Wine Blogging Wednesday #76: Going for Ringland’s Shiraz & Cab from Barossa

In this month’s edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, #76, host  Adam Japko aka Wine Zag prompts us to revisit the Barossa legendary wine region of Australia, located just north of the port city of Adelaide in the underbelly of the continent. In his prompt, he says Australia is the “latest comeback kid” –and that an appreciation of Oz wines has boomeranged.

Lettie Teague from WSJ also wrote recently on the “Rise and Fall of AUS wine.” On March 8, 2012, in her post she argues that wine from Australia has yet to boomerang and says that sales are still down.

“Entire import companies like Dan Philips’ Grateful Palate have disappeared,” writes Lettie Teague. “Grateful Palate went into receivership about two years ago and Philips himself seems to have vanished.” Continue reading

Teusner “The Riebke” Ebenezer Shiraz 2004 & filet mignon: essentially excellent

Bacon wrapped filet & Teusner “The Riebke” Ebenezer Shiraz 2004

Give a little whistle (bacon!) Try a little bacon (whistle!)

OK, yes, maybe I’m a little bacon crazy. A little.

But who could blame me after being at the Grateful Palate warehouse sale a few weeks ago for almost three hours smelling the stuff cooking? And of course, sampling.

I came home with a huge need for bacon. I was tempted to fry some up right then and there, with some eggs maybe, for a late lunch.

Instead, I went to the grocery store where I scored two beautiful filet mignons–on clearance at 30% off! Just in case, I had the butcher check them over, and he approved, so with a warm loaf of french bread under my arms and a bag of russets, I headed home to wrap my filet in two thick slabs of clove and garlic bacon; the Big Monkey dribbled gorgonzola on his when it came off the grill. With baked potatoes and broccoli on the menu, the remaining dilemna was which wine to pour? After all, I had two cases of the good stuff, fresh from the warehouse!

The Big Monkey loves those cab/shiraz blends, and I looked long and hard at the ones I bought. And I can’t wait to try the Stray Dog GSM, but I wondered if it would have enough pow for the filet and bacon. So what I opened was the Teusner Riebke Ebenezer Shiraz–if anything could stand up to that steak and bacon I figured it would be an Eb Shiraz–and I was NOT disappointed. Yummy!  This wine typically retails around $20, and I picked up two bottles for $10 each. I should have bought more!

Teusner "The Riebke" Ebenezer Shiraz

Teusner’s “The Riebke” Ebenezer Shiraz

The color is gorgeous dark purple, and the nose is filled with lucious black fruit–cherry and plum, especially. It had good structure, and surprisingly low alcohol at 14%, which for us made it more balanced than some of the other shiraz we’ve enjoyed. There wasn’t a whole lot more going on other than that lovely perfectly ripe fruit (not jammy, not over-ripe but perfect!) and maybe a little dark chocolate–a bit of the edge of super dark chocolate, a bit of that richness.

We didn’t care really for the particulars in the moment–it was such a pleasurable, feel good, taste good wine with a wonderful rich meal.

Hmmn…but could we have gotten more out of it if we hadn’t enjoyed it so quickly? We opened it not long before we ate; maybe with a little more air time, more would have been revealed. Let’s see if I can make that happen with bottle number 2! (where might I hide it??)

The only disappointment? By August 2008, according to Michael Pollard, Grateful Palate dropped Teusner from their roster of wines (or was dropped, who knows). What a huge disappointment! I do know I want to know more and have more of winemaker Kym Teusner!

Now I wonder if I head over to the Grateful Palate’s retail store on Del Norte in Oxnard if I could pick up some more????

Grateful Palate Warehouse Sale: thanks for 2 great cases!

Art Predator Scores 2 Cases at Grateful Palate Warehouse Sale!

Art Predator Carries out 2 Boxes of Wine!

Art Predator Carries out 2 Boxes of Wine!

Yes, that’s me there, carrying out two cases of wine, 4 pounds of bacon, and two jars of jam that I scored at the Grateful Palate Warehouse sale today! Even though many of the prices were higher this fall than they were in the spring (from 10-20% higher…which I guess isn’t too bad considering the fate of the US dollar when compared to the Australian).

What did I get, you ask? Which wines will I be drooling over and writing about this fall and winter?

3 Sparking reds! Hmmn,  should be 4–somehow I missed out on a bottle of the $8 Paringa, but my friend Kathy got some, I know; hopefully she’ll share! I did get one bottle of Trevor Jones ($14), and passed on the magical Majella ($25)  we enjoyed last spring in favor of something very unusual and impossible to buy anywhere else in the US–2 bottles of “The Doctor” sparkling shiraz by The Willows for $23. After GP imported it here, they found out they couldn’t sell it because of the word Doctor on the label. Can you say “duck”? We’ll have one of these at Thanksiving, for sure!

Since I’ve been on a mourverde kick since I tasted the 2002 RBJ Mataro last summer, and since I love the 2001 mourverdre/grenache theologicum, I picked up a Veritas 1998 shiraz/mourverdre, another RBJ Theologicum mourverdre/grenache (I know, another one–but I like it!), and a 2000 Hutton-Vale grenache/mourverdre. There was a bottle of a GSM somewhere in the warehouse that I meant to pick up, but I lost track of it in all of the excitement. Or maybe someone picked it up before I made it back over there with my cart!

