Most people don’t understand why someone would choose not to drink anymore.
The Internet makes heavy drinking seem positively hilarious. But what are we really doing to ourselves?
Camping can be fun, but glamping is the business… trust me.
Say hello to the new poster boy for winos everywhere.
Brisbane is well and truly on the food and wine map, with amazing, top-quality dining experiences such as that of the award-winning Bacchus Restaurant and Bar, located on the podium level of Rydges South Bank.
Bacchus is widely regarded as one of the top restaurants in Brisbane having earned a range of accolades including Australian Good Food & Travel Guide 2014 Restaurant Awards – 2 Chef Hat Rating for two consecutive years. The award places Bacchus in the top three per cent of restaurants in Australia and in the top 10 in Brisbane. In addition, the restaurant and bar has been awarded Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine List of the Year – Three Glass Rating; Wine Spectator Award for Excellence – Glass Rating and many more.
Head Chef Mark Penna is renowned for his exquisite menus, with the restaurant offering a la carte or degustation dining, as well as high tea. And with a name like Bacchus, after the Roman god of agriculture and wine, it’s only fitting that the restaurant and bar offers a top-notch wine list too, as it’s many wine accolades will attest. Here, Bacchus’ extremely knowledgeable, talented and witty head sommelier Andrew Giblin, 45, shares all his expert wine knowhow with SHESAID readers.
What’s your hospitality background and training?
I grew up on a farm in a wine region of South Australia and started working in restaurants to support myself while I was studying science at university. I found that I enjoyed working with wine, as well as drinking it, more than working with my degree. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to travel all over Australia and the world working with wine.
Did you always strive to become a sommelier?
Nope – I wanted to be fireman and a jet pilot… And maybe a rock star.
How important is a good wine list at Bacchus Restaurant and Bar?
Obviously, with a name like Bacchus, the wine list is always going to be integral to our operation. From the first, our owner has been extremely supportive and excited about providing a world-class wine list.
How does your wine list change during winter?
The list is constantly evolving and changing – the wine list is less dependent on seasons and more about vintage. The Australian vintage and European are opposite, so it becomes about what is available and when. We try to provide the best of the best and that can mean we might only receive one or two bottles from a particular producer, so usually the biggest changes are when the new vintages become available.
What wines are on trend right now?
South American wine seems to be developing a following, particularly Argentina. They have world-leading malbec and really interesting torrontes (the native white variety).
What’s the hottest wine region of the moment?
Spain is really hot – Alvaro Palacios recently took out the gong from Decanter magazine for the world’s best winemaker. He is producing amazing wine from native varieties in Bierzo, Priorat and Rioja.
What is the restaurant’s top selling wine during winter and why?
People always love a good Barossa shiraz, particularly when the temperature dips. We have some great examples; currently we are featuring Penfolds, but also have some fabulous reds from Henschke, Kaesler, Kalleske, Torbreck, Maverick and Michael Hall.
What’s the one wine everyone wants, but no one can get? Usually, it’s the tiny production, top-end stuff, like Domaine de la Romanee-Conti or Domaine Coche-Dury. The entire Queensland allotment of Coche last year was three bottles!
Is it fact or fiction that you have to spend a decent amount of money to get a good quality wine?
To some extent it is true, like all things – you get what you pay for. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some really good less-expensive wines, and conversely, that if you pay a huge amount for a bottle that is going to be awesome. I have tried some really expensive booze ($4K or $5kper bottle and up) that I didn’t rate at all.
You work with wine all day – which sounds like the perfect job – are there any downsides?
True, I get to taste a lot of wine, but I don’t get to drink a lot of wine. The travelling around the world trying new wines and meeting wine makers is great, but it can mean a fair amount of time away from your family staying in hotel rooms and hanging out in airports. So… No, not really.
Any advice for SHE SAID readers on how best to pair winter wines and foods?
Pairing wine can be tricky, but if you follow a couple of simple rules and be prepared to experiment, it can be very rewarding. Try to think of the origin of the dish, for example, is it from Italy? If it’s a rich, tomato pasta – then it’s probably going to match with a big, rich, Italian red. Spice likes spice so try a Gewürztraminer or a Riesling with Asian food. Meat loves native Bordeaux red varieties – so wine like Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec Camenere, Petit Verdot.
What’s your favourite wine?
Any wine that I have with friends.
What time is wine-o-clock for a sommelier?
