What goes on tour…

It’s been hard work for me recently, real hard work!  I’m just back from a conference and it was tough.  All serious business indeed!  And staying in Broadbeach on The Gold Coast of Queensland really only gives you two limited choices of location, either right on the beach in a 22nd floor apartment, or at the Casino.  Not much choice for a fun-loving bloke like me, but my family joined me for a few days after the conference so I went with the apartment.

It’s hard enough enduring all those speakers, for 10 hours straight, trying to kick your brain into gear when that tiny bit of relevant info gets dropped in from time to time.  But what is even harder is having to entertain and be entertained, sometimes until the wee hours of the morning, just to do it all again the next day for 4 days straight!  It’s rough, but it just has to be done!

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Had a great feed one of the nights at Koi restaurant in the busy Broadbeach strip and indulged in the oven roasted lamb rump.  An interesting thing about this restaurant was that we were eating off a glass table that contained a whole lot of quality wine under the glass, and they didn’t look opened at all.  Fascinating for a wine buff like me, and I strained to try and read around the labels through the glass.

20130904_211530I had to pick a good red wine to go with the lamb rump so I ordered a 2009 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, a multi-region blend from some of the best vineyards in South Australia.  Some of the grapes that go into the Bin 389 come from the same vineyards as the Penfolds Grange, the Bin 389’s famous Shiraz driven big-brother.  Thankfully, the Bin 389 is a fraction of the price of the Grange but it can still be a relatively expensive wine costing about $90 at the restaurant.  This wine is available all over the world.

The Bin 389 can age for decades.  I had a spectacular bottle from 1971 with Stu back in 2004, and I’ve got a bottle of 1972 vintage in my cellar screaming out to me.  So it was going to be interesting having a relatively young Bin 389 with 2009 being its 50th vintage.

On the nose it smelt extremely inviting with a mix of berries and some spice from the 49% Shiraz that made it into the blend in this vintage.  And in the mouth it was extremely juicy and flavoursome and it lingered for some time afterwards.  There was definitely a hint, no more like a light punch, of American oak but it was finely balanced with plum and blackberry fruits and the strong tannins actually sat really well with the background of vanilla.  A great wine that would last a long long time.  And with the oven roasted lamb rump… perfect!

???????????????????????????????There’s a lot of Kiwis in Broadbeach so to honor them I thought we should enjoy a NZ Sauvignon Blanc on the beach; we had perfectly warm and sunny days.  I picked up a bottle of 2012 Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough for $10 (half price because I spent over $30).  To be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much at all, which was a good thing because this little Kiwi was a really pleasant surprise and matched its far more expensive neighbours.  The intensity of the aromas on the nose was only matched by the flavours in the mouth… lots of gooseberry and melon with a great backdrop of capsicum.  Very morish and a great distraction from a grueling conference.

???????????????????????????????To “celebrate” the arrival of my wife and kids, and a great excuse, I cracked open a bottle of Piper, one of my wife’s favourite non-vintage French Champagnes.  Piper is always fairly consistent and rarely fails to please, as was the case with this bottle.  There was lemon and apple with a buttery and nutty finish.  I can see why the winemaker, Regis Camus, has been awarded best sparkling winemaker in the world for 7 years running.  Piper-Heidsieck NV Brut Champagne always goes down well and is pretty good value for money when it comes to proper non-vintage Champagne.  There is, of course, more complex vintage champagne out there but you’ll pay far more for it.

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A couple of nights later we decided to get an Australian non-vintage sparkling white also known for its consistency, the Jansz NV Premium Cuvee from Tasmania, made from Chardonnay and Pinot.  As soon as the kids went down we brought out a few cheeses and pâté to have with it, and the photo above captures the rushed chaos before finally getting to sit down and relax with this enjoyable bubbly (kids toothbrush, a folded pair of jeans and torn up TV guide we just pushed to the side in haste).  This sparkling had obvious honeysuckle and citrus flavours with a little strawberry and buttery finish.  It was actually delicious with the cheese and pâté, and to be honest, it was as good as the Piper that cost twice as much.  The fact that the kids were sound asleep would have helped in our enjoyment!

