Each issue Australian Traveller delves into the world of wine – including new reviews, cellar doors, books and tours. By Alissa Jenkins. PALE ALE REVIEWS:

ALPHA PALE ALE
MATILDA BAY BREWING COMPANY
Featuring a deep amber-coloured body, a big hop nose and a hint of musk, the Alpha is an American style ale. To taste it is very hop driven with rich malty flavours, citrus notes and a bitter yeast tang that lingers. It recently won Champion Bottled Beer at the Sydney Royal Beer Show, after taking out Champion Beer at the 2008 competition. $19.99/four-pack or $89.99/case, matildabay.com

PEARLERS PALE ALE
MASTO’S BROOME BREWERY
New to the Broome brewery range is Pearlers Pale Ale – a fresh Aussie ale that is easy to drink. It pours a clear golden hue and a thin head, with subtle citrus aromas. Light in both looks and taste, it shows delicate banana and apricot characters, a slight bitterness but a short palate.
$22/six-pack or $76/case, matsos.com.au

HOP HOG
FERAL BREWING COMPANY
Hop Hog packs an instant, unexpected fruity punch. With a strong passionfruit and mango aroma, similar tropical notes appear on the palate – think pineapple, passionfruit and guava. Zingy citrus characters follow, along with a dry bitter finish. This Indian pale ale was recently crowned Champion Ale at the Australian International Beer Awards.
$15.99/four-pack or $55/case, feralbrewing.com.au

WHAT’S ON IN THE VINES?

BERRY FOOD & WINE SHOW
February 4
Local wines, liqueurs and ports feature at this annual event on the NSW South Coast, as well as the region’s best cheese, chocolates and chutneys. berryshow.org.au

2012 CITIBANK NSW WINE FESTIVAL
February 25-March 31
Leading wineries from across NSW unite in Sydney to toast the state’s most talented winemakers and award-winning drops. It kicks off with the Sydney Cellar Door weekend in Hyde Park. nswwine festival.com.au

INVERLOCH FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL
March 3
Fine local food, wine and entertainment in a relaxed picnic atmosphere, on the banks of the Anderson Inlet at The Glade. visitinverloch.org

SOUTH BURNETT WINE & FOOD IN THE PARK FESTIVAL
March 10
Wine tastings, live music, cooking comps and fine produce will be available at this annual foodie fest at Memorial Park, Kingaroy, QLD. southburnett.com.au

TASTES OF RUTHERGLEN
March 10-18
Over two weekends the town of Rutherglen hosts its annual food and wine festival, showcasing North East Victoria’s leading producers. All 19 participating wineries team with a local chef to offer an entree dish matched to a glass of wine, so visitors can sample a range of regional flavours.

LUNCH IN THE VINES
March 11
To celebrate the start of autumn, Narkoojee Winery in Victoria’s Gippsland region will host a five-course lunch. Bookings are essential and tickets cost $105 per head. narkoojee.com

BIKINI & BEAR WINE PARTY
March 15
Six young Rutherglen winemakers have invited six cool-climate winemakers to co-host this fun fest in Melbourne’s CBD at MiFA. There will be canapés, DJs and plenty of Victorian vino. Tickets cost $85. winemakers.com.au

MUDFEST IN MUDGEE
March 17
Indulge in films, food and wine under the stars at Mudgee’s Bunnamagoo Estate, combining the annual Mudfest International Film Festival. Tickets cost $30pp, including live pre-screening musical entertainment and a glass of Bunnamagoo Estate Wine on arrival for patrons over the age of 18. mudfest.com.au

BAROSSA’S BEST KEPT SECRET
Fraser and Andrea McKinley of Sami-Odi

Who are they?
The clever couple behind Sami-Odi, a small organic wine company that has been operating since 2006 in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. Andrea is a full-time veterinarian while Fraser works for The Standish Wine Company in Angaston, where the wines for Sami-Odi are fermented. The couple indulge in the farming, winemaking and packaging for Sami-Odi
after hours.
Why are they so cool?
Sami-Odi’s packaging alone is worth a mention because Andrea has a degree in Fine Arts and Fraser has a degree in Spatial Design. Each year the bottles and labels are redesigned. “In many ways it seems fitting, as the wines’ personality changes with each growing season,” says Fraser. The beautifully shaped, corked bottles have wax seals and labels inspired by found objects.

Pop the cork and you’ll find a wine produced without the use of electricity or modern machinery, drawing on organic principles, lunar rhythms and the zodiac. “Our goal is to work and grow as naturally as possible, resulting in fruit that is harvested early in the season and requires no additions and little intervention,” says Fraser.

“We do not use de-stemming, pumps, yeasts, enzymes or temperature control in our cellar practises.”

Where can you try their wines?
You won’t find Sami-Odi in bottle shops, bars or even wine shows, but the name can be spotted on the wine lists of some of Australia’s finest restaurants, including Rockpool Bar & Grill, Marque, Est, Appellation at the Louise, Aria, Bentley and Attica. The only way to get some for your own collection is to join their mailing list (sign up on their website). But get in quick, Sami-Odi wines are released on February 1 each year and sell out fast. This year they have released three Syrah’s (or Shiraz) from the 2010 harvest, filling less than 3000 bottles. sami-odi.com

CAPTIAL DROP
LERIDA ESTATE LAKE GEORGE
‘CULLERIN’ PINOT NOIR 2009
New to Canberra’s Lerida Estate is this promising pinot noir. With rich spicy aromas, it demonstrates stewed plum characters on the palate, balanced tannins and a dry, lingering finish. A red this light-bodied can be enjoyed year-round. Although this peppery pinot is still young, it was recently rated 90/100 by wine guru James Halliday, so it will be interesting to see how it scores as it improves with age, $35. lerida estate.com.au

WHAT WE’RE READING
THE CHAMPAGNE GUIDE 2012-2013
By Tyson Stelzer
This complete book of bubbles features over 400 Champagne reviews, profiles on producers and a frank commentary on issues facing the wine variety, such as global warming. It also has maps of the French region and a glossary of champagne terms. Closer to home, Stelzer (who recently won the International Champagne Writer of the Year at The Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards 2011), lists his top 40 Australian sparkling wines and provides an updated Australian retail directory. Available as an eBook from $34.95, or as hardback from $49.95. champagneguide.com.au

NEXT TIME YOU’RE IN… McLAREN VALE, SA
After 125 years in the business, Angove Family Winemakers have opened a multi-million-dollar cellar door, tasting room and conference facility at Warboys vineyard in McLaren Vale. The western end of the building is a replica of the original Brightlands cellar where Angove’s founder, Dr William Angove, made his first wines in the 1880s as tonic for his patients. One-hundred-year-old jarrah storage vats were recycled into tables and counter tops. In contrast to these rustic touches, the building has contemporary floor-to-ceiling glass windows, which take in panoramic vineyard views. 17 Chalk Hill Road, McLaren Vale, SA; angove.com.au

reviews on the move
JAMES HALLIDAY’s AUSTRALIAN WINE COMPANION 2012 is now available as a phone APP to make bottleshop runs easier. $7.49. itunes.apple.com

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 
THE BEN EAN CELLAR DOOR IN THE NSW HUNTER VALLEY TURNS 100 THIS YEAR. lindemans.com

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