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So good to have seen you at the Good Food Wine Show Perth

We so wish we were still at the show… It really was great to meet so many lovely people and reconnect with our friends and supporters! 

The weekend did get a little emotional and can I share why?  So many of you came to our stand saying that you were drawn by our name and brand.  You then shared why.  Wonderful to hear your appreciation of our creations.  And to top it all, you enjoyed the wines – yay! 

You even spoilt us with coffee and ice cream. Thanks so much.

It was fantastic to be featured in the Margaret River & Cellaring Sessions in The Riedel Drinks Lab Presented by Nick Ryan.  

Hope you have all recovered from the event, hope it will take us a while so that we can continue to relish in it.  Thank you all again.

 

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UMAMU on show in Perth in July

We are excited to be participating at another Perth event this year - the upcoming Good Food Wine Show at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre next month from 14th-17th July.

We shall be releasing our Shiraz 2009 94 points Halliday at the show.  Produced from five parcels of Shiraz on the vineyard planted in 1978 & 1997.  

We shall also have on taste our recently released Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, 96 points Halliday featured in Halliday’s Cellaring Supplement, along with our other current release wines and all time favourite Sparkling.

Look forward to seeing you there, you will find us at the WA Pavillion Stand WA8. 

Tickets for the event can be purchased at http://goodfoodshow.com.au/perth/  

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Your Guide On Cellaring Age-Worthy Wines

Wine is fermented grape juice and by definition a perishable.                   

From the winery to your door step, wines can typically undergo a lot of travelling and storage.  How we store a wine impacts its taste.  Stored in sub-optimal conditions, your wine may not be completely off, but the quality of the wine will diminish, degrade and the wine age prematurely.  Heat, light, temperature variation and oxygen are the key things to avoid.

Here is an example to show you the effect of heat and light.

Take a look at the photo above: the top bottle was stored in a cool shaded environment, whereas the bottom bottle has been left in an open living room at a temperature of about 30c.  The bottom wine colour is slightly darker, the light and warmth has aged this wine say a year or so more than if it had been stored in a cooler shaded environment – the wine will still taste ok now but with more time and darkening, the wine will be more dulled.

Here are your main tips.

Avoid a hot environment: Leave a bottle of wine in a hot sunny car for an afternoon and you’ll see the effect. The wine would end up cooked and taste off.  Similarly, when wines are imported to warm countries, if they sit a little too long on a hot dock, the wines do age faster and become less than ideal.  Keep that in mind when buying overseas.

Avoid light: Light affects wine, especially in a clear bottle, and while darker glass helps, light can still get through.  So best to store your bottles in a shaded place away from direct light.

Maintain constant temperature: Some people like to store wines in their bedrooms where the air conditioner is on at night and off during the day. This fluctuation in temperature is not ideal for wine.  Best to store your wine somewhere with constant temperature.

Minimise oxygen: Cork-finish wines are more sensitive than screwcap as air can flow through the cork.  Cork wines are best stored horizontal, then the wine is next to the cork keeping it moist and helps minimise air ie oxygen getting through and thus less oxidation.  The level of wine in the bottle can drop.  In an older bottle, if you notice the level has dropped, then the wine is likely to be oxidized.

We have just released our Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 which is featured in Halliday’s Cellaring Supplement.  Stored well this will continue to blossom and keep till 2035. 

What is wonderful about cellaring a wine is tasting it as it ages – to experience the development and change.  I like to open a wine every few months or each year to see how it morphs.  So say you buy a case, you can try a bottle every few months and see the flavours change and see when you like it best.  Our first vintage was 2005 and I am still discovering the journey of that vintage.  If you are interested in trying our Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2005, please email us at umamu@umamuestate.com

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Specially made for Mum: our Sauvignon Blanc 2011

This lovely wine was created specially for my Mum to emulate one of her all time favourite white wines, Pavillon Blanc from Chateau Margaux in Bordeaux France.  This, our 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, is a really delicate wine, which has spent about 10 months in French barrels. 

We wanted to share it with you as we draw close to Mother’s Day on May 14th.  May we all raise a glass to our Mums. 

It is currently also served onboard Qantas Domestic Business Class, and previously, in 2016, you were able to enjoy a glass on International First Class flights. 

And the icing on the cake: the wine is being featured at C Restaurant during Aussie Wine Month this May.

With just 12.0% alc vol this is a gorgeous wine to enjoy as an aperitif or paired with ‘the finest through to the richest seafood dishes per James Halliday’.  Take a look at some ideas on food and wine pairing here.

