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Guac-Off Recipe Winner: Congratulations Miss Crider!

Guacamole Recipe

There are many, many guacamole recipes out there these days. From the inspiring selections at restaurants to the innovative concoctions we all create at home! But one thing is for certain, everyone I’ve talked to about their own creations always say, “I make the best guac, ever!” So through all of these conversations, our Bonjour + Hola team decided a few years ago it was a must to host a Guac-Off! And each year, it has grown and increasingly gotten more competitive. Hola #guacswag!

What makes the guac really stand out when our guests are voting with a glass of K-J AVANT in-hand? That would be the distinctive flavors, the energetic colors mixed in between and the overall memorable taste after plopping that chip into your mouth.

And Bonjour + Hola’s Guac-Off winner this year, Katie Crider {creator of Guac #4}, went above and beyond with her recipe. Combining various Thai-inspired flavors, spices and colors galore in between — all of the guests went ga-ga!

Her guac was so delicious and memorable that the Bonjour + Hola team thought it was a must to share the recipe with you!:


4 ripe haas avocados
2-3 Thai chilies
1 lime (zest and juice)
1/2 medium sweet onion (Vaidalia) chopped
1 yellow bell pepper chopped
1 stalk of lemongrass
1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
1 whole clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 mango
2 tbs coconut oil
Salt & pepper


1.  Cut the top third off of the garlic head. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and wrap loosely in tinfoil. Roast in oven until the cloves are soft, 30-45 min at 400 degrees.
2. Cut the lemongrass stalk into 3 or 4 pieces. Sauté the lemongrass pieces with the bell pepper in the coconut oil. When the bell pepper is soft, add ginger and remove from heat. Remove the lemongrass stalks.
3. Roughly cube the avocado. Add the juice and zest of the lime. Add the sautéed bell pepper mixture making sure the cooking oils are added as well. Add the mango, onion, and raw chopped Thai chili according to desired heat level. Squeeze the garlic cloves out and mash them and add to the mixture. Stir mixture well to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

Whether you’re looking to host your own Guac-Off soon or just want a new + hip recipe to create over the weekend, check out Bonjour + Hola’s Guac-Off for inspiration!


The post Guac-Off Recipe Winner: Congratulations Miss Crider! appeared first on Kendall-Jackson Blog.

Categories: North America

Hot Diggity Dog - Meet Cuvaison Estate Wines' Dogs

Cuvaison Estate Wines - Napa Valley, CA - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 20:48

In light of Club Cuvaison's summer promotion, Hot Diggity Dog!, we would like to introduce you to the dogs of Cuvaison Estate Wines.


Pixie (left), age 10, favorite activity: snacking.
Buster (right), age 2, favorite activity: chasing wild turkeys in the vineyard. 
Dogs' Owner: Steven Rogstad, Winemaker    Jasmine, age 6, favorite activity: swimming in the pool. 
Dog's Owner: Bonnie Schoch, CFO   Rosalina, age 10, favorite activity: taking walks in the park.
Dog's Owner: Alvaro Bautista, Cellarhand    

Bodie (left), age 6, favorite activity: chasing and catching the Frisbee at the park and running through the Cuvaison vineyard off leash. 
Ellie (right), age 7, favorite activity: chasing the cat at home. She’s really good with the Frisbee as well. 
Dogs' Owner: Jay Schuppert, President


Indigo, age 8 months, favorite activity: playing
Dog's Owner: Jamie Glidewell, Club Cuvaison Manager  

  Gunner, age 5, favorite activity: chasing the Frisbee.
Dog's Owner: Selma Woolfe, Club Cuvaison Coordinator   

Rudy, age 3, favorite activity: sleeping, playing at the beach, running thru the vineyard.
Dog's Owner: Suzanna Mannion, DTC Marketing Manager  

  Kao, age 3, favorite activity: favorite activities playing tug-of-war and cuddling. 
Dog's Owner: Wynne Vick, Club Cuvaison Sales Coordinator   Scooby, age 5, favorite activity: fetching the tennis ball and going on walks around the Brandlin property.
Dog's Owner: Ray Lamon, Landscape and Maintenance   

