Where did the month of November go? Straight to my hips I’m guessing! Yes, this time of year is both heaven and hell for me. Countless dinners and drinks and the nervous wait for vintage 2015. Here’s a quick wrap up of some of the last months highlights.
Family time before the madness
The silly season is a ridiculously busy time in the wine industry, so I managed to squeeze in a couple of days hanging out with my gorgeous kids in the Hunter combining business and pleasure. Just the tonic before the silly season hit and they wondered where there mum had disappeared to.
Beautiful Hunter sunset
Evie checking out the flowering in the vineyard
My little man hanging out in the vineyard
Girls lunch with my darling Evie
A weekend Away
Next up, a weekend away at stunning Killcare with good mates for some fun in the sun. I cooked one of my favourite chicken dishes for the crew on the Saturday night, pomegranate chicken with Lebanese caprese salad, roast potatoes and carrots in cumin and honey. I love a meal that involves ripping meat off a bone with your bare hands. Unfortunately, I was way too busy eating and drinking to get any food porn shots, but this is the cookbook the recipes came from and it comes highly recommended! Comptoir Libanais Cook Book
Some Serious Tasting
Work, work, work and no play. Well let’s face it, my work is quite like play as you can see from this tasting with the Camperdown Cellars Team who visited the hunter for a fine wine immersion. My kind of immersion!
Camperdown Cellars Hunter Shiraz tastign bracket #1
Camperdown Cellars Team
Let the games begin
And …. some more tasting at Ladies Wine Options
What better way to finish a week than a good old night of options with the ladies. The theme was Great Southern Riesling hosted by the lovely Sally Margan and what an unexpected treat. Have to admit I had no prior expectations of this area, but I will definitely be including some of their wines on my ‘to drink list’ in the future. Big thanks should also go to my Dad, who was kind enough to be my designated driver and pick me up from dinner way later than he would’ve liked to have been up. Thanks dad! Line up of wines below, with a particular mention for Castle Rock Estate, which had some very impressive drops. http://www.castlerockestate.com.au/
First Bracket – Castle Rock Estate
Castle Rock Estate is nestled on the eastern slopes of the Porongurup mountain range and is named after a prominent nearby landmark. The vineyard has a cool and elevated northerly aspect, resulting in intensely flavoured wines.
- 2014 Porongurup Riesling** $23 – Silver Qantas WA Wine Show 2014. 96 Points Halliday Top 100 2014 **My pick of the night
- 2013 Skywalk Riesling $20
- 2012 OD Riesling $19
Second Bracket – Judging Bracket
- 2014 Galafrey Riesling $20 Mt Barker I had this as a silver but it was Gold at the Qantas WA Wine Show 2014
- 2014 Harewood Estate Riesling Gold $21 – Denmark Top Gold Trophy at Qantas WA Wine Show 2014
- 2014 West Cape Howe Mt Barker Riesling no medals $19 – Mt Barker Hallidays Top 100 2014 97 Points
Third Bracket (with cheese)
- 2012 West Cape Howe Tempranillo – Frankland/Perth Hills $19
- 2012 Plantaganet Shiraz – Mt Barker $39.99
The 70th Birthday Bash (not mine!)
And on the parties and drinking and eating continued….. Saturday night was a special night as my sister and I threw a belated combined 70th birthday party for my parents and 30 of their closest friends. What a night! So much fun, so many great stories and just a bunch of really old mates enjoying great food, great wine and great friendship. A truly humbling occasion and the highlight, the Imperial of 1986 Hector Limited Release Shiraz, still so very youthful, just like my gorgeous parents.
Educate, Drink, Eat, Taste, Learn, Play, Repeat!
