Eden Road (April 2014 Cellar Door Visit)

June 28th, 2014

A relatively new winery in the Canberra region. A fantastically presented cellar door. As the new kid on the block these guys have a simply massive range of wines available for testing. They’re massive range must give them scope to play around and determine what works best from a wine making perspective. As a punter they have many of the same varieties that have been grown in different regions, giving an indication what some of the (relatively) local microclimates offer and bring to the table, some of the differences are far from subtle. Their wines are great, so check them out for that, but if nothing else, check them out as a way of seeing the differences in where the vine was grown causes differences in the wine in the bottle.

[ Key ]:
B = Purchased
S = Smelled
T = Tasted
W = Wishlist

Riesling (Canberra) 2013 [S]: Flowery; Scent indicates that the acid in this will be pretty good, chalky lemon notes too.

Riesling (Off Dry – Canberra) 2013 [S]: A wild ferment, More muted nose but similar to the dry, but would expect this to be more food friendly.

Pinot Gris 2013 [S]: Peary nose w/ a slight (clean) musky scent.

Chardonnay “The Long Road ” 2012 [S]: A phenolic nutty nose

Chardonnay (Tumbarumba) 2012 [S]: A more elegant version of the long road. I’d expect this to go for a while, a nutty finish, and hints of green honey dew melon.

Chardonnay “Courabyra” 2012 [S]:?(Slightly cooler?climate to Maragle) – Sharper

Chardonnay “Maragle” 2012 [S]: ?(Slightly warmer climate than Courabyra) – Bigger nose, peary, more interesting at this stage on the nose.

Pinot Noir “The Long Road” 2012 [S]: Different fragrances compared to most PN’s recently smelled. A slightly sweet nose.

Pinot Noir “Tumbarumba” 2011 [S]: Spicy, somewhat more austere than the long road.

Shiraz “The Long Road” 2012 [S]: Cool climate pepper, red fruit – smells juicy.

Shiraz “Hilltops” 2010 [S+B+T+W]: Pepper fading into dark red fruits, good acid.

Shiraz “Gundagai” 2011 [S+T]: Slightly lighter than the Hilltops in palate.

Shiraz “Canberra” 2011 [S+T]: White pepper, softer mouthfeel. Pepper finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon “Gundagai” 2012 [S]: Cooler Cab Sauv, slightly bitter tannins, Good nose with some hints approaching tar but not overt (tar + smoke).

Nebiolo “Gundagi” 2011 [S+T]: Lighter colour, clean finish, almost too clean, ends quickly.

Shiraz “Canberra” 2012 [S+T+W]: Would have been a buy buy buy if it were available for purchase (was not technically available for tasting on this day ;-)). Pepper and fruit come and play together nicely. Pepper finishes the deal, fruit dominates the mid palate. Awesome Wine!! (Available now at time of posting)

Riesling 2009 [S+T+W]: ?Slight kero nose. Fruit is still great, Lemon Pithy finish, nice mid palate. (Available now at time of posting).

Pinot Gris 2014 [S+W]: Tank sample (who’s a lucky taster then). Better than the ’13. More clean fruit which exposes some sweetness.




Shaw Vineyard Estate (Apr 2014) Cellar Door Visit

June 28th, 2014

The Shaw Vineyard Estate cellar door is locate up the back of Murrumbateman near the top of a hill, it’s in a nice location, and the restaurant attached looks appealing. There are a decent range of wines available to taste and buy.


[ Key ]:
B = Purchased
S = Smelled
T = Tasted
W = Wishlist


Riesling 2012 [S]: Pale almost as transparent/tinted as water. A shy nose, chalk stick with a lemon/lime combo.

Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2011 [S]: Sauv nose, lots of passionfruit w/ some cut grass.

Shiraz 2012 [SW]: Black pepper, mid to dark fruit, spicy.

Cabernet Shiraz 2009 [SW]: Truffly, wood box, smells awesome.

Cabernet 2009 [S]: Minty start, juicy smells, screams for a steak.

Botrytised Semillion 2008 [S]: Nice nose. Obviously a stickey, hard to pin down the unique scents.

Clonakilla (CD Tasting/Smelling Notes April 2014)

June 14th, 2014


The cellar door was manned by the winemaker Tim Kirk on our visit. He’s a man who’s got a good product and he knows it. One of the best things at the cellar door was that all wines available for purchase were available for tasting, including their wonderful Shiraz Viognier. As per the history for any who have read the slowly trickling through notes from this 23/April visit to various Canberra region cellar doors, I took my mum around who was over for a visit, and as driver, did primarily smelling.

[ Key ]:
B = Purchased
S = Smelled
T = Tasted
W = Wishlist for another day (most of the wines are want?s at some point but given limited budgets, the ones I really want to come back and grab a couple of). At this winery – all wines are on my wishlist, including the as yet not released Riesling for ’14.


Viognier 2013 [S]: Apricot in and out nice smells. Mum commented that it had a high acid backbone. I expect this would be very much to my tastes.

