Category: Wine

Once Upon a Time in Loire Valley

From Paris, we headed by train to Loire Valley, region famous for its wines and historical castles.
The two days in this region felt like being in a fairytale!

We started the day with a tour in the Chateau de Chambord, the largest chateau in the Loire Valley.
The castle was built from 1519 to 1547 to serve as a hunting lodge for the king François I.

The afternoon was dedicated to the tiny village of Amboise and the Chateau de Amboise, built between the 15th and 16th century as royal residence during the reigns of Kings Charles VIII and François I.

In it’s chapel is buried Leonardo da Vinci, who lived in Amboise and as many other artists stayed at the Court of Amboise invited by the king.

We finished the day with dinner at Chez Bruno in Amboise. The wine bar is owned by a local wine maker and there was no better way of enjoying local food and wine.

Day 2 started at Chateau de Chenonceau, built in 1513.

Our last tour was to the stunning gardens of the Château de Villandry.
The vegetable and flower gardens are masterpieces that I will never forget.

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Life is too short to drink crap – my 2010 wine list

I’ve put together a list of my best findings of 2010: a small list of sparkling, whites and reds that made my year enjoyable, memorable, special and headache-free !

If 2010 was a great year for you, this is a reason for celebrations. If not, maybe these is for one of those days that you may want to drink something a little special to start the New Year refreshed or at least forget about your troubles.

So either way, here are some wonderful choices for your consideration (in no particular order):

The best findings of 2010


2009 Brown Brothers – Limited Release Prosecco
Moorebank Private Vineyard Estate – “The Son’s” Sparkling Merlot

White Wines

2010 Villa Maria – Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough / New Zealand (AUD $15.00)
2009 Vasse Felix – Margaret River Chardonnay (AUD $19.00)
Albarino – Santiago Ruiz – Rias Baixas 2007 – (price unkown)


2008 Shiraz – Samuel’s Gorge – McLaren Vale / South Australia (AUD $35.00)
Al Muvedre – Tinto Joven – Telmo Rodriguez 2008 – Alicante / Spain (AUD $19.00)
Montes 2006 Alpha Merlot – Vale Conchago / Chile (AUD $17.00)
Oliver’s Taranga HJ Reserve Shiraz 2006 – McLaren Vale / South Australia (AUD $46.00)
2004 Miolo Lote 43 – Serra Gaucha/Brazil (AUD $45.00)
2005 Tempus Two Zinfandel – Orange – NSW (AUD $32.00)
2009 Miolo Reserva Tannat – Serra Gaucha/ Brazil (R$ 20.00)
Penfolds Celar Relase 2007 Pinot Noir – Adelaide Hills/SA (AUD $40.00)
Patricia 2005 Cab Sav Brown Brothers (AUD $47.00)
2006 Audrey Wilkinson – The Lake Reserve Shiraz (price unkown)
Casillero Del Diablo – Carmenere 2008 – Concha Y Toro – Chile (AUD $14.00)

Thanks to all my friends that shared those bottles (I mean, those moments) with me and made the food-wine-friends experience even more remarkable.

Cheers and Happy New Year !

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McLaren Vale – South Australia

McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale is one of the most renowned wine regions of Australia and it is only 40 minutes south of Adelaide, capital of South Australia.

The valley that lies by the sea, has a climate very similar to the Mediterranean and are here are produced some of the best New World Shiraz.

McLaren Vale

Most wineries in McLaren Vale are boutiques and several of them use organic or biodynamic farming.

Penny's Hill - McLaren Vale - South Australia

As this region has been affected by global warming, a while ago some local producers have invested in more heat-resistant grapes such as Tempranillo and Granach. The result are some very interesting wines that leave nothing to be desired for the Tempranillo of Rioja.

McLaren Vale

This post tells a bit of our 3 days stay in McLaren Vale.

Based on the hospitality, experience and peculiarities of each of these producers, every place that earned a special place in my heart, this trip has made me admire even more products and lifestyle of these people.
At each stop a story and had no idea how much knowledge I would bring with me from this relatively short trip.

Wineries that I recommend for tasting (and purchase):

Oliver’s Taranga
Samuel’s Gorge
Wirra Wirra
Primo Estate
Hugh Hamilton
Penny’s Hill

Coriole - McLaren Vale - South Australia

McLaren Vale

Where to eat?

Have a breakfast at Blessed Cheese. The best coffee in town!

Go to Willunga Farmers Market and make sure you eat a rabbit or a duck pie.

Enjoy your visit to the Coriole and make a stop for lunch. They serve a cheese platter, with local olives, organic vegetables, smoked kangaroo meat and many other fresh local produce and the view to the Vale is also fantastic.

Eat a wood oven pizza and enjoy the visual at Settlement.

Dine in Oscars Bistro. Ask for a chunk lamb and a bottle of Shiraz.

Visit the chocolate shop Bracegirdles and indulge yourself!

McLaren Vale

what else to do?

Follow the wine route to take pictures of the vineyards, architecture, of olive trees and even the sheep. Now it is spring and the valley is full of beautiful gardens and flowering trees. Even the vines are getting greener …

Spring - McLaren Vale

Taste the region extra-extra-extra virgin olive oil.
Stop by the Fall from Grace to buy exclusive international wines from France, Italy, Argentina, Chile, Spain and much more.

Watch the sunset from Maslin Beach. The beach is just a few blocks from the main wineries of McLaren Vale.

Go back to the airport via Adelaide Adelaide Hills and stop by the oldest German village in Australia: Hahndorf.
Here you will find cafes, gift shops, ice cream, traditional German sausage shop and of course, a very old pub where we had a local beer, ate pretzels and some German sausages.

McLaren Vale is one of the most renowned wine regions of Australia and it is only 40 minutes south of Adelaide, capital of South Australia.

The valley that lies by the sea, has a climate very similar to the Mediterranean and are here are produced some of the best New World Shiraz.

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