The last week of November is a bit of a blur… but involved lashings of all of the above. At this point a special shout out should go to the amazing team at the Cellar Restaurant who managed to feed me for something like 6 meals in one week. http://the-cellar-restaurant.com.au/ Now you know why November went straight to my hips! Wednesday a presentation and meeting with a potential buyer, Wednesday night dinner for my Coraggio Advisory Board (4 courses and 4 brackets of 4 wines each), Thursday a meeting of my Advisory board at Tulloch, followed by wine appreciation and a winery visit and you guessed it … wine tasting! Then home, sweet home for our street party on Saturday afternoon with our fun neighbours and their families. We’re pretty sure we are the friendliest street in Sydney and luckily for me they all enjoy a few glasses of wine too.
Member’s Christmas Party at Sydney Dance Cafe
Fabulous venue, really awesome vibe and what a crowd. As always, I am genuinely humbled and overwhelmed by how lovely our wine club members are and their unwavering support. Thank you to you all.
Wine Dinner at Ottimo Italian Kitchen in Hunters Hill
What a great suburban restaurant. All proud Italians serving up deliciously authentic Italian fare with thoughtful Tulloch wine matches. The scampi was to die for and the lemon butter Verdelho reduction sauce, ridiculously moreish. Thank you to the chef and owner for my takeaway container of the left over sauce, I had to stop myself putting it on toast the next morning! This place is everything I love about suburban dining in Sydney, it’s really honest and they have a wonderfully loyal local following that makes a wine dinner at a place like this instantly convivial.
Time to Party Tulloch Style
First week of December, which can only mean one thing. It’s time for the Tulloch Christmas Party. A big thanks to the team at Emersons for hosting us for an indulgent 6 course degustation http://www.emersonsrestaurant.com.au/ I managed to only make one staff member cry (don’t ask… I’m blaming the emotional effects of Chardonnay), I didn’t forget to thank anyone in my speech, only one staff member got a bit too tipsy and fell over and I managed to convince my Dad to be the designated driver… again, so I was tucked up in bed by midnight. Pretty good effort if I may say so myself. Big shout out to Mel and The Giant for really interesting wine choices and exercises (matching current vintage Tulloch products with the same varietals from another region). The Tulloch Limited Release 2008 Julia Semillon against the Peter Lehmann 2009 Margaret Semillon was a real battle of the matriarchs. A huge thank you to the amazing team at Tulloch wines, they are all so doggedly dedicated and passionate, I owe them so very much and I am very thankful for each and everyone of them and their individual contributions.
5 days till holidays
Last Tulloch social event for the year …. our local Christmas Drinks at Cellar Door. This meant it was time to get our Christmas on, and I managed to unnerve everyone when I arrived in the Hunter early Monday morning singing Christmas Carols and asking the location of our decorations so I could ‘festivise’ the cellar door. You see I’ve always been of the, less is more philosophy when it involves anything glittery or sparkly, but becoming a parent changed all that and as my oldest is now 4 and REALLY into Christmas, I guess it has sort of rubbed off on me. Super Brad almost had to wrestle the Christmas decorations off me for fear of the cellar door looking like Christmas had thrown up on it. For once, some one was reminding me that less is more. Thank you to all the locals who joined us for Christmas drinks, we are grateful for your ongoing support and we look forward to continuing to put the Hunters best foot forward with you in 2015.
It’s not goodbye, it’s just see you later…
And now the end of my working year draws near and I will leave for 3 weeks holiday with my beautiful family, from whom I have been far too absent too often this year. To my husband: I know when I am away and you can see my social media streams showing copious amounts of eating and drinking in various fantastic establishments, that it doesn’t look like I am in fact working. Thank you for making what I do possible and for being a truly modern man and kid wrangler. To my team at Tulloch, thank you for all your hard work.
And for me, it’s over and out for another year, I’ll see you all in the New Year for more adventures of the eating, drinking and being merry, kind. Merry Christmas to you and your families and wishing you all a safe, happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.
I think I’ll pour myself a glass of chardy and have a lay down! Christina Tulloch xx
PS. Keep an eye out for all the fabulous events and dinners we have planned in 2015 . First out of the blocks will be a Tulloch Dinner at one of my favourite Hunter eateries, County Dining. I hope to see you there!