PuppyKitty, age 3.5, favorite activity: eating her owner's shoes, chewing on laptop power cords, destroying couches and sleeping on her owner's bed.
No, not a dog but this feline clearly has good taste in wine, so we made an exception. 
Puppykitty's owner: Stephanie Litty, Enologist 

Categories: North America

Seasons of the vineyard at Jordan Estate

Jordan Winery - Healdsburg, California - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 02:28
July is the month of peaceful transition in wine country. We watch the tourists arrive for their summer vacations and weekend getaways, and we wait patiently for the red wine grapes to change color, a process called veraison. We’ve written extensively about the onset of ripening (here, here and here) when the appearance of grape clusters is [...]
Categories: North America

DIY: Terracotta Wine Stand

DIY Teracotta Wine Stand

Hi I’m Kimberly from A Night Owl Blog, a space where we share our latest DIY, craft and recipe endeavors. I recently held a little get together with a few girlfriends featuring fun and fresh Kendall-Jackson AVANT wines! Now we served up the K-J AVANT Chardonnay and K-J AVANT Sauvignon Blanc on ice. However, since we didn’t want to leave the K-J AVANT Red Blend out there on its own, we created this beautiful and clever DIY Terracotta Wine Stand!

I love terracotta. It is so versatile and can be made into so many more things than just a planter, like our stand! So let’s walk through the steps we took to make this stand so you can fashion your very own.

Terracotta bowl and lid
Adhesive (that will work on pottery, such as Weldbond)
Chalk paint – grey and white
Sealing wax
Antique stain

Steps to make your own DIY Teracotta Wine StandAnd the steps:

  1. Simply glue the bottom rim of the planter to the bottom of the terracotta lid, making sure it’s centered.
  2. Once dry and secure (about one hour depending on adhesive used), paint on a thin layer of gray chalk paint. To get the right amount of coverage, dip your paint brush in water first, then in paint and dab on a paper towel.
  3. Next up, add your white layer the same, letting some of the gray still show through.
  4. Once the paint layers are dry, cover with a thin layer of sealing wax.
  5. We then added some antiquing stain to the finished product for a more complex, aged look.

And the result? A beautiful Terracotta Wine Stand.

DIY Teracotta Wine Stand

DIY Teracotta Wine Stand

DIY Teracotta Wine Stand

It is a fairly simple project to put together but would add such a nice touch to your next party or get together, just like ours!

K-J AVANT Wine Party

The post DIY: Terracotta Wine Stand appeared first on Kendall-Jackson Blog.

Categories: North America

2014 Vintage Update: Pétanque & Rosé

Best's Wines - Victoria - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:37

Dear fans of Best’s or just those who are curious,

We are now over the hump of grape intake with only a few vineyards of Shiraz and Cabernet waiting to be picked. The weather has been kind to us, with cooler weather slowing down ripening, but the cooler nights have made sure we are hanging on to the acidity. This type of weather during ripening is what some like to call hang-time. No, we are not hanging out playing pétanque and sipping rosé, but we are allowing the grapes to hang on the vine to allow the flavours to fully develop without having to rush to get them all into the winery.

Having a bit more time in the winery has meant that we are able to give a bit more attention to our ferments and give them all the care and attention they deserve. We are also well into our barrel program with those lovely smells of warm wine going into warm barrels. We try to keep them warm to ensure the rapid onset of malolactic fermentation before winter hits.

The past week we have received the bulk of grapes for our Bin 1 Shiraz. We are seeing lots of jube like flavours and lip smacking spice, this bodes well for an aromatic Bin 1. Our team has been very busy with punch-downs, pump-overs, yeast inoculations, ferment rounds, temperature control, digging out ferments, basket and bag pressing and washing and filling barrels.

We have had less challenges with break downs, but tasting lots of ferments to determine tannins and flavour balance has had a side effect of producing lots of flatulence, much to bemusement of my colleagues.