All in all, a busy time in- and above the clouds for one of Mum’s favourites!

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Blind tasting Chardonnays: Two from Burgundy, France, and one UMAMU

Tasting wines is a pleasure and a treat!  Where there is an occasion (or none), we try to theme our wines and sometimes taste them blind.  This gives us an opportunity to truly explore wines. 

As we got together for Christmas eve, a friend who brought a bottle of Joseph Drouhin Montrachet, suggested we should do a blind tasting of the three Chardonnays on the table.  With all three of similar vintage and considering Burgundy is renowned for their Chardonnays we wanted to find out how they compare.  (Btw, the easiest way to do a blind tasting is to cover your bottles in foil!)

These three Chardonnays were on our tasting menu:

  • UMAMU Chardonnay 2009
  • Meursault by Chateau Meursault 2012
  • Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche 2011

Tasters were either in the wine trade or avid wine drinkers so it was really encouraging when no one could tell the three apart.  Imagine Burgundy is famed for their Chardonnays.  The origins of Chateau Meursault can be traced back to the 11th century while Joseph Drouhin was established in 1880.  The price per bottle is something to be reckoned with.  So as producers of UMAMU from Margaret River, a region established in the 1960s, we were thrilled to be able to keep company alongside these two great long time producers. 

Our Chardonnay vines were planted in 2001 and our first vintage was in 2005.  You can find the Chardonnay 2009 here or email us at umamu@umamuestate.com

Have you had any impromptu tastings of your own?  Please do share…

 

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Introducing our Sauvignon Blanc Semillon: Produced to Develop and Age Gracefully

We recently released our 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon at the Sunset Wine event in Scarborough beach on February 2017Stylistically we release our wines after they have had time to develop in the bottle, when they are ‘ready’. 

This lovely Sauvignon Blanc Semillon has received 94 points from James Halliday and most recently 4.5/5 stars from Winestate March April 2017 edition and has been described as "a prime example of the way the best of these blends – even where Sauvignon Blanc is the dominant partner – can age with intense grace."

Wine Selectors features this wine in their ‘The best Premium Aged Wines’ and writes, "offering incredible value, this aged line-up of 2016 highlights is a rare find. Most Australian wineries now sell their wines when they're young, so we really had to search to uncover these aged gems. [...] This includes a Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon from our friends at Umamu who specialise in crafting wines that mature gracefully."

Ray Jordan who gives 90 points writes: "A lot more complex than the standard version of this blend. Shows the normal fresh citrus grassy tropical characters, albeit in more subdued fashion, but the background of slightly smoky oak adds a new dimension. A beautifully precise and focused wine."

This blend drinks well on its own and it is also an incredibly versatile wine.  We find it pairs with all sorts of food styles and cuisines from seared fish to sashimi to a bowl of noodles.  Please do refer to our food wine pairing article.

Our 2010 comes from a long line of award winning Sauvignon Blanc Semillon.

  • Our first Semillon Sauvignon Blanc was a 2005 vintage and we had the pleasure of trying this from the museum stock recently.  It continues to be a delight.  Winestate awarded this a five star and included it in their Annual 2016 guide: "This wine is developing nicely and showing flinty notes on the peachy bouquet with a lovely soft fruity palate that has a combo of orange rind and buttered toast flavours."
  • The 2006 was featured in Decanter Magazine UK as wine of the month in February 2010: "The two varieties have combined to produce a zesty but broad and full wine, with a leesy base and a waxy undercoat augmented by citrus fruit, smoke and grapefruit peel. Stylish stuff, with a fine structure and good freshness."
  • The 2007 received a Top Gold from the Sydney International Wine Competition in 2013.  We were thrilled that the wine was listed at The Ledbury in London, UK’s top restaurant. 
  • The 2008 received 95 points from James Halliday. 
  • Wine & Viticulture Journal who noted that the two older vintages, our 2007 and 2008, in their tasting in 2013 delivered two of the best wines in the line up according to the tasting panelists. "I would assume those two wines have been made to age and they definitely show a lot more focus than some of the other wines in the tasting", wrote Richard Langford. 
  • The 2009 received 92 points from Halliday. And Winestate gave three and a half stars.  "Lovely purity and finesse of toasty marmalade fruit with some smokiness, bottle age complexity and nice acidity."

UMAMU Is all about Balance & Contentment - one prong is about the reflection of our lives - it is good to sit here and reflect on the different vintages and our hardwork, to appreciate the various reviews and awards the wines have received.

