Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc

Clos Henri, Bel Echo, 2012

Marlborough, New Zealand

For ten generations the house of Henri Bourgeois focused on producing excellent quality Sauvignon Blanc from the classic vineyards of Sancerre, in the Loire valley, just south of Paris.

In the year 2000 the family decided that the quality of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was undeniable, and they purchased over 100 hectares of the finest vineyards in Marlborough.

The vines are planted differently to most other estates, at very high density. This enables a low yield per plant which results in more concentrated and intense flavors. In the cellar the wine is aged on the lees to give more body, richness and depth.

The wine is typically pale in color, a trademark of cool climate Sauvignon Blanc made in stainless steel tanks. The nose is intense and expressive, with piercing aromas of gooseberry, grapefruit and citrus. On the palate the wine is dry but fruity, with crisp and refreshing acidity. There is a beautiful delicacy and vibrancy to the light-bodied style, with zest and minerally flavors.

We hope you enjoy this New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc made by a top French producer.

Food and wine pairing: The perfect match for goat’s cheese, salads, smoked salmon, crab, and other light seafood dishes.


Luxury Wine Tour to Australia Jan 25 to Jan 29, 2014


A luxury food and wine tour of the great wineries in Australia

Hosted by James Cluer and Tim Wildman MW

January 25th – 29th 2014

  • Grange – private tour and tasting at Penfold’s famous Magill Estate
  • Henschke – Hill of Grace vineyard visit, tour & tasting
  • Langmeil “Freedom 1841”  – oldest surviving Shiraz vineyard in Oz & BBQ Aussie style
  • Seppeltsfield – Tasting of tawny port back to 1878. Yes, 1878.
  • D’Arenberg – blend your own Dead Arm Shiraz after lunch in their restaurant
  • Coldstream Hills – visit a legend for Pinot and Chardonnay
  • Penfold’s Yattarna and the entire Icon range – 707, RWT et al.
  • Yalumba – oldest family winery – Viognier, Riesling, Octavius, & cooperage
  • Giant Steps winery – literally, at this hidden gem of a winery that’s making waves
  • De Bortoli – dinner and tasting of the top sweet wines, Noble One, and Yarra Valley wines.
  • Gemtree – Learn all about biodynamics in McLaren Vale
  • Main Ridge – one of the Grand Cru of Australia
  • Enjoy great food at beautiful lunches and dinners, and casual BBQ’s Aussie style.
  • Very good hotels wherever we go – amongst the best we can stay at.
  • Visit The Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, McLaren Vale, Barossa & Eden valleys.
  • A chance to explore both Melbourne and Adelaide
  • And feed kangaroos after you’ve had some Grange…

CAD $3,500 per person based on double occupancy.

In collaboration with my friend and Master of Wine Tim Wildman we’ve put together a sensational itinerary for this luxury food and wine trip to Australia.

Tim is a respected expert on Australian wine with experience running private tours for major trade buyers to the great estates in Australia. Together, we have created a trip to the most iconic wineries in the country, along with some of the small “cult” producers whose wine barely makes it out of Australia.

The owners and winemakers will be our hosts, giving us real insight into their wineries. We will taste wines that few others get to try, and enjoy special experiences, like Tawny Port tastings back to 1878.

There is an exciting food scene in Oz too and we’ll be enjoying some delicious meals at wineries, and at some of the superb winery restaurants. I’m especially looking forward to dinner at De Bortoli and Langmeil, and lunch at d’Arenberg.

So here’s your chance to see Australia during their summer. Go to Sydney before the tour for a few days, jump on a hopper to Melbourne and explore this lovely city before meeting up with us, and then the wine flows and the good times roll.

From Melbourne we’ll head off to visit the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula, both famous for their elegant cool climate Chardonnays and Pinots, plus the sparkling wines which can be superb. After a few days here we take a hopper to Adelaide (flight included) and explore McLaren Vale where Grenache hits a high, the Adelaide Hills which is stunning, and the Barossa and Eden Valley. Someone told me that the red wine they make in the Barossa is pretty good…

The hotels are amongst the best that exist. Everything is done for you. You just have to show up. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you know about wine. It’s fun, it’s relaxing, there’s a great atmosphere, and without you even realizing, you’ll become very knowledgeable about wine, especially from Australia.

So if you like the idea of a trip to Australia, during their summer, and our winter, then drop my friend Dave an email and simply say “Please send me the booking form” –

Price: The cost per person is CAD$3,500 including tax based on double occupancy at the hotels. This price includes all accommodation, visits, tastings at the wineries, all meals (except for the one free night in Adelaide), all wines at meals and local transport, and including the domestic flight between Melbourne and Adelaide. It does not include your international flight to Australia or airport transfers to meet us in Melbourne.

