Friday, May 11, 2012

New Generation Hunter Valley Pop Up Wine Bar

I have never been much of a wine drinker till about a year ago so I'm still learning about wine, from grape varieties to wine types, and what one should look for when doing wine tasting. Tonight's pop up wine bar by New Generation Hunter Valley was a great opportunity for me to explore wines from six different winemakers from the oldest wine growing region of Australia.

The New Generation Hunter Valley is made up of a new breed of winemakers, namely, David Hook (David Hook Wines), Andrew Thomas (Thomas Wines), Rhys Eather (Meerea Park), Nick Paterson (Mistletoe Wines), Mike De Iuliis (De Iuliis Wines) and Andrew Margan (Margan Wines). These boys have been establishing their own unique styles of distinct regional wines over the years, working with old vineyards using contemporary methods and producing wines reflective of their own personalities. 

This group of talented winemakers are travelling along the east coast of Australia showcasing some wonderful wines from their own vineyards. The massive journey has been dubbed as the Caravan of Courage 'On the Road Again' with the first event kicked off in Melbourne followed by Newcastle, tonight in Sydney and a few more stops next week along the coast before finishing at the Noosa International Food & Wine festival. 

My absolute favourite wine of the night was the Kiss Shiraz  by Thomas Wines, from the Pokolbin Estate vineyard which was planted in 1969. The winemaker noted it as a beautifully structured, medium bodied wine. It was not until much later did I discover this is actually their flagship wine. 

Put your nose to the glass and you'd be hit with a wall of aroma featuring berry, oak, vanilla and a hint of cherry liqueur perhaps? A quick taste even sent my not-so-wine-wise taste buds to heaven. Elegant and savoury, I simply loved its earthy complexity, floral and pepper spice with a hint of tannins. With its beautiful purple crimson hue and a clean long finish, Kiss Shiraz 2010 is one rich yet smooth, seductive red. I think I'm in love.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Farmer's Market @ Zeta

Last Friday evening Zeta launched its new themed night - Farmer's Market, where you get to pick your own ingredients to make a bespoke cocktail. 

"Shoppers" are invited to wander through the stalls with a grocery bag and the option to select a few seasonally fresh fruits or vegetables, plus a herb or spice before heading over to the "Farmer's Market counter"; where one of the "Grocers" will mix and shake the contents of your grocery bag with your choice of spirits into an unique and delicious cocktail. 

If you are not too sure where to start, perhaps a Farmer's Market Special such as Beetroot Mojito (fresh beetroot, 10 Cane rum, creme de mure & mint) or Nitro Milk Bottle (Vodka, Kahlua, milk plus liquid nitrogen) would interest your taste buds.

The Ono's
The fun part of the evening is of course watching your very own cocktail concoction being brought to life and then naming it. The bartenders were very friendly and helpful, they talked us through the making of our cocktails and answered all the questions we could possibly think of throwing at them.

Two of my favourite mixes on the night were the Ono's (lychee, raspberry, lime, apple juice, mint, basil, lychee liqueur and vodka), and my very own creation, Red Lady (strawberries, pomegranate, cranberry juice, coriander, citrus vodka, Cointreau and rosewater syrup). While most people stayed with the more common mix of fruits and herbs, one of my friends was brave enough to put tomato, ginger, onion, chilli and vodka together, the end result tasted like a weird version of Bloody Mary. Thumbs up for his bravery in trying out a wacky combination, but I think our taste buds ran the other way. Maybe he should've left out the onion.

The Farmer's Market experience is not complete without a bit of dirt and a worm or two, so keep an eye out for the edible pot plants, mini pots filled with edible "soil" and jelly "worms", they were tasty little treats.

Get your creative juices flowing, grab some friends and give putting together your own bespoke cocktails a try. Farmer's Market at Zeta will run every Friday night from 6pm till the end of June.

This event truly showcases the talents behind the bars at Zeta as cocktails are created on the fly, sometimes with rather challenging combination of ingredients.

Zeta Bar: Level 4, 488 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000  Zeta Bar on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Zipporra SS 12/13 Launch

It wasn't hard to spot that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week took over Sydney last week, but for those who support our local up and coming designers, you'd have heard Zipporra recently launched its Spring/Summer 2012/13 Poison Arrow Collection at District01, a creative space in Darlinghurst, Sydney.

I loved the fact that the launch party had a cool theme, Mad Hatter's Tea Party, but more so that a good cause was attached to it. The collection was launched in collaboration with Cancer Council's Biggest Morning Tea to raise awareness and funds for cancer research, prevention and support.

Walking down the stairs with bubbles floating around me, I found myself stepping into a mini version of Wonderland, where branches, picture frames, Lipton Iced Tea and marshmallows dangled from the ceiling, and a DJ booth was setup in a mini garden that came complete with a cow print lounge and white picket fences. The fashion conscious crowd sipped on sparkling wine and Lipton Iced Tea around a long table full of delicious treats.

The collection featured gorgeous jackets and dresses in vibrant colours, bold prints and hand-dyed silks, all inspired by the Amazon rainforest.

I was lucky enough to get designer Karen Fulton (KF), the talent behind Zipporra, to take some time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions:

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
KF: I think it all happened when I was a little girl. I have always loved clothes, drawing clothes and shopping of course. My grandmother was incredible, she was so timeless, stylish and always took my breath away. She influenced me greatly and so I think I always knew what I loved doing in life from a young age.

Q: What motivates and inspires you?
KF: So many things inspire me in fashion design. I look at fashion design as an art form, so a great variety of things from the environment to different fabrications. I love what I do and that is what keeps me motivated.

Q: What's a typical day like for you?
KF: Completing orders, working on the new range, PR work, accounting, working my other job at Coles.

Q: What trends do you see being big for 2012/13?
KF: Lots of prints.

Q: How would you describe your own personal style?
KF: Edgy and little bit vintage and quiet street, always in Doc Martin's or connies!

Q: What is your favourite piece of clothing you cannot live without?
KF: My Doc Martin's.

Thanks to Christopher McLaren from A Series of Fortunate Events for the invite and one of the best invitations I've seen! Absolutely adored the "message in a bottle" detail. 

If you are keen to support our local designers then check out the twilight fashion market Bizarre Bazaar that pops up every second month in some of the coolest laneways and hideaways Sydney has to offer. Many beautiful clothes and accessories from a bunch of very talented people are waiting to be discovered by you. Oh and if you are in town, don't miss Bizarre Bazaar's first birthday special event at Angel Place on the 17th of May.