Friday, 7 November 2014

Favourite Australian Wines

I love wine! And I remember being so disappointed when I first moved to Australia because I just couldn't find anything that was up to the standard I was used to in Europe (without paying a fortune).

When I finally found a wine I liked I was stuck with that until I got sooo sick of it, and had no choice but to go through that horrible phase again of trying out new wines (mostly not so good).

Well! Those days are OVER!!! And if you've been suffering the same fate, you're going to love this! Because Australia has some amaaaazing wine! And you don't have to pay a fortune for a good drop. For me, the answer has been Wine Selectors. They deliver to your door, and every single wine I've had from them has been wonderful. Some you love more than others, of course, but you get your money back anyway if you don't like it! Not that I have ever had to do that.

And now that I know a lot more about Australian wine and what's good and not, I can also pick up some real bargains on Grays Online (auction). Beware though, there's a lot of crap there too... I use Grays mostly to get my hands on bargain bottles from wineries I've already tried several bottles of, and know make good wine. Also, the bidding price is not the final price. There's a buyers premium on Grays, so read up on the sales-conditions etc. before you purchase.

I'm linking to the wineries as well, but remember that cellar door is usually quite expensive. You can normally get the wine cheaper through sites such as Wine Selectors, or sometimes get a good deal from Dan Murphy's or Vintage Cellars (usually a bit on the pricey end though, but a really good selection).

Anyway, let's get to the good stuff!

Sparkling

Sparkling is my absolute favourite. I love champagne, especially Moet, but that's more for special occasions. Some of the wineries below produce equally beautiful sparkling at a fraction of the price. Seriously. It's amazing. Try them! NOW!

Blue Pyrenees Estate, VIC

This one won the best Australian Sparkling in the World 2014. If you can get your hands on it, get it!

My favourite blend, if in doubt - go for Chadonnay Pinot Noir blends. They're beautiful. Nice and fruity, but dry and not too sweet.


Relbia Estate, TAS

One of my favourite wineries in Tasmania. There's so much good wine being produced there at the moment! And this one is just incredible!!! I had to order more. If you love your sparkling, you just have to try it. They do some beautiful, light but full flavoured Pinot Noir as well.


Petersons Wines, NSW

Petersons in the Hunter Valley are known for their sparkling wines. I always know it's going to be a good drop, nice and dry, beautiful tight beads and creamy finish. Yummy! And what a price!!!

Their 2010 Sparkling Cuvee is really beautiful as well, but try to get it elsewhere than the cellar door if you can. And have a look at the Peterson Sparkling House. I want to live there!



Patrick of Coonawarra, Mother of Pearl, SA

This is a beautiful wine, and an absolute bargain at the price. It's a bit expensive at Cellar Door, but I've seen it for $15 at Wine Selectors and Dan Murphy's. Keep an eye out for it!



Current Grays Bargain: Borgo Bello Prosecco Extra Dry

I absolutely love a nice, dry prosecco! The beads are so tight and it's soooo creamy. If you can still get your hands on this beauty, it's well worth the money (at least twice of what I paid). I got a case of 6 for $39 (plus buyer's premium and delivery), but when I went back to get more I had to pay $44 and I've seen it go as high as $94.


Other wineries you want to have a look at for amazing Australian Sparkling are: Katnook Estate, Wicks Estate, Cassegrain, Josef Chromy and Pipers Brook.

Whites

My favourite whites at the moment are Riesling, Pinot Gris and Semillon. I'm a bit over Sauvignon Blanc so it would have to be pretty incredible for me to choose that over one of the other varieties. Chardonnay is not my style, unless it's crazy expensive (strange how I always seem to enjoy those). I guess I just can't get past a good Chablis and am disappointed with anything else on the Chardonnay front. So I have to go to Vintage Cellars, and pay a bit extra, for my imported Chablis. 

Claymore Wines, SA

Claymore Joshua Tree Riesling, 2013
Wow! This is so nice! Dry, crisp, elegant, well balanced. If you enjoy a good Riesling, this is a bargain! They're doing a Dark Side of The Moon Shiraz 2012 as well that is sooo fruity and full bodied. Yum!


