PRINCE WINE STORE SYDNEY OPENS in ROSEBERY
Jon Osbeiston, arguably the best expert in French and Italian wines in Australia, not to mention his encyclopaedic knowledge of the Australian wine scene, had sold his Ultimo Wine Centre store to Vintage Cellars, part of the Coles/Westfarmers empire in April 2013. He stayed behind the counter for anther 18 months up until late last year when he joined forces with reputable Melbourne wine experts, the well named Prince Wine Store. I bumped into Jon a couple of times over the last few days quite by chance and I decided to pay him a visit last Friday. And I was impressed!
Obviously, PWS is not yet stocked with the old and iconic wines that are still awaiting clients in Ultimo, but Jon and the team in Melbourne have certainly assembled a great choice of wines from the humble 10$ bottle to more upmarket Australian, French and Italian labels.
The success of the Prince Wine Stores in Melbourne was in part due to their very successful wine tasting evenings. An upstairs room has been fitted in the Sydney store and I will report in due time!
Great location, near the most up and coming, growing suburb of Sydney, south of the CBD in Rosebery, Zetland and near Alexandria. Warehouses are replaced by designer apartments and new and fabulous cafes and restaurants are sprouting all around the place to cater for a cashed up , multicultural and savvy younger generation, like Milano Torino, Da Mario and the quirky Kitchen by Mike to name my three favourites in the area. We wish you all the best for this new venture, Jon!
You may remember my account of being presented with a beautiful bottle of Chateau Haut-Marbuzet 2006. Well, it was time to retaliate!
So I invited my generous client and friend to dinner together with my sister-in-law, also an architect in WA, her husband and another couple of friends who are living a long distance romance between Sydney and Khartoum and were home together at the time.
So, the occasion was deemed to warrant a trip to Ultimo Wine Centre, not knowing that it would be my last purchase under this reverred name...
As usual, Jon Osbeiston was of good counsel and pointed me towards a wine I didn't know: Le Petit Caillou
Well, in fact, it is a new label owned by no other than the famous Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, my favourite wine ever, and my favourite St Julien as a consequence.
Built in 1720, Ducru-Beaucaillou has been in the hands of only five families, the current one being the Borie family, in charge since 1862, and now in their third generation with Bruno Borie at the helm since 2003.
I first discovered it in a famous restaurant near Montparnasse called "Josephine - Chez Dumonet"" still in operation.
I would usually have lunch there on a Tuesday, as it was the day when the older Mr Dumonet would come and cut the "gigot d'agneau" at your table, and I would have a half-bottle of Ducru Beaucaillou with it.
Soon, they ran out of half-bottles and I started to invite friends and clients for that Tuesday lunch...
The story ends with a memorable dinner for one of my sister's birthdays and we had to have a Magnum of it!
Altough its past owner, Jon Osbeiston, will remain involved, there is no assurances from the giant Westfarmers/Coles Group that this shop will remain the go to place for fine imported wines from France, Italy and the US of A primarily and also some of the top Australian drops.
Since moving to Sydney, I have spend many hours just admiring the huge collection of Bordeaux and Burgundy wines, most of them beyond my means, but I have managed to spend an unreasonable amount of hard earned cash on these treasures for special occasions, like birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Christmas and New Year, and any occasion deemed to warrant such an expense any time in between! It is called in marketing terms rationalising the emotional purchase...and I have been quite famous for that!
Let's hope that the speadsheet managers at Vintage Cellars will not apply their standard equations to a unique business in Australia, but instead will try to expand the concept nationally, hopefully emulating the very successful French retailer NICOLAS which combines a range of entry level wines with a collection of upmarket and rare wines. I will be watching...
AT ONE MINUTE PAST MIDNIGHT on the third Thursday of each November, from little villages and towns like Romanèche-Thorins, over a million cases of Beaujolais Nouveau begin their journey through a sleeping France to Paris for immediate shipment to all parts of the world. Banners proclaim the good news: Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé! "The New Beaujolais has arrived!" One of the most frivolous and animated rituals in the wine world has begun. By the time it is over, over 65 million bottles, nearly half of the region's total annual production will be distributed and drunk around the world. It has become a worldwide race to be the first to serve this new wine of the harvest. In doing so, it will be carried by motorcycle, balloon, truck, helicopter, plane, elephant, runners and rickshaws to get it to its final destination. It is amazing to realise that just weeks before this wine was a cluster of grapes in a grower’s vineyard. But by an expeditious harvest, a rapid fermentation, and a speedy bottling, all is ready at the midnight hour.”
It is obviously quite a logistical achievement to get this wine to all (serious...) bottle shops around the world on time... Some, like my local Vintage Cellars, did
There are still 31 bottles in stock at Ultimo Wine Centre : http://www.ultimowinecentre.com.au/Product.aspx?id=23363
And one left over at home...
This is obviously a young wine, and sometime not very good, I have to say, but the 20122 vintage is actually quite good and very much " gouleyant" or "gouleillant"as it is supposed to be...
It means: agreeable to drink, light, almost fizzy.
The George Duboeuf version is just that: a pleasure to drink, no questions asked, can I have another glass, please??? I am glad I bought a spare bottle, just in case...
For the ones of you interested in varietals, this is a Gamay of the highest order...enjoy!
After a two month break, the growers are back at the Pyrmont Market in Sydney.
Before Christmas, I paid a visit to compatriot extraordinaire, Gilles, who with his wife of 30 years grows organic garlic near Braidwood, a small town between Canberra and Batemans Bay. It is a very seasonal business, as the garlic is harvested in November and all sold by the end of February, when it is time to plant again. See photo below.
Today brought two surprises; a new frenchman, Jean Marc Amar, who is at the market for the first time with his Australian made, but very French saucissons. It is believed that a 300g saucisson doesn't last more than 15mn...These ones will certainly have the same fate (or should I say fete...)
The second surprise comes in the form of an Italian inspired goat cheese from Willowbrae Cheese. Karen went on a grand tour of Italy last European Autumn and has refined her recipe since. One word: amazing!
Both products featured photographically below.
If you are going to have saucisson and/or cheese, then you need bread...and some red wine: you are in luck!
Near by in Ultimo, Ultimo Wine Centre have just received a shipment of the most amazing Pinot Noirs from Burgundy, and Domaine Gachot-Monot: Nuits-Saint-George, Cote de Nuits-Village and Bourgogne.
I have tried the Cote de Nuits-Village: it is simply delicious, supple, fruity, typical Pinot Noir, and thanks to the high aussie dollar, it is only 39.00$. I gather it won't last very long...If you miss out, you might want to rush and get one of the very few bottles left of Ultimo Wine Centre Hospices de Beaune Corton Grand Cru ‘Cuvee Dr Peste’ 2007...
Finally, we can find bread and pastries (fromage et dessert anyone???) in Rozelle, where Labancz Patisserie boulangerie has taken over my favourite bakery, Moana Bakery, which has been operating for over 15 years and with three different owners. Pierre Labancz, of Deus Cafe fame is baking a reasonable baguette, although not as good as Moana, but excels in the "pate feuilletee" department: croissants and pains au chocolat being butter rich, crispy and fluffy at the same time...
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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