DE BORTOLI ESTATE AND WINES NEW website photos: Stuart Buchanan review / BTS images: Natasha Marchev wine tasting: Elena Tretiakova
What a gorgeous experience when you are welcomed and looked after as a top media crew in Melbourne. Our De Bortoli Estate visit was a delight. We were met at the doors on arrival by the marketing director, Carly and one of the wineries owners, Leanne. We were taken fearlessly to the fields where the crop gathering was taking place. Stuart was adjusting his drone and cameras, the technology always plays up when it is most needed... but all went well. We all made lots of BTS and professional images and the video including the not so well behaving at the start drone. The gathering happens fast. To take the photos of the bucket full of grapes uploading to the tractor you should run, run, run, "forest run...".
History reference De Bortoli is one of Australia's most dynamic family wine businesses, Now in it's third generation they have been established by Vittorio and Giuseppina De Bortoli in 1928 with the business then driven by their son, Deen and now, the third generation, by Darren alongside with his sister, Leanne and her husband, De Bortoli Chief Winemaker Steve Webber.
De Bortoli wines has been historically based at Bilbul (near Griffith) in the NSW Riverina, but more recently they have expanded into the YarraValley (where Leanne and Steve Webber are based), the HunterValley and also into Victoria's KingValley. The emphasis in all of the vineyards has always been upon innovation, with De Bortoli credited with the creation of Australia's most famous dessert wine, the Noble One. The De Bortoli winemaking philosophy is that great wine begins in the vineyard. Their belief is that sustainable vineyard practices will deliver exceptional fruit quality to the winery as well as real environmental benefits. With a focus on careful site selection, vine maturity, high input viticulture and a move towards biological farming principles, De Bortoli Wines are also focusing more and more on single vineyard wines and the expression of specific terroir through their wine. In the winery, minimal interference, allowing the wine to 'make itself' and the mantra ‘it is harder to do nothing’ encapsulate this focus and belief. With an enormous range of wines and labels, it is constantly impressive how consistent (and good value) the De Bortoli wines are. This comes from a simple respect for varietal purity, with Steve Webber renowned for his desire to see varietal expression in the De Bortoli wines. The real secret to the quality of the De Bortoli wines though is simply the winemaking talent. Beyond head honcho Steve Webber the team includes veteran Rob Glastonbury, award winning young winemaker Sarah Fagan and long time Noble One guru Julie Mortlock, all combining to headup one very able winemakingunit."
We were then taken to the inside cellar doors for tasting. We picked up the room with more light so Stuart could continue to work with no issues and we ran an interview with Leanne. She was very humble, very pleasant to talk with and very down to earth woman. She agreed to be interviewed so kindly. Leanne told us a bit the history of the winery and its first days, about the strong family connections in De Bortoli family and how much they learn in these 90 years in the business, about the current challenges and how the company introduces new wine varieties to the customers and to the market. The company is not afraid to experiment and it always works and get appreciated by the most spoiled wine lovers and critics. Leanne also told us about the perspectives of the wineries for the future. We got a very good film to share with all our youtube channel followers. Three wines were on the table to get reviewed. At the end of our interview we were given two posters to take home with the La Boheme title, such a good sign and a great match to our own work! Honestly we all felt very privileged to be at such amazing place and get this unique opportunity to talk with the people who have such a rich family history connected to the wine making history of Australia. Tiffany at the counter sold us some terrific wines to take home and continue to enjoy our day...
The wines on the table we tasted: 1. De Bortoli Pinot Noir 2019 The Estate Yard . Highly fragrant, alluring bright red, elegant and fruity, vintage, developed and slowly ripen during the growing season with timely spring rain, it is a terrific wine to try. The wine is unique by its light touch of savouriness with supple, fine tannin. It has a taste of red cherry, wood spice with some minerally flavours and summer violets. The wine is quite generous in character, plump and round in style. The fruit for this wine were hand harvested and hand sorted. It is a gorgeous, soft acidity wine.