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Food Wine Music Friends - UMAMU at Sunset Wine 18th & 19th February, Scarborough Beach, Perth

Food. Wine. Music. Friends. The harmonious combination of the four, come alive at the Sunset Wine Event happening this 18th & 19th February at Scarborough Beach, Perth.

It is with great pleasure to announce that UMAMU will be taking part to share with you our beautifully crafted wines.  A special treat will be in store for those who come as we will be debuting our award winning, 2010 babies - UMAMU Sauvignon Blanc Semillon & UMAMU Mac’s Chardonnay.

“A prime example of the way the best of these blends - even where Sauvignon Blanc is the dominant partner - can age with intense grace.” - James Halliday

Rated with a high score of 94 points by none other than the highly acclaimed James Halliday; our Sauvignon Blanc Semillon comes beautifully coloured with tones of pale straw and light green hues. The Sauvignon Blanc Semillon gives a refreshing herbaceous and citrus aromas with every whiff and the lovely balanced mouthful will leave you wanting more.

Mac’s Chardonnay on the other hand is unlike the rest of the Chardonnays produced by UMAMU. This luscious bottle is especially unique and is close to our hearts. It is named after UMAMU’s patriarch, Mac in celebration and appreciation of his journey and love for Chardonnay which led him to Margaret River, over 30 years ago.  We debut this wine in the same month as Mac’s birthday with much love.

“The bouquet is good but does not prepare you for the intensity and purity of the palate, where white flesh stone fruit and grapefruit draw saliva from every corner of the mouth.” - James Halliday

“The bouquet is good but does not prepare you for the intensity and purity of the palate, where white flesh stone fruit and grapefruit draw saliva from every corner of the mouth.” - James Halliday

Each bottle of this lovely Chardonnay contains grapes which have been hand picked in the early mornings of late February.  Whole bunched pressed and 100% barrel fermented with a combination of new and old French oak, Mac’s Chardonnay elegantly dances around the palate with its rich and succulent fruit flavours and nutty creamy texture.  Just like any ending of a great performance, Mac’s Chardonnay ends smoothly with a buttery lingering finish.

Come, enjoy and experience the fun with us at Booth #18, where you will be able to participate in our exquisite tastings and be one of the first to bring home our latest award-winning wines.  If you’re hesitant on purchasing and having to carry our elegant bottles of vino, fret not, as complimentary wine lockers are available throughout the day with every purchase made, leaving you with free hands for more glasses of wine to enjoy.Happening on the 18th and 19th of February, tickets for the Sunset Wine event can be pre-purchased for $28 from Eventbrite or at the gate for $33. Beginning at 2.30pm to 7.30pm both days, we will be joined by many fellow winemakers, brewers, restaurants, and musicians from across Australia.

We look forward to sharing this wonderful experience with you, so don’t miss out!

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In celebration of Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year which follows the lunar calendar, falls on the 28th of January this year and is celebrated for 15 days till the full moon of the first lunar month.  It will be the year of the Rooster, the tenth animal of the 12 year Chinese zodiac cycle.  The Rooster is said to have traits of confidence, motivation and loyalty. 

One way to celebrate is to enjoy a salad called ‘Yee Sang’.  Yee Sang is a ‘Prosperity toss’ where you toss a salad with particular ingredients that have symbols of Abundance, Prosperity and Good luck.  Traditionally bringing wishes for Reaching higher levels, for Households to be filled with gold and silver, Prosperity for the business and for Life to always be Sweet… 

Traditionally this dish is served on the seventh day of the new year but nowadays it is enjoyed in the lead up to the new year as well as during the 15 days of new year.

Here is a recipe that pairs beautifully with our Chardonnay, Cabernet Merlot and Cabernet Franc.  This is a lovely entrée for eight people or so depending on your appetite. 

What you'll need: 

  • Eight pairs of chopsticks
  • 250g Smoked salmon – (traditionally raw fish is used but smoked salmon is delicious and an easy substitute)
  • Two bags of julienned/ shredded raw vegetables from the supermarket which saves all the shredding. If you can’t find the pre sliced bag then julienne/ shred the following,
    • 2 carrots
    • 1 radish
    • 1 cucumber
    • half a lettuce
    • 1 beetroot
  • Few segments of pomelo / grapefruit – into pieces
  • Two tablespoons of pickled ginger
  • Two tablespoons of pickled onion
  • Five wonton skins sliced and fried
  • Three tablespoons of chopped peanuts
  • Two tablespoons sesame seeds

For the dressing:

  • Two tablespoons of lime juice
  • Three tablespoons of plum sauce
  • One teaspoon sesame oil
  • Three tablespoons of any mild oil you like e.g. olive oil
  • A pinch of 5 spice powder
  • A pinch of salt

What to do: 

To prepare the dish, place all the veggies on a big round plate and top with the smoked salmon.  Add the dressing and the idea is to use your chopsticks to toss the ingredients into the air to mix the salad while saying auspicious wishes.  The belief is that the higher the toss, the higher one’s growth in fortunes so let’s toss as high as we can!

