15 January 2007


Happy New Year to all !! We trust everyone enjoyed the holidays and toasted in the New Year with a great Champagne. We saw many of you over the last several weeks and thank you for stopping by the Shoppe.

Upcoming Wine Club Event

As most of you know, in the past we had our annual black-tie event around the Christmas-New Year's Holidays. However, so many of us are so busy around that time that we decided to move it this year to be a wonderful, romantic BE MY VALENTINE Bash! The date is Monday February 12 so you have plenty of time to plan your glitzy, glittery wardrobe. Dress will be formal/black-tie (or as close as you can come to that given our usual mode of dress). CAPRICORN RESORT will host us for this event, which will give everyone a chance to meet the new owners, Kit and Jenna Kersten, their family and their staff. Kit and Jenna are from California and have a combined 30 years experience in the restaurant industry. They are making some fabulous changes to the resort and to the menu so we are very excited about this event. Everyone's favorite, Champagne Ruinart, will flow freely beginning at 6:30 PM followed by Dinner paired with great wines.

Here's the menu with wines�


Monday February 12 2007
Arrival 6:30 PM
Champagne Ruinart Brut
Cash Bar

First Course
Island Caesar Salad
Crisp chilled Romaine with tropical vegetables in a special Caesar sauce topped with shredded Parmesan
-Sartori Pinot Grigio Blush-

Second Course
Seafood Madeira Tureen
Succulent shrimp, lobster and fresh fish simmered in an aromatic broth served over mushroom rice
-Yalumba "Y" Viognier-

Third Course
Crab Dumplings
Tender Stone Crabmeat dumplings in a spicy cream sauce served on a bed of red cabbage - a West Indies specialty!
-Sartori Pinot Grigio-

Fourth Course
Sweet and Sour Lobster
Rolls of sweet tropical lobster in a sweet and sour red sauce with fluffy rice
-Georges Duboeuf Pinot Noir-

Bananas Foster
-Baronne Mathilde Sauternes-

$185 Bz Members $200 Non-Members

Dress: Formal/Black Tie/Island formal

Transportation is NOT included. However, Island ferry will have a new covered boat that carries 50 persons and we have arranged a special fare round-trip of $20 Bz. The boat will leave Fido's dock at 6 PM sharp. If you plan to use this, please reserve at the Shoppe and you will receive a ticket.

We are happy to take your reservation by phone but we ask that you please pay by February 5 as we must commit to the restaurant at that time. Sorry no refunds unless we have a waiting list and can fill your spot.

Wine of the Month - Yalumba Viognier

You may have heard that there is a serious drought in the Land Down Under and the bad news is that wineries there are predicting a 15-25% reduction in grape production because of it. So before the wonderful Australian wines disappear from the shelves or get too pricey, drop by the Shoppe and stock up. We have good value whites and reds from Tyrrell's Vineyards and Yalumba ready for you. One of our favorites is one you may not have tried - Viognier from Yalumba. Let's take a look at this up and coming varietal and the largest family owned winery in Australia.

Yalumba was founded in 1849 by Samuel Smith, British migrant and English brewer, who had brought his family to Angaston seeking a new life. After purchasing a 30-acre parcel of land just beyond the southern-eastern boundary of Angaston, Smith and his son began planting the first vines by moonlight. Samuel named his patch "Yalumba" - aboriginal for "all the land around". Six generations and more than 150 years later Yalumba, Australia's oldest family owned winery, has grown in size and stature, embodying all that has made the Australian wine success story the envy of winemakers the world over.

Yalumba is also widely recognized for their environmentally conscious approach to grape production and winemaking. They are committed to preserving the environment, using the least amount of pesticides possible, and encouraging proper disposal of bottles and their ever-increasing screwcap closures.

The history of Yalumba & screw-cap closure spans more than three decades. The first screw-cap used at Yalumba was the Stelcap in 1970. The original Stelcap used a cork layer and paper, and then after that an expanded polyethylene layer. A cork was used under these caps. Yalumba was instrumental in the introduction of Stelvin alternative sealing system for wine bottles. Yalumba and a group of other wineries (Hardys, McWilliams, Penfolds, Seppelt, Brown Bros & Tahbilk) were involved in developing and proving up the concept from about 1973, first using it commercially in 1976. Unfortunately, while the wine industry was excited about the screw-cap, wine consumers were less so, seeing the metal cap as an indication of a lower quality product. As a result many of these wines that had been sealed under screw-cap, reverted to cork. Screw-cap eliminates the possibility of wine taint from cork and, as there is not a lot of the sealing polymer in contact with the wine, flavor absorption from the closure is not an issue. Screw-cap is a wonderful seal for ensuring great bottle ageing of appropriate white wines, particularly Riesling. Screw-cap removes all the problems associated with using closures that are "stuffed" into a bottle neck. The internal bore of a bottle is not a controlled surface during the bottle making process, whereas the outside surface of a bottle is. As the seal does not allow any air into the bottle at all, the wine undergoes a slow, but perfect bottle ageing process.

As Australia and New Zealand are moving almost exclusively to artifical closures, the rest of the wine consumer world has begun to embrace the idea and the resistance to buying screw-caps is vanishing. We love them here especially where the journey from the winery to La Isla Bonita is a long and arduous one.

So now to Viognier. Exotic, luscious, seductive, full-flavored, musk, spice, apricots, peaches, citrus blossoms, lychees, mysterious and alluring - these are some of the enticing descriptors that the rare Viognier wines attract. The original home of Viognier is France's Rh�ne Valley and it is now grown almost exclusively in the small Condrieu and C�te R�tie regions.

In 1980, Yalumba planted 1.2 hectares of Viognier in the Barossa - Australia's first commercial Viognier plantings. The Viognier grew quietly for 10 years, allowing the vines time to form regular cropping patterns and giving Yalumba a 'breaking-in' period to experiment with the variety. Today, Yalumba has the largest mature Viognier resource and the oldest commercial vines in the Southern Hemisphere. And the winery now has access to around 29 ha of Viognier from a range of viticultural regions.

"Viognier is incredibly challenging and demands handling with kid gloves," says Yalumba winemaker, Louisa Rose. "It's unpredictable, difficult to grow and the yields are low. The variety always has the ability to surprise you - one day the grapes on the vine are dull and flavourless yet the very next day there'll be the explosion of musky apricot characters that make it so appealing."

Yalumba makes four Viognier white wines - the fresh and citrusy Y Series Viognier, the Eden Valley Viognier, which is made in an 'up-front' style in terms of fruit flavour, with immediate varietal expression for early drinking. 'The Virgilius' is Yalumba's 'super-Viognier', a benchmark wine made using grapes from the older vines with the ability to benefit from bottle maturation. Also made by Yalumba is a Noble Pick Botrytis Viognier - a unique, and luscious dessert style wine.

We have only the Y Series Viognier at the Shoppe right now (Eden Valley sold out) but we are planning to add the others soon. We will have the "Y" open for tasting over the next couple weeks so please drop by and let us know if you like it!! It is closed by screwcap as the winemakers believe the Viognier grape has shown itself particularly prone to flavor modifications by cork.

Remember we have wines open for tasting every day and your Wine Club discount ensures great bargains. We love to see you so please stop by to chat and taste.

As always, thanks for your time. Enjoy your wine!

Mary Ellen