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Latest Wine News

Argentinian Wine Masterclass

Argentina, it’s the country of Malbec.

One of the biggest producers of wine in the world, the fifth biggest if you want to be specific, Argentina’s wine economy is driven by Malbec, a grape originally introduced by French immigrants.

While that’s the common understanding of things, as a country with a wide array of soil types, elevation and fluctuations in weather, its wines are unique and startlingly varied between regions. They also grow Torrontés (a Spanish variety), Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and other international varieties.

It’s going to be quite stimulating to dedicate a whole masterclass evening to a country with a culture so strongly infused with wine.

To understand more about the culture, winemaking, and the difference between Malbecs grown in Argentinian regions, this evening will be presented by Tom Egan: winemaker, importer and owner of Jed Wine company.

Tom was born in Australia and studied winemaking here, but decided to travel the world and discover its wine regions. He has spent a lot of time in Argentina and completed a few vintages. After falling in love with the country and spending a few solid years working in the industry, he is now importing some the best and most interesting Argentinian wines into Australia.

In doing so he’s also supporting a lot of smaller winemakers that would have never been considered for some of the top Australian restaurant wine lists without him.

Tom will be sharing his stories, laughs and comparisons of time spent in Argentina to his stints in France and other regions of north and south America. 

When: Thursday March 23th
Time: 6:30pm to 8:00 pm
Where: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St. Sydney CBD
Tickets: $30 for members$40 for non-member

 We’ll be trying:

Amalaya Torrontes (Salta)
Susan's Balbo Torrontes (Mendoza)
Chacra Pinot Noir (Patagonia)
Zorzal Terrior Unico Malbec (1350m, Mendoza)
Mil Piedras Malbec (1150m, Medoza)
La Posta "Paulucci" Malbec by Laura Catena (950m, Mendoza)
Bodega Noemia "A Lisa" Malbec (550m Patagonia)
Bodega Colome Estate Malbec (2000m, Salta)
Bodega Colome Autentico Malbec (2400m, Salta)

Wines are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. Tickets are transferable and non-refundable.


Posted: 22/02/2017
Spanish Masterclass

Following the success of our Spanish Glacician Masterclass earlier this year, we're back with one of our favourite Spanish importers, Lachlan Barber from Movida, to help us discover another part of Spain. We will guide you throught all the East Mediterranean, departing from the Catalan regions down the Andalucia.

The Spanish Mediterranean coast is familiar to most due to the abundance of beautiful beaches, amazing food and iconic holiday destinations. However, long before it was colonized by British and German tourists the area was being frequented by the Romans, who, just like the current visitors, brought with them a strong desire for locally produced alcohol. Starting from Emporda in the Pyrenees, we'll be tasting our way through the various Mediterranean appellations of Spain, through Penedes, and Montsant (just outside of Barcelona), to the richly fruited, powerful wines of Manchuela and Alicante. Touching on the varietals and regions that have established themselves as modern powerhouses, as well as some of the now rare and obscure relics which hark back to the Roman viticultural traditions.

When: Thursday April 20th
Time: 6:30pm to 8:00 pm
Where: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St. Sydney CBD
Tickets: $35 for members; $45 for non members

 We’ll be trying:

Suriol Brut Nature Cava
Bodegas Ponce ‘Reto’ Albilla
Espelt ‘Quinze Roures’ Garnacha Gris
Rafa Bernabe ‘Benimiqua’
Bodegas Ponce ‘Buena Pinta’ Moravia Agria
Celler Comunica ‘Vinya Goretti’ Carinyena
El Wanderer Carinyena
Bodegas Ponce ‘Estrecha’ Bobal
Espelt ‘Airam’ NV

Wines are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. Tickets are transferable and non-refundable.


Posted: 17/02/2017
Preservative Free Wine from Harkham Hunter Valley

One of the most dedicated natural wine producers from the Hunter region. Originally from Israel, the Harkham family arrived in Australia 60 years ago.

