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Have you ever heard of anyone finding clear glass like crystals in the bottom of their wine glass or bottle? Perhaps you've even found them yourself?
Don't panic, you've not found glass, you've found tartrate crystals or what winemakers sometimes term 'wine diamonds'.
Let me explain... Both tartaric acid and potassium are naturally found in grapes. During the winemaking process they bind to form a compound called potassium bitartrate. This is the same as cream of tartar used in your cooking at home.
Potassium bitartrate can become unstable at cold temperatures and can sometimes form clear, glass like crystals in wine. These crystals or 'wine diamonds' are perfectly harmless and if ingested will cause no ill effect, possibly only a slight grittiness on the tongue.
Although harmless, many winemakers, including ourselves, cold stabilise their wines. This process drops the temperature of the wine close to freezing for 3-4 days causing the crystals to separate from the wine and stick to the sides of the tank. We then drain the wine from the tank, leaving the tartrate crystals behind and hopefully preventing tartrate dropout. The process is not 100% foolproof and sometimes tartrates are left behind and can crystallise in the bottle at cold temperatures.
Tartrate crystals are more likely to be seen in white wines as opposed to reds because we generally don't chill reds.
So, if you ever find crystals in the bottom of your glass of wine, smile to yourself and count yourself lucky - you've found diamonds!
A visit to our cellar door is normally a very relaxed experience with very few rules. However, due to our new reality of living with Covid 19, we are now required to abide by very strict operating guidelines.
To ensure the health and safety of our staff, visitors and wider community we ask you to agree to the following conditions of entry to our cellar door:
- Wherever possible make a booking to visit. Upon booking we will ask for names, phone numbers and emails of every person in group.
- We encourage all visitors to download the Australian Government’s CovidSafe App before visiting.
- Any patron who is unwell or displaying signs of cold/flu/Covid 19, or lives with someone displaying these symptoms, is requested to remain at home and ring and cancel their booking.
- Be punctual. Due to strict capacity regulations late comers cannot be guaranteed a tasting. If running late please phone to advise – 0409 774 280.
- Use hand sanitizer provided when entering and exiting building.
- All patrons are asked to follow 1.5m social distancing and maximum capacity numbers of 4 visitors upstairs and 6 downstairs (excluding staff). Beyond these numbers seating is provided outdoors.
- All tastings will be seated and we encourage you to bring your own pen to fill in order forms.
- Contactless payments can be made by tapping card.
We have undertaken Covid 19 Hospitality Best Practice Training provided by the Restaurant & Catering Association and we are following stringent cleaning/sanitizing practices.
All that said, we hope you can enjoy your visit to our cellar door and feel safe in doing so. We are very excited to be welcoming you back!
It's with great excitement we introduce you to our one and only wine from Vintage 2020!
Why only one wine? Vintage 2020 was tough. Only two parcels of grapes survived the bush fires in our region - Merlot and Nero d'Avola. Although this was a hard loss to bear, we were incredibly grateful. Without the dedication and vigilance of our Rural Fire Service things could have been much worse.
To honour the men and woman who gave so much to protect our community we decided our one 2020 wine should be bottled under a new brand - Cape Series - alluding to the fact that not all super heroes wear capes!
10% of all sales are being donated directly to the Broke Rural Fire Service
It's our intention to continue this brand and keep donating money to those in Australia who need it most.
In true country community style our new label artwork is by neighbour and artist Glenn Warr.
To keep things interesting you can order a six pack of Rosé with a copy of his new book - The Warr on Mining - an illustrative comedic insight into the mining industry.
There's never been a better, more guilt free purchase than this. Buy beautiful Rosé and support your favourite winemaker and legendary firies at the same time!
Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not one to sit and watch too much television. With only Free to Air in our house the shows are very brain numbing.
So, if you don’t relax with the television how do you relax? Much to my children’s amusement I’m learning to crochet. Unlike the television, crochet allows me to relax whilst still keeping my brain functioning. All sorts of activities can continue in your brain whilst your hands are active. For example, something made me go through the alphabet recently wondering if I could name a grape variety for every letter of the alphabet. Try. It’s not easy. Let me know how far you get.
I have to admit, to completely get through the alphabet, or very almost, I did have to consult some help. I still haven’t found one beginning with Y. Feel free to help me out.
Here’s my list, with some extra information, just to keep those brain cells alive:
Arneis – A white grape variety originally from Italy producing floral scented, full bodied, white wines. Catherine Vale Wines in Broke produce this wine. Try it!
Barbera – A dark skinned, red grape variety originally from Italy producing well rounded plummy, cherry like red wines. With quite a few in the Hunter Valley, pick some up on your next visit.