Must be about now!
For those of us who enjoy a nice glass of red or white with our meal, but aren’t exactly the wine connoisseur, it can be hard to determine which pairs best with what dish. To take the guess work out, we’ve enlisted the help of online food delivery service Eat Now to find out a few of their top wine and food matches.
While generally speaking white wine goes with white meat and creamy sauces, and red wine with red meat and tomato based dishes, you can mix it up with the right knowledge. So, here’s six of the most popular – and by all means the most delicious – takeaway dishes with a red and a white match for each. Suddenly a Friday night in has never looked, or tasted, so good!
White: Pinos Gris – fresh and fruity, the red apple flavours and full texture of this wine works well with the sweet spices in a chicken or seafood Pad Thai.
Red: Tempranillo – a lighter style red that contains hints of savoury cherry and plum flavours, tempranillo will perfectly tie in with the subtle sweetness of this dish.
White: Vermentino – with its fresh and clean flavours, this particular wine does well to combat the spiciness in this dish. It’s also a great thirst quencher for when you’re in need of a palate cleanse.
Red: Shiraz – when it comes to pairing a spicy curry with a glass of red you need something that will compliment its strong flavours; a full bodied shiraz will do just the trick.
White: Pinot grigio – something light and not to overpowering works well with carbonara. Think fresh pear and white floral notes such as that of the pinot grigio.
Red: Merlot – the soft flavours of a merlot tastes amazing in conjunction with the cream in this dish. The earthy hints of this particular wine also pairs well with the mushrooms.
White: Sauv blanc – this particular wine works well with a lot of foods, however it works best with fried foods! Because a sauv blanc isn’t too overpowering, it won’t clash with any of the flavours in the dim sims, whether they be steamed or fried
Red: Pinot Noir – when pairing a red with dim sims you need to be careful not to overpower its simple flavours. Therefore, opt for a medium bodied pinot, which is more fruit-forward, to create the perfect balance.
White: Chardonnay – there are a lot of whites that can be enjoyed with a barbecue chicken, however a rich, citrusy glass of chardonnay will balance out that subtle smokey taste and oil.
Red: Zinfandel – another rich wine containing flavours of dark fruits, spice and licorice, it too has a subtle smokey taste which matches with the chicken.
White: Pinot gris – whether you’re eating gourmet or picking up a cheeseburger from McDonald’s, pinot gris is a versatile wine with balanced flavours that will pair perfectly with cheese.
Red: Shiraz – it’s a general rule of thumb that red wine works best with red meat; and shiraz, with it’s full bodied flavour, works best to compliment the beef patty in the burger.
Don’t go breaking the bank on an expensive bottle of wine you don’t know anything about. This party season, we’ve enlisted the help of Kim Brebach, the $20 Wine Guy and founder of The Best Wines Under 20, about the best reds, whites, and bubbles which all fall under a good price range.
If you don’t know your Pinot Gris from Pinot Noir, check out Kim’s ultimate guide to wine so you always have the best!
What are the best wines for gifts?
- If it’s for a family member or close friend, you’ll have an idea what they like, so that’s easy
- For a friend or colleague who knows her wines, ask your wine merchant to suggest an unusual wine that indicates you’ve gone to some trouble to surprise them
- If you want to impress someone, choose a known brand champagne like Moet, or a Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz – if it’s a guy
- For your dad, ask him – he may prefer a bottle of single malt whiskey!
- If you’re not sure, a gift pack will always be welcome – you’ll find these at most wine retailers
Which wines work well with seafood?
Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon/Sauvignon blends tend to work best with fresh, simply cooked seafood including cold prawns. Most wine writers suggest a young and astringent Riesling but most of these are too fruity to match salty and savoury seafood. This also applies to some of the cheaper sauvignons from Marlborough. A few recommendations include:
- Yealands Land Made Sauvignon Blanc 2013: $14 at Kemenys (Marlborough)
- Vavasour Sauvignon Blanc 2013: $13 at WSD (Marlborough)
- Cape Mentelle Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2014: $20 at MyCellar (Margaret River)
- Lobster Mornay or spicy Asian seafood may need something with more flavour, such a Chardonnay or Pinot Gris.
What are the best wine varieties for a party or get-together?
- Office party: Moscato or Prosecco have festive bubbles but they’re more frizzante than spumante (fully sparkling). More important is that they’re lower in alcohol than standard sparkling wines so people should leave the office party in better shape.
