Heading to Australia

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Demian Saenz
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Heading to Australia

#1 Post by Demian Saenz » June 4th, 2019, 11:30 am

Heading to Sydney, Auckland, and Melbourne at the beginning of July. Any wine that’s only sold in AU or NZ that’s worth drinking or bringing back home?

No plans to visit wineries but plenty of wine stores.

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Re: Heading to Australia

#2 Post by PhillipDube » June 4th, 2019, 12:02 pm

When I lived there I found the only things that weren't sent to the US were items like small production Pinot from the Yarra and Mornington, unusual items like "sherry" from the Riverland, really small special bottlings like Henschke Hill of Faith Mataro, and high end Hunter Semillon. But some other wines like Rutherglen rare muscat and topaque were much less expensive there than here.

And the Mornington Penninsula is close enough to Melbourne (~1 hr) that you might want to consider heading down. Have a blast.
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Re: Heading to Australia

#3 Post by brodie thomson » June 4th, 2019, 1:51 pm

Demian Saenz wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 11:30 am
Heading to Sydney, Auckland, and Melbourne at the beginning of July. Any wine that’s only sold in AU or NZ that’s worth drinking or bringing back home?

No plans to visit wineries but plenty of wine stores.
It would be helpful if you told us what kinds of wines you like / what styles you are looking for? There are literally hundreds of wineries in both countries that aren't available in the USA. Your query is very broad brush. Also what price range are you interested in?

In Melbourne: Prince Wine Store, Winehouse (some nice stuff but more expensive), Cloudwine (smaller but interesting selection)
In Auckland: Caros, Wine Direct, Glengarry (Victoria Park) - all three will have a good range

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Re: Heading to Australia

#4 Post by Kent Comley » June 4th, 2019, 2:43 pm

Giaconda, Wendouree, Sami-Odi, Ruggabellus, Clonakilla, Bindi, Holyman Project X, Bass Phillip are small production cults here. Hard to find at times for the locals.
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Re: Heading to Australia

#5 Post by Demian Saenz » June 4th, 2019, 3:36 pm

brodie thomson wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 1:51 pm
Demian Saenz wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 11:30 am
Heading to Sydney, Auckland, and Melbourne at the beginning of July. Any wine that’s only sold in AU or NZ that’s worth drinking or bringing back home?

No plans to visit wineries but plenty of wine stores.
It would be helpful if you told us what kinds of wines you like / what styles you are looking for? There are literally hundreds of wineries in both countries that aren't available in the USA. Your query is very broad brush. Also what price range are you interested in?

In Melbourne: Prince Wine Store, Winehouse (some nice stuff but more expensive), Cloudwine (smaller but interesting selection)
In Auckland: Caros, Wine Direct, Glengarry (Victoria Park) - all three will have a good range
I like almost everything except pinotage but that’s South Africa. Price range is all the way up to Grange Bin 95 but we will most likely buy wines in the $20 to $200 range. Drinking more Napa cabs, Pinot, and Bordeaux these days but open to anything.

Thank you for the recommendations.

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Re: Heading to Australia

#6 Post by Paul Fountain » June 5th, 2019, 3:57 am

There's a few Melbourne wine shops listed in this thread...
https://wineberserkers.com/forum/viewto ... s#p1779776

I don't have expertise with Sydney or Auckland wine shops, but I'm sure others can chime in there.
I have no idea what actually makes it in to the US, but my assumption is it is a very very small percentage of whats available, at least with any regularity.
A few labels I am regularly buying.... Juniper (Cabernet), Ravensworth (Everything), Fraser Gallop (Cabernet), Domenica (Everything), Balnaves (Cabernet), Blue Poles (Cab Franc Merlot blend), Crawford River (Riesling), Moorooduc Estate (Pinot), Mayer (Pinot), Balnaves (Cabernet), Stanton & Killeen (Fortifieds), Morris (Fortifieds). Most of what I buy isn't super expensive. I'm not sure I've ever paid more than $100 for anything Australian. Mostly I'm under $50 a bottle. Often well under. If you want stuff with a bit of age, that might be a bit different though (and harder to find at retail).

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Re: Heading to Australia

#7 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » June 5th, 2019, 8:30 am

Demian,

Good advice here. For Australia i would especially point you to Kent's list. These more "cultish" wines are rarely brought into the US. Wendouree should probably be top of that list. One to add which i think is no loner brought in is Rockford Basket Press. There's a few on Paul's list that don't make it here too.

Much of the other great Aussie stuff is imported and often sells for less in the US than Australia.

The other direction is to just ask for really small interesting producers at a great wine shop.