Chardonnay – One of the world’s most famous and most widely planted white varieties. Chardonnays can differ greatly depending on the winemaker’s style, however, the variety itself is responsible for lovely fruity notes ranging from tropical (banana, melon, pineapple & guava) to stone fruits (peach, nectarine and apricot), citrus and apples, similar to what you find in our Stomp '18 Chardonnay.
Dolcetto – A red Italian variety originally from Italy producing soft styled fruity wines. Also grown by Catherine Vale Wines, Broke.
Enantio – A red grape variety originally from Italy producing red wines with distinctively fruity flavours of raspberries, red cherry and often with a hint of spiciness.
Fiano – A white grape variety originally from Italy, Fiano is often used both in blends and as a varietal wine. It adds body weight and roundness to blends and imparts floral, honey and spicy notes on its own. Try our Stomp 2018 Fiano. Its great with seafood, cheeses, pasta.
Gerwurztraminer – A pink skinned variety originally from France, Gerwurztraminer is recognised by its intense lychee, rose petal and Turkish delight aromas. The palate can be marked by its full texture low acidity and spicy stone fruit characters. Try The Little Wine Company Gerwurtz – always a favourite of ours.
Humagne Rouge – A red variety, originally from Switzerland, producing rustic, earthy, savoury style red wines. The most recognisable fruit flavour in this wine is dark cherries, often with a hint of spice.
Isabella – An American Hybrid with dark purple skins producing light bodied wines with predominant strawberry flavours.
Jampal – A white variety from Southern Portugal producing wines with predominant citrus characters and tropical fruit undertones.
Katsano – An extremely rare white variety grown in Greece and producing wine with sweet lemon blossom and honey aromas.
Lambrusco – A brightly coloured red grape from Italy used to make sparkling red wines. Lambrusco is more accurately seen as a collective term for over 60 distinct Lambrusco varieties.
Merlot – A red variety originally from France, known more for its ability to impart certain textures rather than flavours to a wine. Merlots are often described as smooth, rounded and easy drinking. Nothing beats our Pssst ‘n’ Broke '17 Merlot for easy drinking.
Nero d’Alvola – A red grape originally from Sicily, however, there are now over 55 vineyards in Australia. It’s particularly suited to dry, arid growing conditions, making it very relevant as our industry adapts to climate change. Our Cape Series '20 Rose is made of a blend of this and Merlot.
Ortega – A white grape originally from Italy, similar to Muscat with its overt floral scents.
Petit Verdot – Translates to ‘little green one’ in its French home because it can struggle to ripen. However, that makes it perfect for Australia’s warmer wine regions. Whilst once considered a blending grape many Australian wineries are beginning to champion it in its own right. Try Gartelmann's. They are not far from our cellar door.
Quagliano – An Italian red variety often used in low alcohol still and sparkling wines.
Roussanne – A white variety, originally from France, and often displaying aromas of herbal tea florals and poached pears, with beautiful texture and complexity. I think Tahbilk’s was the first I ever tasted. Locally, try Meerea Park's.
Sangiovese – A red Italian varietal which can be found in styles ranging from light and crunchy to dark bold and tannic. There a quite a few from the Hunter Valley you can try. David Hooke's is very good.
Tempranillo – A Spanish red variety responsible for many medium bodied, food friendly wines. Again, there are quite a few you can try in the Hunter Valley.
Uva di Troia – A low yielding, Italian, red grape used on it’s own or blended.
Verdelho – A white Portugese grape, well known in Australia for producing extremely drinkable wines with fresh tropical fruit characters. Perfect with spicy Asian cuisine or kicking back by the pool. Our Stomp Verdelho has classic flavours whilst, for something different, try our Sparkling Verdelho.
Wurzer – A little known white German grape variety that is a cross of Gerwurtztraminer and Muller-Thurgau.
Xnisteri – A white grape variety from Cypress.
Y – ???? I need your help here. Anyone got any suggestions?
Zinfandel – A dark skinned red grape with controversy as to it’s origins as it’s the same as the ancient Italian variety Primitivo.
I'm sure you can come up with plenty more. Let me know how you go and have fun trying the wines from all these grapes.
Run out of ideas for dinner? Something to celebrate but nowhere to go? Nothing in the cupboard to cook?
We've joined forces with The Deck Cafe & Sabor Dessert Bar and have a 5 course degustation meal, with matching wines, ready to be delivered to your door, this Saturday 2nd May!
You just need to chill the wine and follow Matt live on Facebook to learn how to finish and plate your dishes.