2. De Bortoli La Boheme Cuvee Blanc Sparkling. It is an easy drinking wine with pale colour and a green tinge. It has a citrus, straw-hay, green apple, hazelnut dusting, brioche and lifted aromas. This fresh and youthful wine is complex but well balanced and clean, crisp and appetizing in its distinctive character. Its terrific consistency and taste are perfect and it is great to be served over a few share plates to enjoy in a good company with friends.
3. De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon 2017 is my personal choice. I did not intend to taste but I could not hold it. It is rightfully considered Australia's premier sticky, dessert wine with beautiful bright golden color and a taste to match. It comes in sweet and luscious apricot marmalade jam and barley sugar overtone with great volume and amazing texture, accompanied by smooth and thick hints of toffee, fresh vanillin oak and fig with the intense aroma of dried nectarines, peach-citrus-orange blossom honey. It is not over sweet, just right. This wine is an outstanding expression of Botrytis affected wine and powerful Botrytis spectrum, and a must have for any cellar! It is a delight for those spoiled in taste. Am expressive and perfectly harmonious wine that can be enjoyed just on its own or with a fabulous gourmet cheese and fruit platter. It also great to go with freshly shucked oysters or Foie Gras. This wine has garnered more than 117 trophies and 376 Gold medals both nationally and internationally.
special thanks: Leanne and Steve De Bortoli, Carly Turner and Tiffany.
LEVANTINE HILL NEW website review Natasha Marchev / Elena Tretyakova photography: Stuart Buchanan
We were lucky enough to be invited to visit the LENATINE HILL ESTATE in Yarra Valley. Our media group was offered to have a wine tasting experience. The expert was ready and considering that Stuart , our photographer, and myself do not drink all our hopes were on our wine expert, Elena.
We arrived 30 min earlier our 1100am session and it was heavily raining outside. The Levantine Hill Winery and Restaurant doors were closed so we had extra time to explore the gardens and sculptures and neighbourhood winery, Rochford Estate and to have a couple of coffees there while buying the Rochford wines packed gifts. Luckily they opened their doors to us early as a kindest exception while it was cold and wet outside.
We returned to the Levantine Hill next door when Stuart was already taking photos outside and finding his way around the grape vine fields. The Lenatine Hill Estate remarkable architecture stands out presenting its gorgeous structure design and revealing us to the new building site at he same land mark - a new winery spectacular residence , sill in construction approximately 300 meters away from the original and also recently erected mansion.
Elena was offered to taste:
1. Pinot Noir 2017. The wine has a pleasant plum and almond flavour, floral and quite alluring aroma with the black cherry and strawberry notes, soft to drink from the first sip leaving an enjoyable astringency of aftertaste of star anise and rhubarb with a slight smell of plum and almond. It is a very good nutmeg, forest floor and spicy cedar fragrance wine with the distinctive silken texture. This wine is aged in aged in 100% French oak for 9-10 months and has a very intense semi-translucent dark red color.
2. Pinot Noir 2016. 2016 was a rather warmer year in the region. The wine has a long expansive dried herb aftertaste with fig features, It is velvety smooth with a spice plum aroma and distinctive vanillin cedar and dried herbs notes with some elements of elements of cloves and lean green fruit. It will go well with a plate of figs, blue cheese and dry grapes next to it. The wine is rather rich with the dark cherry, rhubarb and strawberry fruits perfume full of fruit and freshness. It has a slight scent of forest floor and spicy cedar as well as strong grape aftertaste. The color is semi-translucent dark red with black tinged edges. The wine has a strong autumnal, "mulchy earth" kind of feel. It is a good wine.
