patios. 

Clare Valley winery Taylors (yes, they are advertisers on this site, see above) has just released new vintages of its Estate Pinot Noir Rosé from 2021 and Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from 2020. 

They are both good drinking for $22, but are designed to be enjoyed at different ends of the temperature scale. 

Taylors’ temperature innovation scale is featured on the back label of each wine to help drinkers make informed choices about best serving options.

Taylors managing director Mitchell Taylor is passionate about demonstrating that even a full-bodied wine like a cabernet sauvignon, usually reserved for colder months, can be perfect for summer sipping when it is served at the right temperature.

“As we head into the warmer months, our wine glasses get filled with a bit more white and pink than red - and I think that’s just a shame," Taylor says. 

"The myth that red wines should be served at room temperature is still quite widely believed, which doesn't truly showcase the intricate flavours of a red wine the way the winemaker intended. 

“Slightly chilling a red in the fridge 20-30 minutes before serving it brings harmony, balance and can even be a refreshing option on a hot summer’s day. 

"With the Optimum Drinking Temperature Sensors featured on all of our Estate and Promised Land wines, we take the guesswork out of knowing the temperature a red wine should be served at, and when a wine is just right to pour. It also adds a bit of interactive fun to the wine-drinking experience.”

Taylors’ Optimum Drinking Temperature Sensors are a tactile and functional feature  and utilise thermochromatic ink technology to read the temperature of the bottle to within 1°C.

The sensor’s colour corresponds to a temperature scale on the back label, giving users a simple way to know when their wine is too cold, just right or too warm.

The labels were first released in 2015 and have proved extremely popular. 

How wine lovers can have a sommelier on speed dial

Have you ever enjoyed a bottle of wine in a restaurant, decided you'd like to buy a few bottles but then either forgotten, or found the wine hard to track down? 

A new digital service aims to make disappointments like this a thing of the past and promises to be your own "back pocket sommelier". 

VINNI is a new text-based wine delivery service that launched earlier this month. 

It seeks to provide an on-hand wine expert and a focus on being able to conveniently access the wine you are looking for. 

When a particular wine takes a consumer’s fancy, they are able to text VINNI an image of the label and the number of bottles they’d like, which are then delivered directly to their door in batches of six or 12.

To access VINNI, users sign up via the website and are sent their own private contact number to store in their phone. 

They are then free to use it as many times as they like, much as a friend would. Delivery is free to major urban centres and you can also receive wine suggestions from expert sommeliers.

VINNI founder, wine expert and sommelier Luke Campbell from Vinified, explains: “You're drinking that wine that blows your mind, at your favourite little wine bar but then can't find it in retail.

"Text your new best friend ‘VINNI’ with the label, and this effective little guy will not only source it, he’ll get it shipped to you pronto.”

I see potential issues with pricing, and sourcing the correct vintage, but it does sound like a good idea. One to suck and see, perhaps. 

“Having been in the wine industry for the past 20 odd years, I found I was getting endless texts from my mates asking where they could source particular bottles of wine while they were out and about," Campbell says. 

"I thought, 'a sommelier is something everyone could do with in their back pocket'!”

Choose from a monthly ($3.79 per month) or yearly ($40) subscription option for the service. 

For more information, please visit www.textvinni.com

Accor launches a new high-end hotel brand

I am a big fan of the Accor Group; hoteliers who really get hospitality.

I have in the past consulted on wine lists to Accor, and regularly choose to stay in their hotels.

Accor has just introduce its Emblems Collection, a global portfolio of boutique hotels and luxurious resorts designed for independent hoteliers to gain global exposure.

Emblems Collection is launching with a flagship hotel: Guiyang Art Centre Hotel in China's Guizhou province (above), slated to open in December 2022.

The luxury brand is expected to grow to 60 properties around the world by 2030.

My problem is that I think Accor already has enough brands. More than enough. Enough to confuse.

But ....

“Emblems Collection adds a fresh and exciting new dimension to Accor's luxury offerings," says Sébastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO, Accor.