Harkham is a relatively small winery, having bought their vineyard in 2008. They produce only small batches, sourcing their grapes from their own organic vineyard and from others who share the same philosophy. Efrem and Richard, the owner, specialises in making wine without any preservatives. Their wines are predominately preservative free, meaning wine made without the addition of sulphur dioxide.

“Many people are sensitive to sulphur dioxide commonly known as sulphites/sulfites, but may not even be aware of this. Reactions to sulphites include headaches (wine headache), flushing of the face, IBS, and nausea. Some people may also experience shortness of breath, wheezing, and nose stuffiness.”

Sulphur dioxide has a long history in winemaking. It was used by the ancient Romans when they discovered that burning sulphur candles inside empty wine vessels kept them fresh and free from a vinegar type smell. It is used as an antibiotic and antioxidant,  protecting wine from spoilage by bacteria and oxidation.

A few of Harkham’s wines are named after Aziza. According to the legend, Aziza, the matriarch of the family, used to make natural wine and food for the family with no electricity or running water, using only ingredients they themselves had grown.

This young winemaker makes some pure and true wine, extracting the best of this fruit and the best expressions of Hunter Valley terroirs and doesn’t had any chemical additions.

 Wine availables, click on a product name below for more info, or see all of Harkham wines here.

 

Harkham Aziza's Rose Preservative Free 2016

Harkham Aziza's Semillon Preservative Free 2016

Harkham Hark Angel Shiraz 2015

Harkham Harkhamtage Shiraz 2014

 


Posted: 07/02/2017
Sicilian Wine Masterclass: Ancient Vines

Slopes of Mount Etna

Italy's Sicily is a land of contrasts, with a tremendous heritage of old vines. The largest island in the Mediterranean sea, yhe old vines remind us that Sicily has true biodiversity, and these varieties perfectly reveal the complexity of the appellations of the island while being particularly well-suited to the Mediterranean climate.

Sicily has a long winemaking history, beginning with the Greeks who arrived on the island in the 8th century BC. The idea of methodical grape growing practices for the purpose of quality winemaking firmly took root there.

As the centuries passed, Phoenicians and Romans traded Sicilian wines based on their power and their distinctive qualities. Today, we see the fruits of these labours. A truly mosaic of wines, the most ancient and inimitable ones in the world.

If you want to know more about Sicily and their wines, culture and history, come join us for a fantastic Italian evening.

For this tasting I've asked the knowledge of two fantastic Italians, Elisa Lazzeri and Umberto Ianni, importer of these wines. They will share stories and laughs as we taste a wide range of wines from the island.

WHEN: Thursday February 23th
TIME: 6:30pm to 8:15 pm
WHERE: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St. Sydney CBD
PRICE: $40 for members$50 for non-members
TICKETS: [BUY MEMBERS] [BUY NON-MEMBERS]

We’ll be trying the following wines

COS Pithos Bianco (Grecanico) 2014
COS Rami (Inzolia, Grecanico) 2014
COS Frappato 2015
Occhipinti SP68 Rosso Frappato 2015
COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2014
Salvo Foti I Vigneri Etna Rosso 2012
COS Pithos Rosso 2014
Girolamo Russo Arina, Etna Red 2014
Girolamo Russo Feudo 2014
Alagna Zibibbo (fortified wine)
Alagna Marsala

Wines are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. Tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable.



Posted: 01/02/2017
Vinteloper Wine Masterclass: Giant Pinots and More

We’re excited to present an evening of wine with David Bowley, winemaker and co-founder of VINTELOPER. Sound familiar? Vinteloper won the Peoples Choice Award for best Pinot Noir at Pinotpalooza in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, ultimately also being awarded the national Prize for 2015 Peoples Choice. David (the winemaker) and his wife Sharon (the artist behind the labels) created Vinteloper in 2008 in the Adelaide Hills – a region now renowned for its independent and artisanal winemakers.

