Vinofiles

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This is our online magazine of all things wine, food and life. You'll find all sorts of articles and videos - from interviews, recommendations, and "how to" guides for everything from serving and storing wines to different wine styles, regions and producers.

International Chardonnay Day: Help Me, Cheeses!

International Chardonnay Day: Help Me, Cheeses!

Chardonnay and cheese. Chardonnay is a natural match for so many styles of cheese, because there are so many faces of chardonnay. From the racy unoaked melon-mouths to the oak-slathered butter bombs, let’s explore. And let’s not be afraid. Chardonnay can be confusing, with so many unfamiliar terms (Whole bunch? Wild ferment? Barrel size, cooper, toast level, new or old… or maybe stainless steel or even concrete egg? Malolactic fermen-WHAT? Sulphur or no sulphur. Fine lees, gross lees, lees stirring). Holy moly. That would be a panoply of things even if ‘panoply’ wasn’t my word of the week. Let’s keep it simple, because it doesn’t have to be that hard.

First question: are you going chardy first, or cheese first? Was it the brand spanking or well-cellared chardonnay you pulled out for the occasion that you’re trying to find a cheese for, or the gruyère you bought at a whim that you need to match with wine? If it was the wine first, here’s where to begin (you cheese-first people have to wait, today we’re just dealing with those who plan ahead).

chardonnay

WINE FIRST: I’ve got a chardonnay - now what?

So, you’ve got a chardonnay. Firstly, congrats. The ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) Club long since disbanded due to poor turnout, and it’s back in “farshun” for reasons that supercede trends. Chardonnay starts with the cheap and cheerful but generally still balanced and palatable. Let’s begin there. For real.

Chardonnay with little to no oak

This stuff’s made to be drunk fresh. It will be all citrus and melons (asparagus if you’re lucky) and there should be none of that butter flavour. The good ones (let’s hope that’s all you’re drinking) will be high acid and lots of fruit, or at least balanced by some richness. The key here’s the acid. Due to the crisp mouthwatering quality, you can do high acid cheeses.

WHAT?! “High acid cheese”? Don’t think of it like that. Think bitey, sharp cheese. See? 

Crumbly cheddar, cheshire, raclette or parmesan. Even gruyère (hello, Heidi, if you haven’t tried it - no commissions here, just my fave), although this can stretch into the next category.

This stuff’s your ticket to unoaked chardy heaven. The acid meets acid and says, “hey, let’s just make out while these chardonnay fruits and the cheese flavours do a little dance on this mofo’s palate.” Mmm. You had me at “hey”. Did someone say fondue?

Modern chardonnay - the balanced, nutty and complex style

This is our jam. You’re right in the thick of a glorious (panoply? Just kidding) battle of chardonnay mano-a-mano. Everyone is trying to make the MOST balanced, MOST complex, cool climate, mid-weight chardonnay out there at the moment. Reap the rewards. You get loads of perfectly ripe fruit, a bit of nuttiness, a lick of butter, finesse, excellent length (thanks to well-judged vineyard placement and picking times). Basically, you got it all. All you need is the right cheese to bring it home.

Alright, so you’ve got a modicum of all the good things. Basically, the cheese you want will be the same.

Creamy cheese is your friend here. From oozy brie and camembert to Pont l’Eveque, you’re in white mould heaven. Enjoy.

Big, bad chardonnay

Great, you’ve got something old skool. You are in for a treat. You have a wine that has oak, butter, asparagus, tropicals probably, but is more about ridiculous richness and texture than forward fruitiness. 

The world of cheese is your oyster. You can have the creamy, the funky, and even the salty. Tallegio, Roquefort, Gorgonzola… all the washed rinds, blues. You’ve got savoury to match the salt; acid to match the sweet; body to match the cheese’s acidity. You’ve got it all. 

A Wine Bar Crawl Across Melbourne

Wine bars are Melbourne’s lifeblood. Pumping low-intervention pinot through the not-so-secret laneways of the city’s sprawling neighbourhoods. It’s both delightful and overwhelming. 

Secrets To The Ultimate Winter Warmer: Mulled Wine

This should be fun and not overthought (don’t mull it over too much), so I’m going to keep this simple, so you don’t have to keep looking at your iPad. After all, you’re over eighteen if you’re trying this, so I reckon you’ve got this.

My 5 Most Memorable Wine Experiences

Ah, what a pleasure it’s been to write this article. It’s like reminiscing over past loves, except that none of these wines threw my furniture on the lawn or broke my heart. Well, except one of them...