Believe me, you and your family will be impressed by this special meal.
Deliveries to Sydney, Central Coast, Port Stephens, Newcastle, Maitland and Singleton.
Don't live in one of these areas? I bet you know somebody who does, and you'll be their new best friend when you let them know about this amazing opportunity.
Degustation to your Door, Saturday 2nd May, 2020
5 course Degustation for 2 persons.
Only $65 per person (min. 2 people, food only)
Stomp Wines Degustation 6 pack $110 (RRP$152)
Baked figs with macadamia nut crust, blue cheese and sage cream sauce
Wine match - Stomp Sparkling Verdelho
Tasmanian Salmon, squid ink arancini with asparagus sauce and tomato and caper tapenade
Wine match - Stomp 2018 Fiano or Stomp 2018 Chardonnay
Maple glazed pork belly on French toast
Wine match - Pssst ’n’ Broke 2017 Merlot
Preserved lemon and rosemary lamb rump with soft polenta, caponata and balsamic glaze
Wine match - Pssst ’n’ Broke 2018 Shiraz
Sabor Dessert Bar
Tasting Plate -
Crunchy chocolate slice
Salted caramel mousse with sticky date pudding
Dark & white salted caramel Portuguese mousse
Chocolate & raspberry dome tart, Black forest scheibe
Wine match - Stomp Wines Moscato
ALL ORDERS, INCLUDING WINE, MUST BE PLACED WITH THE DECK CAFE BEFORE 2PM THURSDAY 30TH APRIL
PH (02) 4930 9007
BOOK NOW TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT! WILL SELL OUT VERY QUICKLY.
MAKE SURE YOU LET THEM KNOW YOU WANT THE WINE PACK AND MEALS.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE GO TO THE DECK CAFE WEBSITE.
Following on from my Christmas blog I thought I’d share another treasured family recipe.
Throughout most of his career, my gorgeous father-in-law served the Dubbo Region as an ambulance officer, rising through the ranks, to head the Orana Region Ambulance Service. However, before he was an ambo, he was a talented baker.
So often, at family gatherings, he’s shared with us how tough life was back then. Not that we don’t believe him, but every time he regales us with his story, we all go straight to Monty Python’s Skit - Four Yorkshire Men. He had no shoes, and rode his push bike from Peak Hill to Warren, approximately 141km. Here he stayed with his sister all week, working in her bakery, until riding back home at the end of the week. At this point in the story, we all break out, ‘Luxury… you had a bike… I lived in shoebox…’ And on it goes…
I digress, being a talented baker, he’s always baked the Easter Hot Cross Buns. That is, until his children were old enough to take him on and have a Hot Cross Bun baking competition every Easter. This year our baking competition will be a virtual one and we’re happy to open it up to you too. That is, if you’ve managed to score any yeast and flour in these strange times!
Please post your pictures to our social pages - @stompwines. I'm sure they'll all be amazing!
Happy Easter and happy baking!
Pa’s Hot Cross Buns
Drought, bushfires and now the Covid-19 pandemic... a steep learning curve for how to survive in small business during a crisis or three!
For now, according to Government regulations, our cellar door may stay open for takeaway sales only. However, to do our bit in 'flattening the curve', we've made the decision to close our doors and move to on-line sales only.
There's never been a better time for me to learn how to drive my website, right? And, for you, our loyal customers, there's never been a better time to help support small, family business, if and when you're able. Let's face it, we all need wine, right? And with your help, when this is all over, we will fling open our doors and welcome you back to the beautiful Hunter Valley, our home!
For now, please keep in touch on Facebook and Instagram, share our posts to your wine drinking friends. We encourage you to fill your cellar as we get creative with some specials and hunt down some older vintage wines to share. Couriers are considered an essential service during these difficult times and our wines can still be delivered directly to your door. Hallelujah!
What are you waiting for? Head on over to our virtual cellar right now! And, if you have any questions on any of our wines, remember we are only a message or phonecall away.
Meanwhile I'll continue my steep learning curve and hopefully not drink all the stock I'm meant to be sharing with you!
We miss your smiling faces already... but we are positive we will all get together again soon. Until then, wash your hands, stay safe and well and enjoy your time with your family.
Michael, Meredith and Alyssa
Thank you to all our Vintage 2020 Winemaking Apprentices...
With some of the best t-shirt art seen to date; a shiraz blend that has Michael realising he had some very good palates on site; a feast, from Chef Matt Dillow, that seemed endless; tunes from Mark Henderson that had guests dancing; some particularly stylish stomping, squishing & even head dunking?
We had one of the best stomp! events yet. Thank you for joining us.