K and L does a great job imported much of the best New Zealand stuff. You can get a lot of the great producers here and again for not much of a premium, or a discount. That said the focus tedns to be Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. In NZ, why not get some of the wines not brought in, especially the Bordeaux blends, dessert wines, and aromatics (Gewurz, Riesling, Pinot Gris).

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Re: Heading to Australia

#8 Post by Demian Saenz » June 5th, 2019, 11:50 am

Thank you everyone for your replies. We fly back to the states from Sydney so we’ll find a great shop there for our purchases. In addition, we’re skipping Melbourne and doing 3 nights in Fiji.

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Re: Heading to Australia

#9 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » June 5th, 2019, 12:26 pm

Hopefully some locals weigh in for you, but in the city itself, one of these three will work:
Kent Street Cellars
The Oak Barrel
Australian Wine Center

You won't be paying the cheapest prices, but there will be some wines you won't find in the US. Just looking at Kent Street Cellars, I see some of the following which are as rare as hen's teeth in the US (i do see Mount Mary at retail here):
Wendouree Shiraz $200
Henschke Hill of Roses $400
Mount Mary Quintet $135
Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier $110
Lakes Folly Cabernets $95
Bindi Kaye Pinot Noir $95

and more.

Or the Oak Barrel might be better for some nerdy up and coming stuff.

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Re: Heading to Australia

#10 Post by Kent Comley » June 5th, 2019, 2:43 pm

I would suggest Five Ways Cellars in Paddington https://fivewaycellars.com.au/ . Close to the city. Make an afternoon/evening of it and have a beer or two at the Royal Hotel with the locals amongst the terraced houses and retreat to a restaurant later on. Best cellars also offers a good selection with excellent advice. http://www.bestcellars.com.au/
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Re: Heading to Australia

#11 Post by cteague » June 5th, 2019, 8:36 pm

Some great suggestions here. I'll throw Standish Wine Co into the mix too, rare to see in the US & amongst the best coming out of the Barossa.
c h r i s

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Re: Heading to Australia

#12 Post by Chris L. » June 6th, 2019, 3:08 am

As others have mentioned, You could go to Oak Barrel, Annandale Cellars, Five Way Cellars, Kent St Cellars, etc depending on where you are located.

Even Dan Murphy’s - the closest to a Total Wine - will likely have some highly regarded (and not widely distributed outside of Australia) wines like Wendouree, Lakes Folly Cabernet, Felton Road Pinot noir, etc. their Cellar Release options also generally provide good value for money for a varietal/regional snapshot.

Lots of good wine bars and restaurants like 10 William St in Paddington to Firefly in Cremorne (which has a surprisingly large Pinot list), and dozens of other places in between.

If it were me, I would checkout Native Drops in Bondi to browse current trends or reach out to the crew at Different Drop or DRNKS (e-commerce) and leverage their expertise if you want to find out more about up and comers.
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Re: Heading to Australia

#13 Post by J a y H a c k » June 6th, 2019, 4:31 am

Wendouree. Period. End of conversation. If you can find it (unlikely but possible), buy every bottle you can and bring it back. If you decide you do not want it, we can discuss the fee I will pay you over and above cost for your trouble in bringing it to me.
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Re: Heading to Australia

#14 Post by Kent Comley » June 6th, 2019, 2:28 pm

There's a fair bit of Wendouree, much of it with age at Dan Murphys. You could have it delivered to your hotel.
https://www.danmurphys.com.au/search?se ... =wendouree
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Re: Heading to Australia

#15 Post by MOrsino » June 6th, 2019, 5:13 pm

Surprised nobody mentioned Rockford (Basket Press and Rifle Range). Top drop no longer available in the US market...

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Re: Heading to Australia

#16 Post by Kevin Kitagawa » June 7th, 2019, 10:04 am

I doubt you can find Wendouree at Dan Murphy's (Its all sold out and anything they had was likely via auction).

Oak Barrel in Sydney will sometimes have some...inflated prices but given you will have a hard time find any, it is probably worth it.
Vintage Blue on Kent Street in Sydney has had Wendouree in the past..I don't know about now.
Wine House in Melbourne (which is a great all around store anyways) has some for just over Aussie Retail and with the weak AUD, it'll be an absolute steal..

I would also strongly recommend trying to meet up for a wine night when in Sydney..the crew there is fantastic and will likely bring some harder to find stuff for you to try. They might even have some older wendouree they might be willing to part with..

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Re: Heading to Australia

#17 Post by brodie thomson » June 7th, 2019, 1:34 pm

Demian Saenz wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 3:36 pm
brodie thomson wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 1:51 pm
Demian Saenz wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 11:30 am
Heading to Sydney, Auckland, and Melbourne at the beginning of July. Any wine that’s only sold in AU or NZ that’s worth drinking or bringing back home?