Got to go now, it's my turn on the pétanque piste…



Categories: Oceania

2013 Spring Release Wine Club Dinner

Best's Wines - Victoria - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:37

On Tuesday 15 October 2013, our Victorian Concongella Wine Club members met at Pope Joan in Melbourne to celebrate our 2013 Spring Release wines - 2013 Riesling, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2012 Bin 1 Shiraz. We enjoyed a beautiful menu paired to the three new wines by reknowned chef Matt Wilkinson who is a big supporter of local produce, much like ourselves. Thank you to all those who attended the evening and we look forward to seeing you at the next Wine Club event!




Categories: Oceania

Week 6 Vintage Blog: Done & dusted, and in need of a glass of wine!

Best's Wines - Victoria - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:37

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We all took a breath on Monday as we saw the last grapes of the 2013 vintage go through the crusher and destemmer. We have now received the last lots of Shiraz and all the Cabernet Sauvignon, hurray! These are presently ticking away nicely in their fermenters and are due to be pressed off skins this weekend. It seems like it's all over so quickly, yet if you look at the pile of work notes, as well as all the full tanks and barrels we currently have, we actually got through a mountain of work over the past few weeks. A great job done by all the team.

Looking through the wines in barrel, some of which have even finished malolactic fermentation, the quality is extremely high. I won’t say, as some other producers have said, that it is the best vintage of the past 20 years, but it will definitely be a good one for Best’s especially for our Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.

We look like we may have a very rare calm Easter period. There are some reds to press off skins and a few Riesling ferments to monitor, and of course the constant juggle between tanks, barrels and vats, but we are well over the hump. We have already started barrel selecting and classifying our 2012 Shiraz and Cabernets in preparation for blending and bottling mid-year. These wines are looking very good and should provide some interesting final blends.

So, another vintage in the bag and one to reflect on for many years to come. Thanks for reading my blogs each week and following our progress over the past few months. We can't wait for you to try the wines and hear your feedback once they're released.

Over and out for another year!

Justin & crew 

Categories: Oceania

Vintage Blog Week 5: Everything in before Easter, no wonder we're exhausted!

Best's Wines - Victoria - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:37

Hello out there!

We are now down to the last few little blocks of Cabernet and Shiraz. The team is really consolidated now but are powering through the last few weeks of hard work ahead. Half of our reds have been pressed off skins and now they are being transferred to barrel for malolactic fermentation. The whites are all ticking away nicely with fragrant clouds of floral and citrus scents pouring out of the tanks as we routinely lift the lids to check on their progress.

This week we have had Jo from the central coast of NSW help us out in the cellar. Jo thought she was coming to the Grampians for a holiday but has spent most of her time plunging and pumping over red ferments. A change from her usual job as a teacher, so I suppose it is a holiday of sorts. Pam, our Queen of the drainers, is leaving us tomorrow to give a hand out for vintage in the Macedon. Pam has been devoting her energies to monitoring and extracting the all the goodness out of our opulent and spicy red ferments and is a bit reluctant to say goodbye to her babies. Thanks for your help Pam and good luck at Curly Flat. Pam was delighted yesterday morning when Viv took her out on his motorbike to find a big mob of kangaroos on the hill munching away at the few remaining grapes left on the vines. It was Pam’s first time seeing kangaroos in the wild, so exciting.

We are well into barrelling mode with Haydn and Penny juggling empty barrels in between processing the remaining grapes and with Simon and Miranda leading the filling campaign, the shed is filling up fast with fresh wines.

Here's a short clip of what we've been up to recently here at the winery.

It seems a bit weird that it is all over so quickly with intake finished before Easter (an early Easter at that). It also won’t be long before everything is finished fermentation, pressed and put into barrels, and we then start preparing the remaining 2012 reds and 2013 whites for bottling. Such is the nature of agriculture, and every vintage is different. Not even Viv can recall a vintage quite like this one.

Talk to you all next week

Categories: Oceania

Vintage Blog Week 4: Hot temperatures, late nights & a lot of fruit!