The Little Wine Company, NSW

Ian Parmenter Gewurtzrameiner 2012
This is the wine that really opened my eyes on what an Australian riesling could be like. Absolute YUM! I already knew The Little Wine Company does some awesom stuff (try their Verdelho!), but this is sensational. Nice and dry, fruity and zesty. The Pinot Noir from Josef Chromy, TAS in this series is sensational as well. The best I've ever had!


The Hunter Valley is well known for their Semillon and this is a very good example of that! I love the zesty finish, fruit and balance of this wine.


Devil's Corner, TAS

Devil's Corner Sauvignon Blanc 2013
I predict these wines are going to go up up up in price the coming years, so snag your bottles now! I told you it would have to be an incredible Sauvignon Blanc to make my list - and this one is just beautiful. Nice and light, fruity, but crisp. Perfect summer wine! They do some pretty awesome Pinot Noir too!


Current Grays bargain: Domaine Houchart Cotes de Provance Rose 2013
Not exactly white, but it had to be in here. Sooooo good! It's light, but elegant, full of fruit and I love the taste of sour cherries in the finish. You have to keep your head cool to get this at a good price, I got it for $64 (6 bottles), but have seen it go for between $44-124.

Reds

Apart from Sparkling, reds are where my heart truly lie. I especially love Cabernet Sauvignon, or blends, but have really been getting into my Pinot Noir lately as well. A spicy Shiraz during winter is never wrong either!

Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, SA ($15-40)
There are so many beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon from the Coonawarra Region in South Australia, that I am putting this under one heading.

My favourite winery all time is Zema Estate. Their Family Selection is their premium range (the 2006 ($40+) is to die for!), but I've been enjoying the Zema Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 ($25-40) immensely. I also managed to snag a few bottles of the 2004 on Grays recently and they're drinking very well (huge smiley face). Keep an eye out for good bargains on wine from this winery!

Other favourites for Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra are Rymill ($16-24), Leconfield ($27-40) and Katnook Estate,($17-25). All super smooth, fruity and crying for you to match with cheese.


D'Arenberg, SA
The king of blends, known for high quality wines and a stunning vineyard. Their Dead Arm Shiraz is usually crazy expensive (for a reason), but try their GSM blend The Shepherd's Clock ($20-30)! I love it! Nice and smooth, spicy, fruity, perfect.


Irvine Springhill Merlot, 2012
I'm not usually a big fan of Merlot, but this particular one is to die for. It's so full bodied, got a bit of a bite, but soooooo smooth. And fruity. And beautiful. You will love this wine regardless of which type of red you usually prefer. They also do a very good sparkling!



It's expensive. It's beautiful. It's elegant. I especially enjoy their Lenswood Giles Pinot Noir. And got a 2004 at Grays for an incredible price. It's so beautiful! Usually ranging the $40 mark and up up up, keep an eye out for something special.


Current Grays bargain: Peos Estate Classic Dry Red, 2011
I managed to get a case of 12 bottles of this amazing wine - for $39!!! It drinks like a $20-30 bottle and I found myself preferring it to other, more expensive bottles I had at home. I already knew that Peos Estate produces beautiful wine so it was worth the gamle, and I'm delighted it paid off! If there are still any left - go for it (there are two versions of it, though, so if the label is different I haven't tried that one)!



This is just a handful of wines that I have been enjoying lately and would highly recommend. There are so many beautiful wineyards in Australia! Generally I tend to go South Australian when it comes to my reds, and cool climate for my sparkling and whites. But that's just a general rule and it's broken regularly.

Have you found your favourite Australian wine producers? I would love to know about them! 




New iHerb favourites 2014

Iherb is my favourite store for health foods, organic products and everything protein. I have been trying out a lot of new products lately, and would like to share some of my new favourites with you guys.

Remember, if you use the code AGA408 on your first order, you will get $10 off. Iherb offers really good, and cheap, international shipping at only $4, or $8 using DHL-express which I usually choose.

Have a look at my other blog post as well - Iherb Favourites - for even more tips on great products!

Protein

First, I'd like to start off with some new favourite protein products.

Finally I have found the perfect protein powder! They blend well (I always use a blender though, to get a really creamy blend - yum!) and work well for baking. The flavours are amazing, and I think the price is really good value. My favourite is probably the vanilla flavour, but the chocolate is really good too. I will also be trying the peanut butter one next time. Sounds so yummy!