No plans to visit wineries but plenty of wine stores.
It would be helpful if you told us what kinds of wines you like / what styles you are looking for? There are literally hundreds of wineries in both countries that aren't available in the USA. Your query is very broad brush. Also what price range are you interested in?

In Melbourne: Prince Wine Store, Winehouse (some nice stuff but more expensive), Cloudwine (smaller but interesting selection)
In Auckland: Caros, Wine Direct, Glengarry (Victoria Park) - all three will have a good range
I like almost everything except pinotage but that’s South Africa. Price range is all the way up to Grange Bin 95 but we will most likely buy wines in the $20 to $200 range. Drinking more Napa cabs, Pinot, and Bordeaux these days but open to anything.

Thank you for the recommendations.
For a NZ bdx blend, I would suggest you try the 2013 Puriri Hills Harmonie du Soir or the 2013 Puriri Hills Pope. Merlot dominant made in the style of a Pommerol. A passion project by the owner Judy Fowler and the 2013 vintage has recently been released. Not cheap but very good wines. 2013 was a stellar vintage for Puriri Hills. For a more Cab dominant blend (think Paulliac) the Stonyridge Larose from Waiheke Island is very good (but also expensive).

NZ's most sought after and hard to get Pinot and Chardonnay come from Bell Hill in Waipara region of North Canterbury. Other North Canterbury wineries worth looking at include; Greystone, Black Estate & Pegasus Bay.

If you are flying from NZ to Aust then be aware that you can only bring 3 bottles per person into Australia.

Brodie

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Re: Heading to Australia

#18 Post by Chris L. » June 7th, 2019, 2:45 pm

Kevin Kitagawa wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 10:04 am
I doubt you can find Wendouree at Dan Murphy's (Its all sold out and anything they had was likely via auction).
FWIW I stopped at DM in Willoughby on the way home from work to just get some cheap Pinot and they had ~dozen bottles of Wendouree. Did not pay attention to vintages etc.
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Re: Heading to Australia

#19 Post by Paul Fountain » June 7th, 2019, 5:38 pm

Chris L. wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 2:45 pm
Kevin Kitagawa wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 10:04 am
I doubt you can find Wendouree at Dan Murphy's (Its all sold out and anything they had was likely via auction).
FWIW I stopped at DM in Willoughby on the way home from work to just get some cheap Pinot and they had ~dozen bottles of Wendouree. Did not pay attention to vintages etc.
These days Dan's does seem to be able to get a little of the Wendouree. You'll pay about 3 times the price you would if you are on the Wendouree mailing list.

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Re: Heading to Australia

#20 Post by Demian Saenz » June 7th, 2019, 7:00 pm

Kent Comley wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 2:43 pm
I would suggest Five Ways Cellars in Paddington https://fivewaycellars.com.au/ . Close to the city. Make an afternoon/evening of it and have a beer or two at the Royal Hotel with the locals amongst the terraced houses and retreat to a restaurant later on. Best cellars also offers a good selection with excellent advice. http://www.bestcellars.com.au/
Thank you Kent. Our hotel in Sydney is only 4km away from Five Way Cellars, and their online inventory has some of the producers you mentioned.

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Re: Heading to Australia

#21 Post by Randy Bowman » June 7th, 2019, 7:26 pm

Are NZ alcoholic beverage taxes as high as Australia's? We've been invited down several times by winery owners that visit us. They have warned us of the Australian taxes on alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, suggesting we bring our own smokes and as many bottles of Grange as we can to flip them there and pay for the trip.
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Re: Heading to Australia

#22 Post by brodie thomson » June 7th, 2019, 7:34 pm

Randy Bowman wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 7:26 pm
Are NZ alcoholic beverage taxes as high as Australia's? We've been invited down several times by winery owners that visit us. They have warned us of the Australian taxes on alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, suggesting we bring our own smokes and as many bottles of Grange as we can to flip them there and pay for the trip.
Hi Randy, no the NZ taxes are much lower in Aust. Aust has about 2.5x the taxes on wine that NZ does. We can buy wines imported wine much cheaper in NZ than Aust.