Best's Wines - Victoria - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:37

Apologies for not giving an update sooner, but this vintage has been one to test the limits of our abilities. Almost 80% of our fruit has come in over the past two weeks, including all the whites and reds at the same time. This is a result of a very warm summer and the heat wave over the last two weeks in this region. The hot temperatures and amount of fruit has pushed our cooling system to the limit which helps regulate the ferment, resulting in late nights closely monitoring tank temperatures. Thankfully the coffee machine has been working very reliably!

To add to this pressure there have been several players sidelined or carrying injuries. Our basket pressing guru, Andy, has powered through a persistent ligament injury in his shoulder. One of our leading hands, Simon, has spent the past week in hospital with a blood infection. I have been on crutches until two weeks ago after having a knee repair done in early January. To add to this, there have been toothaches, skin irritations, and other weird ailments to challenge us. But power on we shall. 

Despite all this we are very happy with the quality of the fruit with beautiful delicate flavours in the Riesling and Chardonnay and lots of richness and spice coming through in the reds. We know all this hard work and sleep deprivation will pay off in several months, after we produce some elegant and classic Great Western wines for you all.

Until next week,

Categories: Oceania

Vintage Blog Week 2: Some beautiful old vines & funky little clogs

Best's Wines - Victoria - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:37

Vintage 2013 is now well underway. This week we have been very busy receiving and hand sorting most of the Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and dry grown Shiraz, including the 145-year-old Thomson Family Shiraz blocks. Whilst the yields are down in the dry grown blocks, the quality and the concentration is good. The remainder of our Pinots will be picked today.



This week also saw the start of plunging open red (and one white) ferments on skins. Our new recruits are happily stripping down to their underwear and foot stomping some of the whole bunch batches. Yesterday’s foot stomping coincided with a very rare occurrence, our vineyard stalwarts Radish and Bogie came into the winery to see what was going on, I wonder why?  They obviously came by to enjoy the heady aromas of yeast, fruits and spices that are filling the winery as the fermentation aromas reveal the potential of the wines to come.


We are very happy with our beautiful Chardonnay juice that will be put into barrel tomorrow for fermentation and we can’t wait for the Riesling that we will start picking next week. As it gets busier we have a couple more people helping us out. Nicole has come away from her normal duties at Cellar Door to help get her hands dirty in the cellar a couple of days a week. She easily qualifies as the best dressed cellar hand with designer cargo shorts, colourful shirts with matching head scarves and these funky little clog type safety shoes. A far cry from our normal subdued cellar attire. We also have Pamela from California coming next Monday for a few weeks. She will be a great help to tide us over the vintage rush. Speaking of, I had better get back to it.





Categories: Oceania

Vintage 2013 Kicks off at Best's Great Western

Best's Wines - Victoria - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:37

Week One: A great team and focus on Chardonnay

A beautiful cool (10⁰C), but sunny morning greeted our team of pickers in the Chardonnay vineyards today. These vineyards belong to one of our superstar local growers, Andrew Toomey and our Best’s former winemaker Adam Wadewitz. The fruit looks great with lovely varietal flavours and zesty acidity. The grapes will be lightly crushed and whole bunch pressed into tank and the juice allow to settle for a few days before racking to barrels for fermentation.

Our team in the winery of Jamie, Leanne, Andy, Simon, Penny and myself are aided this year by Miranda from Holland who has just finished working in Burgundy, France and Haydn from Melbourne who has been in the Napa Valley, USA until last month. Miranda and Haydn have been out in the vineyard this morning helping pick the Chardonnay.

All the stainless steel is gleaming and we are set to go. Although we have fruit arriving this afternoon, the team at Best’s are not ones for standing around so they have managed to bottle two lots of wine for some local producers this morning. Looking at the sampling data and the vines in the vineyard it appears we are going to have a very busy vintage with a lot of the Shiraz coming in at the same time as the Riesling. It is a good thing we have a great team this year.