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Nine things you should know about pairing wine and foods.

For us, the key is balance and our goal is to pair food with wine with neither dominating the palate.  There is an infinite amount of things that influence our food and wine pairing.  For me, I like to think of the texture & body of food and wine from light to light plus to medium to medium plus.  This I have mapped out below for food in terms of the type of food, the cooking preparation, richness, spices of the food and recommended wines on the same spectrum.  The effect of the growing season and oak usage for the wine also contribute to the attributes of a wine and are worth mentioning.  So the whole map goes from light at the top to medium in the middle to medium plus at the base of the map.

We all have different palates and taste things differently.  And there in lies the fun of it all…

1. Type of food – are you going to prepare a fish or meat dish?

If you think of the different foods that you have eaten, think of the texture they have as you chewed them. 

Fish typically has a more delicate texture compared to meat, i.e. there is a general increase in body and texture from fish to meat.  Some fish have more delicate flesh such as whiting which lends itself better with a lighter bodied wine like a Sauvignon Blanc. While a fleshier fish like monkfish has more texture and will pair with a light plus bodied wine like a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc while an oiler fish like mackerel has more body and richness and can pair with a medium wine like a Chardonnay or a Cabernet Merlot.  

While chicken or pork also have medium texture and pair well with Chardonnay or a Cabernet Merlot.  Beef or lamb have much more body and texture and thus pair well with a medium plus bodied wine such as a Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon.

2. Cooking preparation

How you prepare a dish makes a difference to the weight, richness and body of the dish. 

Lightly plain cooked foods, like steaming or poaching, pair with lighter bodied wines like a Sauvignon Blanc.  Roast Turkey with trimmings of ham, bacon, chestnut stuffing, red cabbage, Brussel sprouts and roast spuds would be more medium bodied and would pair beautifully with a Cabernet Merlot.

3. Sauces/ richness of food

Sauces add richness to a dish.  A light sauce will pair with a lighter wine while a medium sauce such as a tomato based one which has more body, will pair well with a medium bodied wine like a Chardonnay.  While creamy sauces have more texture, are heavier so go well with a medium plus bodied wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon.

4. Flavour of the dish - Spice level of each

In Asia I have seen a roast Turkey marinated tandoori style to give it a spicy Asian twist.  This spice will pair well with our Shiraz which has a little touch of spice to it. 

5. Varietal/ blend of wine

Some grape varieties are lighter bodied than others.  What I have done is to chart in general the varietal/ blend in the map above, starting from a light bodied wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc to a light plus Sauvignon Blanc Semillon or Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Blend to a medium bodied Chardonnay or Cabernet Merlot and Cabernet Franc to Medium plus Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.

6. Winemaking style – with or without oak.

Oak gives a wine more texture and weight.  We strive for the use of oak to be in balance with the fruit.  For any given wine grape, see if it has had any oak treatment?  If so how long for?  So for example a Sauvignon Blanc that has had no oak treatment will be lighter bodied versus one that has been in oak barrels.  Our Sauvignon Blanc has spent 10 months in oak barrels.  For our Sauvignon Blanc Semillon we put about 10% of the blend (depending on the season) into oak barrels for a few weeks to give the wine more texture. 

7. The growing and ripening season of the grapes

In choosing your wine, one factor to bear in mind is the vintage and where the wine is produced.  This adds another interesting dimension.  All things being equal, cooler seasons will see a wine tighter and generally lighter in alcohol and body.  Warmer seasons give the vines/ grapes the capacity to ripen more and build up more complex flavours and hence body.  So within any one region, there will be varying seasons.  And similarly, there are cooler climate and warmer climate growing regions which impact the body of a wine.  So for example the coolest season Margaret River has seen would be 2006, the whites are very fresh from this vintage.  The reds are also lighter and have lower alcohol and than the following warmer season of 2007.  By an aside, I was trying to find a bottle of Bordeaux red from 2010 and they were all 14 percent alcohol so 2010 must have been a warm dry season.