3. Shiraz 2017. Estate Syrah. It is a French style Shiraz which is silky-smooth, elegant and subtly perfumed. It has a deep cherry color. The taste is perfectly complex with the pepper spice focusing on the fruity accents recognising rosehip, musk and tarragon, The aftertaste is long, refined and savoury. The wine is made from the early season picked up grapes. The scents are introducing cloves with the drop of meaty earthy notes that are combined with dark plum and liquorice characters. The wine is sunny, elegant with nice length and velvety softness. It is a perfect example of a cool-climate classical wine . If you close your eyes while drinking you will see the vast fields and grape gardens of Yarra Valley. This wine is an expression of Bourgogne's spirit
4. Cabernet Sauvignon 2017. In Elena's opinion this was one of the best she tried. It is a heavier wine for heavy food to go with. It has deep dark red color with black tinged edges. It is a perfect match for pizza and pasta dishes. It has distinctive dark currants, mulberry and tobacco aroma with spicy, strong full body. It will also match perfectly marinara bolognese dishes. The wine has a lovely cedar, cocoa, truffle and dried herbs accents in its bouquet. If you attend an Italian meal restaurant this will be the best wine to go with your food selection. It is a real beauty from beauty from the highly regarded Yarra Valley region. Despite its strong taste the wine is still soft in your mouth with a bit of sweetness that asks you for a second glass indeed. Such wines are amazing for a gift if you go to the party with the guests who understand wines.
It was close to lunch time and we ordered a cheese platter to share that Stuart kindly paid for. It was an interesting experience. Elena also bought some wine to take home as well. The weather did not improve outside otherwise we would all go somewhere for a good lunch to call t a day. W hope to see more and explore more wineries in the region and tell our readers about our investigations. For now please enjoy the images by Stuart and some of our own BTS photos.
EVERYDAY FOOD AS MEDICINE website review by Elice Thomas
EVERYDAY FOOD AS MEDICINE
Since this is a cookbook, I decided to review not just the quality of the recipes contained within, but to also consider their accessibility, affordability and – since this is a health-conscious cookbook – their health benefits. I chose to try out their oven-poached tea and raspberry pears with baked ricotta as a dessert, and the roast turmeric chicken with lime and cashews for dinner.
At first glance, Everyday Food as Medicine seems a great addition to a cook’s library if they are working towards a healthier diet and want to expand their knowledge of healthy foods. Make no mistake – this cookbook does a fantastic job of that. Dr Kerryn Phelps and Jaime Rose Chambers, the co-authors and mother-daughter team, explain in easy terms the different benefits of the wide variety of foodstuffs available to us, and which foods to choose when making health-conscious meals and snacks. Their book is split up into several major areas of concern – gut and heart health, energy foods, anti-inflammatory foods, and foods that affect the mood. Each section contains a multitude of recipes covering every meal time, from breakfast to dessert, and insightful notes from each author about why they have chosen the ingredients that feature in each meal. Scattered throughout the cookbook, two-page spreads on other areas of health and lifestyle are also discussed at length, such as the benefits of fasting and effective game plans for new mothers. All in all, Everyday Food as Medicine contains a wealth of thorough and practical knowledge on improving diet and switching to healthier food alternatives when planning meals.
However, while this cookbook is incredibly insightful and helpful, I noticed almost immediately that it is not a cookbook for those cooks who need to take cost and accessibility into consideration. In almost all of their recipes, Phelps and Chambers have chosen ingredients which are very healthy, but also expensive, and sometimes only found in specialised health food stores. They provide two different meal plans at the beginning of the book, one for omnivores and the other for vegetarians, that include many of the recipes from the cookbook. As a simple way to gauge the effectiveness of these meal plans for the average Australian to follow, I added the ingredients to two different shopping lists – one for each plan – and calculated the cost to follow each for a week. Using the cheapest ingredients, each plan came out to more than $500 (and the omnivore plan even reached $700 owing to a lot of meat products). For once my background as a cashier at a supermarket is useful, because I know immediately that that is well above the average weekly spend for an average Australian family. While creating the shopping lists, I realised that many of the ingredients are only found in the health food aisle, and typically these ingredients are pricier than other, arguably less healthy, alternatives, due in part to their limited popularity and high production costs. So while the meals themselves are definitely health-conscious, it comes at the cost of accessibility. Where there are options between a basic, cheap food item or a more expensive (but healthier) alternative, Phelps and Chambers have usually opted for the more expensive one. Further, another important observation I made is that many of these recipes ask for a lot of ingredients considering they only serve 4 people – for example, the cottage cheese pancakes ask for 8 eggs; not to mention that these are not ingredients the typical person will already have in their pantry. I think it is quite telling that the authors do not address the cost of their recipes anywhere in the book, considering this is a cookbook as much about lifestyle change as it is providing delicious and healthy meals. I wholeheartedly agree that a healthy diet can prevent or help better manage chronic illness, as well as lengthening life expectancy, but not everyone has the means to radically change their diet or begin buying more expensive versions of food staples, such as quinoa instead of rice. Cost should be just as much of a consideration as taste and health benefits when crafting a cookbook.