Shiraz Hilltops 2012 [S]: Pepper; Hints of almost blueberry. Mum rates as moorish, mild tannins.

Shiraz O’Riada 2012 [S]: Pepper up the wing wang, fruit layered underneath.

Shiraz Viognier 2012 [S]: White pepper; Mild apricot undertones. Told great balance, with a pepper finish.

Shiraz-Cab Franc-Merlot Ballindary 2011 [S]: Floral nose; Tiny bit of what indicates tannins would be present.

Capital Wines (CD Tasting Notes April 2014)

May 31st, 2014

Capital Wines:

The cellar door while pretty is quite a dark affair. The food is good and eating out under the marquee is pleasant. Any comments regarding tastes reflect the thoughts of the person I was driving around, if not indicated that I tasted.

[ Key ]:
B = Purchased
S = Smelled
T = Tasted
W = Wishlist for another day (most of the wines are want?s at some point but given limited budgets, the ones I really want to come back and grab a couple of).

?Riesling “The Whip” 2013 [S]: Chalky pithy lemon dominated nose with white flowers. V. Sharp Acid (Sounds appealing if you ask me ;)).

Riesling “Gundaroo” 2013 [S]: Lemon with white flower, less chalk; More delicate and refined. Slightly less acid than “The Whip”

Sauvignon Blanc 2013 [S]: Fruity nose, smells like it would have more acid than NZ Sauv Blanc; Some passionfruit.

Sangiovese 2013 [S]: A more fragrant Sangiovese than most. Does not have the dustiness that some Sangiovese often develops. Florally/Herby notes and even some rose/violet at the end.

Merlot 2012 [S]: Edge of tar, Fruit seems to be hiding. Told that it’s quite tannic in the mouth, which would indicate wanting more time, however it was mentioned that there is a tail end of bitterness going on.

Shiraz 2011 [S]: Starts of pepper (which shows in the taste) then goes herby, then fruit (plums and cherry). Some greenness.

Tempranillo 2013 [S]: Jubey initial, nice raspberry/cherry. Sour finish on palate – nice.

Riesling “Treasury” (Late Picked) 2011 [S]: Nice phenolics, slight hint of petrol.

Affleck Wines – (23 Apr – CD tour)

May 25th, 2014
Affleck Wines Cellar Door

Affleck Wines Cellar Door

[ Key ]:
B = Purchased
S = Smelled
T = Tasted
W = Wishlist for another day (most of the wines are want?s at some point but given limited budgets, the ones I really want to come back and grab a couple of).


Riesling 2013 [S+W]: ?Chalky shite flowers, Pear Apple combo on the nose.

Semillon 2013 [S]: Fruity almost cider lime twist on the nose.

Rose 2013 [S]: Strawberry nose, delicate.

Pinot Noir 2013 [S+W]: Makes the saliva flow, red fruity nose with slightly smoky background notes.

Shiraz 2010 [S]: White pepper dominates the nose, cherry fruits also.

Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc [S]: A familiar scent that I could not put my finger on, Almost citrus flower, dusty, good nose (dash of Viogier in it).

Sweet White [S]: Christmas cake, rum + molasses on nose. (told it tastes smooth by mum who I was being chauffeur for)

Muscat [S+T]: Nose spirit edge to it; ?spicy, light in ?mouth good length.

Port [S]: Spirit edge here, coffee, toffee and co come through.


Overall the Pinot?and Riesling were the standout here. The fortifieds seemed to be showing signs of their fortification spirits which as off putting. The Shiraz was enjoyable, but not standout and would have no qualms about drinking a bottle.

Home Brew May 2014 – Dutch Lager

May 23rd, 2014

Mangrove Jacks Dutch Lager kit

CBW Pilsen Light pure malt extract

W34/70 Lager Yeast

SG 1.042


Currently the wort is at 24C, will rehydrate and pitch the yeast tomorrow morning, hopefully it will have cooled to the ~12C range.

Homebrew April/May 2014 – Stout w/ grain.

May 10th, 2014

This morning I bottled my stout, made from an ESB 3kg “extra special stout” kit and 200gm of chocolate malt grain.

It’s been in the fermenter for 16 days and spent the last 5 days at a specific gravity of 1.018 I am a little concerned by the last as I was expecting ~1.012-1.014 range, so I reduced the amount of sugar at bottling time hoping that all will be well. Tasting the beer that was used to measure the SG, indicated that all was reasonably well with things. There is no initial SG reading as I have previously not bothered with such things, but as I was concerned that the ferment may be on the stuck side, I decided I better start recording these things.

I have included a photo of the stout in a clear bottle (the bulk of it is in green 680mL glass bottles or brown 750mL glass bottles), but I like to have a little to snoop on as things progress. I like the colour and look forward to tasting this in a few weeks. Out of this bottling I ended up with 12x 680mL bottles, 12x 750mL bottles and 1x 330mL bottle.


stout may 2014

Home Brew May 2014 – Pilsner

May 10th, 2014

Just put down a Pilsner to begin ferment in the lovely mid autumn Canberra weather.