8. Explore…

The wonderful thing about food and wine pairing is there are so many possibilities and there in lies the fun of the journey.  So based on these tips along with what you have tasted, you can trial and find (new) pairings.  Just think back to the various meals you have enjoyed, was there a pairing you thought worked and one you thought umm?  One can always test the pairing in advance… 

9. For deserts

I am certainly having fun exploring here.  Discoveries include a pairing of mango crumble with our Cabernet Franc.  And chocolate based desserts pair with our Shiraz.  I discovered how well our Shiraz pairs with chocolate when I was in Jakarta participating in a wine & food fair with our local agent.  A neighbouring stand was exhibiting chocolate… the great thing about these fairs is you chit chat and try each others products.  I got to sample various chocolates with our wines and viola, choc & UMAMU Shiraz goes together! 

Do you have a favourite pairing? We'd love to hear from you.  

When creating the name for our wine brand, one of the prongs was having an affinity with umami, the fifth flavour of food… Our goal is to produce wines that drink on their own but also pair well with food. 

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Tips for Storing Opened Wine

We try very hard not to let this happen too often at home…. but there are times when one may need to store an opened bottle of wine.  Here are a few tips on the best ways we have found to do it.  An opened bottle of wine means the wine is in contact with oxygen which oxidises a wine.  This process affects and diminishes the taste of a wine and so what we try to do is to preserve the wine as much as possible.  We also like to store a wine in the fridge as chilling slows down the degradation process as well. 

Sparkling Wines
For years I’ve been using the method of placing a teaspoon into the opened bottle and popping it back into the fridge, while we continued to enjoy the bottle.  This is a controversial method…  nonetheless, I like to use this method but I’ve recently discovered a special stopper that allows you to pump air back into an opened bottle to keep it bubbly. For this, you just need to pump till you can’t pump anymore and ‘pop’ the bottle in the fridge.  Technically, by pumping air back into the bottle, the gas that remains in the wine doesn’t escape so easily as the air space in the bottle has pressure.  We’ve included this special stopper in our Christmas gift guide for collectors so I’m hoping Santa will bring me one and I can check it out…  You can also try a simple sparkling wine stopper which would contain the air space that the bubbles are exposed to. 

All things being equal, an opened bottle of sparkling, stored with a good wine stopper can last a day or two in the fridge.  It is a balance of lasting bubbles versus oxidizing the wine.  So to be honest, I would always try to finish a bottle of bubbly.

White Wine
For leftover white wine I like to use a battery operated wine stopper and store the wine in the fridge.  It is possible to recap or recork and store in the fridge but I find a wine preserver will take any air out of the bottle which helps to preserve the still wine.  You'll also find this wine stopper listed in our Christmas gift guide for collectors.

You can enjoy the white wine straight from the fridge.  Typically it will last between 3-7 days depending on the type of white wine and how it was made.  For example, acid in a wine gives it longevity and freshness so these wines last longer.  As you get familiar with different wines and brands you know how long you can keep them for.

Red Wine
As with white wine, I like to use a battery operated wine preserver and keep the wine in the fridge.  The preserver takes out any air in the bottle and the fridge cools the wine and slows down any degradation of the opened wine.  Do keep the bottle upright in the fridge as this minimises the surface area exposed to oxygen.

When we are ready to drink the leftover white, I take the red out of the fridge at the same time as the white, so that by the time you drink the red, it would have come up to room temperature. 

An opened bottle of red wine will last on average of up to five days but again it depends on the type of wine and how it was made.  For example, there are a wide range of reds, different growing regions create delicate versus more full bodied reds.  If you open a red wine and it is quite tannic and young, you might not worry about the preserver and just close it with a cork or screw cap and enjoy the rest tomorrow.  The oxygen overnight will help ease up the wine and make it much more approachable.  Please know that for our reds, we track and taste them after bottling every year and typically release them when they are ready so you can just open and enjoy.

Aged Wines
If you are opening a 20-30 year old Bordeaux, chances are it is pretty delicate, so these I would recommend you enjoy on the night and do your best not to have any leftovers aye…  What I like to do is have a taste as soon as I open the bottle, see how it tastes and chances are for me, I’ll rarely need to let them breathe.  I then enjoy each glass and have a lovely conversation with the wine. 

Similarly an aged vintage Champagne will have generally have very refined and delicate bubbles so you would want to enjoy the bottle at its best on the night. 

Sweet Wines
It does depend on how sweet and how it is made but in general you can keep an opened bottle of sweet for a few weeks in the fridge.  For myself, I don’t actually use a preserver and I find they can keep for months.  And if you use a wine preserver then you are even more set.  I would recommend a non battery operated one which I might invest in and use, given I leave it for months, I might outlast the battery!

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