Rosé Revolution

leanne / October 21st, 2010

For the last few years, my husband Steve and I have been totally committed to what we would call ‘proper’ rosé, and we are not alone. We love the wines of Tempier and many other producers in Bandol and Provence and we love that it can be a serious wine, but not to be taken too seriously.


However, it can be confusing for consumers to know which are the drier styles of rosés as compared to the sweeter types. Both have their place but for us personally, we want to create interest in the dry, preferably pale, savoury, made-for-purpose rosé.

Hence the Rosé Revolution. This has been set up to spread the message about beautiful dry rosés that are such a joy to drink and in the process, get more people enjoying this style of wine this season.

The Rosé Revolution is not meant to be elitist but rather about informing consumers on what to expect. A rosé which is paler in colour should signify a drier textural style. Let the very pink and irridescent colours speak their own message.

There are lots of exciting initiatives being planned to get everyone on board with tastings, dinners, rosé and food matching, taste’n’tweets and so on. Check out the website or click here for the facebook page or twitter link

To kick off the celebrations, there is a Tweet-up on the 30th November 2010, just before the official start of the Australian summer and you can participate in the fun too. Buy a bottle (or two) of rosé to share with some friends and jump onto twitter (dont forget to use the hashtag #roserev) to join the chatter on all things pink.


Leanne De Bortoli

Follow Leanne on Twitter@DeBortoliWines and visit us at

Yarra Valley, cool shiraz

leanne / October 18th, 2010

Australian Shiraz

Shiraz has been the mainstay of Australian wine for many years. In the last few years it had gained a certain notoriety in the USA for wines of power, high alcohol and oak. Whilst some of these wines were interesting, some verged too far to the dark side. But the pendulum is now swinging back to a more balanced style and we are now seeing more interesting (and drinkable) styles that are reflective of their regions without being overpowered by excessive oak and alcohol. We have reason to be proud of these wines, whether they are from the Hunter Valley, Barossa, McLaren Vale and the Yarra Valley (amongst others).

Yarra Valley Shiraz

The Yarra Valley has historically been more well-known for chardonnay , pinot noir and cabernet but can now add cool-climate shiraz to its list of compelling wines. In the past we have seen some very fine examples of shiraz from vineyards like Seville Estate and Yarra Yering, with more recent additions from wineries like Mayer Wines, Jamsheed, Yering Station and De Bortoli. These wines are different from other regions as they are defined by cool-climate viticulture along with the characteristics of the Yarra Valley.

De Bortoli Shiraz

From our own vineyards, we make different styles of shiraz (or syrah as we call our high-end wine) under  Gulf Station Range (100% Yarra Valley), Yarra Valley Estate (all De Bortoli vineyard grown) and our Yarra Valley Reserve Release (from one rather special block in our main vineyard). From our Hunter Valley vineyard we make a beautiful medium-bodied wine under our Hunter Valley Wills Hill Shiraz. Added to these are other interesting wines under our Windy Peak and Deen Vat Series.

Here is a photographic summary of what goes into making our Yarra Valley Reserve Release Syrah… bare feet and all….

The old hill Shiraz block consistently delivers excellent quality fruit, producing only 4.4 tonnes per hectare (= 30 hectolitres per hectare) from vines planted in 1971. The fruit was hand-picked on the 1st/ 2nd of March, 2010, coming into the winery in small crates at 12.8 Baume. It is placed onto the sorting table so that only the pristine fruit makes it into the open fermentation vats. Approximtely 30 percent of the fruit is destemmed and 70 percent is whole bunches  – just very lightly foot-pressed. No added yeast is needed as fermentation occurs naturally from the ambient yeast. In the photo above taken two weeks later, winemaker Steve Webber helps with the plunging. After fermentation, the wine is pressed out, transferred to a tank for settling and in early April transferred into barrels. Now it is time to be patient as we wait for the shiraz to mature in French oak barrels . And we wait….



Follow Leanne on Twitter@DeBortoliWines and visit us at

Celebrating good food & wine

leanne / October 11th, 2010

De Bortoli wines was started by my grandfather, Vittorio De Bortoli, in 1928 and is now in the hands of my three brothers and myself as third generation family members.

Italian Family values

We live by our company philosophy (embodied in our family crest) of Semper Ad Majora – ‘Always striving for better’. Our goal is to make wines that are interesting yet approachable and to continue my grandfathers dream of making wine a part of everyday life, accessible and enjoyable for all.

Italian family values passed down from Vittorio remain as core values for our family. There is a culture of hard work, generosity of spirit and of course, sharing good food and good wine with family and friends.

Locale Restaurant

Food and wine have such an inexorable link that we can’t (or wont) do one without the other. At our Yarra Valley vineyard, we have an Italian-style restaurant called Locale that has been in operation for over 20 years. For us it is all about showcasing our wines with food. Tim Keenan, our head chef makes delicious food, sourcing as much locally as he can, growing as much as he can and relying on good produce from reliable sources. For the same reason we have set up a cheese shop and maturation room within our Cellar Door Sales. I must say, it speaks volumes to see the contented look on customers faces after dining in the restaurant! Click here for video on Locale restaurant.

