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

Barossa or Queensland Australia? If it’s wine, I want to taste it!

Have you tried any wine from Queensland Australia? Did you even know there were almost 200 wineries there?

I’ve been on pins and needles waiting to see whether I am one of 10 bloggers selected to go to Queensland Australia for a 5 day blogging adventure with ProBlogger Darren Rowse. In my application I said:

I will enthusiastically use my social media “Klout” to share stories about rainforest and Great Barrier Reef biodiversity, artists and poets like Oodgeroo Noonuccal, efforts to be green, and cutting-edge cuisine. Discovering Queensland’s growing wine industry and opportunities for hiking, camping, and other family friendly adventures are also topics of great excitement to me. Continue reading

R Winery’s Luchador Puts Up a Fight!

Art Predator hit 21! That’s 21,001 hits as of 8/10/08! I can drink now! Whoo-hoo! Good thing I’m legal since I consumed quite a bit of wine, like the Luchador below, tonight at the Animal Fair Party!

My favorite of course was an Aussie shiraz–R Winery’s Luchador Shiraz 2006! Pictured is “El Jefe;” we drank “Gigante”–there’s 4 different Luchadors to choose from!

No surprise this came from Grateful Palate Imports and was PERFECT for the tritip BBQ, roasted corn, chili beans! Luchador shiraz  can stand up to ANYTHING you might throw at it since it has so much flavor, liveliness, PERSONALITY!

We were battling for the bottle, I admit! At 15.5% alcohol, it’s a tad hot (and I didn’t get a chance to cool it a bit before we drank it), but remarkably well-balanced (at least that’s what several people remarked!)

And what a conversation starter! Seemed like everybody there had at least a taste as we shared glasses and conversation amongst good friends (like, wow, this is really good! for example…). You can find it for about $15, which is a great price for a wine with this much pizzazz. But hey, it’s a Chris Ringland wine–what else would you expect?? Continue reading

RBJ Theologicum 2000: almost as good as the 2001!

Day 3: Hot Springs Connoisseur

Day 3: Keough’s Hot Springs, 7 miles south of Bishop just off Highway 395, Eastern Sierra, California

Someone recently tried to convince me that I am a wine connoisseur. No—not yet anyway! A connoisseur to me means someone experienced, knowledgeable, an expert of sorts. I would admit to being a connoisseur of life, of exceptional places, and a few others things..but not yet wine.

Hot springs of the American west? Of that I am a connoisseur. I have tasted, experienced, evaluated, judged, tested the waters, and the soul of hot springs all over the western US and beyond Continue reading

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!

Chris Ringland’s Ebenezer Shiraz 2006: rich but not a tightwad

Chris Ringland’s Ebenezer Shiraz 2006: rich but not a tightwad

I’ve been told that in Australia, winemaker Chris Ringland is famous like a rock star, something like Wolfgang Puck, Francis Ford Coppola, and Robert Mondavi all rolled up into one.

Now that I’ve had a few of Ringland’s wines which I picked up from the Grateful Palate warehouse sale, I am starting to understand why: they’re rich, juicy, eminently drinkable and enjoyable with or without food, unpretentious, wines you can sink your teeth and heart into. Continue reading