Monday, October 22, 2012

Be-bop-a-lula! It is a PINOT PALOOZA!

Robert Louis Stevenson once said: "Wine is bottled poetry." With this being the case, I dare to say that the fickle, rascally, Pinot Noir grape is then made into "The Bottled Noble Prize in Literature". Of all single varietal wines, Pinot Noir has the biggest 'cult' following. Pinot lovers often call themselves Pinotphiles. On Sunday, I attended PINOT PALOOZA, an event to celebrate the love for this regal, yet rather temperamental grape- and those who covet thy drop.
Pinot Noir fan wearing a Pinotphile t-shirt, bottom right
It is handy to note (for the uninitiated), my accepted definition of Palooza; an all out, crazy party, extravagant event, with a plethora of people and the considered thought that there may just be no tomorrow. Well, Pinot Palooza certainly fit the bill.
all out, crazy party props

Crazy ~ Dan and Ben from The Wine Guide who created and organised the palooza
Extravagant ~ held at the commanding and iconic Ormond Hall, Melbourne
Plethora~ 70 producers brought 130+ wines to TWO sessions of a packed house
Considered Thought~ "try ALL the wines!"

I went along to the Pinot Palooza to try new Pinots, meet the winemakers and see what treasures I could add to the Christmas wine lists of my clients. Success! In  a little under three hours I managed to try twenty-eight wines from seven wine regions across two countries. I met winemakers, vineyard owners and grape growers.
De Bortoli Wines 'Riorret' from their Emu Vineyard
Delightfully surprising, enormously enjoyable.
The passion in the room from both the 'artists' and the attendees was palpable. Pinotphiles and Pinotnoobs were enjoying themselves equally. I have a 'stocking filler' list the length of my forearm and a great time was had by all. Future posts will share more about the people I met and the stunning array of Pinots being produced in the Southern Hemisphere. Until then, feel free to share your Pinot Noir stories and favourites with me here, or via email

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Recline, Wine & Dine

Just about as soon as I became of legal drinking age I discovered the delight of Hotel Lobby Bars. My gal pal and I decided that we'd like to frock up and head out to drink pretty cocktails in elegant surrounds. We lived on the Gold Coast, certainly weren't staying in any fine hotel, and chose the Surfers Paradise Marriott (Lobby Lounge Bar) as our first grown-up drinks venue.

This was to be the beginning of a life long hobby. Hotel lobby bars are usually grand, exaggerated, architectural masterpieces. Luxuriously fitted out, with a fine attention to detail by way of accessories, flowers and cocktail lists. The clientele is always greatly varied, with an ambiance of confident, worldly, happy people.

Recently, I discovered The Travellers Bar in the lobby of the Rendezvous Grand Hotel (previously Duxton Hotel) at 328 Flinders Street, Melbourne. They have an impressive cocktail list plus a wine list covering local and international wines.
The bar snacks are tasty, on-trend and tapas-style so that you can mix and match flavours as you wish. I have visited on Friday evenings where the vibe is 'Playful Elegance' and mid-afternoon on a weekday seems to be more 'Recline and Wine'.
As you'd expect with a hotel that was built in 1912, the d├ęcor is simply beautiful, complete with stained glass windows partially muting the busy Flinders Street view. The ornate ceiling trims perfectly offset the fresh, modern lounge furnishings and the staff look dapper in waistcoats and ties.
The Travellers Bar perfectly fits the bill for relaxation, rest and the opportunity to Recline, Wine & Dine. It is a venue that I will have on high rotation over the Spring months and I look forward to trying most of the wine list. For a Lady that likes to stop mid-dailygrind at any time of the day, Hotel Lobby bars are the bomb. Email me via to share your favourite Recline, Wine & Dine venues.