- Friends and nibbles: Rosé goes with various nibbles including tapas and ham. Montepulciano is a terrific, light pizza red. Riesling is great with cold chicken, and Sauvignon Blanc compliments prawns really well.
- Formal occasion: Pink bubbly and sparkling shiraz tend to be winners but the latter can be fairly alcoholic so be careful. A big Chardonnay is another good option
If that’s all too hard, keep in mind that the folks in Champagne drink their bubbles with anything and everything, so you could choose a good Aussie bubbly and do the same. A couple of examples include:
- Madame Coco Brut NV: $14 at Kemenys
- Petaluma Croser NV: $17 at Our Cellar
What are some of the most popular wines, and what do they taste like?
- Sparkling wine, regardless of colour, should have a strong mousse (the bubbles on top) and a fine, persistent bead (the tiny bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass)
- Riesling should smell and taste of limes, talc, hints of minerals and have a dry finish
- A good Chardonnay is full and round and tastes of white peaches and cashews or almonds
- Sauvignon Blanc should smell of gooseberries, lantana, freshly cut grass and even cat pee (seriously) The taste should be fresh, tangy and savoury
- Good Pinot Gris or Grigio smells and tastes of ripe pears & apples, with hints of ginger
- Cabernet Sauvignon smells and tastes of blackberries, black currants and cassis, with hints of vanilla and pencil shavings from oak maturation. Feels cool in the mouth
- Merlot is a softer wine with ripe, plush fruit in the plum spectrum, with a velvet softness.
- Shiraz is usually a big-hearted, warm and friendly kind of guy, with ripe, warm red berry fruit and spices like black pepper
What are some of your favourite wines?
Image via People
Keeping track of how much alcohol you are drinking can be a bit tricky when you are out and about having a good time. Pubs and clubs have measured serves which makes things a bit easier, but what about home made cocktails like the recipes we regularly supply our readers?
A good rule of thumb is that the body absorbs 7-12 ml of alcohol per hour. A standard drink in Australia is considered to be 10 gms or about 12.5mls of alcohol. So, depending on various factors a standard drink per hour should keep you relatively sober. Please be aware though, that the more alcohol you consume the harder it is for your body to absorb. The first drink you have should be absorbed into your body in about an hour, but the second will take longer. It’s all science related and not an exact science at that!
Now, the type of factors which affect alcohol absorption include the following:
- How fast you drink
- The amount of food in your stomach
- Your weight
- Amount of fat or muscle your body consists of
- Other medications and drugs in your body
- Other chemicals in the drink. eg: Jäger Bombs
- Foods consumed
- Your drinking history and tolerance
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Current emotional state
With all these variables it’s impossible to know how the alcohol is reacting within your body. Cocktails can be especially tricky, particularly if they are created without a measure. They also consist of a mixture and some have chemical ingredients like caffeine. Since caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, the two can have different side effects. This is what makes them so potent and care should be taken when consuming them. The caffeine itself doesn’t have an alcohol content, but it can affect the alcohol being consumed.
Having gotten through that, I’ll fill you in on an easy way to work out how much alcohol you’re consuming in your cocktails as well as giving you a couple of easy examples to follow.
First look at the percentage of alcohol on the bottle used to make the cocktail. Most have at least 1 regular spirit which is usually 40% alcohol. Next, you need the serving size of the alcohol only, not the serving size of the entire drink. A full nip is usually 30 ml so multiply this with the alcohol percentage. Remember when you multiply a percentage it is not a whole number so you multiply the serving size by the decimal point (0.4). To work out the standard drink size, divide it by the Australian standard of 12.5 ml. Viola!
Here’s a couple of examples:
- Full nip (30ml) of 40% alcohol bourbon = 30 x 0.40 = 12.00ml alcohol
12.00ml / 12.50ml = 0.96 standard drinks.
- 150ml glass of 11.5% alcohol wine = 180 x 0.115 = 17.25ml alcohol
17.25ml/12.50ml = 1.38 standard drinks
You can use this formula to work out the alcohol content in every drink you consume. The final thing I want to mention which will help you with all this is the oz to ml conversion. You don’t need exact figures so, if you remember 1 oz = 30 ml, you’ll be right!
Now you have all the tools you need to keep track of how much alcohol you are consuming in your cocktails. A final tip is to do calculations before you start drinking for obvious reasons.