David is a giant in the wine industry – literally and figuratively, he has got to be close to two metres tall – and some might say that David is to the wine industry what Michelangelo is to the art world, continuously striving for perfection and working absolute wonders with his grapes.

His wines are pure and precise expressions of their respective varieties and it’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to try the wines he’s crafted over the past year with the man himself. Furthermore, David uses only organic vineyard principals, minimal intervention, and low sulphites, and is always happy to share his passion with others.

One of the most exciting things David has achieved recently is the Urban Winery Project  (www.urbanwineryproject.com) over the last 5 years, bringing his winery in the city. The UWP has become an annual pop-up winery where everyday people can eat, drink, stomp grapes and make wine, alongside the professionals, whilst being fed by some of Australia's top chefs. We've just learned David will be bringing the fun to Sydney in March so keep an eye out!

We’re delighted to have him share his wines and stories with us, and to celebrate we’ve included his Odeon Pinot Noir, one of the best Pinot Noirs produced in Australia last year.

When: Thursday February 16th
Time: 6:30pm to 8:15 pm
Where: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St. Sydney CBD
Price: $20 for members; $30 for non-members
Tickets: [BUY MEMBERS] [BUY NON-MEMBERS]

We’ll be trying the following varietals from Vinteloper: 

 Vinteloper Riesling
Vinteloper Pinot Gris
Vinteloper Park Wine Red
Vinteloper Park Wine White
Vinteloper Pinot Noir
Vinteloper Touriga
Vinteloper Shiraz
Vinteloper Odeon Riesling
Vinteloper Odeon Pinot Noir

Wines are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. Tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable.


Posted: 23/01/2017
Beaujolais Time with some of the best producers

 

Situated just south of Burgundy, the Beaujolais region is renowned for their fantastic Gamay and Beaujolais Nouveau.

Unfortunately, for a part of its history, the region suffered a less than favourable reputation due to the proliferation of inexpensive and low quality Beaujolais Nouveau. These wines were overly fruity, fermented for just a few weeks before being released for sale on the third Thursday of November, just 1 or 2 months after vintage. This greatly influenced the perception of the region, that Beaujolais could perhaps only produce this style of wine: light and fruity with little tannin structure, acidity, complexity, and length, and definitely unable to age – in short, simple wine for immediate drinking.

However, the good news is that once you depart from the bigger producers you’ll find a range of much smaller wineries creating and experimenting with stellar Beaujolais that really bring out the best of the Gamay grape. Such as the stars of the appellation Jean Foillard, Domaine de la Grand Cour, or Marcel Lapierre -- who was one of the first producers to make wine without using sulphur -- and he encouraged a lot of winemakers around the world to do the same.

Beaujolais is beginning to be regarded as it should be – there are a lot of winemakers being drawn to the region and they are making wine in a way that truly expresses the terroir, such as Pierre Cotton and Lilan and Sophie Bouchet.

Beaujolais is well known for the appellations Brouilly, Fleurie, and Morgon, and we have created a tasting to show the very best examples of these areas.

This is our list:

 Jean Foillard Morgon-Cote du Py Beaujolais 2014 

Jean Foillard is a fervent supporter, like Marcel Lapierre, of the natural wine growing and making methods of the legendary Jules Chauvet.Furthermore he ages his wine in barrels brought from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti..... the results are sublime. He is a cult wine hero amongst the very many young, free-spirited vignerons in France who are now looking back to nature to make fine wine.

 

Pierre Cotton Beaujolais-Cote de Brouilly 2014

100% Cotton, 100% Gamay, 100% Côte de Brouilly, and nothing else, zero SO2. This is Pierre Cotton proving that courage and passion can reach great heights (up to 450m on a 45° slope).

Bauchet 'Sur La Root' Beaujolais 2013

Sur la Root is a beautiful example of what Beaujolais should be most of the time.soft, with the luxurious coating tanins of Gamay. There is lots of tanin there, but it is so smooth that it feels like velvet! Delicious.