Celebrating Women in Wine: Alexia Roberts of Penny's Hill

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, we’re selling an exclusive 6-pack of wines made by some of Australia’s finest female winemakers. The impressive list includes: Kate Goodman of Penley Estate, Corrina Wright of Olivers Taranga, Liz Barnes of Star Lane, Clare Halloran of Tarrawarra, Alexia Roberts of Penny’s Hill and Di Miller of Bellarmine. All proceeds from the sale of each case will go directly to Rare Birds, a global hub that encourages young women into entrepreneurial roles. They support and promote women so they can believe #ifshecanican.

Celebrating Women in Wine: Corrina Wright of Oliver's Taranga

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, we’re selling an exclusive 6-pack of wines made by some of Australia’s finest female winemakers. The impressive list includes: Kate Goodman of Penley Estate, Corrina Wright of Olivers Taranga, Liz Barnes of Star Lane, Clare Halloran of Tarrawarra, Alexia Roberts of Penny’s Hill and Di Miller of Bellarmine. All proceeds from the sale of each case will go directly to Rare Birds, a global hub that encourages young women into entrepreneurial roles. They support and promote women so they can believe #ifshecanican.

Celebrating Women in Wine: Kate Goodman of Penley Estate

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, we’re selling an exclusive 6-pack of wines made by some of Australia’s finest female winemakers. The impressive list includes: Kate Goodman of Penley Estate, Corrina Wright of Olivers Taranga, Liz Barnes of Star Lane, Clare Halloran of Tarrawarra, Alexia Roberts of Penny’s Hill and Di Miller of Bellarmine. All proceeds from the sale of each case will go directly to Rare Birds, a global hub that encourages young women into entrepreneurial roles. They support and promote women so they can believe #ifshecanican.

Celebrating Women in Wine: Di Miller of Bellarmine

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, we’re selling an exclusive 6-pack of wines made by some of Australia’s finest female winemakers. The impressive list includes: Kate Goodman of Penley Estate, Corrina Wright of Olivers Taranga, Liz Barnes of Star Lane, Clare Halloran of Tarrawarra, Alexia Roberts of Penny’s Hill and Di Miller of Bellarmine. All proceeds from the sale of each case will go directly to Rare Birds, a global hub that encourages young women into entrepreneurial roles. They support and promote women so they can believe #ifshecanican.

Celebrating Women in Wine: Clare Halloran of TarraWarra Estate

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, we’re selling an exclusive 6-pack of wines made by some of Australia’s finest female winemakers. The impressive list includes: Kate Goodman of Penley Estate, Corrina Wright of Olivers Taranga, Liz Barnes of Star Lane, Clare Halloran of Tarrawarra, Alexia Roberts of Penny’s Hill and Di Miller of Bellarmine. All proceeds from the sale of each case will go directly to Rare Birds, a global hub that encourages young women into entrepreneurial roles. They support and promote women so they can believe #ifshecanican.

What natural wine means to Lou Chalmer

“The attitude of “f*ck them, who cares?” is systemic in the natural wine movement because it really is about who you are and what you want to make. It’s each person making wine in the way that they believe is right, not trying to make it to industry standards.”

Celebrating Women in Wine: Liz Barnes of Star Lane

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, we’re selling an exclusive 6-pack of wines made by some of Australia’s finest female winemakers. The impressive list includes: Kate Goodman of Penley Estate, Corrina Wright of Olivers Taranga, Liz Barnes of Star Lane, Clare Halloran of Tarrawarra, Alexia Roberts of Penny’s Hill and Di Miller of Bellarmine. All proceeds from the sale of each case will go directly to Rare Birds, a global hub that encourages young women into entrepreneurial roles. They support and promote women so they can believe #ifshecanican.

Vino Italiano - An Italian Primer

“I was saying this afternoon that I don’t want to be that wanker who bangs on about how much he loves Barolo now. But I am, I am that guy. And I’m OK with it, I f*cking love the stuff. Especially when paired with lamb cutlets, chocolate birthday cake and the finest of company on a Sunday afternoon.”

Magnificent Mendoza Malbec - A Primer

Mendoza is arguably the most exciting wine region in the world right now, with established names starting to bring the area’s latent viticultural prowess to prominence, while rewarding early adopter consumers with the type of value that only occurs as when demand hasn’t yet hit production yields, while quality is evident. The moral of the story is: jump on and ride the wave before it comes to shore.

Which wine dog are you?