There is a CAD$650 supplement if you are traveling alone. This is to cover the cost of the single occupancy hotel room. We limit the trip to 20 people to ensure a personal experience.

Why take a tour of Australia with Fine Vintage?
Tim Wildman MW spends much of the year taking some of the world’s major wine buyers, sommeliers and journalists on in-depth “behind the scenes” tours across Australia. Using his personal network of wineries and winemakers he can gain access to places and people that are typically off limits. On my side, I have worked 2 harvests in Australia, visited many of the regions, and buy Australian wines for clients.  So Tim and I have tried to put on the best possible trip.

All the appointments are confirmed:

Saturday 25th January 2014
Please make your own flight arrangements to Melbourne, and your own accommodation for the night of the 24th of January.

There are 2 hotels we recommend, The Lindrum (which is the most convenient as we meet here), and if you want to spoil yourself then the 5 star Langham is the last word in luxury in Melbourne hotels

09.45 am
Meet James and Tim outside Hotel Lindrum, 26 Flinders Street, Melbourne for 10.00 am departure

Main Ridge Estate – tour and tasting
We head south out of Melbourne down to the sea and The Mornington Peninsula, whose main industries are grapes and golf. Our first stop is at one of Australia’s best kept secrets, Main Ridge

Nat and Rosalie White established this tiny 3ha vineyard of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at Main Ridge in 1975. It was the first commercial vineyard on The Mornington Peninsula. The production is so small that very little Main Ridge is ever exported, so don’t worry if you haven’t heard of them.

Jeremy Oliver, author of The Australian Wine Annual, says: “Of the tens of thousands of table wines made in Australia today, I have allocated the highest possible Five Star Rating to a mere twenty. These are the benchmarks, the Grand Cru – the wines against which all others can be measured. Main Ridge Estate Half Acre Pinot Noir is one of these wines. The most sensual, perfumed and elegant of Victorian Pinot Noir, this deep, alluring and long-living wine typically builds in structure and depth of flavour with time in the bottle.”
Tim is friends with the owners. Here, we’ll find out what it takes to be one of the Grand Cru of Australia from the horse’s mouth.

Port Philip Estate – Tour, tasting and delicious lunch
Afterwards, we’ll drive a short distance to Port Philip Estate Cellar Door & Restaurant, home to Kooyong wines –

The Mornington Peninsula is Australia’s specialist region for Pinot Noir. Some of the very best wines of the Mornington come from Kooyong – they were awarded Winery of the Year in James Halliday’s 2012 Wine Companion.

We will visit their beautiful new cellar door and restaurant built into the side of the hill at one of the highest points on the Mornington Peninsula, with spectacular views over the vineyards and the Bay. We’ll have a private tour of the winery and learn about Pinot Noir production in detail, followed by a tasting of the Kooyong wines, including their single vineyard Pinots ‘Meres”, “Haven” and ‘Ferrous” followed by lunch in their gorgeous restaurant. Our first lunch will be memorable. This is where we really get into Pinot.

After lunch there’ll be time for a siesta on the coach as we drive to The Yarra Valley, Victoria’s most famous wine region. We’ll check into the Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort and Spa, a luxury 4.5 star hotel with spectacular views across the picturesque Yarra Valley.

There’s some time to relax and freshen up, a glass of bubbly on the terrace will snap you back into shape, and at 6.30 pm we head off just a few minutes up the road to meet the Chief Winemaker at De Bortoli

De Bortoli
De Bortoli are famous for their Noble One Botrytis Semillon, which comes from their warmer inland vineyards. It’s really the benchmark sweet wine from Oz. But they also make some beautiful other wines, including Traditional method sparkling, textural Pinot Gris, and several single vineyard Pinots and Shiraz.

Chief Winemaker Steve Webber will take us through the vineyards and cellar, giving the full low-down on this historic winery. We’ll try several of his wines over dinner at the winery’s own excellent restaurant. It’s sure to be lots of fun.

At the end of the evening it is less than five minutes back to the hotel. For anyone choosing to go for the optional sunrise balloon flight the next morning, you’re best advised to go to bed. 5 a.m. comes round fast. Otherwise, if I know our groups, the hotel bar will be packed.

Sunday 26th January 2014
It’s optional, because not everyone wants to get up to leave the hotel at 5 a.m. and pay about $250 per person to go ballooning. But actually, you’ve got to do it once in your life. A sunrise balloon flight over the Yarra Valley, followed by a champagne breakfast. Come on honey, it’s pretty romantic. So if you’d like to go please just book it yourself

Otherwise, we check out of the hotel at 9 a.m. We have a full day including 2 winery visits, a hopper flight to Adelaide, and dinner at an amazing restaurant perched on a cliff overlooking the beach and the ocean in McLaren Vale.

