Monday, November 25, 2013

Special Event - A Sparkling Exploration with Dan Buckle, Domaine Chandon Australia

For our final event of 2013, we are pleased to bring you the opportunity to attend a very special tasting with Dan Buckle, Senior Winemaker at Domaine Chandon Australia which will focus solely on Sparkling wines and Champagne.
Limited places are available at this tasting where we will look at 12 exceptional examples - sparkling wine from Australia and around the world along with varietal groups and subregions of Champagne. 
Our host for the evening, Dan Buckle, joined Domaine Chandon two years ago having previously been the winemaker behind cool climate shiraz favourites Mount Langi Ghiran for eight years. Earlier this year, Dan was the winner of the prestigious Vin de Champagne award, presented by the Champagne Bureau Australia to recognise the best Champagne palates in Australia. 
Since Swirl Sniff Spit's inception, we have received more requests to hold a Champange tasting than for any other style, variety or region, yet we've never had the right opportunity for an event that would do the subject justice. So we are thrilled that Dan will be sharing his exceptional knowledge and hands on experience with us. 
Our venue for this event will be the beautiful and intimate 1889 Enoteca cellar room. Our hosts at 1889 Enoteca have put together a special menu for the event and guests will have the option to order meals which will be served at the conclusion of the tasting.
We look forward to welcoming you to this special event with Dan as our guide.
The list of wines Dan has personally selected for our tasting are listed below
When: Tuesday 3 December, 6pm for 6:30pm
Where: 1889 Enoteca, 10 - 12 Logan Road, Woolloongabba
How: Register online (ticketed event) at

Bracket 1 - USA

Domaine Carneros by Taittinger Brut Cuvée NV, USA
Mumm Napa Brut Prestige NV,  USA
Roederer Estate Brut NV, USA

Bracket 2 - Australia

Domaine Chandon Cuvée 500
House of Arras Blanc de Blancs 
Yabby Lake Single Vineyard Cuvée Nina 2010

Bracket 3 - Champagne

Pierre Peters Cuvée de Reserve Brut NV 
Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs NV
Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV

Bracket 4 - Champagne

Andre Clouet Grand Reserve Brut NV
Egly-Ouriet Grand Cru Brut Tradition NV
Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut NV
Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin Vintage

Further information on Dan Buckle:
Meet Domaine Chandon's Dan Buckle (article by Jane Faulkner)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Session 29 - You Be The Judge

So Session 29 sees us joined by Queensland wine industry guru Andy Williams. Having plied his trade across both the the South Burnett and Granite Belt wine regions, Andy has a pretty unique insight into the Queensland Wine industry.

Fresh from sitting as Chairman if the Australian Small Winemakers Show, we look forward to Andy taking us through some medal winners. How does the judging work? Did the Judges get it right? You be the judge.

Line up of wines as below. Scores and medals awarded will be discussed within each bracket.

Bracket 1
2013 Robert Channon Pinot Gris @ChannonWines
2013 Robert Channon Verdelho @ChannonWines

Bracket 2 
2012 Mason Wines Chardonnay @GraniteBeltWine
2013 Ballandean Estate Viognier @BallandeanWines
2012 Whiskey Gully Colombard @GraniteBeltWine

Bracket 3
2011 Banca Ridge Temp @GraniteBeltWine
2013 Moonrise Estate Temp @GraniteBeltWine

Bracket 4
2012 Ridgemill Estate Jacquez @GraniteGravels @RidgemillEstate
2012 Ridgemill Estate Merlot @GraniteGravels @RidgemillEstate
2011 Preston Peak Sagrantino @PrestonPeakWine

Bracket 5
2012 Pyramids Road Shiraz @SuePyramidsRoad

2012 Ballandean Estate Saperavi @BallandeanWines

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Session 28 - Neil Prentice - Moondarra and Holly's Garden

When Neil Prentice approached Swirl, Sniff, Spit about the possibility of being involved with our October session - we simply jumped at the chance.

We first tasted some of Neil's wines in our April 2012 session, encountering lusciously textured Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir with depth that were savoury and serious.