???????????????????????????????After being away for over a week I’d had enough wine so kicked back on the last evening with a couple of beers from the Balmain Brewing Company in Sydney, that being their Original Pale Ale.  The weather was great so it was the perfect beverage to enjoy on the sunny balcony, with its citrus and spice sitting atop a decent array of hops and malts.

It was a tough week but I just managed to struggle through…

Author: Conrad

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86 comments

  1. that sounds rough for sure–am crying in my beer here for you 😉 haha, it is tough to push and be away from family as they will miss you. Glad they could visit! Thanks for sharing your good finds 🙂

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  2. Your 4 days sounded a lot more luxurious….what with the beach and wine, and beer…..but I had a good wine sampling this weekend too. Although, I hadn’t showered for two days while camping, we tried out three different wineries and one brewery before going home 🙂 fun times!

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    • In all seriousness though the conference was pretty full-on but where I stayed was only a 5 minute walk away and we got the odd hour or so break so I did get to duck back a few times and just chill on the balcony. The 4 days afterwards when the family came up was when I really got to enjoy it all. Cheers!

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  3. Bonjour-Hi, fellow Conrad! 🙂 Merci – thanx for dropping by my posts… Australian wines are really appreciated, even here in France, wine country – by definition and by excellence… 🙂 We’ve been genuine brut champagne and red Bordeaux wine oriented for about 2 decades… 🙂
    My very best, good luck and à ta santé=to your health=cheers! 🙂 Mélanie

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  4. Haha, I usually have trouble just staying awake when there’s speaker after speaker like that… but on to the more important things, the wine… oh dear, oh dear, oh dear… I’m returning to Aus this month after almost 2 yrs living in France… oh dear, oh dear… I’m scared 😦

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  5. I really enjoyed this. What a great write-up!
    I agree it would be hard to keep entertaining into the wee hours. I really couldn’t do it. You’re clearly good at what you do! – & it’s awesome how busy you are.

    (I especially like the glass and wine bottle in the sand – lovely creative touch :))

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  6. As I found your posts and liked the things you write, you returned the favor by following me. I’m going to start following you after I finish this little comment to show my gratitude.
    I am so happy to see this email that you began following me at one in the morning (insomnia).
    Thank you friend…
    By the way I love your writing and the concept of journeying after a good glass of wine ( searching gold). Believe me I am the lover of a good glass or two of red wine…

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  7. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it. Any opening’s for zealous employee’s or wine enthusiasts?! We’ll send our resume right over. LOL
    Loved the post, more especially the brilliant & descriptive way you described the flavors of the wine. Could almost taste it. Sharing this now, on FB & Twitter~ BTW thx for stopping by our blog & following, Obi Wan Kenobi of Wine!

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  8. thanks for liking my blog entry. i recently read both sideways and vertical, which reminded me i need to drink more wine (but not merlot–heaven forfend!). thank god christ is endowed with more blood than an extraterrestrial space-tick.

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  9. I had to stop and go to the fridge for a glass of wine half way through that, my mouth was watering so much. It all sounded so very good.
    Now, should ever need anybody to help out in your gruelling and awful quest for that perfect glass I just want you to know I will step up to the plate. That’s just the kind of generous and giving person I am. It’s ok, you don’t have to thank me.

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  10. “It’s rough, but it just has to be done!” the man says, but SOMEBODY’S got to do it. And it sounds like you did. It also sounds like the wines were a lot more entertaining to you than the magnificent conference you attended.

    As an afterthought, I’m happy you stopped by my f-stop fantasy and Liked my Halloween post. That was a fun discovery as I was out looking for interesting things to photograph.

    Peace and have a nice day.

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