It’s Year of the Dog, and we sell wine. Hmmm... then it’s probably time you find out which dog matches your favourite wine, and is therefore you in a nutshell. You’re welcome in advance.

The Mofo Guide To Storing Wines

Why cellar wines? Because often they’re sold before they’re peaking. Cellaring a wine gives you the chance to drink it at its best. You deserve that chance, so read on!

Tannins | Wine Buzzwords

Novelty bonus fact: Apparently wine tannins resist oxidation in the body and are thus very good for your health. Therefore, wine = health. 

Orange Wine | Wine Buzzwords

If you’re a fan of Orange wine or just simply want to learn more about this fun and exciting variety, get your hands on our latest mixed case here. 

A Day In Marlborough

Spending a few days visiting wineries in Marlborough was, as far as ‘work goes’, one of the better weeks I’ve had on the job. I tagged along on a buying trip, which translates to meeting a lot of winemakers, which translates to talking a lot about wine, tasting a lot of wine and exploring vineyards. Dream job? Pretty much. 

Blind Drunking: JD vs John, Marlborough

The scene was Marlborough, a morning at Grove Mill estate to be precise. The boys were surrounded by lush purple hills and the scattered remains of empty sauvignon blanc tasting glasses. Between them sat one mystery bottle of wine. The battle was on. 

A Savvy B Journey Through Marlborough

There is no wine more divisive than sauvignon blanc amongst the team here at Vinomofo. We love to hate it at Mofo HQ, and our CEOs proudly wear t-shirts with ‘Death Before Sauvignon Blanc’ printed on them. 

60 Seconds with Pip Goodwin

Pip Goodwin is the CEO of Palliser Estate, a legendary Kiwi vino outfit working out of beautiful Martinborough. Besides being a bona fide lady boss, she’s also got a tonne of winemaking experience under her belt dating all the way back to a trip to Burgundy. So watch out, mofos, we’ve got the real deal here. 

Beyond Savvy

Marlborough is synonymous with sauvignon blanc. As a brand, it has been one of the great success stories of the modern wine world and there’s no sign of it slowing down. It accounts for 86% of New Zealand’s wine exports and really, they just can’t get enough of it. 

Would You Like To Taste The Wine Sir?

“Would you like to taste the wine?” A seemingly innocuous question that strikes fear into the hearts of so many. Those seven words can tear down even the most robust foundations of self-confidence. You’re on the spot. All eyes turn expectantly to you, and you’re thinking… “Well I dunno, what am I supposed to say?”

The Mofo Guide To Ordering Wine

There should be no more stress in choosing a wine than there is in choosing your meal. That being said, there’s nothing more horrific than having to choose between the pork belly and the salmon, and even then at least you know what you’re talking about.

Long Wine-dy Road: Camp Cookouts with Chef Dave

As a whole, our camp skills are pretty ace but they do fall short in the kitchen. We’re simple creatures, and rice and tuna can satiate us for days on end in the bush, but not even the most delicate, fruity wine will get our taste buds revved up after the third bowl of rice for the day. It’s this cuisine cluelessness that forced us to take our good mate Chef Dave Powell away on our latest trip out bush. It even inspired us to create our own collection of wines that we reckon go with camping life: The Long Wine-dy Road. Click here to check ’em out.

Just chill: stop overthinking the perfect wine serving temperature

Stop overthinking the perfect wine temperature and forget the numbers. Enjoying your wine at its optimum temperature doesn’t have to be a science experiment. Once you have these simple habits under your belt, you won’t even have to think about temperature any more, you’ll just be enjoying your wine that much more.

What's The Point?

Ever wondered what those shiny medals and points assigned to wines mean? Probably not. It’s pretty self-explanatory, right? The more points the better the wine. And yes, points are allocated to wines based on qualitative measures, but for the consumer one important question remains – so what?

48 hours in Beechworth

After a truly boutique wine experience? Head to Beechworth. Here you’ll find some of the most humble and hardworking wine folk willing to show you first hand the heartache and joy involved in making small batches of incredible vino. It ain’t glamorous and you’ll have to book appointments to arrange tastings, but it’s worth it because this region is as real as it gets when it comes to soul-stirring wine.

Happy International Grenache Day

Happy Grenache Day! I bet you didn’t know that was a thing. Yep, apparently there’s a day for everything. There’s even a movement to get Fairy Bread Day up and running here in Australia. That’s a stretch, but we’re all for celebrating wine so Grenache Day is fine by us. So, on its special day you’re invited to grab a glass and raise a toast as we share with you a few things we love about grenache. It’s a bit like a 21st – complete with awkward speeches – but with better wine. 