Image via mymoonbargumbet.com
So you want to bring a bottle of wine to a dinner party where the host is serving seafood – what type of wine do you bring? Haven’t a clue? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! Although some may pretend, few of us are actually wine connoisseurs. We know red wine goes nicely with red meat – but do we opt for the merlot or pinot noir? What is the difference? Here are some helpful hints for choosing the right wine.
Types: Some mistake sparkling wine and champagne for the same thing. Champagne is indeed a type of sparkling wine, specific to its namesake region in France. Everything else outside of this region is sparkling wine.
Serve with: Salty foods – potato crisps, anchovies, sushi, shellfish
Types: Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc
Serve with: Vegetable dishes, salads, chicken, and white fish
Types: Moscato, riesling, gewürtztraminer
Serve with: Indian, Thai, Chinese cuisine, oily fish (salmon), chicken
Types: Chardonnay, Semillon, Viognier
Serve with: Creamy soups and pastas, french cuisine, rich shellfish, and poultry
Types: Rosé is its own type of wine, made from a variety of red grapes, including grenache, sangiovese and cabernet, but only retains some of their color, hence the distinct pink hue.
Serve with: Moroccan, Indian, Mediterranean cuisines, shellfish, pork, and poultry
Types: Pinot Noir, St Laurent, Gamay
Serve with: Mushroom dishes, including risotto and pasta, white pizza, pork chop and poultry
Types: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec
Serve with: Roasted, barbecued meats, including beef, lamb, pork and venison
Types: Port, Sherry, Muscat
Serve with: Dessert!
Are you an adventurous foodie? Perhaps you’re a weekend wine connoisseur? Or maybe you and your partner are simply looking for a relaxing getaway somewhere lacking the traffic, noise and crowds? Well I tick all of the above boxes and was lucky enough to find that central NSW had me covered. And, in particular, a little country town that has managed to keep itself a secret (until now) – Mudgee.
Just three and a half hours drive from Sydney, Mudgee had my essentials sorted – fantastic coffee, delicious food, beautiful boutiques and, of course, wonderful wine (oh, and did I mention the open spaces, not a single traffic light or the weird sound… wait, it was silence).
Not only were the locals lovely and keen to help but it seemed almost all the produce we consumed was locally made – as in it didn’t spend four hours on a truck, four weeks in the freezer or four days on the shelf!
I could possibly write a 10-part series on all the amazing food and wine experiences this region has to offer (or at least a vistors’ guide book) but instead I’ve chosen a few of my personal faves and recommendations from the locals that are a Mudgee must:
- Pipeclay Pumphouse: One of the newest restaurants in the region, Pipeclay Pumphose opened late last year at Robert Stein vineyard (a winery/vineyard/motorcycle museum where the grapes are grown, matured and bottled all onsite). Only using the best locally produced goods, the restaurant has even begun to make their own cured meats but the vibe is far from pretentious and much like attending a family reunion, with a relaxed vibe and feelings of sheer comfort. Caution: You may not what to leave… Ever!
- Zin House/Lowes Wines: What more could you ask for than overlooking a vineyard that makes up part of a 1000-acre biodynamic and organically certified farm while having lunch and a glass of wine? The Zin House at Lowes Wines estate features food by Kim Currie with wine by David Lowe in an architecturally designed, zincalume Zin House. Their specialty if long and lazy weekend lunches consisting of seasonal produce from the farm and local producers.
- Alby & Esthers: Tucked away at the end of an arcade and off the main street of town, this café-come-wine bar is a hidden gem that feels like home the second the walk in the door. Owner Lara serves delicious meals and coffee during the day and then spot transforms into a great place for an evening tipple on weekend nights. Brunch is my favourite meal of the day and the aptly named Brunch Plate ($16) did not disappoint!
- Mudgee Farmers Markets: Held on the third Saturday of every month on the grounds of St Mary’s Catholic Church, you’ll find the best of local produce including cheeses, wines, olive oil, sourdough, sweets and pretty much anything your palette desires.
- Wild Oats Pavillion: Luxury abounds at Wild Oats Pavilion and it has lived up to its reputation of being one of Mudgee’s premier venues. Set in the grounds of the Robert Oatley vineyard (the oldest in the region), Wild Oats is a relaxed and adaptable space that can cater for a couple, a family, a wedding or a business conference, serving the best regional and seasonal produce with complement wines produced on site.
