Category Archives: Distraction

Nice one, ‘Selector’

Bleasdale in the Summer edition of ‘Selector’ which I happened to come across at work…


Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Distraction


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Sommeliers and Beer

Sometime ago, my wife’s family and I went for dinner at Pilu at Freshwater, in Sydney. It was generally enjoyable, and the restaurant is widely recognised as having Australia’s best wine list, a fair statement when you peruse said impressive wine list (pdf).

But the beer list is ordinary, and almost insulting next to the wine list. Pilu aren’t making any claims about their beer list, it should be said, but the dismissive treatment of ales is indicative of a wider trend among (some) restaurants and sommeliers for whom there is a divide between beer and wine (or assumptions about their demographic).

I rather take the line of thought that suggests that both wine and beer are so diverse; with depth of style, flavour, and pairing; and ability of their brewers and purveyors, that being dismissive of one field or the other is erroneous and naive.

As such, it was refreshing to see an article titled Beer Me, Sommelier over at Slate, the conclusion of which is as follows:

Like great wine, great beer deserves well-trained people who can build a strong collection of barrels and bottles, and know how pair them well. Many restaurants and bars have a long way to go, but the example of people like Engert and Daniels points the way to an auspicious future. A well-chosen and expertly-paired beer can be a revelation, so it’s time for more establishments to get their people in the revealing business.

I concur.

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Posted by on January 7, 2012 in Distraction


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Go read this…

Chris Plummer has an excellent review of the Rockford Black Shiraz (2010 disgorgement) over at his excellent Australian Wine Journal. If there was ever a sparkling shiraz review that could make you salivate, it’s this one.

In the new year sometime, I’ll be reviewing one of the 2009 Disgorgement I have… but man, 2010’s sounds amazing.

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Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Distraction


Holiday Break / Christmas Recommendations

Hey Team,

Haven’t had much of chance to write any posts/reviews this week. I’m in Melbourne on a kind-of break; meaning I’m not “working” but Heartbreak Club are writing a new album and when we’re not in the studio, I’m furiously plowing through my Summer Semester readings. It’s all fun, just not sparkling-shiraz-fun.

In saying that, I had the pleasure of drinking and playing Euchre with friends last night. We started in Collingwood’s The Gem Bar (we also had a pretty grouse dinner there too; Haloumi burger this time) with some pints of Cavalier Pale Ale.


Altogether a very pleasant, summery ale with refreshingly fruity hops.

Taking a detour on the way back home, we stopped in at McCoppins Beer & Wine which had a highly impressive beer selection, and a pretty good sparkling shiraz section. We picked up a bottle of BlackBilly Sparkling Shiraz NV for $15. I was too lazy to write notes. It’s the second time I’ve had BlackBilly, and I was certainly more underwhelmed than the first time I had it. It’s not bad by any stretch; it actually ticks many boxes for the style, but it wasn’t unique or complex enough to warrant much more than a 3/5 rating. Good price though.

Family holidays, assignments, more writing in the studio, and study will mean posting will be sporadic until mid-January. But in the pipeline I have a bundle more reviews and a feature which has proven to be quite interesting in writing.

In short, thanks to my incrementally increasing readership for the comments, feedback, tips and general welcoming into the underground Australian BoozeBlogosphere! Have a happy holidays, play safe, and I guess it’d be remiss of me not to recommend you have some sparkling shiraz on Christmas Day (or any hot summer day these holidays!).

2011 Recommendations

No particular order.

Houghton ‘Museum Release’ 2004 (review) if you can find it!

Leasingham ‘Classic Clare’ 2004 (review) if you’re willing to pay a bit more…

D’Arenberg ‘Peppermint Paddock’ Chambourcin Shiraz NV (review) a bit divisive this one; you’ll love it or hate it!

Bleasdale NV (review) best <$20 widely available I rekon

Joseph Sparkling Red (unreviewed; link to website) absolutely delicious; unbeatable, and a superior yet unique expression of the style. 

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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in Distraction, Review


A slight segue…

Readers may recall my recent review of Yellowglen’s ‘Red’, which was rather scathing. My post was at risk of becoming seriously ranty, so I wrote some thoughts about Yellowglen’s marketing in a separate post, with the view to having it appear on another more appropriate blog.

Said thoughts have now been posted over at Sociological Images, a great US-based blog that uses various images to discuss sociological concepts.

UPDATE: And, also in a writing mood, I wrote a post about the banning of The Human Centipede: Full Sequence by the powers that be over at AnythingHorror.



Posted by on December 2, 2011 in Distraction


Halliday’s 100

I’m a bit slow on the uptake with this (Halliday’s top 100 was released a few weeks ago). But it was nice to see Joseph making an appearance. I haven’t had one of these since I started this blog, but the last one I had (maybe 8 months ago) was pretty darn good. An excellent example of sparkling red, unique enough in it’s own right, and complex enough to make the biggest sparkling red doubter take notice.

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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Distraction


OK then…

Minoh Cabernet Ale - Fruit Beer

Minoh Cabernet Ale.


Some of these are being tracked down for curiosity (h/t Richard Green). Low expectations though 😉

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Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Distraction