Stomp! 2021 will be held on Saturday 6th March. Add it to your calendars or if you suffer from FOMO, fear not, you can book your tickets now.
Vintage in the Hunter Valley can be challenging… & this year certainly is. The prolonged drought has resulted in much smaller berries, less fruit & stressed vines. That said, Vintage 2020 was looking good… until the fire season started. How quickly things took a turn for the worse. Prolonged fire and resulting smoke in our region now leaves all Hunter Valley Winemakers closely monitoring grapes for evidence of smoke taint. This very real threat can lead to unpleasant taints in our wines. Twenty-one years making wines in our valley and this is a first for us.
Farmers are resilient… and let’s face it, winemaking is farming. Resilient? Well, with the help of our amazing Rural Fire Service, & the local community working together, we've made it through the devastating bush fires. We're slowly being forced to adapt to working with drought and with the help of The Australian Wine Research Institute and other wine regions who've dealt with fire before, we’re trying to get the best out of our grapes.
That said, we don’t think we’ll be crushing much fruit this year. Unfortunately, our grapes, grown in Broke, have been affected by the persistent smoke in our valley. Most have absorbed compounds that can eventually create ‘smoke taint’ in our wine. Not really an issue, I hear you say? Hmmm… it can taste like the bottom of a dirty ashtray. Not really a flavour we’d like to introduce to our wines.
We are currently conducting lots of mini ferments and trials working out what we can and can’t produce. Rest assured, although the decisions we’re being forced to make are incredibly difficult, we will only be producing the wines you’ve grown to love. Watch this space, once we know what we’re producing, we can’t wait to tell you about the label it will be bottled under!
So, whilst you leave us to the science, trials and hard decisions... we're asking for your help & support. We ask you to visit the beautiful Hunter Valley - for a day, the weekend or a mid-week escape. Stay in our Winemakers Cottage. Buy local Hunter Valley wines, particularly Stomp! and Pssst ‘n’ Broke Wine Co. And, maybe the best ongoing support you can provide is to sign up to our Stomp Wine Club. You know you want to! 😊
Your support means the world to us & will help us through some very hard decision making and a difficult year ahead. Thank you.
NB: The above outlines our current situation. We understand many people around our country are doing it very tough and our thoughts are with everyone suffering right now.
There are some recipes I will never relinquish, AKA, my Chilli Jam. However, in the spirit of Christmas, I thought I’d share my beautiful Mum’s fruitcake recipe – best, booziest fruitcake ever!
I grew up watching my very talented Mum bake and decorate fruitcakes. Everyone always loved them. I now love to do the same, especially at Christmas time. And the best thing about fruitcake is it keeps for months in the refrigerator, so you’ll always have something to share with your visitors over the festive season.
So here it is, complete with old measurements (if necessary you’ll have to do the conversions):
8 oz butter
8 oz raisins
8 oz currants
8 oz sultanas
3 oz mixed peel
2 oz cherries
2 oz almonds
1 ½ cups plain flour
½ teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Rum and Stomp! Tawny
Soak fruit in ¾ cup Rum, ¼ cup Stomp! Tawny. Keep soaking for a couple of weeks (the longer the better).
Choose tin - suits 23cm deep, round or 20cm deep, square tin.
Line tin well with 3 – 4 layers of buttered brown paper.
In a mix master, cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs one at a time.
Add sifted dry ingredients in small amounts, alternating with soaked mixed fruit. For a spicier cake add more spice to taste.
Add cake to tin. Don’t panic, it will fill tin – fruitcakes don’t rise. Surface can be smoothed with a wet hand (best to do this if intend to cover with fondant).
Place in a cold oven and then turn oven on to moderate. Cook for 2 – 2 ½ hours or more depending on oven. If cake is over-browning cover top with foil or lower oven temperature by 10-20 degrees.
Fruitcake is cooked when inserted skewer comes out clean.
Once removed from oven cut paper off around edges of pan. Skewer quite a few holes through cake and liberally sprinkle with more Tawny and Rum mixture. I probably use about half a cup.
Then turn cake, in pan, top-side down onto foil; wrap cake and pan tightly with foil. Cover pan with a towel and cool completely upside down. This helps the top of cake sit flat and level, particularly helpful if you want to decorate.
Once cooled, cake may be kept in a container in refrigerator for many months.
So there it is, my Mum’s delicious, boozy Christmas cake! See, I will share some things. 😉
Amazing served after dinner with a wee Stomp! Tawny or Muscat.
Happy cooking, Merry Christmas and don’t forget to share your efforts on our socials @stompwines, #stompwines