Tomorrow the pickers will be harvesting the Pinot Meunier and then the Pinot Noir with maybe a little bit of Shiraz next week. The Shiraz especially looks good this year so if the weather holds we should be able to make something very drinkable from this variety…. I think I just heard a truck full of grapes pull up, so time for me to go…



Categories: Oceania

Fine Wine Partners Trophy - Australia’s Wine of the Year 2013

Best's Wines - Victoria - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:37

Best’s 2011 Bin 1 Great Western Shiraz has been named Australia’s Wine of the Year 2013, winning the highly prized Fine Wine Partners Trophy. This accolade goes to the wine which has been the star performer at all major Australian wine shows over the preceding twelve months.

Winemaker Justin Purser said: “Best’s are thrilled and honoured to be the recipient of the 2013 Fine Wine Partners Trophy. It is incredible that out of 17,000 wines the 2011 Best's Bin 1 Shiraz was chosen as the winner. This wine is a great advocate of the Best's Great Western style and we're glad the judges got it right.”

Throughout 2012 Best's Great Western 2011 Bin 1 Shiraz collected a swath of trophies, including the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy, Best red wine of the 2010 and 2011 vintages, Royal Melbourne Wine Show, 2012 Trevor Mast Trophy, Best shiraz in Show, 2012 Victorian Trophy, Royal Melbourne Wine Show and Best Victorian table wine, Royal Melbourne Wine Show.

The winning wine is chosen by a panel, made up of the Chairman of Judges for the 2012 major Australian wine shows. The selection is done following a special tasting at the conclusion of the Macquarie Group Sydney Royal Wine Show in February each year.

Winemaker Justin Purser with Rob Hurst, Chairman of Fine Wine Partners.

The Fine Wine Partners Perpetual Trophy, from Garrard of London, the Crown Jewellers, was established in 1988 to mark the 150th anniversary of Tucker Seabrook.  In 2005 Tucker Seabrook merged with the Lion Nathan Wine Group to form Fine Wine Partners and from then the Trophy became the Fine Wine Partners Perpetual Trophy.

The Trophy is held by the Royal Agricultural Society and a memento is awarded each year to the annual winner.


1988 – Orlando Wines
1989 – Renmano Wines
1990 – Lindemans Wines
1991 – Lindemans Wines
1992 – Lindemans Wines
1993 – Great Western
1994 – Wynns Coonawarra Estate
1995 – B Seppelt and Sons
1996 – C A Henschke & Co
1997 – Penfolds Wines
1998 – Houghton Wines
1999 – Leo Buring Wines
2000 – Rosemount Estate
2001 – Tatachilla Winery
2002 – Wildflower Ridge
2003 – BRL Hardy Limited
2004 – Chateau Reynella
2005 – Tyrrell’s Vineyards
2006 – Peter Lehmann Wines
2007 – Lilydale Estate
2008 – Evans & Tate
2009 – Fosters Group
2010 – Penfolds Wines
2011 – Leo Buring
2012 – Vasse Felix
2013 –  Best’s Great Western


Categories: Oceania

The meeting of two minds...Our own Champagne in time for Christmas.

Best's Wines - Victoria - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:37

In 2006, The Thomson Family at Best’s embarked on revitalising the sparkling wine production of years gone by in Great Western. Fortuitously, also in that year Edouard Huguenot, from the family Champagne house Huguenot-Tassin, worked the vintage at Best’s. An exchange of ideas occurred and led to a partnership project that has finally become a reality. We are delighted to announce that our ‘Partnership’ Champagne is now here for you to enjoy.

Situated in Celles-sur-Ource in L’Aube, Southern Champagne, Huguenot-Tassin are a small Champagne house that grows Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. They are renowned for producing exceptionally fine champagnes that embody the flavours and aromas of the region. They use traditional methods along with rigorous selection and attention to detail to highlight the delicate aromatic characters of their champagnes and maintain the finesse and elegance through the palate.

Best’s Great Western and Huguenot-Tassin are both ‘Estate’ producers of premium wine and the synergies between the two wine ‘houses’ are the platform of our collaboration.