These bars are in my opinion the best on the market. And what an amazing price on iHerb! My two favourites are the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and the Cookies and Cream. If you put them in the microwave for 20 seconds they're absolute heaven.

Snacks

It's always nice to throw in a few snacks when ordering, and these are some of the ones I've really been enjoying lately. They also make great little extra gifts for christmas and other occasions!

These are great little biscuits, and the recommended serving size of 4 is a great little treat with your tea or coffee, or for something sweet after a meal. They're meant to be hard, but they're thin and oh so yummy! The original is my favourite, but they also have a delicious chocolate version, mmm.
Silky smooth, rich flavour and oh so yummy! My favourite are the black truffles, but the dark milk chocolate one is really good too. And if you're into the salty/sweet combo the sea salt one is absolutely divine! What a treat!
Who doesn't like gummy bears? Yummy Earth have a good selection of organic sweets, but the gummy bears are my absolute favourite.

Tea

I love tea. I can never get enough, and I love trying out new brands!

I could write an entire blogpost just about this tea. I love all of them! And I LOVE the tins they come in, so decorative and can be used for all kinds of storage afterwards. My two favourites are the Paris and Vanilla Comoro. I usually add a few drops of Vanilla Stevia and some milk - and I'm in heaven. I really love the Cinnamon one as well, though. And the Raspberry Herbal makes for beautiful iced tea! Honestly, I want every single tea they carry.
Sometimes you want loose leaf tea, and these are delicious! My favourites are the Blueberry Rooibos (yum!) and Hibiscus Berry. A must try!

Hair and body

My hair and skin has never been as good as after I started using organic products. 

My favourite is the Gardenia scented one. How divine!!! It doesn't dry out your skin, and feels really luxurious. The scent is amazing. A good second is the French Vanilla

This hair balm styles your hair lightly and makes it look shiny and soft. I use it after showering and it helps define my curls, but sometimes I also use it to help keep my hair soft and straight. So it's very multi purpose. Love it!

How good is this stuff? My favourite is the Grapefruit Bergamot, but the Lavender Chamomile is really nice too. Great for dry spots on your face, especially before bed. I get eczema at times and this is one of the few moisture sticks I have no reaction with. And what a price!!! So worth the money!

I have previously told you about their Anti-Bug Balm, but my new favourite is the Anti-Bug Spray. Mosquitos love me, and this little guy here helps me fend them off. Wouldn't go outside at night without it!

Other favourites that I have written about previously and always stock up on are:

- Desert Essence Shampoo and Conditioner, and their Jojoba oil
- Alba Botanica Very Emolient Cream Shave
- Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner
- Nubian Heritage African Black Soap
- Yogi Tea Egyptian Licorice and Bedtime
- Garlic Gold Italian Herb Nuggets
- Le Saunier de Camargue Fleur De Sel
- NuNaturals Singing Dog Vanilla Extract Stevia

What are your favourite iHerb products? Anything I should try?



Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Lets go to the sea-side

View of Brisbane city from Kangaroo Point
When living in Brisbane I'm only a short drive away from the beach - something I have been taking advantage of since we finally got ourselves a car late last year. There are so many beautiful beaches to explore, shells to pick and sea-foam to jump in.

I am actually not a very big fan of sand, or swimming in the ocean, but I absolutely LOVE going for walks along the beach, collecting shells or looking at marine-life, listening to the ocean while relaxing with a glass of bubbles, and watching the sun rise or set <3

And as such I'd like to share some of my most precious moments the past months with you! If you're already living in Australia I hope you remember to take the time to enjoy this beauty so easily available, and if you're planning a holiday or thinking of moving here you sure have something to look forward to! :)

I have written a post about magical moments here in Australia previously, which also has some photos of amazing beaches and nature in Australia :)

Day trip to Sunshine Coast

Sunday afternoon at one of the many beaches in Gold Coast

A quick swim at Currumbin Beach

Beautiful Currumbin Beach with views of Surfers Paradise

Afternoon in beautiful Byron Bay

Exploring Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast

Pieces of a reef washed up on the beach in Surfers Paradise

Do you have any favourite beaches in Australia, or that you'd like to visit?