In reviewing this cookbook I tried out two different recipes. I made the turmeric chicken over the weekend and liked the result. It was very tasty, especially with quinoa instead of rice (I definitely need to use quinoa more often), and the variety of vegetables added a lot of different textures and tastes that made the whole dish better. Chambers and Phelps do a fantastic job of explaining each step in an easy-to-follow way, and overall the recipe itself was very easy to make. I substituted chicken drumsticks instead of Marylands due to the cost, and couldn’t find nigella seeds – but the recipe suggests cumin as an alternative. I was very happy with this dish and so were my housemates – I would make this again. As dessert I tried out the poached pears as I’ve never had poached pears before, and the ingredients caught my attention – pears brewed in Earl Gray tea, white wine, and raspberries sounds delightful. And it was! These pears were absolutely delicious. The Earl Gray came through especially strongly and added a nice aromatic layer to the dessert, and the ricotta paired so well, balancing out the intense sweetness of the pears. Like the chicken, the recipe was again very easy to follow and make, and most of the ingredients were affordable or I could find them at home. So overall, both of these recipes were delicious and I would make them again, but more than likely I’d wait until a special occasion.
If you aren’t overly concerned about affordability and want to explore a healthier lifestyle, this cookbook would do well on your shelf. Each recipe comes with background on their health benefits, and throughout the book the authors discuss various areas of concern and ways to help yourself combat illness and fatigue. The recipes themselves are easy to follow, easy to make and delicious. However, the health benefits of these recipes come at the cost of accessibility. I would recommend picking one or two recipes for the week or fortnight ahead and double the servings to use as leftovers, to keep costs down but still benefit from these much healthier recipes.
review by Michael M
Two dishes cooked following the recipes I arm Barley Chickpea and Asparagus Salad: Delicious salad. Light and fluffy. Full of goodness and nutrition. Amazing combination of flavours with an extra point for being vegan fetta cheese.
II Mushroom Tempeh and Soba noodles stir fry Delicious stir fry with an amazing flavour and mix of vegetables. Highly recommended for a light summer stir fry meal.
reviews by Marina and Evie Sklyar
When I got the book, it was hard for me to decide which recipe I would choose to cook for the review. It was so hard because each receipt looked so yummy , healthy and easy to make I had to seek help from my 13 year old daughter to choose, and so she did with her friend. Girls asked for me not to help them and did everything independently. I was very happy that this book was so simple to follow, had easy and healthy recipe , but at the same time unique. After making the chocolate brownie my daughter told her dad who is watching his food, that’s its safe to eat brownie as it had no sugar, and that it is healthy dessert option for him to enjoy. by Marina Skliar
This cookbook is a very healthy option, it is filled with heart filled recipes with a healthy twist. Of all the recipes we decided to try the fudgy beetroot banana brownies. The ingredients in the recipe were simple and effective. The whole process was quite easy and didn’t take long time. The whole way through it smelled delicious and I couldn't wait to try it out. After finally completing the process it went in the oven and was ready to try. It was a scrumptious snack and recommended if you are craving a sweet tooth and are on a diet. This cookbook is a 9/10 for me. by Evie Skliar