Coldstream Hills – tour & tasting
Our first stop is Coldstream Hills. Established in 1985 by James Halliday, the “Great Man” of Australian wine writing, this is one of the most famous wineries not only in the Yarra Valley but in all of Australia. In the 2012 inaugural James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge, the Coldstream Hills Reserve Chardonnay 2010 came second in a line-up of over 430 Chardonnays from all across Australia. Halliday is quite the guy. He organizes a major competition. Has the courage to enter his own wine. And comes 2nd . This a major stop to learn a lot about Chardonnay, and all its intricacies.

Giant Steps – lunch, tour and tasting
Giant Steps specializes in single vineyard wines and has fast built quite the reputation. We’ll start off on top of the famous Sexton Vineyard, with magnificent views up and down the valley. We then head to their winery which houses a restaurant and coffee roastery. The restaurant was awarded The Melbourne Age’s inaugural Winery Restaurant of the Year prize in 2008.

We’ll taste a vertical of single vineyard Chardonnay and learn how the Yarra Valley is leading the way in the revolution of contemporary Chardonnay in Australia. It’s a casual lunch of wood-fired pizzas and single origin coffee and then a quick siesta as we drive to Melbourne airport for a 4.30 pm short 50 minute flight to Adelaide.

We arrive in Adelaide and drive 45 minutes south to the coastal wine region of McLaren Vale. With its rolling hills, vines, olive groves and Mediterranean climate the region often reminds visitors of Tuscany. We are staying at the 4 star hotel on the estate of Serafino wines.

After the chance to relax at the hotel we drive down to the beach where you can dip your toe in the warm waters of the Gulf of St Vincent at Port Willunga. The beach is beautiful. We have a short walk along the beach to The Star of Greece restaurant, which is a “beach shack” perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean. But in the “shack” it’s pretty serious food, with a laid-back atmosphere. It’s the Aussie pop star Kylie Minogue’s favorite restaurant in the world. And if Kylie says so, it must be true…

The emphasis is on local and ultra-fresh sea food. With dinner we’ll drink some “different” varieties that you only find a tiny bit of in McLaren Vale, such as Fiano, Vermentino, Tempranillo and Sangiovese. There may be a few local winemakers that drop in to say g’day.

Monday 27th January 2014
Gemtree – tour & tasting & biodynamics

We depart the hotel at 9.30am and head to Gemtree vineyards for a morning learning about their biodynamic viticulture.

Head winemaker Mike Brown will meet us at their new cellar door, part of a wetlands conservation sanctuary. We then visit one of Gemtree’s biodynamic vineyards where Mike will explain the science behind what is often seen as the mysterious art of biodynamics. We’ll taste a selection of their wines, including “Moonstone” Savignan and the “White Lees” and “Obsidian” Shiraz.

D’Arenberg – lunch & blending & tasting
After Gemtree we go to the most famous winery in McLaren Vale, and one of the best known in Australia. This visit is often a real eye-opener. It’s a large winery but all the work is still carried out like it would be in a small artisan winery, with reds being basket pressed and fermented in open top vats – very little is mechanized.

After a brief introduction to the estate, where we’ll get to see the famous “dead arm” vines. We then head over for lunch at d’Arry’s Veranda . The restaurant at d’Arenberg is one of the highest quality cellar door restaurants in Australia.

With lunch we’ll enjoy some of their top wines including the Dead Arm Shiraz, Custodian Grenache and the Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon finishing with a glass of botrytis Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

After lunch the fun and games begin. We go to their Blending Bench for a hands-on, interactive experience where you get to play winemaker and blend your own Dead Arm Shiraz. At the end you get to name your wine in a quirky d’Arenberg fashion, and take away a bottle of your own blend. Always very fun.

We then say farewell to McLaren Vale and head back to Adelaide where we’ll check in to the Majestic Roof Garden Hotel at around 6 pm and it’s time for a free evening to do as you choose in the city. We’ll point you in the right direction for the best places to eat and drink. Many people head to the famous “Chinatown” district, for some Thai or Cantonese food washed down with a crisp, limey Clare Valley Riesling.

Tuesday 28th January 2014
Penfold’s Magill Estates – Grange tasting

We check out at 9.30 a.m. and after a short drive we arrive at THE home of Australian wine – Penfolds Magill Estate. Located on the edge of Adelaide city and at the foot of the Adelaide Hills, Magill Estate is the home of Grange, Australia’s most famous wine.