We are importing small quantities of our ‘Partnership’ Champagne as it is available and are thrilled that the first shipment has arrived in time for Christmas. Please note, as quantities are limited our special six and 12 pack offers below are only available until 31 December 2012. So stock up for your Christmas and New Year’s celebrations before this superb Champagne runs out!


Single Bottle         -  $75 
Six Pack Special   - $399
12 Pack Special     - $750

Categories: Oceania

Best’s Bin 1 Shiraz Wins Prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophy

Best's Wines - Victoria - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:37

We are excited to announce that Best’s Wines 2011 Bin 1 Shiraz was announced the winner of the Royal Melbourne Wine Show JC Watson Memorial Trophy at a dinner last night at the ZINC restaurant in Melbourne. The wine also won the Best Victorian Wine trophy and the inaugural Trevor Mast trophy for Best Shiraz in show.

The “Jimmy Watson” or “The Jimmy” (as it is known in the industry), is Australia’s most famous wine award. The trophy, given to the best one or two year old red wine, is named after the much-loved Carlton wine merchant and wine bar owner. For an industry where there are lots of wine shows, picking up this trophy would be equivalent to winning the Melbourne Cup so you may understand why we’re just a little excited! To top off the news, Best’s Bin 1 also won the Best Victorian Wine Trophy and the Trevor Mast Trophy for Best Shiraz in Show, a new award named in honour of the late, great Grampians winemaker.

Best’s wines, now made by Justin Purser, continue to evolve with each winemaker providing their own stamp on the Best’s house style.  Best’s epitomises all that is great about the Grampians and the wines showcase how the Great Western region has evolved and matured over time.

Click here to watch a video of Justin talking about Bin1.

Great Western is synonymous with outstanding Shiraz and Best’s Bin 1 Shiraz exemplifies our minimalist approach to winemaking and the unique terroir of this cool-climate region. We’re thrilled that this wine will give many an insight into the style of Shiraz that we’re making. It’s approachable, medium-bodied, textural and full of spice and peppery fruit characters. Although it is a food friendly wine made in a style to drink upon release, Best’s Bin 1 is an elegant Shiraz, which will age well up to 20 years.

Congratulations to everyone involved in making this great wine. We’re so proud and humbled to be in such esteemed company to be picking up such a highly regarded trophy. It’s the first time a wine from the Grampians has won since 1965. Visit our facebook page for a few photos from last nights celebrations.

Categories: Oceania

Best’s Wines releases new vintages of Great Western Bin 1 Shiraz 2011 and Great Western Riesling 2012

Best's Wines - Victoria - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:37

Best’s Wines today released the 2011 Great Western Bin 1 Shiraz and the 2012 vintage of the Great Western Riesling. From vineyards in Victoria’s Great Western region, Best’s has been continually producing exceptional wines with great longevity since 1866. Today’s new releases continue the Best’s tradition of highlighting Great Western’s remarkable vineyards.

Best’s wines, now made by Justin Purser, continue to evolve with each winemaker providing their own stamp on the Best’s house style.  Best’s epitomises all that is great about the Grampians and the wines showcase how the Great Western region has evolved and matured over time.

2011 Best’s Great Western Bin 1 Shiraz  – SRP $25 Buy-Online

Great Western is synonymous with outstanding Shiraz and Best’s Bin 1 Shiraz exemplifies the company’s minimalist approach to winemaking and the unique terroir of this cool-climate region. Bin 1 is an excellent introduction to the region’s Shiraz style – approachable, medium-bodied, textural and full of spice and peppery fruit characters. Although it is a food friendly wine made in a style to drink upon release, Best’s Bin 1 is an elegant Shiraz, which will age well up to 20 years.

“Blending the different parcels of the 2011 Bin 1 Shiraz was a great way for me to discover the individual charms of various Great Western vineyards,” said Justin Purser. “My goal was to make a blend that expresses the spicy, fruit flavours that Shiraz from the area is so renowned for yet also retain the elegance of the wine. 2011 was a cooler and wetter year than average for the area but after six vintages in France, Italy and New Zealand, it felt like a typical cool-climate vintage to me! The wine tells the story of the 2011 vintage and delivers elegant flavours and aromas yet it has a backbone of soft fruit, fragrant spices and fine tannins. I am looking forward to seeing how it evolves over the next decade and beyond.”

