Since chemo screwed my tastebuds, I've not really felt like drinking wine. Apart from a few celebratory bottles of Veuve and the extra special celebratory bottles of Cristal, I could count the number of glasses of wine consumed the past few years, on one hand.
For months now, my choice of drink has been beer. But I miss wine and have been thinking about retraining my palate and enjoying wine again. When an invite to the Heathcote Wine Roadshow landed in my inbox, I wasted no time in opting in for the masterclass, Heathcote Horizontal - Heathcote Shiraz and the Rest of the World.
Heathcote, a former gold mining and logging town, is now recognised as a premier shiraz region on the Australian wine map. Being only112k from Melbourne you can be there in a little over one hour of driving.
Our masterclass host Ben Edwards, President of Sommeliers Australia.
Winemaker at Galli Estate Ben Ranken, spoke on how the wine is influenced by the soil and climate. Heathcote wine growing region stretches around 100k from north to south, with elevations between 160 m and 380 m. The north is drier than the south and receives an average of 5 - 10mm less rain per month during the vine's growing season (October - April). Southern vineyards are a little cooler with temperatures lower by 1.8 - 1.4 Celsius, resulting in an extended growing season.
Never having been to the Heathcote region, Cambrian Earth was a term I had not come across before. Ben touched on it a little, but visit the Heathcote Shiraz website for detailed information.
The tasting was in two parts. First up - 5 shiraz samples from the Heathcote region.
Galli Estate Artigino Block 2 2007
Tellurian Shiraz 2008
Munari Wines Beauregard Shiraz 2006
Sanguine Estate Heathcote 2007
Shelmerdine Shiraz 2007
This excercise was designed to show the different characteristics of Heathcote Shiraz.
A show of hands proved Munari Shiraz to be the most popular. For me it was an equal first with the Galli Estate.
Next up - a blind tasting to see if we could recognise the Heathcote style and pick it from the other samples from France and New Zealand.
I failed miserably at this, not even recognising the New Zealand Te Awa Syrah, a wine I sold when I worked for their distributor in New Zealand.
The wines included
Barfold Estate Shiraz 2006
Heathcote Estate Shiraz 2007
Greenstone Shiraz 2007
Te Awa Syrah 2009
Domaine Belle Crozes-Hermitage 'Les Pierelles' 2007
My preference was the Barfold Estate, which also was the choice of the majority at the Brisbane morning tasting.
Here are a few photos of the Brisbane food bloggers dinner held at Gunshop Cafe, Brisbane's West End earlier this week.
Stradbroke Island rock oysters, tomato and 50 year old sherry vinegar. The oysters were supplied by Michael Dalton at Fino Food. For someone who never eats oysters, I actually ate 6 of these and enjoyed every one.
Seared Hervey Bay scallops, salmon pearls, persimmon and squid ink. The most beautifuly presented meal of the night.
West Queensland wild boar, Morton Bay bug, ham and pineapple. Personally, I didn't enjoy this combination of flavours.
Goondiwindi lamb rack, salsify puree, Toowoomba olives and fresh peas. When everyone at the table starts using their fingers to get the last of the jus on the plate into their mouths, you know this is a winner.
Selection of Queensland cheeses - The Kingaroy Bunya Black Brie was incredible and something I'll be sourcing out for home.
New season peach souffle, raspberry icecream and Queensland vanilla creme anglaise
Ambar Hills wines from the Queensland Granite Belt were served during the evening. I especially enjoyed the 2007 Cabernet Merlot.
FULL DISCLOSURE The dinner was organised on behalf of Brisbane food bloggers by Mel at Chocolate Cheese and Chips and Jason of The Gunshop Cafe. We contributed to the cost of the meal.