Then there’s my collection of Barossa Valley shiraz–2 of the wonderful Chris Ringland 2006 Ebenezer shiraz which is about all gone from the stores and the warehouse ($18), a Barossa Scholar shiraz (project of a local school), not to forget the  $9.99: Digger’s Bluff Stray Dog 05 GSM (made by the son of the granddaddy of Australian wine I hear) plus a Lens & Cooter 2003 Victor shiraz, and 2 cab/shiraz blends for the Big Monkey–McLean’s Farm 2002, and 2 Old Plains 2003 cab/shiraz.

Then there’s the oddball: Tscharke Montpulciano 2006 which I just had to give a try ($17)–just because I didn’t like the tempranillo doesn’t mean I won’t like something else!

The most expensive wine of the day, and possibly the most exciting, is a 1998 Brothers in Arms shiraz. I think I will save that for a rack of lamb or duck. I found it a couple places on-line for $75; I took it home for $25!

Since I love my port, I picked up a bottle of tawny Jonesy for 20% off retail, and a bottle of the Barossa class port 2000 which blew my socks off last summer. A split of that went for $4.99 last spring but was up to $7.99 this fall. Ouch! I definitely liked things better when the dollar was stronger.

Who needs jewelry for Christmas? Wine’s just fine!

And a partidge in a pear tree!

Grateful Palate Warehouse Sale 11/22: stock up on Australian wines!

A Grateful Palate

Slurp up specials on wine, bacon, and other culinary delights perfect for holiday gifts and meals at the Grateful Palate Warehouse Sale in Oxnard this Saturday November 22!


And yes, the sale is IN the warehouse–so once you get off the 101 freeway between Camarillo and Oxnard and head toward the ocean on Del Norte Blvd, drive around from the front office at 701 Del Norte Blvd Ste 205 to the back where there’s plenty of parking and a large loading dock door open for you to stroll on through first thing Saturday morning.

The sale starts at 9am–get there early for the best deals. You can bet someone will be cooking up bacon–maybe even Dan Philips himself! R Wines chef Greggory Hill will be there, preparing treats for us to eat while we roam the warehouse collecting cases of wine for ourselves and for friends. Grateful Palate sells coffee too–let’s hope a pot is brewing and real half and half to go in it!

In addition to wine, coffee, and bacon, you’ll find super high end soy sauce, real maple syrup, distinctive olive oils, and more.

The postcard I received in the mail promises up to 75% off on select stock. If past sales are any guide, there will be some wonderful wines at amazing prices. For example, I’ve been astounded by a 2001 RBJ Theologicum for $9.99 (that’s a Chris Ringland wine which blends granache and mataro). I will be picking up a bottle or two of Chris Ringland’s Ebenezer shiraz for sure and probably some Luchador as well. MMMnnn and maybe I’ll find an RBJ Mataro and and and…

As many people know, Grateful Palate recently cut back on the number of wines they import and the wineries they represent here in the states (here is Micheal Pollard’s list of what’s in and out). I imagine at this warehouse sale there will be a number of bin ends and previous vintages of these wines as well as wines they will continue to carry marked way way down from the $50-100 range to around $20-25. Pollard also has commented that Australian wines have been over valued. Watch also for “damaged” bottles–last time I picked up a couple of bottles of Majella shiraz for $10.

While the wine most people think of when it comes to Australia is shiraz, think sparkling shiraz for holiday gatherings. It’s festive, fun, and a sure conversation starter. The warehouse sale will probably offer Paringa sparkling red for under $10, as well as Trevor Jones and Majella for under $20.

The Grateful Palate Australian wine that I always have around is actually a port wine–Jonesy port (which Parker scored in the low 90s) which I can buy from Ventura Wine Company on Telephone near Market but will probably be a dollar or two cheaper at the sale. While the Jonesy is great as an every day port, I fell in love with Old Codger and another one with horses on it…I will be on the lookout for some unusual ports and dessert wines too to warm up cold winter nights and liven up the end of holiday meals.

In case you didn’t know, R Winery makes American wines as well–be sure to check out Ringland’s Green Lion cab if just to look at the bottle art. I can’t tell you how good it is because mine is still in the cellar at my mom’s house on the hill, so I’ll be able to keep it longer. If it was here, I would have drank it already!

Grateful Palate Warehouse Sale 6/7/08

The Grateful Palate sale Sat. 6/7/08: GO

Yes you should, you should go to the Grateful Palate Warehouse Sale Saturday June 7 from 9am-5pm! (ok within reason–if you live within 100 miles of the warehouse in Oxnard CA and the weather should be fabulous so stop there on the way to the beach in Ventucky or your estate in Montecito or the Santa Barbara Riviera!)

I have participated in the previous 2 Grateful Palate warehouse extravaganzas and I have only one regret–that I didn’t commit to spending more MOOLAH!.

That’s right, you should indeed spend all of that Bush rebate here, at the Grateful Palate warehouse sale Continue reading