"A key focus of our growth and development strategy is to add aggressively across our strongest lines and leading business accelerators, which includes luxury as well as collection brands, while ensuring all 40+ brands in our global network continue to grow, evolve and flourish.

“The hotels we will feature in Emblems Collection are those sought out by travellers who appreciate high-end, boutique-style experiences, as well as by hoteliers who cherish the independent brands they've built while desiring the benefits that come with a global partner.”

Emblems Collection will feature hotels that are 'emblematic' of their designers, demographics or destinations.

For me, even more concerning news is the brand will be spread over three segments: Emblems Collection Heritage, Emblems Collection Retreat and Emblems Collection Signature.

I'm sure Emblems Collection will be another huge Accor success. But sorry, I already have a headache.

Enjoy a glass of wine; help PetRescue

Love wine? Love dogs? 

Then you'll want to check out the Sit Stay Society Wine range, which has already raised $150,000 for PetRescue. 

The 375ml half bottles of wine all feature a cute mutt on their labels and the latest addition is Gracie's Gewuraztraminer Riesling - featuring a Staffie on the label. 

Come to think of it, I see a Staffie as more a shiraz or GSM dog, but I am nitpicking. 

The Sit Stay Society wines are sourced from the Clare Valley - and half bottles are a rarity nowadays, which is a pity, as they are so useful for picnics and other outdoor activities.

For very bottle sold in the range, 50c goes directly to PetRescue to help fund adoption programs - which is to be applauded.

The range also includes a gruner veltliner. a rosé, a shiraz tempranillo, a montepulciano and malbec. 

The montepulciano is the definite star of the show for me - and the one to buy if you want to sample one. Half bottles cost between $7.60-$8.55. 

Sit Stay Society Wines are available at Dan Murphy's and BWS stores nationwide. See www.sitstaysocietywines.com.au Or just donate at www.petrescue.com.au/


Monday, 29 November 2021

Leading winemaking family changes channels

This is a huge story for anyone involved in the wine industry but of minor interest to wine lovers, so drinkers can look away now.

Eden Valley-based Henschke, among Australia's leading family wine producers and with 150 years of history, will be distributed by Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist from 2022.

Henschke was for many years distributed by Tucker Seabrook/Fine Wine Partners and then by House of Fine Wine, a collaboration between Société Jacques Bollinger of France; Henschke and Villa Maria of New Zealand that was established in 2017.

“We are delighted and honoured to welcome Henschke into the Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist portfolio," said Gary Crawford, CEO of Joval Wines.

“Henschke will become one of our cornerstone brands in the Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist portfolio alongside some of the world’s greatest family-owned wine brands.

“As custodians of some the country’s oldest vines, producers of nation-defining wines and innovators for a sustainable future, we admire the Henschke family as people of both principle and action.

"We are looking forward to working closely with Stephen and Prue, the next generation and the wider Henschke team for many years to come."

In recent years, Stephen (fifth-generation winemaker) and Prue (viticulturist) Henschke have welcomed their adult children, Johann, Justine and Andreas into the family business.

“As we embark on a new chapter, we would like to thank House of Fine Wine for their dedication and contribution while representing Henschke in our home market,” said Stephen Henschke.

“We are pleased to form a new distribution partnership with one of Australia’s most reputable and dynamic fine wine businesses, Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist, part of Joval Wines. Their enduring values and commitment to the premium wine trade align with our family business, and we look forward to a long and prosperous relationship, servicing our loyal customers throughout Australia.”

Mezzanine represents brands from around the world, including Champagne Taittinger, Cullen, Craggy Range, Nanny Goat Vineyard, Tar & Roses, Yangarra, Burlotto and AIX Rose.

Tractor leaves wine list rivals trailing

Mornington Peninsula restaurant and cellar door Ten Minutes by Tractor has taken out the major prize in the Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards announced today. 

Marking the 28th year since the awards were launched in 1994, the winners of the 2021 Awards were announced online. 

Ten Minutes by Tractor also took out the 2021 Best Country Restaurant List and Best Victorian List.

“It's a story for the ages: a great restaurant and an astounding wine list that have evolved from the ashes of a 2018 fire which closed the venue for 18 months," said chief judge Peter Forrestal. 