Neil always seems to have something going on, he's a partner in - due to open shortly - restaurant Big Huey's Diner, a passionate St Kilda fan, raises Tajima - producing fantastically marbled beef - and in short is a bit of a character. He's also partial to a drop of Mataro (which Stu thinks the greatest of Neil's many qualities :)

Without stealing much more of Neil's thunder, here's the line-up for Tuesday 15th October. Usual caveats: still a work-in-progress, vintages may change etc

Seats open up via twitter at 8am Monday 7th October (yes, a Public Holiday)

Bracket 1 - Blanc de Noir
Holly's Garden Blanc de Noir NV #3
Henschke Lenswood Blanc de Noir NV

Bracket 2 - Pinot Gris 
2012 Holly's Garden Pinot Gris  
2012 Holly's Garden UberGris 

Bracket 3 Skin Contact White 
2013 Holly's Garden Pinot Ramato
TBC A.N.Other Skin contact White

Bracket 4 - Pinot Noir
2010 Moondarra Conception
2010 Moondarra Samba Side

Bracket 5 - Nebbiolo
2012 Moondarra Growers Nebbiolo
TBC A.N.Other Nebbiolo

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Session 27 - Bird on a Wire Wine with Caroline Mooney

Swirl, Sniff, Spit's September tasting sees us joined by a very special guest: Caroline Mooney of Bird on a Wire Wine. 

This is a ticketed event, get your ticket(s) here.

Widely regarded as a rising star in the Yarra Valley, Mooney, a Yarra Valley native, previously plied her trade at Yering Station before setting out on her own under the Bird on a Wire (BOAW) label.
In this exciting tasting, Caroline will be taking attendees through three brackets of wines: Chardonnay, Marsanne and Syrah.
Each bracket will feature three of Caroline's own wines along with a fourth wine hand-selected by Caroline. The intent of the tasting is to provide a great insight into the Yarra valley, showing what influences which grape varieties are planted where, and why. We'll look to demonstrate regional influence - will you be able to guess the odd wine out?
Don't just take our word for it about Caroline's talent, check out this Gourmet Traveller Wine profile on Caroline.

Palate Cleanser
Melbourne Gin Company, Gin & Tonic

Bracket 1 - Chardonay
A) 2010 BOAW Chardonnay
B) 2010 Mount Mary Chardonnay
C) 2011 BOAW Chardonnay
D) 2012 BOAW Chardonnay

Bracket 2 - Marsanne
A) 2010 BOAW Marsanne
B) 2011 Tellurian Marsanne, Heathcote
C) 2011 BOAW Marsanne
D) 2012 BOAW Marsanne

Bracket 3 - Syrah
A) 2010 BOAW Syrah
B) 2011 BOAW Syrah
C) 2011 Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 60
D) 2012 BOAW Syrah

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Session 26 - Lavora Italiano

Silvio Berlusconi, Enzo Ferarri, Donatella Versace, Roberto Baggio - Italy has given the world many cultural and style icons, it has also given many a taste for ‘la dolce vita' through an image of a cosmopolitan lifestyle projected around the world, along with its cuisine and wine.

Cuisine is a rather limiting way of referring to what in reality are a diverse range of regional and sub-regional cuisines, and closely associated with that are regional wine styles, with grape varieties often intrinsically linked to a region and associated produce and dishes.

Swirl, Sniff, Spit is opting to look at a range of varieties of Italian origin that have settled here in Australia. Predominantly the examples we have selected are sourced from McLaren Vale, a region with a strong links to Italian migration and settlement. By no means is this an exhaustive look of 'Italian' varieties, but it's a damn good start.

Bracket 1 – Crisp Whites
Beach Road Greco 2011 Twitter n/a
Primo & Co The Venetian Garganega 2012 @PrimoEstate

Bracket 2 – Textural Feeling
Oliver's Taranga Small Batch Fiano 2013 @OliversTaranga
Oliver's Taranga Small Batch Vermentino 2013 @OliversTaranga
Dowie Doole Vermentino 2013 @DowieDooleWines

Bracket 3 – A Little Sweet One
Coriole Barbera 2012 @Coriole
Vigna Bottin Barbera 2006 Twitter n/a

Bracket 4 – “Forgive me Father, for I have Zinned’
Coriole Sangiovese 2010 @Coriole
La Curio 'Original Zin' Primitivo 2010 Twitter n/a

Bracket 5 – Not Quite the Full ‘Monty’
Waywood Wines Montepulciano 2012 @WaywoodWines
Hand Crafted by Geoff Hardy Aglianico 2011 @HCByGeoffHardy

Bracket 6 – Tannic beauts that end in ‘o’ and probably “Oooooh…”
Oliver's Taranga Sagrantino 2010 @OliversTaranga
Kangarilla Road Terzetto 2010 @Kangarilla

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Special Event - 'Side Projects' with Steve Flamsteed & Dave Mackintosh