Trenel Beaujolais Nouveau 2016

Nice exemple of Beaujolais Nouveau coming from Byodinamic vineyards. This is a fruity red wine, with character but in fineness.

Du Grappin Fleurie Poncie 2015

Native australian working for James Halliday at Coldstream Hills in Australia, Patrick Bize at Domaine Simon Bize in Burgundy and few vineyards in California and a few more around the world. He makes some incredible wine using grapes from Beaujolais and some Pinot Noir from Burgundy.

 


Posted: 18/01/2017
French Wine Appreciation+Free Tasting Sami Odi this Saturday

For this special night we will explore and do a tour of France. Taste and unterstand the complexity of French wine. 

We will guide you through France to discover or rediscover wines from different appellations, villages and grapes varieties.

These tastings will be suitable for everyone who wishes to know a little more about wine. We will be trying a mix of different wines. It won’t be too technical a tasting but rather a night of discovery so you’ll be able to understand what’s actually making the flavours in your glass - and arm you with important dinner party/water cooler/pub chatter. It will also give you an appreciation of what styles suit you best (and how to get the best out of each glass!).

Truth is, there is no ‘best wine’, the best wine is the wine you like the most and that’s what we’ll be exploring. It doesn’t matter how much a bottle costs, inexpensive or premium, the tastings will be based on quality and focus on small growers and sustainable products.  

Come and join us for a fun night to discover (or rediscover) the world of wine around a good glass. Hosted by the Oak Barrel’s own wine specialist, we’ll go through seven (or eight) different expressions exhibiting a range of flavour profiles and from around the world.

WHEN: Thursday March 16th
TIME: 6:30pm to 8:15pm
WHERE: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St, Sydney CBD
PRICE: $25 for members; $35 for non-members
TICKETS: [MEMBERS] [GUESTS]

We’ll be trying:

Sauveterre Jerome Guichard Pet Nat 2015
Meyer Fonne Riesling Reserve Alsace 2015
Taille Aux Loups 'Remus' Montlouis Sec 2012
Belle-Vue 'Miam Miam' Cabernet Franc 2015
Sulauze Cochon Rouge 2015
Chateau Nardou Cotes de Francs 2012
Clos Fantine 'Tradition' Faugeres 2014
Theulet & Marsalet Monbazillac 1982

Wines are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. Tickets are transferable and non-refundable.

 


Posted: 12/01/2017
The Oak Barrel Picks

Thank you for all your support this year. This is our selection for some Christmas ideas and what we loved and enjoyed to drink this year.

Jousset 'Exile' Petillant Naturel Rose 2014

The Jousset style is lightly sparkling but lean and driven, with clean, pure fruit. Exilé has a very enticing rose colour and lushous red fruit aromas, with a great texture.

Bass Phillip 'Crown Prince' Pinot Noir 2014

‘Crown Prince’ is a drink-now style that can be enjoyed immediately with exotic food matches. Hidden dark fruit richness on the aroma with spice. Fills the mouth with full fruitiness, the sourness of cherry pips, firm natural acidity and a clean, alcoholic finish. Light tannins.

La Manufacture Chablis 2014

This wine comes from Benjamin Laroche, son of Michel Laroche. Light and silky fruit in the classic Chablis peach yoghurt spectrum, supported by lemony, zingy acidity. Good quality Chablis.

Lake's Folly Cabernet Blend 2007

The Lake’s Folly Cabernets is a blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, along with small amounts of Shiraz, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The majority of the Cabernet vines are now over 47 years old and produce concentrated, high quality fruit.

Magpie Estate 'Tight Cluster' Sparkling Shiraz 2012

Lovely deep colour with berry fruits, spice, hints of cedar, some subtle smoky notes and liquorice. With a fine mousse, the wine has some lovely bright and more aged Shiraz characters on the palate.  