Sunday, 16 February 2014

New closets to outgrow (we moved house!)

View of the river and city from the park nearby
It's been a while since I've been active on this blog now, and I think it's time to change that! Life in Brisbane is still exciting, there's lots of things to explore and I continue to be amazed by the beauty of this country.

We recently moved house and I can say that I finally feel like we're somewhere I can truly call home. I absolutely LOVE our new place and am enjoying seeing it all come together as we unpack. 

Our new home is right next to a beautiful park (with subsequently beautiful birds, sunsets and river-walks), and there's a grocery store, pharmacy and post office just across the road. Being close to the river, we're also a short stroll from the CityCat and, as such, the city. I couldn't be happier! :D

Click on the photos for larger images :)

Front balcony and the 2 upstairs bedrooms
Livingroom and hallway
Kitchen, dining room and back balcony
Downstairs
Garden
There are also 2 bathrooms, both with bathtubs, that I forgot to take photos of! Love it! :D

And last, a few photos of our wonderful Tigerpus, who couldn't be happier with her new home! <3

Beautiful and very deadly


Have you made any exciting changes in 2014 so far? 


Friday, 27 September 2013

Winter in bloom - magical moments

Taken on the Gold Coast
Brisbane is such a beautiful city! It's nature can be oh so stunning, and I would like to share some photos from a few of the places I have visited this winter, and some magical moments I've had with mother nature! It feels strange to call it winter when it has been warmer than an average summer in Norway, but I can't say that I mind, really.

There are so many things here in Brisbane that still seem pretty exotic to me. Especially all the birds flying around, and all the amazing beaches just an hour's drive from the city. We do have some pretty amazing beaches where I'm from in Norway as well, just not in the same scale! You can click on the images to enlarge! <3

View from Mount Coot-tha and exploring the Botanical Gardens at the bottom of the Mountain


The Botanical Gardens at Mount Coot-tha

On our way to, and in, Ballina

Stunning and amazing Ballina! One of my favourite spots!

Byron Bay, Mount Nebo and chillaxing at home :)

It's the beginning of spring now, and the Jacarandas have just started to bloom. They're probably my favourite tree here in Brisbane - so beautiful. Here's a photo I took at New Farm Park last spring :)



Do you have any favourite nature moments from Australia? Or whatever country you currently reside in? What are they?


Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Scandinavian Festival

Viking stand!
This weekend I had an absolutely amazing Sunday, surrounded by fellow Vikings! :) It was the yearly Scandinavian Festival in Brisbane, with over 50 stalls of Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish and Icelandic food and products. It's the first time I've been there - as I only became aware of it this year, and it's something I had been looking forward to for quite some time. It was wonderful! And oh so extremely crowded!

It was one of those perfect sunny days with no clouds in sight - and boy does it get hot when you're bumping into and trying to find your way through hundreds of fellow Scandinavians, all searching for those longed for Scandinavian delicacies (I had a hot dog and waffles!) and lots of other stuff we normally can't get hold of as easily on this side of the planet. It's an excellent way of discovering little businesses dealing with Scandinavian products that you otherwise would never know about!

Delish hot-dog!
Obviously a lot of people were eager to stock up on some Scandinavian food, because the line for Swedish Goodies was one of the longest I've seen in a while - and when I say line I'm not talking about some polite British-style shit where everyone respectfully form an ACTUAL line and await patiently in turn... oh no. I'm talking about a typical Scandinavian line i.e. a big pile of people pushing and trying to get in front of each other, utter chaos and absolutely no regard for anything but themselves. Of course, I was in front. But who could blame anyone for pushing a bit when brown cheese, Norvegia, crisp-bread, kantarell-stock and salty licorice is at stake! Just look at all my loots! <3 My super man even got me a very fitting apron! ;)

Chocolate, cheese and traditional hand-painted plates! :)
There was also some solid Scandinavian entertainment, of course, with singing and dancing and traditional instruments.

Some traditional music and dance
The Scandinavian Festival is a joint effort held by the local clubs of all the Scandinavian countries, including the Norwegian Club of Queensland. I have been considering getting in touch with some other Norwegian expats here in Brisbane, but haven't really gotten that far yet. It was good to se them all gathered in a sea of blond hair and blue eyes at the festival though! ;) hehe.