Tagged: Aussie wines

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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Exotic Mushroom Risotto

Exotic Mushroom Risotto

Despite all the Italian influence in many dishes that we cooked at home, my family is 100% carnivore like most Brazilian families.
Then a mushroom risotto is a dish that was never part of our menu to be honest!

Even at restaurants, I never considered ordering a vegetarian dish (when in fact there were not many vegetarian options on the menu). I’ve always been used to eat some sort of meat in every single meal.

In Australia, a country that has a large number of immigrants who do not eat meat for religious reasons or even by lifestyle, I’ve learned to appreciate cooking vegetarian dishes and risotto is in fact one of the greatest findings !

This dish is actually the hubby’s specialty and it is a winner when cooked for friends. I’ve chosen to make it after I went to the Sydney Markets on the weekend and I found very fresh mushrooms on a really good price: by AUD 10 a kilo of Australian grown shiitake, I guess there is no need to explain anything else, isn’t it ?
The recipe that I made serves 4 people generously.

Exotic Mushroom Risotto

Exotic Mushroom Risotto - Ingredients


500 g Arborio rice
250 g fresh shiitake mushroom
150 g fresh shimeji mushroom
25 g dried porcini mushroom
1 small onion, minced
3 tbsp butter
750 ml chicken stock
500 ml warm water
100 ml dry white wine
olive oil
chives for decoration
grated Parmesan cheese


Soak the porcini mushrooms in warm water. Do not throw this water out because it will be used as stock for the risotto.
Thoroughly clean the mushrooms shiitake and shimeji.

Remove stems from shiitake and slice the rest. Reserve the stems to prepare the stock.
Loosen well shimeji. Save any excess stem for the stock as well.

Then start preparing the stock for risotto.

Mix chicken stock, the water used to hydrated the porcini mushrooms, a pinch of salt, the stems of the mushrooms in a saucepan and bring it to medium heat for 15 minutes. Strain the stock and keep it warm in low heat.

In another pan, melt one tablespoon butter, add olive oil and fry the onion. Add the rice and fry until the rice starts to turn translucent. Add the white wine, stirring well until wine evaporates completely.
Mix the porcini mushroom with the rice. Then add a ladle of hot stock and stir until liquid is all absorbed by the rice.
Continue in this way, gradually adding stock and stirring until rice is tender and al dente.

In a saucepan, Melt one tablespoon butter and fry the shiitake and shimeji. Mix the sauteed mushrooms to the risotto, the remaining butter and parmesan, and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

Let rest for about 2 minutes.

Then serve it, garnishing with chives (fried or raw, as you like).


– Wipe the mushrooms using a paper. Due to the spongy texture they will absorb water if washed.

– The chicken stock can be substituted for vegetable stock.

– This dish requires a bit of coordination so make sure you prepare all ingredients before starting to cook the rice so you won’t mess it up.

The wine

Morello 2005 - Nebbiolo

To match the risotto, we chose a wine made from Nebbiolo grapes, as wine and dishes from the same region usually match well.
Nebbiolo is a grape originally Italian and it seems that even today is one of the most difficult grapes to grow outside Italy.
This grape is used to make Barollo, one of the Italian most famous types of red wines.

Some Australian producers however began to cultivate grapes in regions with similar climatic conditions to those in Europe.

This is the case of wine we bought, a Morello 2005 produced by Thorn Clark from Barossa Valley region.

The wine matched well with the dinner and proved a great cost benefit.

I found the colour very interesting: medium brown, orange, looking like copper colour.
It wasn’t much dry in the mouth which makes sense for its soft tannins and good acidity.
And on top of the rich floral and cherry aromas, this wine actually smells a little bit like mushrooms.

I was very curious to experience an authentic Italian Barollo and to able to compare it to the Australian ones. But you know, at the end of the day the Aussie one does the job very well too!

Wine: Morello
Winery: Thorn Clarke
Composition: Nebbiolo
Harvest: 2005
Country: Australia
Region: Barossa Valley
Grape: Nebbiolo
Price: AUD 18
Graduation: 14%

Risotto and Nebbiolo as an Italian dinner

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