A Recipe To Try At Home

Here is a recipe from my mother Emeri De Bortoli, who is the most fabulous cook. This has been a staple of our family for many years and is enjoyed by young and old alike.


Serves approx 6-8


1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

200g minced beef

50 g chicken giblets

60 g chicken livers

1 onion finely chopped

1 stalk of celery finely chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/3 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup water or chicken stock

1 teaspoon parsley finely chopped

Freshly ground pepper

Salt to taste


2-3 cups  arborio rice (depending on whether you want a soupy or dry risotto)

2 litres chicken stock (add more if needed.)*

50 g freshly grated parmesan cheese

1-2 tablespoons butter (optional but gives risotto a creamy finish)

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve.


Melt butter in saucepan, add oil, onion and celery. Sauté gently until onion is clear. Add  mince, liver and giblets. Cook over low heat stirring for about 15 minutes or until meat is cooked. Add tomato paste, wine, stock, salt and pepper and parsley. Cook for approx. 1½ hours simmering until sauce is clear. (At this point you can turn off heat and ladle sauce into containers and freeze for later use). Place ½ cup sauce (or more according to taste) in a larger saucepan, add rice stirring till coated. Then gradually add warmed stock  (heat in saucepan on stove or in microwave) stirring from time to time until rice is cooked and has absorbed the liquid.*More liquid may be added to make a soupier risotto. This is how we like it. Rice takes approx. 20 minutes to cook – it must be creamy without being mushy.Just before serving remove the pot from the stove and stir in butter and a little Parmesan cheese.

Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, crusty bread and a green salad. Enjoy with a glass of Windy Peak Sangiovese or Melba Lucia

Buon appetito


Follow Leanne on Twitter@DeBortoliWines and visit us at

Say Cheese!

leanne / October 5th, 2010

Yarra Valley Cheese Shop Visitors to our Yarra Valley Cellar Door are very fortunate. As one of the few wineries to have our own cheese maturation room and cheese shop, customers can enjoy a wide range of wines and taste some superbly aged cheese. Click here to visit the Cheese Shop on our website

A few years ago, we invited well-known cheese maker, Richard Thomas, to design a maturation room and to become our very own in-house affineur (a specialist who ripens and matures cheese). He designed a room that is as close to cave-like as possible; it provides the perfect constant temperature (11 degrees) and humidity (95%) needed to mature cheese perfectly. No moving parts and no forced air.

Click here for the video on the Cheese shop

Richard purchases Australian and international cheese which are kept in the maturation room until deemed ready for tasting and sale. Our staff also encourage visitors to Cellar Door to taste different wine/cheese combinations and it is a joy to see their expressions when they see what works exceptionally well.

Traditionally the assumption was that cheese is paired with red wine toward the end of the evening. In our tastings, it is often not the red wine that complements a particular cheese, but rather a sparkling wine, or even a dessert wine. Next time you’re planning a wine and cheese selection, why not experiment a little. There are many websites that give suggestions of which wines to have with which cheese. Just google wine and cheese matching and have a little fun with your friends.

Some of our favourite wine and Cheese matches?

  • From Australia – Meredith marinated goats cheese and De Bortoli Estate Grown Sauvignon or Sparkling Rococo.
  • From France – Fresh goats cheese from the Loire Valley. Len Evans once said ‘my idea of hell would be marooned on a desert island, with goat cheese and sauvignon blanc’. That was, of course, before our Yarra Valley Sauvignon!
  • Blue cheese like Rocquefort or Stilton match beautifully with a sweet botrytis dessert wine like our Noble One. Mmmm, truly a match made in heaven.
  • Valdeon, another blue cheese from Northern Spain. Often a mix of cow, sheep and goats milk, naturally blued in the limestone caves. Try with Black Noble, our glorious fortified version of Noble One.
  • Heidi Raclette. Made in Tasmania, this Swiss-style washed rind is traditionally melted over steamed potatoes. When ripened with care, Heidi Raclette is an Australian triumph in cooking or as a table cheese. It fits nicely with either a soft Pinot Noir or Beajolais style, or an unwooded white or late-picked styles.
  • Grana Padano, a hard cheese from partially skimmed unpasteurised Cows milk. An ancient cheese from North Italy. The sweet / salt tang makes it a great wine match, from sweet whites to dry reds. Try it with our Yarra Valley Shiraz Viognier or for something different,
  • Cheddar Cloth-matured. Traditionally wrapped in calico to preserve the rind this cheese adopts a ‘wet bag’ flavour with an open flaky texture unlike modern vacuum packed cheddars. Softer reds and aged fortified muscats are most suited to this cheese.
  • Cheers Leanne

    Follow Leanne on Twitter@DeBortoliWines and visit us at

    Twitter Updates



    Sign up to our monthly e-newsletter to be the first to hear about news, events and specials Current Members: Change details / Unsubscribe