Using the following:

Yeast S-189 Pilsner/German Lager

Morgans Golden Saaz Pilsner kit

CBW Pilsen Light pure malt extract


The specific gravity was 1.043 and is now sitting in the shed to ferment for the next 2 – 3 weeks. I’ll update this post as required and things change.

Cider (Homebrew) April 2014

April 30th, 2014

I bottled a home brew cider on the 24th of April.

I grabbed one of the bottles and decided to taste, this is the result:


Colour is a fairly deep yellow/orange.

Nose is yeasty, herby and apply.

Taste hits with a nice sharp apple twang, progresses into a smooth taste, then the yeast dominates and comes to the fore. Then abruptly finishes.

Fizz is barely there (not surprising as bottle conditioning is still occurring.)

At this stage I’d rate it as just a cider. Better than many commercial mass produced ciders, not quite as interesting as some of the more boutique ciders available. The abrupt finish is surprising and perhaps slightly disappointing as I kind of expected it to linger a little longer.


Given this is only a week old it’s showing a lot better than expected. I look forward to revisiting this again (and again).

Lark Hill (Cellar Door) – Canberra District April 2014

April 27th, 2014

As a Canberra local it’s only natural for me to completely take for granted the local wineries, and not visit them until having a visitor to take around. This seems to be a common theme among locals of most wine regions, they rarely if ever visit them and typically when they do visit it’s because they’ve moved away from the locale and have come back visiting friends, and now that the wineries are no longer just a few minutes down the road they must fulfill the need to visit (me after I moved from Adelaide to Canberra re: McLaren Vale), or ([and] as in the case for me after 8 years in Canberra) they have a friend or family member staying who’d like to check out the local wines.

In my case my mum visited, and we got a chance to check out the local wineries and my thoughts on other CD’s and wines will be posted in the coming weeks (probably months), but for now my visit to Lark Hill:

Lark Hill is a biodynamic winery, personally I don’t mind if wine is grown bio-dynamically, organically, or with the assistance of modern pesticides and fertilizers, however anecdotally, those who are prepared to put the effort into maintaining a certification for BD or Organic tend to work pretty hard to get the vines to express a sense of place (or as the Frogs would say Terrior) and pretty tasty wines.

On this trip, I was driving, so the bulk of my thoughts and comments are based on the nose (of which I find a good portion of enjoyment in a wine can be gained); Some I did of course taste and spit, and they will be noted. I have not recorded recommendations to buy/skip wines in this case because my tastes and yours will likely not be the same, and quite frankly, it’s worth checking out the winery and making your own mind up, especially if you’re a local to the region . Due to some time constraints some of my notes now make little sense to me, so take them with a grain of salt, as they represent moment in time what’s going through my head.

[ Key ]:
B = Purchased
S = Smelled
T = Tasted
W = Wishlist for another day (most of the wines are want’s at some point but given limited budgets, the ones I really want to come back and grab a couple of).

We were greeted in the cellar door by the softly spoken, and quite knowledgeable Sue who ran us through the range available for tasting.

2012 Riesling: [S+T] This was a Lemon/Lime combo hit to the nose, quite alluring; On the palate the nose came through as expected based on the smelling – Lemon/Lime w/ Zestyness. Yummo!

2013 Viognier: [S] This wine is to the spicy/musky end of the spectrum, relegating the oft found apricot characteristic to playing a minor role.

2012 Chardonnay:[S] Smells like VF (What ever that means?- EDIT: VF = Vasse Felix – a lovely ’09 Chard from them that we’d had recently), well integrated and nutty.

2013 – Mr V (Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier): [S+T] Nose is intriguing, the palate is spicy, with a very good mouthfeel.

2013 ‘Eliza’ Risling: [S+T+B] Named for the cute little 3 year old daughter of (i think) Chris at the winery this is an off dry Rizza that has a lime sherbert nose. The palate the lime sherbert came through on the palate, the acid is brilliantly balanced with this style, it’s a vibrant wine, and one that mum grabbed a few of.

2013 Sangiovese: [S+T+B] Nose is dusty, alluring cherries come through, almost a hint of mulberries with a hint of star anise. Palate – soft tannins; food friendly I’d match to pizza (or nearly anything Italian).

2013 Pinot Noir: [S+W] Sour cherry end of the pinot spectrum, slight edge of gameiness.

2013 Shiraz Viognier: [S] Excellent schnoz – initial whack of white pepper, sour/juicy fruit then set the stomach grumbling follows.

2009 Exultation (Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Sangiovese): [S+T+W] Nose – tar, truffles, anise/licorice. Palate – firm tannins, sour acid, really a nicely integrated wine. A definite check out again.

2012 Auslese Riesling: [S] Tiny edge of kero on the nose and marzipan. A rich descendant smelling wine, but one that does not give an indication that it would be cloying and sickly. I recall sticking my finger in an tasting just a little of this, it was tasty. Mum bought a few bottles.

Overall I enjoyed the stop at Lark Hill and would love to revisit (I also must try and buy their bubbles) and would definitely revist. The restaurant on site has also been added to the must sample list.