Theulet & Marsalet Monbazillac 1982

One of a rare vintage from 1982. The brother of Sauternes. Situated on the south-facing hillsides of the Dordogne valley, a little further inland than the vineyards of Bordeaux, Domaine de Theulet Marsalet stands near the 16th century Château de Monbazillac.

 

 

 


Posted: 21/12/2016
Pet Nat Masterclass With Tim Wildman

 

This January we’ll be hosting a masterclass that we’re incredibly excited about: A Pet Nat Masterclass with Tim Wildman. In short, Pet Nat is a style of sparkling wine made in the style of a natural wine, it’s a category that’s gathering an incredible amount of traction. They’re making a lot of noise (not least with their vibrant labels…).

But do we really know what is it? What’s the difference between a Sparkling, Champagne and Pet Nat?

Pétillant-naturel or pet-nat is an informal classification for any sparkling wine made in the méthode ancestrale, meaning the wine is bottled before primary fermentation is finished, without the addition of secondary yeasts or sugars. This is in contrast to the méthode champenoise that is used to make Champagne and other more common sparkling wines, in which a finished wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle with additional yeasts and sugars.

To host this masterclass, we’ve asked the help of one of the most knowledgeable people in the Pet Nat industry, Tim Wildman. A winemaker making his own Pet Nat (Astro Bunny and Dark Side), he also developed a website dedicated to the subject: pet-nat.com. He also teaches and is graduate Master of Wine (MW), one of the higher qualifications in wine.

We’ll be trying:

Fusée a Bulles 2015 (Australia)
Astro Bunny 2016 (Australia)
Jousset Bubulle Montlouis Pet Nat 2014  (Loire Valley, France)

Jauma Pet Nat Blewitt Springs 2016 (Australia)
Jousset Exilé Gamay 2014 (Loire Valley, France)
Domaine Simha Pet Nat (Australia)
Orsi Vigneto San Vito 'Sui Lieviti' Sparkling 2014 (Emilia Romagna, Italy)
Dark Side 2016 (Australia)

WHEN: Friday 20 January
TIME: 6:30pm to 8:15pm
WHERE: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St, Sydney CBD
PRICE: Sold Out

Wines are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. Tickets transferable and non-refundable


Posted: 15/12/2016
Gift ideas for Christmas + Pet Nat Masterclass

With Christmas and New Year around the corner, we have put togehter some last minute stocking fillers (including one of the best bang-for-buck Chapagnes in Australia we reckon).

We are also very excited to announce a Pet Nat Masterclass (thats natural sparkling wines) for 20th of January. Click here for more info that.

Champagne  Leon Launois

 

This perfectly balanced Champagne beguiles the senses with a fine bouquet of green apples, pears and slight hints of biscuit. This is an Oak Barrel exclusive import.

Sorrenberg Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2015

Sorrenberg produce some of the most sought after wines from Victoria, and we were able to get our hands on a little extra this year. This is an impressive Australian white wine. The 2015 vintage is 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. It's big and bold, with gooseberry, passionfruit, kiwi fruit, with aromatic herbal notes on the nose. The floral elements continue on the palate with lime zest. This is a really well balanced, clean, and crisp wine -- a perfect accompaniment for sea food on Christmas Day!

Huia Pinot Noir 2013

For us, no party is complete without a Pinot Noir. We've chosen a classic with a twist -- definitely not your average Marlborough Pinot. The Huia exhibits bright and juicy red fruits with a touch of smoke on the nose. The palate has dark cherries, blackberries, warm spices (cinnamon), chocolate, and vanilla balanced by a moreish savoury earthiness. This wine is perfect for your slightly richer meat dishes (or roast vegies).

Bursting Bubbles by Robert Walters

 Bursting Bubbles: A Secret History of Champagne and the Rise of the Great Growers is both a new history of Champagne (that challenges the traditional histories that have been told of the region) as well as a voyage through the region from North to South, visiting many of the greatest growers along the way.

 


Posted: 14/12/2016