In NZ there is a 15% GST and then a $2.90 per litre excise duty. Australia it is over 40%, Aussies have a WET (Wine Equalization tax) at 29% before sale taxes etc

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Re: Heading to Australia

#23 Post by Randy Bowman » June 7th, 2019, 7:36 pm

Ouch. That's like CA's 65% tobacco tax.
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Re: Heading to Australia

#24 Post by MOrsino » June 8th, 2019, 6:13 am

Randy Bowman wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 7:36 pm
Ouch. That's like CA's 65% tobacco tax.
Yeah Randy - that sucks for CA tobacco, but when you have unicorns (as you do), its a deal at almost any price! [dance-clap.gif]

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Re: Heading to Australia

#25 Post by Dave English » June 9th, 2019, 6:14 am

Kevin Kitagawa wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 10:04 am
I doubt you can find Wendouree at Dan Murphy's (Its all sold out and anything they had was likely via auction).

Oak Barrel in Sydney will sometimes have some...inflated prices but given you will have a hard time find any, it is probably worth it.
Vintage Blue on Kent Street in Sydney has had Wendouree in the past..I don't know about now.
Wine House in Melbourne (which is a great all around store anyways) has some for just over Aussie Retail and with the weak AUD, it'll be an absolute steal..

I would also strongly recommend trying to meet up for a wine night when in Sydney..the crew there is fantastic and will likely bring some harder to find stuff for you to try. They might even have some older wendouree they might be willing to part with..
This. If you want to meet up in Sydney I can give you some Wendouree for cost price ($50-70AUD) and Rockford Basket Press ($70)...and Sami Odi...and Noon...and Wild Duck Creek...etc... screw paying Dan Murphy's prices. I guess you will be limited by how much you can take back? (you should find out) and then make a decision of what you want.

You should get some Rockford Sparkling Shiraz which is pretty unique.

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Re: Heading to Australia

#26 Post by Demian Saenz » June 10th, 2019, 8:42 pm

Dave English wrote:
June 9th, 2019, 6:14 am
Kevin Kitagawa wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 10:04 am
I doubt you can find Wendouree at Dan Murphy's (Its all sold out and anything they had was likely via auction).

Oak Barrel in Sydney will sometimes have some...inflated prices but given you will have a hard time find any, it is probably worth it.
Vintage Blue on Kent Street in Sydney has had Wendouree in the past..I don't know about now.
Wine House in Melbourne (which is a great all around store anyways) has some for just over Aussie Retail and with the weak AUD, it'll be an absolute steal..

I would also strongly recommend trying to meet up for a wine night when in Sydney..the crew there is fantastic and will likely bring some harder to find stuff for you to try. They might even have some older wendouree they might be willing to part with..
This. If you want to meet up in Sydney I can give you some Wendouree for cost price ($50-70AUD) and Rockford Basket Press ($70)...and Sami Odi...and Noon...and Wild Duck Creek...etc... screw paying Dan Murphy's prices. I guess you will be limited by how much you can take back? (you should find out) and then make a decision of what you want.

You should get some Rockford Sparkling Shiraz which is pretty unique.
Hi Dave,
Based on my research and previous experience, I should be able to bring back at least 2 cases of wine or 24 bottles, my wife travelled to AU for work some years ago and she brought back a case of wine without issue. And if you're willing to sell some of your Wendouree, I'm interested. PM a list, and let me know if there is anything I can bring you from the states. Thanks

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Re: Heading to Australia

#27 Post by Kevin Kitagawa » June 11th, 2019, 12:33 am

Demian,

Definitely try meeting up with the crew there for an offline! Great bunch of people and a great opportunity to try a bunch of AU stuff you will not normally see in the US.

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Re: Heading to Australia

#28 Post by Peter Petersen » June 11th, 2019, 9:05 am

Hopefully on topic. I’m going to Brisbane next and would love some advice as well.

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Re: Heading to Australia

#29 Post by Matt M . » June 24th, 2019, 12:37 pm

+1 on Giaconda and Bass Philips.

Really enjoyed the Mayer Granite Pinot last time i was in australia.
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Re: Heading to Australia

#30 Post by Kent Comley » June 24th, 2019, 2:29 pm

Peter, I haven't spent much time in Brisbane in recent years but Cru Wine Bar and Cellar was always good. Wine Emporium worth checking out too.
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Re: Heading to Australia

#31 Post by Michel Linden » June 25th, 2019, 3:58 pm

I live in Brisbane
Cru has a wonderful selection of import and local wines
with good provenance

Longtime Thai is crackingly good food

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Re: Heading to Australia

#32 Post by Demian Saenz » July 16th, 2019, 3:41 pm

24 total bottles from the trip.
317FF304-C812-4E0E-9FA0-BC2076F4B328.jpeg

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Re: Heading to Australia

#33 Post by Kent Comley » July 16th, 2019, 4:32 pm

Nicely done Damian. Some very nice scores. Interested in your thoughts on the wines when you crack them.
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Re: Heading to Australia

#34 Post by Dave English » July 16th, 2019, 9:30 pm

I seriously can't believe they all got back in one piece, buy yourself a Lottery ticket!! :-)

We did catch up for dinner while Demian was here and a good night was had by all, I didn't take any photos...

