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Friday, September 9, 2011

The Diversity of Australia: Some Interesting Wines from Down Under!

Despite Hurricane Irene's best efforts, our monthly installment of "The Art of Wine & Food" at the Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale went off without a hitch! 

The evening's theme was "The Diversity of Australia," and instead of the typical Shiraz and Riesling many people associate with the land down under, the evening featured varietals a little off the beaten path.

To accompany the wines, Chef Marci Boland of L'Hermitage Catering created some delicious dishes that complemented the wines beautifully.

The first wine of the evening was the 2008 Turkey Flat Butchers Block White
hailing from the Barossa Valley. Located in the state of South Australia, the Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s oldest and best-known wine regions. It's home to Australia's largest wine companies as well as plantings of Grenache and Shiraz that are over a century old.

The popularity of Shiraz (aka Syrah) in this region sparked interest in the development of other Rhone varieties. The 2008 Turkey Flat Butchers Block White is a blend of 58% Marsanne, 28% Viognier and 14% Roussanne, grapes indigenous to France’s Rhone Valley. This wine has appealing flavors of citrus, pear and green apple with a hint of toasty oak from partial barrel fermentation and a richness from extended lees contact. This wine is ideal for pairing with richer seafood dishes like scallops and lobster or those with exotic spices such as Thai, Curry or Indian cuisine. Chef Marci prepared a delicious Curry Coconut Chicken that paired very nicely with the spice and citrus notes of the wine.

The second wine of the evening was the 2009 Robert Oatley Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir. Proud and passionate Australian, Bob Oatley is considered by many to be a pioneer of Australian wine. His successes include the family-owned Australian winery Rosemount Estate and his latest endeavor, Robert Oatley Vineyards, is built around the family’s vineyard holdings and winery in New South Wales.

The Mornington Peninsula is located in the Australian state of Victoria is known for its cool, maritime-influenced climate, ideal for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. The 2009 Robert Oatley Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir has delightful cherry aromas with hints of strawberry, earth and spice; the 10 months in French oak nicely enhances but doesn't overpower the character of the wine. This Pinot Noir would be delicious served slightly chilled with dishes like seared tuna, grilled salmon or roasted duck with cherry sauce. Guests enjoyed it paired with Chef Marci's Tomato Provencal with Prosciutto, Thyme, & Garlic.

The final wine of the evening was the 2008 De Bortoli Deen Vat 4 Petit Verdot from the Riverina wine region in New South Wales. De Bortoli Wines is a third generation family winery established by Vittorio and Giuseppina De Bortoli in 1928. Deen De Bortoli personally selected the blends and chalked the numbers on the vats to identify them. The Vat Series includes traditional varietal wines and also wines made from interesting varietals newer to Australia.

Petit Verdot is one of Bordeaux’s classic grape varieties that is currently enjoying a revival in Australia. This late-ripening varietal performs exceptionally well in Australia's warm climate which allows it to achieve heightened levels of ripeness compared to the cooler climates of France. The 2008 De Bortoli Deen Vat 4 Petit Verdot has aromas of blackberries, cherries, and violets. On the palate, rich dark fruit, chocolate and spice accompany chewy tannins imparted by oak ageing. This wine is perfect for pairing with smoked meats, roasted or grilled lamb or veal chops, and/or a big, juicy steak. It paired remarkably well with Chef Boland's Zinfandel Braised Short Ribs with Pasta.

Guests really enjoyed these edgy Aussie wines which many were unfamiliar with prior to the event. They certainly sparked lots of interesting questions and conversation throughout the evening. Many participants said they especially enjoyed experiencing how the flavors of wine and food can really complement and enhance each other - I just love hearing that! A big thank you to Republic National Distributing Company for providing the wines for this event.

Please join us for our next installment of "The Art of Wine & Food," entitled "Chardonnay Around the World: Learn how Winemaking Styles Exhibit Qualities of Old Hollywood Glamour." It should be an interesting evening! For more information, please contact Gail Vilone at or call 954-262-0249.



  1. great tips on Aussie wines thanks for the congrats on baby boy hugs Rebecca

  2. Nice post, Stephanie. I'll write some of these down for when my daughter visits again and we'll try them.

  3. Great to see some Aussie wines in the US :)

    The Mornington Peninsula comes out with some of the best pinot noir in the country and that one is no exception!

    Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers with you guys during this memorial weekened.

  4. I love the Deen De Bortoli Vat Petit Verdot as well. It's hard to find 100% petit verdot out there these days, I appreciate how well the De Bortoli's do it.

  5. Thanks very much for the great post. We're so glad you enjoyed the wine!
    I have linked to it from our facebook page.


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