Upper Goulburn Wine Region – Vintage celebrations

April 17, 2007

On Saturday, 28th April, 2007 at Delatite Winery in Mansfield, Victoria, a great new festival will be brought to you by the Upper Goulburn Wine Growers Association (www.uppergoulburnwine.org.au).

Come along and enjoy new and museum vintages of elegant and aromatic cool climate wines.
The region is ideally located for the production of crisp and racy aromatic white and sparkling wines and elegant textural red wines.

The following fruit and wines are grown and made: Riesling, Gewuerztraminer, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Marsanne, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Temperanillo.

Taste the flavours of the Upper Goulburn, listen to music from Connie Lansberg, enjoy a balloon flight chill out in the high country!

Showcasing
– A variety of aromatic whites and elegant reds – over 20 labels
– Gourmet food from the region’s best restaurants and cafes
– Regional products – olives, oils, breads, trout
– Art and sculpture
– Vintage cars
– Fun activities for the kids – puppet shows, face painting
– Balloon flights over the Delatite Vineyard
– Musical entertainment (sponsored by Crazy Johns): Jazz n Shiraz featuring Connie Lansberg

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Two Hills Merlot 2004

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Land and wine

April 13, 2007

It’s always good to be back in Taiwan. It is here that I started my professional career about 23 years ago at the former Land Reform Training Institute in Taoyuan, now renamed, the Center for Land Policy Studies and Training (www.iclpst.gov.tw). The class I am teaching (on good governance, decentralization, democracy and citizens participation in land administration) is very exceptional, 24 professionals from 22 countries from all over the world. They make it easy and interesting for me. This year’s group is very active, interested and discussion hungry. As always the staff of the Center is very friendly and I have the chance to catch up with many old and new friends.

On Sunday it started with a wonderful lunch in Taibei. At the “Wei Fu Lo” Restaurant we had Beijing Duck and many wonderful local Taiwanese dishes to complement the North Chinese delicacy. I later learned about a special chicken dish, called “Gu-ken chicken” which is grilled in coffee powder. We drank green tea with our meal, no wine.

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But across the street from the Center is a wine and spirits shop which I used to patronize in the past. I paid it a visit and browsed through its stock. These include mainly whiskeys, brandies and cognacs as well as other spirits, but also a selection of fine wines from France (lots of Bordeaux’s, among them a Barville, Sancerre, Cordier/Saint Emilion, Baron de Rothschild, Chateauneuf du Pape, Mouton Cadet), Italy (Nero D’Avolo from Sicily, wines from Umbria and Melini from Tuscany but also a Barolo), Chile (Philippe de Rothschild), Spain, Australia (Lindemans, but also Amberly from Margret River and Goudrey from Western Australia ) and a large stock of various Blue Nun (Made in Australia) bottles. The selection included also some sparkling and desert wines (Ice wine).

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My friend Jim bought a bottle of 2004 “Les Cloîtres” (Hautes-Côtes de Nuits) of Bouchard Aìné & Fils, Beaune, Bourgogne, France for the equivalent of about 17 EURO (!) which we drank together. After the bottle got some air, the wine was silky and smooth with lots of red fruit flavour, a good texture and an impressive finish. A week is not long and before I could settle in I was back on a plane heading home to Jakarta.


Up North

April 8, 2007

I travelled north, from Jakarta to Taoyuan, Taiwan where I am going to teach for a week at the International Center for Land Policy Studies and Training (ICLPST). The flight was very comfortable in the business class of China Airlines. The menu I chose was all seafood. Boiled baby prawns with tomato and lettuce leaves as entrée and fish and prawn satay in ginger light soya sauce with Shanghai noodles as main course. On top of the wine list I found to my surprise a German Riesling from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, my home region in Germany where also Trier, my hometown, is located (www.trier.de). Home sweet home, and out of this melancholy, I asked for it.

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It said: 2005 Spaetlese, but I could not resist! The description claimed the wine is “rich, buttery layered with flavours of orange zest, Asian pears and golden delicious apples, with a subtle, smoky back note”. I could not taste any of this. For me it was “sugary” and the steward was so kind to let me have the second white wine on the menue: a Chardonnay from the US. 2006 White Mare Russian River Valley (Sonoma County), depicting a white horse on the label, not my type of label but what could I do. I did not know the winery. There was also a red (Cabernet Sauvignon), 2005 Daisy Ridge with the same white horse label.

The second red wine was from Italy, a Chianti Classico 2005 from Coli in Tuscany. After a couple of glasses of the Chardonnay, which I quite liked, I moved on to the Italian wine and stayed with it for the rest of the flight. By the way, the service was great at this flight, so many nice stewards and stewardesses, unbelievable. I can only recommend China Airlines. The wine list, though, could be changed. OK, I did not try the champagne, a Drappier Brut which got 89 point from the wine spectator. There are much better Rieslings from the Mosel or the Saar to choose from. I would also replace one of the US wines with an Australian Shiraz maybe or a Merlot.

I watched a movie, read in my Tim Winton book (The Turning) and arrived in Taoyuan in no time, well rested, fed and happy.

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Old Friends and Good Wine

April 6, 2007

According to Plato “only philosophers have what it takes to venture outside of the cave into the sunlight”. And what do they do there (apart from eating as we know from my last blog entry)?

They drink good wine of course!

When our friend Alan Wall came over from Canberra they other day, he brought with him, as usual, some bottles of good wine. Alan is one of these people who has forgotten more about wine then many of us will ever learn. He has a fine collection of about 3,000 bottles which are stored in his insulated garage.

We started with a single vineyard wine, a Mount Pleasant 2000 Lovedale, Hunter Valley Semillion. The bottle was decorated with five trophies of gold and top gold medal signs. What a wine this was. It displayed honeyed toast and hay aromas but it also showed some lemon and grapefruit character as many young wines do. It could have easily be cellared for much longer but when old friends meet, good wine has to flow. Of course we had food with it, a delicious seafood pasta.

The Hunter Valley, one of the oldest wine regions in Australia, is famous for its Semillions and its Shiraz. Whoever plans to visit Sydney should also include into their program a trip to the Hunter Valley just a 2 hours drive north of cosmopolitan Sydney.

The main dish was grilled beef (on my Weber) and with it we drank a Coonawarra Rymill Shiraz of 1996, a very well aged and harmonious wine of great depth and with a long finish. What a delight this was with it’s spicy peppery character and the blackcurrant flavours.

After the desert we continued with a wine from Sonoma County, a Chateau St. Jean Merlot of 2004 which displayed all the good Merlot charactereristics which we are looking for, deep cherry and plum aromas, with good texture, some weight in the mid-pallate and a long finish.

Of course the company was what really counted. Drinking wine we discussed about electoral systems, political party and democracy development and the future of the young Indonesian democracy. Life is just too short to drink bad wine.

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The Yarra Valley in Victoria