- Roth’s Wine Bar: This amazing little watering hole is quaint and unassuming on the outside but is a hive of activity inside and is certainly a local favourite. Ideal for tasting what the local wineries have to offer (considering the majority of the wine list is made up of local vino), boasts live music on Friday and Saturday nights and a yummy tapas menu for sharing over a bottle (or two).
Thinking of booking right away? Here’s where you’ll find all the info you need: visitcentralnsw.com.au
Whether it’s made from red, white or even rosé it seems that everyone loves a little bit of sangria. Not only is this drink refreshing, but is filled with many tasty summer fruits which makes it seem good for you, right? Making your own sangria doesn’t have to be difficult – all you need is a punch bowl, some wine and add in your favourite fruits.
Red wine sangria recipe
2 (750ml) bottles of dry red wine (cabernet sauvignon or merlot are good options)
1 cup brandy
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup orange liqueur
Handful of strawberries, hulled and halved
3 oranges, thinly sliced
3 limes, thinly sliced
4 cups fresh arugula
1 can (375ml) lemon-lime soda
- Combine the wine, brandy, sugar plus the orange liqueur into a large punch bowl.
- Keep stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved, then add the arugula. Arugula is purely optional, so if you aren’t a fan of the flavour, then skip this step.
- Then just add in the strawberries, lime, thinly sliced lemon and orange pieces to the mixture. Make sure to lightly mull the fruit, this will allow the fruits natural juices to infuse the wine.
- Cover up the punch bowl with plastic wrap and pop it into the fridge for 2-3 hours. This will allow the flavours to completely mix together, then add ice before drinking.
White wine sangria recipe
White wine sangria isn’t uncommon; however it isn’t nearly as popular as its red counterpart. A refreshing beverage which is light and tasty when mixed with sweet summer fruits.
1.5L white wine
¾ cup peach pucker
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Handful of strawberries, sliced
1 green apple
1 can (375ml) lemonade
½ cup of ice
- Firstly pour the wine and the peach pucker into a glass pitcher. Mix until they have completely combined.
- Chop up the apple (making sure to remove the core) and add it into the mixture together with the strawberries, and lemon slices.
- Look at the label of the white wine, and try to stay in the same family of fruits. In this case, not many fruits were used so you can still taste the wine in its mostly original state.
- Pour in the lemonade – this will make the sangria sweet, and will also mesh well against the fruits. Pop the pitcher into the fridge for 2-2.5hrs.
- Add half a cup of ice before stirring with a wooden spoon, then serve.
Recipes and image via Gimme Some Oven, Mac and Molly
The weekend has landed and that means brunch. Whether you prefer granola and egg white omelettes or the full English, nothing goes down lovelier than a sparkling Chambord Mimosa.
For each mimosa:
1/2 oz Chambord Liqueur
Fresh orange juice
Champagne or sparkling wine
Add Chambord Liqueur and orange juice to bottom of flute glass. Top with Champagne.
What’s your favourite cocktail with brunch?
Light a candle
It?s all in the senses: The Lebanese grow orange blossom and jasmine outside their toilet windows and anywhere there are drains to keep the air smelling sweet. It?s a fantastically good idea and one we should employ here. It not only looks pretty, but this floral display will make your house smell divine
It’s all in the senses
Warm your toes: Make sure you get out of bed and step into something extra toasty. Our tip? Wear woollen or cashmere socks around the house or head to China Town in your nearest city and purchase a pair of boho chic Chinese slippers. They not only look slick but are incredibly comfy as well. Oh, did we mention they are a bargain as well? Even better ? they shouldn?t cost you anymore than around $20.
Tub time: Not everyone has one, but if you are one of the lucky ones jump in the tub armed with a glass of wine. We suggest adding a few drops of lavender and peppermint oil for the ultimate sensual haven. Or try Jurlique?s Rose Shower Gel (www.davidjones.com.au) or Kiehl?s shower gels from meccacosmetica.com.au they are both pure bliss and a brilliant way to relax.
- Krug Grand Cuv?e Brut (also the most expensive, unfortunately, at around $200 a pop)
- Bollinger Special Cuv?e ($75-$90)
- Moet&Chandon Brut Imp?rial (around $70)
- Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut NV (around $70 a bottle)
- Louis Roederer Brut Premier (around $90 a bottle)