Swirl Sniff Spit is excited to bring you the opportunity to spend an evening with Steve Flamsteed and Dave Mackintosh and some seriously good wine.
Steve and Dave met while making wine together at Giant Steps and Innocent Bystander in the Yarra Valley, but along with other leading winemakers who work under the collective 'Side Projects', they're creating edgy, dynamic, non-interventionist wines -  together with their 'Salo' label and Dave's own, 'Ar Fion'. 
Moving away from wines produced for mainstream audiences, these winemaking side projects allow exploration of ideas, techniques and expressions resulting in new and exciting wines for a more tightly focused audience.
This tasting will take an in depth look at their Salo Yarra Valley Chardonnay and Salo Hawkes Bay Syrah over multiple vintages along with skin contact wines, benchmark wines that inspire their winemaking and a couple of dark horses from other winemaker's side projects - wines from Bill Downie and Dave Bicknell that you won't see anywhere else. 
Spend an evening exploring this exciting group of wines with Steve and Dave as our guides.

When: Tuesday July 30, 6pm for 6:30pm
Where: 1889 Enoteca, 10 - 12 Logan Road, Woolloongabba
How: Register online (ticketed event) at

Bracket 1 - Salo Chardonnay 
2008 Salo Yarra Valley Chardonnay 
2009 Salo Yarra Valley Chardonnay 
2010 Salo Yarra Valley Chardonnay 
2011 Salo Yarra Valley Chardonnay 
2012 Salo Yarra Valley Chardonnay 

Bracket 2 - Side Project Skin Contact Whites and Inspiration
2012 Smokestack Lightning Pinot Grigio by Ar Fion (Yarra Valley) 
2012 Breakfast Wine by Patrick Sullivan (Yarra Valley)
2005 Gravner Ribollo (Fruili, Italy)

Bracket 3 - Side Project Yarra Valley Pinot and Inspiration
2012 Ar Fion Pinot Noir 
2011 BicknellFC Pinot Noir by Dave Bicknell
2004 William Downie Pinot Noir 

Bracket 4 - Salo Syrah and Inspiration
2010 Salo Hawkes Bay Syrah  
2011 Salo Hawkes Bay Syrah  
2012 Salo Hawkes Bay Syrah  
2006 Bilancia 'La Collina' Hawkes Bay Syrah

Our venue for this event will be the beautiful and intimate 1889 Enoteca cellar room. 
Our hosts at 1889 Enoteca have put together a special menu for the event and guests will have the option to order meals which will be served during the tasting. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Session 25 - The NZ Files

New Zealand launched itself on the wine-making scene with some radically different wines back in the late 70s and early 80s. It's industry was largely focussed on the Marlborough region and Sauvignon Blanc was its key variety.

It still is in many respects, with 80%+ of its exports coming from that variety. However, it is much more than a one-trick pony, with areas of production ranging from around Auckland in the North down to Central Otago in the centre of the South Island.

As ever with Swirl, Sniff, Spit we're looking to show diversity, quality and to introduce some producers you may not have heard of.

Bracket 1 Sav Blanc
2012 Catalina Sounds Sauvignon Blanc @Catalina_Sounds
2012 Te Whare Ra Sauvignon Blanc @TeWhareRaWines
2012 Geisen 'The August' Sauvignon Blanc @GiesenWines

Bracket 2 Aromatic Whites
2011 Te Whare Ra Gewürztraminer
2012 Maude Pinot Gris @MaudeWines

Bracket 3 Martinborough Pinot
2010 Escarpment Pinot Noir @LarryMcPinot
2009 Kumeu River Village Pinot Noir @ n/a

Bracket 4 South Island
2011 Terra Sancta Estate Pinot Noir @TerraSanctaWine
2010 Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir @PegasusBayWine

Bracket 5 - Syrah/ Cabernet
2009 Ata Rangi 'Celebre' @Ata_Rangi

Monday, June 3, 2013

Session 24 - That Vintage - A Look at 2011

After Session 23 - Myth Busters, dedicating an event to the wines from the 2011 vintage could be seen as a natural extension from there. That vintage - possibly the biggest myth of all to look to bust.

It was wet in many places. We get that. We certainly won't shy away from that. But that doesn't tell the whole story: that in Western Australia conditions were actually quite warm, that in the Hunter Valley they celebrated a highly regarded vintage, that it could be regarded as a producers' vintage, with great wines to be had if you know where to look.

We often find that in search of an attention grabbing headline too many commentators generalise about the state of the wine industry on this island continent. So, let's take a look at wines from that vintage and draw our own conclusions.