Fresh Kiwi Vino (other than pinot)

There’s no doubt that New Zealand is killing the pinot game. Spicy, fruity and undeniably delectable, ask any pinot fan about Kiwi juice and they’ll start raving. In fact, the pinot is so damn good it’s almost doing a disservice to the wine industry, because it’s way too easy to forget that New Zealand churns out some remarkable red wines other than pinot. But we’re gonna find ‘em.

The Rise of Rosé: A Hashtag Journey

It’s official: the pink drink has blown up worldwide. First it was the French, then the Spanish, and now the whole world is tickled pink over a refreshing glass of rosé. To give you an inkling as to popularity of this lil’ drinkling, these days the French actually consume more rosé than white wine. But what led to this meteoric rise in popularity? 

VIDEO: Vinomofo Meets Penfolds

Chief mofos Justin and Andre were jostling in the boardroom last week when the phone rang. It was the big dogs from Penfolds: “We’d like you to taste our new vintage icon wines before they’re released”. Cue fist pumps and heart palpitations. Bags packed, the lads headed to the hallowed halls of Penfolds (Magill Estate, South Australia) to taste a line up of some of the world’s most distinguished vino.

Biodynamic | Wine Buzzwords

Welcome to the next leg of our journey to make sense of vino vocabulary. Today, we’ll be tackling a term that’s shrouded in mystery and a fair bit of scepticism: biodynamic wine. Among the preferred poison of wipsters (aka wine hipsters), biodynamic vino is made using a philosophy that’s free of chemicals and tuned into the cosmic forces of the universe. But the question is, does it really make a difference to the juice in your glass? Well mofo, let’s look into a crystal ball and see.

Top 5 Wine Bars in Sydney

I’m off to Sydney in a few months and it dawned on me that I’m a total tourist when it comes to where to eat and drink. Things have moved on since I was backpacking and bar hopping between the best happy-hour deals 10 years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a wild night, but these days I prefer to remember the night before and the people I spent it with. So I hit up some seasoned Sydney sippers at the ‘Fo, to get the low down on where to go.

Recipe of the Month : Dark Chocolate Bourbon Mousse

On July 7th, the world will unite in celebrating one of history’s greatest traditions, World Chocolate Day. In honour of this blessed event, we’ve upped the game on this month’s recipe to bring you a delight of true indulgence: Dark Chocolate Bourbon Mousse.

VIDEO: 60 Seconds with Tim Preston

We dropped by Mills Reef in Tauranga (NZ) on a pretty bloody cold August day. We were, admittedly, quite hungover from the night before and collectively unenthused at the prospect of a day spent drinking more alcohol. That was until we tasted Tim Preston’s first class pinot noir. 

DOC and DOCg | Wine Buzzwords

Welcome to the next leg of our mission to make sense of confusing wine words. In the last edition, we explored ‘terroir’ and it ties in neatly with what we’re looking at here. Why? Because if terroir encapsulates the reasons behind the unique tastes of different wines, then DOC and DOCg are the letters used in Italy to help protect those distinctive flavours. 

Top 5 Wine Bars in Melbourne

“I’m a sucker for shellfish, so anywhere with an oyster happy hour is my idea of heaven! It’s my fave place to sit on the street and people-watch while sipping on the sea and a chilled glass of riesling. But the real reason I come here is the welcome I always receive from the charismatic proprietor Jay Bessell. His enthusiasm is infectious and his Italian-inspired wine list is as stylish as his sassy cravats. I love everything about the place, from the elegant contemporary European decor, underground cellar-come-private dining room and extensive list of wines by the glass, to the cheese board, stunning pastas and smiling wait staff. This place just feels so good and it’s home to some of my best food and wine memories. For me, this restaurant really comes into its own in winter because you can shut the door on the cold and be transported to a place as warm as the Tuscan sun.”

Fortified wine | Wine Buzzwords

Welcome to the next leg of our journey to make sense of wine words. In this edition, we’ll be travelling back to a time when fortified wines ruled the world, and finding out what they are and why they’re still worthy of celebration today. 

VIDEO: 60 Seconds with Penny Jones

On our recent expedition down south with the legends at Lonely Planet, we dropped by for a chat with Tassie wine expert, rowboat champion and head winemaker legend, Penny Jones.  

Behind the Lens: A trip through Tamar Valley

I love the old cliche that the journey is half the adventure, or half the fun, because in my line of work – it couldn’t be truer. I’m a photographer, have been for a decade now, and some of my most treasured moments on the road are those that often go unseen. The shots that don’t make the glossy pages. Or in the internet world, the header image. 