We will visit Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold’s “Grange Cottage”, the heritage listed bluestone cellars, and finish with a tasting of ALL the Penfold’s Icon wines, including Grange.

Now, if you’ve ever tasted the very top Penfold’s wines you’ll know just how special this is. The 707 Cabernet is to die for. The RWT is superb. Yattarna is considered a benchmark in Australia for Chardonnay, and I suppose we’ll just have to get into the Grange too. Trust me, it’s a good start to the day.

We then drive up the winding roads into the heart of The Adelaide Hills for lunch at The Lane winery. This is an elegant restaurant with superb food overlooking The Lanes’ immaculate vineyards.

So you’ve had some Grange and had a lovely lunch. Now it’s time to go to the zoo. This might be much more fun than going with the kids… At the nearby Cleland Wildlife Park you’ll have a chance to hand-feed the kangaroos and wallabies, and I’m hoping to snuggle a koala. This is the Fine Vintage cultural stop on the trip.

Afterwards we head north to The Barossa Valley where we’ll check into the Barossa Valley Novotel Resort at about 6.30 pm. The hotel is set in a natural amphitheater, and each room has a private balcony with spectacular views across the Barossa Ranges.

Langmeil – BBQ, tour and tasting
After some time to freshen up we head out for our winemakers BBQ at Langmeil, who make serious wine.  And when we get there, along with their buddies from Teusner winery, they’ll have their famous Pig on a Spit roasting away. And I bet they might have a few beers out too. That’s Australia.

We start with a guided tour by James Lindner of Langmeil, through what they believe is the world’s oldest surviving Shiraz vineyard called the “Freedom 1843.” After that it’s just a ton of outstanding wine and casual fun Aussie style, hanging out with the winemakers and eating in the historic winery. This is an Aussie BBQ experience you’ll never forget with people from 2 top wineries – &

Wednesday 29th January 2014
Henschke – tour & tasting

We leave the hotel at 9.00 a.m. and head east to the Eden Valley to visit another one of the most famous names in Australian wine – Henschke. We will meet with Stephen Henschke who will take us on a private visit to the Hill of Grace vineyard, described by James Halliday as “in viticultural terms Australia’s most sacred site”.

We’ll be taken on a tour of the historic working winery and enjoy a tasting of Henschke’s premium wines including the legendary Hill of Grace Shiraz and Mount Edelstone Shiraz. Like Grange, these sell for hundreds of dollars a bottle. If you know Australian wine, then you’ll know how special this visit is. It’s like going to Chateau Lafite and having the Baron show you around. (but if you prefer to actually go to Lafite then sign up for Bordeaux )

From Henschke we drive back down to The Barrossa Valley to the historic Seppeltsfield winery. Dating back to 1851 Seppeltsfield is one of the jewels in the crown of Australia’s wine heritage.

Famous for its fortified wines, they have a collection of tawny port in every single vintage going back to 1878. They are the only winery in the world to release a 100 year old single vintage wine every year.

We are privileged to have a tasting of tawnies going back in an unbroken line to 1878, plus a taste of the current release 100 year old Para Port. For this special experience, you’ll definitely want to share it with your very best Tawny Port drinking buddy. Balloon rides, Grange, Henschke, Koalas, delicious food, 100 year old tawny – come on, find a way to make it happen.

Then, to cap it all off, at the end of the tour you’ll have the opportunity to find and taste your birth year, from barrel. FYI – I’ll be 135 years old that day…

We’ll then enjoy a traditional Barossa Style lunch of local produce in their picnic gardens. This will be a great experience.

Yalumba – Last but not least
After lunch it’s a short drive to Yalumba in the nearby town of Angaston. Yalumba was voted The Wine Enthusiast’s New World Winery of the Year in 2010 and is one of the largest Barossa wineries still to be family owned.

Our special tour will include the on-site cooperage where we’ll see a wine barrel being made, followed by a walk through their wine museum and a tasting of their top wines including The Signature Cabernet Shiraz, The Octavius Shiraz, The Virgilius Viognier and Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling. Yalumba is 1st class. I did a vintage there and have fond memories of an excellent winery.

Then we’re done. It’s been a blast. That tawny Port experience was the icing on the cake and your liver now needs a rest. It’s back to Adelaide where we will drop off first at the airport by 7 pm and then at downtown hotels around 8 p.m.

It will be a great fun trip, educational but relaxed, with excellent food and wine. We will be covering the best wineries in The Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and the Eden Valley.

To join this tour simply email and ask for the booking form!

For tours to other destinations – Bordeaux, Tuscany, Spain, Champagne-Rhone – please visit