Bracket 1 – 'White Rhone' Varieties
John Duval Plexus 'White' n/a
Yangarra Viognier @Yangarra

Bracket 2 – Other Whites
Meerea Park Hell Hole Semillon @MeereaPark 
Xabregas Fig Tree Riesling @Xabregas_Wines
Xabregas Spencer Riesling @Xabregas_Wines

Bracket 3 – Chardonnay
Kooyong Clonale Chardonnay n/a
Yalumba FDW7c 2011@Yalumba
Tapanappa Chardonnay 2011 @Tapanappa

Bracket 4 – Pinot Noir
Stoney Rise Holyman Pinot Noir @StoneyRise 
Henty Farm Wines Pinot Noir @HentyFarmWine

Bracket 5 – Grenache & Friends
Brash Higgins GR/M Grenache Mataro 2011 @BrashHiggins
Cirillo Wines The Vincent Grenache 2011 @Cirillo1850Wine

Bracket 6 – Shiraz
De Iuliis Steven's Vineyard Shiraz @MikeDeIuliis
Cirillo Single Vineyard Shiraz @Cirillo1850Wine

Bracket 7 – Other Reds
Inkwell Wines Primitivo 2011 @InkwellWines
A.Rodda Cuvee du Chez @ARoddaWines

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Session 23 - Mythbusters

In preparation for this tasting, we undertook rigorous research interviewing some of the wine industry's leading winemakers, distributors, sommeliers and writers, mostly over glasses (and sometimes bottles) of wine. We also took to the streets (ie. Facebook & Twitter) to talk to regular people who enjoy wine. People like you.

And so, at the conclusion of our research, we now have one of the most authoritative lists of Wine Myths ever assembled.

At this tasting we explored a few common wine myths through tasting, talking and testing preconceived ideas. 

Bracket 1 – “But I Only Drink French, Dahhhling”
              Clover Hill Methode Traditionnelle 2007 @CloverHillWines
              Arras Grand Vintage 2004

Bracket 2 – “None Of That ‘Cougar Juice’ For Me!”
            Mitchell Harris Sauvignon Blanc Fumé 2012 @Mitchell_Harris
            Terre à Terre Sauvignon Blanc 2012 @OzTerroir

Bracket 3 – “Anything But Chardonnay!”
              Mountadam High Eden Estate Chardonnay 2011
              Oakridge Local Vineyard Series Barkala Ridge Vineyard Chardonnay 2011          @OakridgeWines1
              Bobar Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2012 @BobarWine

Bracket 4 – “There’s No Good Pinot Noir Under $20”
              Last Horizon Tamar Valley Pinot Noir 2012
              De Bortoli Yarra Valley Windy Peak Pinot Noir 2011 @DeBortoliWines

Bracket 5 – “Good Imported Wine Is Too Expensive”
Les Courtilles Cotes du Rhone 2011 @FourthWaveWines
La Senda de los Elefante Tempranillo 2010 @FourthWaveWines
              Elefante Tempranillo Shiraz 2010 @FourthWaveWines

Bracket 6 – “Blends Are Inferior - Made To Get Rid Of Leftovers and Mistakes”
              Kaesler Avignon 2009 @KaeslerWine
              Adam’s Rib ‘The Red’ 2010 @adamsribwines

  • Sparkling wine is at its best when served in a fluted glass
  • A spoon handle popped in the top of a champagne bottle will seal it & stop it from going flat
  • Winemakers are busy around vintage time, but get to take most of the year off.
  • Wine doesn’t keep once it’s been opened
  • Legs in the glass indicate a quality wine
  • Chablis and Burgundy are varieties of grape
  • Screw caps indicate a lower quality of wine
  • Aged wine needs to be aerated more than young wine
  • Some wines have fruit juice added to them get flavours like passionfruit, lemon or pineapple
  • White wine goes with chicken and fish, red wine goes with red meat
  • Australian wines are only made using young fruit
  • The deeper the punt, the better the wine
  • The thicker and heavier the bottle, the better the wine
  • Price is the best indicator of the quality of a bottle of wine
  • Rose and Riesling are sweet styles of wines
  • Sweet wines have more calories than dry wines
  • White wines are at their best when served chilled
  • Red wine should be served at room temperature
  • Aged wines are better than young wines
  • A sommelier’s job is to talk you into spending more money on wine
  • Wine in restaurants is always overpriced
  • You can tell if a wine is ‘corked’ by sniffing the cork
  • All wine gets better with age
  • You need to know a lot about wine to appreciate it

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Session 22 - The Adelaide Hills

Session 22 sees Swirl, Sniff, Spit take to the hills. The Adelaide Hills region is one of Australia's largest geographically, spreading in a narrow band to the East of Adelaide in the Mount Lofty ranges.