"Owners Martin and Karen Spedding, chef Adam Sanderson and head sommelier Xavier Vigier all deserve credit for their part in the resurrection, recreating and revitalisation of Ten Minutes by Tractor. 

"In its wine list, they have reconceptualised the notion of the winery restaurant; given clearer definition to the idea of evoking a sense of place; offered a unique exploration of the wines of Mornington, placing them alongside the great wines of Australia and the world. 

"All this has made for a fascinating list. Xavier Vigier (below) takes his place alongside Australia's finest sommeliers as the latest winner of the Judy Hirst Award, given annually to the sommelier responsible for the winning list”.

 Of the overall Awards, Forrestal continued: "While the pandemic and its associated lockdowns made this arguably the most trying year ever for the hospitality industry, one of its signature trademarks - the wine lists - show a resilience and professionalism that flies in the face of such adversity. It continues a trend that we noted last year and reflects particularly well on the quality of education and training which is now widely available”.

The numbers of entrants in 2021 was an all-time high with a record number of 176 lists awarded three glasses. This compares to 157 last year and only nine in 1994.

The finalists for the top award were Bennelong, Bert’s Bar & Brasserie and Cirrus, all from Sydney, Cru Bar + Cellar in Brisbane and Florentino in Melbourne.

Cru Bar + Cellar won Best Wine Bar List, Best Listing of Queensland Wines, Best List of Wines by the Glass and Best Champagne List.

Awards convenor Rob Hirst said although for many, 2021 was harder in hospitality than it had been during the previous year, it was extraordinary to see the response translate into record entries in the awards.

Major winners were: 


Australia's Wine List of The Year: Ten Minutes by Tractor

Judy Hirst Award: Xavier Vigier


State/Territory winners

Best Wine List ACT:  The Boat House

Best Wine List NSW: Cirrus

Best Wine List QLD: Otto, Brisbane

Best Wine List SA: Hardy's Verandah

Best Wine List TAS: Fico

Best Wine List VIC : Ten Minutes by Tractor

Best Wine List WA : Settlers Tavern


Type of Trade award winners          

Best City Restaurant Wine List : Cirrus

Best Club Restaurant Wine List: Newcastle Club

Best Country Restaurant Wine List: Ten Minutes by Tractor

Best Hotel Restaurant Wine List: Black Bar & Grill

Best Pub Restaurant Wine List: The Watervale Hotel

Best Wine Bar List: Cru Bar + Cellar


Category award winners

The Tony Hitchin Award (Best New List): a’Mare

Best Wine List (50 Wines): Ishizuka

Best Wine List (100 Wines): Spice Temple, Sydney

Best Wine List (200 Wines): Fix Wine Bar + Restaurant

Best List of Wines by The Glass: Cru Bar + Cellar

Best Food & Wine Matching List: Pilu at Freshwater

Best Champagne List: Cru Bar + Cellar

Best Sparkling Wine List: Aria

Best Non-Alcoholic List: Ishizuka

Best Aperitif List: One Penny Red

Best Digestif List: Bistecca

Best Sake List: Sokyo

Best Beer List: Charred Kitchen & Bar

Best Listing of a Region's Wines: Settlers Tavern

Best Listing of Australian Wines: Bennelong

Best Listing of ACT Wines: The Boat House

Best Listing of NSW Wines: Charred Kitchen & Bar

Best Listing of Queensland Wines: Cru Bar + Cellar

Best Listing of South Australian Wines: Hardy's Verandah

Best Listing of Tasmanian Wines: Terrace Kitchen

Best Listing of Victorian Wines: Pt Leo Estate

Best Listing of Western Australian Wines: Wildflower

Best Wine List - Sommeliers' Choice Award: Quay Restaurant

Best Wine List - Australia's Choice Award: Il Lido


Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards was founded in 1994 by Rob and the late Judy Hirst, and Tucker Seabrook to recognise and reward the commitment, craft and talent of Australia’s sommeliers, as well as the investment by business owners, in building and maintaining great wine lists and the cellars behind them.

 # The writer is proud to be on the judging panel for the awards