Vintage - Does It Really Matter?

In short, yes it does.  The weather, consistent or volatile, cool or hot, shapes everything that happens in the vineyard, which gives the winemaker the grapes to play with.  

Destination: Tamar Valley

Sitting on the boot of our rental car, passing around a bottle of pinot and some sandy cheese, we knew we were in a pretty fortunate position. Waves rolled onto shore in front of us and the sun set over the headland to our left. There was only one problem, a little hiccup in our itinerary – we were bogged. Beached as, bro. Up to our axles in soft sand on a deserted beach somewhere on the North Tassie coast.

5 Amazing Facts on International Sauvignon Blanc Day!

On 24th April the world will unite in celebrating possibly the most ubiquitous white wine in the universe - sauvignon blanc. While Sancerre is its spiritual home, New Zealand is the source of the savvy that’s taken the world by storm. There’s something about its distinctive ‘slap you in the face style’ that wine lovers can’t get enough of and wine nerds love to hate. 

Hip Hop and Wine: A History

Surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly if your rap level is expert, the hip hop scene actually has a well-rhymed history for pairing sneakers with syrah and bling with barrels. Forget those five fingers of Hennessy, what they love is getting around a good glass of vino. Thug life, wine life, same same. 

48 hours in Waiheke Island (NZ)

Incredibly beautiful, insanely accessible and with a microclimate to rule them all, it’s no wonder Waiheke Island is one of New Zealand’s most favouritest wine regions. We jump the ditch to spend 48 hours driving a ute and drinking vino (not at the same time and always with a designated driver, obvs) around the best of the idyll’s best. 

What your favourite wine says about you

In an image driven world first impressions count, right? It’s why we agonise over an outfit that says “ideal candidate” at a job interview or cultivate a look we hope will turn heads (in a good way). What we look like and buy into says a lot about us; in my case the current ensemble of Melbourne crafted jeans and Jack Wills jumper screams mainstream preppy with a penchant for hipster denim. And it’s the same deal with wine.

Best BYO restaurants in Sydney

“This place is vying for pole position as my all time fave BYO in Sydney. Not only are their pizzas the most authentic this side of Naples, but they don’t charge corkage - bellissimo! I just love the vibe in here, it’s always rammed with families, afterworkers and tight-arses on first dates. I must of eaten here 50 times or more because those crispy, thin bases, and super-fresh, genuine Italian flavours are hard to pass by. Pack a prosecco, a good sangiovese and let the good times roll.”

VIDEO: 60 Seconds with Andrew Santarossa

Andrew Santarossa is a killer winemaker with a killer laugh. It lies somewhere between a guffaw and a chuckle. It’s infectious. Even more so when he’s in the middle of telling you about the first time he got drunk, and how it was on some serious Penfolds juice (classic wino in the making...). 

48 hours on the Mornington Peninsula

When it comes to weekends of pure indulgence, there are few destinations more appealing than the Mornington Peninsula. I fell in love with the place a couple of years ago, tempted by its natural beauty and seduced by its wines. It’s a love affair that continues to deepen as return visits reveal layers of charm. From wild and secluded surf beaches to soothing hot springs, DIY beach picnics to day-long degustations, the region is irresistible.

VIDEO: 60 Seconds with Dan Sims

Dan Sims is an Aussie sommelier legend. With a few profanities thrown in. King of Revel (formerly known as Bottle Shop Concepts), his wine ethos is simple - don’t overthink it. A mantra we particularly enjoy here at the ‘Fo. We also enjoy hitting the town, and the juice, at his first-class wine events - Game of Rhones and Pinot Palooza. Sound familiar? They will if you’re a vino hound. 

VIDEO: 60 Seconds with Steve Webber and Leanne De Bortoli

Steve and Leanne are the parents everyone wishes they had (which is super lucky for our customer service guru, Kate, considering they actually are her folks). A powerhouse winemaking duo from the Yarra Valley, these legends openly admit to getting a little tipsy on spumante in their younger years, drinking red wine in 44 degree China heat and believing that all wine is better with food and good friends. 

48 hours in the King Valley

When it comes to Italian varietals, I’m like a moth to a flame and the King Valley is my favourite region to burn two days. Just 3.5 hours from Melbourne, I’m poppin’ prosecco, learning how to cook like nonna and sippin’ sangiovese over a perfect sunset before camping under a billion stars.