2012 Best’s Great Western Riesling  – SRP $25 Buy-Online

Great Western is also fast gaining a reputation for structured, aromatic Rieslings; the diurnal weather patterns work exceptionally well for the varietal. This is evident in Best’s 1970’s Rieslings, which have aged beautifully and are still drinking well now. The 2012 Great Western Riesling fruit is sourced from Great Western vineyards including Best’s Rhymney vineyard where many of the original nursery plantings can be traced back to Germany.

“2012 presented an interesting year for the Riesling production with slighter riper than expected fruit producing wonderful lime zest and blossom aromas and flavours with a good dash of racy acidity. The ferments slowed to a halt when the natural sugar levels were in balance to round out the mid-palate.” Justin Purser, Best’s winemaker.

Look forward to your thoughts about these new wines. Don’t forget to leave us comments below of what you think.

Categories: Oceania

Voted Best Australian Red

Shaw + Smith - Balhannah, South Australia - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 23:33

Great news from London... the 2012 Shaw + Smith Shiraz  has just been announced as the 'Best Australian Red' and has been awarded 3 Trophies from the International Wine Challenge (IWC).

Best SA Shiraz
Best Australian Shiraz
Best Australian Red

A fantastic result - congratulations to our viticulturists and winemaking team! Another good news story for Adelaide Hills Shiraz.

2012 Shaw + Smith Shiraz
Cool climate Adelaide Hills Shiraz, in which balance is more important than power.

2012 was a terrific vintage with lower yields translating to great quality. Hand picked, crushed and fermented on skins in small fermenters with hand plunging and gentle pumping over to extract colour, flavour and tannin. Aged in French barriques with special care taken not to over oak the wine and maintain fruit integrity.

2012 Shaw + Smith Shiraz has the concentration and structure to develop fine tertiary characters in the bottle over the next 10 years.

Categories: Oceania

Recent winner of a case of Award Winning '09 Aged-Released Shiraz

Shaw + Smith - Balhannah, South Australia - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 16:46

Congratulations to Kathryn Hall - you won a case (6) of award-winning 2009 Aged Release Shiraz.
Thank you to everyone who has entered our recent competition.

Categories: Oceania

Vintage 14 continues

Shaw + Smith - Balhannah, South Australia - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 04:20


Next on Shaw + Smith’s picking list is Shiraz, and we’re excited about the slow, cool end to the season which has given rise to amazing flavour and balance at relatively low baumé levels (a measure of the amount of sugar that is concentrated in the wine). Spice and floral aromas are wafting out from our favourite S+S blocks.
The Chardonnay ferment is now ticking along nicely and we are happy to see what we thought were great flavours in the vineyard showing up in the fermented batches. Savvy is also fermenting away, working its magic, and the filing the cellar with its wonderful aromas.
Watch this space.

Categories: Oceania

I can give up the carbs and the gluten… but the wine??

Ponte Winery - Temecula, CA - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 18:00

In this day and age, there is always a “hot new way of eating” out there; one that promises you health, energy and weight loss.  I’ve never been one to follow diet fads; if someone tells me I can’t eat dairy, guess what?  All I want is cheese and yogurt.  Same thing with carbs: try to take away my morning toast and I’ll cover you with my favorite apricot jam while you sleep.  And don’t get me started on anything that takes away my wine.  For about three years I worked for a national nutrition and supplement company and in that time, I learned all about diets, weight loss fads, cleanses and “magic fat reducing” pills.  I knew all the diets out there – from the South Beach Diet to the Hollywood Cookie Diet.  When I left, I became clueless to the trends again.  And, so, when I suddenly started hearing about Paleo-this and gluten-free everything, I became intrigued.  I wondered, what were these things?  And, most importantly, where does wine fit into them?   I did some research and here is what I found…