Pierre Peters BdB
1998 Seppelt Drumborg Riesling
1998 Mt Pleasant Lovedale Semillon
2016 Giaconda Chardonnay
2006 Craiglee Shiraz
2008 Juniper Cab Sav
2005 Lakes Folly
2018 Tyrrells Old Patch Shiraz
1991 Wynns Centenary CabShiraz
2018 Rockford Black Sparkling Shiraz

Plus a few more back at Winstons place afterwards...

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Re: Heading to Australia

#35 Post by Kent Comley » July 16th, 2019, 10:29 pm

Nicely done Dave. Some favourites there. I hope that the Wynns Centenary showed well.
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Re: Heading to Australia

#36 Post by James Billy » July 17th, 2019, 12:41 am

Dave English wrote:
July 16th, 2019, 9:30 pm
I seriously can't believe they all got back in one piece, buy yourself a Lottery ticket!! :-)

We did catch up for dinner while Demian was here and a good night was had by all, I didn't take any photos...

Pierre Peters BdB
1998 Seppelt Drumborg Riesling
1998 Mt Pleasant Lovedale Semillon
2016 Giaconda Chardonnay
2006 Craiglee Shiraz
2008 Juniper Cab Sav
2005 Lakes Folly
2018 Tyrrells Old Patch Shiraz
1991 Wynns Centenary CabShiraz
2018 Rockford Black Sparkling Shiraz

Plus a few more back at Winstons place afterwards...
Wow. That's rockstar treatment!

I'm on the plane to Sydney as I type flirtysmile

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Re: Heading to Australia

#37 Post by James Billy » July 17th, 2019, 12:42 am

Demian Saenz wrote:
July 16th, 2019, 3:41 pm
24 total bottles from the trip.

317FF304-C812-4E0E-9FA0-BC2076F4B328.jpeg
Great wines. What are the wines with the green capsules on the right, at the back?

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Re: Heading to Australia

#38 Post by Demian Saenz » July 17th, 2019, 1:15 am

Dave English wrote:
July 16th, 2019, 9:30 pm
I seriously can't believe they all got back in one piece, buy yourself a Lottery ticket!! :-)

We did catch up for dinner while Demian was here and a good night was had by all, I didn't take any photos...

Pierre Peters BdB
1998 Seppelt Drumborg Riesling
1998 Mt Pleasant Lovedale Semillon
2016 Giaconda Chardonnay
2006 Craiglee Shiraz
2008 Juniper Cab Sav
2005 Lakes Folly
2018 Tyrrells Old Patch Shiraz
1991 Wynns Centenary CabShiraz
2018 Rockford Black Sparkling Shiraz

Plus a few more back at Winstons place afterwards...
It was an amazing lineup of wines, and Dave and the guys were very generous to include myself and my family. They have a great wine dinner going, it makes me want to move to Sydney. 😃

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Re: Heading to Australia

#39 Post by Demian Saenz » July 17th, 2019, 1:27 am

James Billy wrote:
July 17th, 2019, 12:42 am
Demian Saenz wrote:
July 16th, 2019, 3:41 pm
24 total bottles from the trip.

317FF304-C812-4E0E-9FA0-BC2076F4B328.jpeg
Great wines. What are the wines with the green capsules on the right, at the back?
The 1st green capsule is a 2016 Clonakilla Syrah, I was trying to buy the Clonakilla Shiraz Viogner but the wine store was out of stock.

The green capsule in the back is a Sami Odi.

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Re: Heading to Australia

#40 Post by James Billy » July 17th, 2019, 3:06 am

Thanks. Don't Clonakilla white wines have green capsules not red wines?
Last edited by James Billy on July 17th, 2019, 3:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Heading to Australia

#41 Post by Dave English » July 17th, 2019, 3:06 am

Kent Comley wrote:
July 16th, 2019, 10:29 pm
Nicely done Dave. Some favourites there. I hope that the Wynns Centenary showed well.
Yep was a very good bottle. It's always very good, or faulty somehow with this wine - even a couple of Francophiles were giving it a wrap [cheers.gif]

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Re: Heading to Australia

#42 Post by Demian Saenz » July 17th, 2019, 3:21 am

James Billy wrote:
July 17th, 2019, 3:06 am
Thanks. Don't Clonakilla white wines have green capsules not red wines?
It’s the light in the picture making them look green. Both bottles have black capsules.

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