Look at the region on a map and you'll see it extends northward, bordering the Eden Valley, and to the South running parallel to McLaren Vale.

Our host for this session is Bec Hardy from K1 by Geoff Hardy in the southern Adelaide Hills.

Bracket 1 - Alternate Whites
Sam Scott Fiano 2012 @ScottWinemaking
K1 by Geoff Hardy Grüner Veltliner 2012 @K1ByTheHardys

Sauvignon Blanc
Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc 2012 @ShawAndSmith
Hahndorf Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2012 @HahndorfHill

The Lane Block 1A Chardonnay 2010 @TheLaneVineyard
K1 Chardonnay 2010 @K1ByTheHardys

Pinot Noir
Golding Wines Francis John Pinot Noir 2009 @GoldingWines
Chain of Ponds Wine Morning Star Pinot Noir 2010 @ChainOfPonds

Golding Wines The Handcart Shiraz 2011 @GoldingWines
Chain of Ponds Wine The Ledge Shiraz 2008 @ChainOfPonds

Cabernet Sauvignon
Longview Wine Devil's Elbow Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 @LongviewWines
K1 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 @K1ByTheHardys

Final line-up subject to confirmation, and vintage may vary.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Session 21 - Canberra District

Canberra, capital of the nation. Think Canberra and Parliament House, National Gallery, the Australian War Memorial and Lake Burley Griffin might come to mind. Or if you're like us, you might think of the more than 30 wineries within a 40 minute drive. What's more, there's fascinating diversity in this cool climate wine district - due to geology, geography, temperature and the influence of skilled winemakers who have chosen this location to make some of Australia's most lauded wines.

Thirty lucky people have secured a place at our tasting at 6pm on Tuesday 19th March at Era Bistro where Jennie Mooney of Capital Wines (@CapitalWines) will lead us on an exploration of key varieties and styles from this exciting region.

Bracket 1 – Riesling  
Capital Wines ‘The Whip’ Riesling 2012 @CapitalWines
Helm Premium Riesling 2012 @HelmWines

Bracket 2 – Cool Climate Whites
Lark Hill Grüner Veltliner 2012 @LarkHillWines
Kyeema Vineyard Chardonnay Viognier 2011 @CapitalWines

Bracket 3 – Alternative Varietals
Capital Wines ‘The Ambassador’ Tempranillo @CapitalWines
Mount Majura Tempranillo 2011 @MtMajuraWine

Bracket 4 – Pinot Noir
Domaine Rogha Crois Silver Label Pinot Noir 2010 @ContiWineDog
Lerida Estate Lake George Pinot Noir 2011 @Lerida_Estate

Bracket 5 – Cabernet Sauvignon 
Clonakilla Ballinderry 2009 @Clonakilla
Shaw Premium Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Bracket 6 – Shiraz
Collector Reserve Shiraz 2011
Eden Road Canberra Shiraz 2011 @EdenRoadWines

Friday, February 8, 2013

Session 20 - Clare Valley

Think of Clare and quite possibly you'll think of Riesling  - and yes there will be a few of those in this tasting, our first of the year. But Clare is no one-trick pony, and this tasting sees a few varietals make their first appearance: Barbera and Malbec, along with the return of Graciano and standards such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
Secure a place, when they open up on twitter on Monday 11th February, for our tasting on 19th February, and learn about this classic region with host for the night Kate Giles (@DontCallMeKatie).

Bracket 1 Riesling

O’Leary Walker Polish Hill River Riesling 2012 @OLearyWalker

Skillogalee Riesling 2012 @Skillogalee

Bracket 2 Watervale Riesling

Clos Clare Watervale Riesling 2012 @ClosClareWines

Claymore Joshua Tree Riesling 2012

Bracket 3 Alternative Varietals

Thomson Estate Back Blocks Sangiovese 2009 @ByrneVineyards

ArtWine Graciano 2010 @ArtWineEstate

Sevenhill Inigo Barbera 2010 @SevenhillWines

Bracket 4 Grenache & Malbec

Kilikanoon Prodigal  Grenache 2009 @Kilikanoon

Matchbox Wine Co. Malbec 2012 @MatchboxWineCo

Bracket 5 Cabernet

Sevenhill Inigo Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 @SevenhillWines

O’Leary Walker Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 @OLearyWalker

Bracket 6 Shiraz

Thomson Estate Back Blocks Shiraz 2010 @ByrneVineyards

Knappstein Shiraz 2010 @GlennMBarry