The Paleo Diet – Short for the “Paleolithic diet.” This way of eating is based on the premise that if our Paleolithic ancestors didn’t eat it, we shouldn’t eat it.  Some people call it the “Cave Man Diet”; it’s incredibly big right now, apparently.  For a real laugh, search for paleo recipes on Pinterest and watch as things like general tsao’s chicken and chocolate-covered frozen bananas pop up…you know, real staples in the diet of our prehistoric ancestors.  A friend of mine explained the diet to me this way – if a caveman walked into a grocery store, he would take only the things he recognized, or meats, fruits and vegetables.  Very little grains, no dairy, no salt on our food.  The philosophy behind the Paleo diet suggests that man is a natural hunter-gatherer and how the dawn of agriculture and industrialization let to the availability of foods for which we are not naturally adapted.  As for wine, sorry folks, our ancestors could not produce it (or coffee for that matter!).  Water is about all that’s permitted.  But, hey, if Pinterest says you can make a Paleo Swedish meatball with mushroom gravy dinner and snickerdoodle cupcakes for dessert, go ahead and uncork that bottle of Ponte Syrah!

If a caveman walked into a grocery store…

Veganism – So veganism goes back much, much further than the Paleo diet, and in fact extends into lifestyle, not only diet.  It is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products completely.  For this blog, I’ll just focus on dietary veganism.  Those who follow a vegan diet refrain from meat, fish, eggs, dairy, even honey sometimes.  Tofu is big in the vegan community, as are soy products, legumes, nuts, rice and almond milks, fruits and vegetables, seeds, rice and seaweed.  Those things called Tofurkey’s you see at Thanksgiving?  A vegan’s holiday dream!  There are even egg-less mayonnaise substitutes or “veganaise”.  And then there’s my personal favorite: soyrizo.  It’s chorizo sausage made for vegans.  Forgive me, but the Hispanic in me finds this hilarious and confusing; I can’t imagine what goes into soyrizo that makes it taste like chorizo because I know the real stuff is made of some pretty scary ingredients.   As for alcohol and wine, the jury’s out.  Some do, some don’t.

Gluten-free?  You bet.

Gluten-Free Diet – First and foremost, just because something is gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s good for you.  Case in point: Gluuteny, a small, gourmet bakery in Pittsburgh that specializes in gluten-free baked goods.  Their products are delicious, sweet, rich, completely free of gluten and dairy…and completely full of sugar and tons of other yummy stuff.  Two of my former co-workers who were allergic to gluten had a serious love/hate relationship with this place for obvious reasons.  I believe the gluten-free diet exploded when certain celebrities spoke out about adopting the lifestyle because of their celiac disease diagnoses’, which is a very real and very painful intolerance to gluten.  Gluten is a protein commonly found in wheat and other grains like rye and barley.  That means no bread, pasta, crackers, flour, beer, cereals, etc.  It can also be found in many other food products like blue cheese and soy sauce.  New books were written about going gluten-free for health reasons and suddenly, even people without the disease were implementing the diet for themselves.  As for wine, there is good news!  While beer may be a no-no, wine gets the green light for gluten-free eaters.  I suggest Ponte 2013 Pas Doux for your roasted vegetable and avocado quinoa.

I’ll admit, after researching these diets and lifestyles, I found each was inspiring in some way.  I think there is beauty in adopting more of a Paleo hunter-gatherer lifestyle; it would force me out of my post-work potato chip habit.  Veganism would be very difficult for me, but when I see my vegan friends creating wonderful-looking dishes with tofu, coconut milk and garden vegetables over a bed of rice, I salivate.  And the gluten-free thing, well, I realized just how much bread I eat and I could probably stand to cut back a little.  A little.   I mean, really, what’s wine without some cheese and bread to go with it?

As for following your diet at Ponte, we’re happy to say that there’s something for everyone at The Restaurant at Ponte, Bouquet and The Cellar Lounge  You can view the menus here.

There is something for everyone at The Restaurant at Ponte, Bouquet and The Cellar Lounge.

Erica Martinez

Categories: North America


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