Each morning I drink coffee from cafes around Perth, many of whom use take-away cups with featured artists or artworks on them.  They range from cool to really epic, and it begs the question: 

Why aren't we doing something with our bottle bags?

We are an independent premium wine/beer/spirits retailer, it makes sense that we support local, independent artists.  So here we are.  

The hope is that you learn about someone that you may not have heard about before, that you have something new to talk about, and most importantly, it supports a local artist who is leading in their field. This time round - it's Smij.

The program is unique in Australia - we are the first liquor group to do it, but I wager we won't be the last. 



Smij started out life as a small shrubbery but with regular watering he has grown into a Perth based artist. Heavily influenced by music and custom culture he is a self-proclaimed selfish painter and his artwork is a regurgitation of his imagination.

All though not always noticeably of this world his subjects and subject matter often tell relatable stories, narrowing the gap between the surreal and the real world.

Instagram: @_smij_



>> To create 3 original designs to be printed onto paper bottle bags. Bottle bag sizes are single bottle, double and triple bottles.  The series will be printed as a limited run, and distributed to our stores.

>> Each bag is to carry a different design.  There will be 3 designs in the series.  The design can cover as little or as much of one side of the bag.

>> The focus of each design is entirely up to you, our only stipulation is that it is reflective of your style.





Only a limited number of these bags have been printed, and they will run out, so get into your local Liquor Barons store and collect all three.  

Let's get serious with Yalumba

Today we are looking at Yalumba – one of the Barossa’s oldest winemaking families.  If you’ve ever had the privilege of going to the stately winery in Angaston, it is impossible not to feel the history of the place – it’s palpable.  Every level of the company is run with an air of fanaticism and loyalty that is an absolute marvel to witness, and Samuel Smith & Sons the parent company, remains to this day a wholly family owned company.

Yalumba, Patchwork Shiraz, Barossa Valley 2014

“From one of the Barossa’s oldest winemaking families, comes an unmissable, great value Barossa Valley Shiraz.  2014 vintage was typified by challenging curveballs and unpredictable weather patterns, but overall produced wines of complexity, balance, and dare I say it – finesse.  Yields were down on 2013, but quality was up, so snatch up the 2014’s while you can. Purple/ garnet in colour, crushed pepper, blackberry, mulberries and poached raspberry.  The palate is bright and yet intense – powerfully fruit driven, good structure, acidity and length.  There is a creaminess here.  This is classic Barossa – blueberries, crushed black pepper, full red berry on the mid palate, and a long spicy finish.  Structured and round.  Awesome value for money.  Perfect for the rainy weekend ahead…92 points and $23”

100% Shiraz

Yalumba, The Scribbler Cabernet Shiraz, Barossa Valley 2012

“The Scribbler is often seen as the baby brother to the iconic Signature Cab Shiraz.  There’s nothing more Australian than this blend, and doubly so from the Barossa, the birthplace of the Cab Shiraz. 2012 was an exceptional vintage, producing high quality, well balanced wines that have been internationally lauded by wine press. Deep and dense in colour, the cabernet playing a huge role here.  Cassis, freshly turned earth, blackberry, leather, hints of cedar – it’s clear to see why this is a blend, with each variety so complementing the other.  Balanced and rich, the 5 years of age has mellowed out the mouthfeel and tannins, meaning this is a plush, spicy, silky and deeply satisfying wine. Perfect for the cooler weather. Cassis, blueberry, raspberry, crushed pepper spice, hints of licorice, smooth tannins and great intensity.  For a $23 wine, this is hard to go past. 93 points”

54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Shiraz

Yalumba, The Signature Cabernet Shiraz 2013

“The 2013 vintage in the Barossa valley will be remembered as the driest, earliest and quickest vintage in memory.” (Barossa Grape & Wine Association)  The quality from the vintage has been strong across the board, and this is no exception.  Each year, the Yalumba wine company dedicates The Signature to someone of significance – this vintage, it is Andrew Murphy Director of Wine at Yalumba.  The first thing I notice about this wine is that it is absolutely plush, concentrated and complete… this kind of flavour only comes from the Barossa.  Steeped in blackcurrant, ripe red berries, silky tannins and great structure.  The Hungarian and American oak provide a softness, a sweetness, a roundness to the wine.  This is delicious now, but if you can hold onto it, will develop into a stately wine over many years to come.  95 points, $65”

Celebration or despair...


Election wines – what to drink

Let’s assume for the moment that we’re all going to stay in on Saturday night and watch the election results flood in.  This is going to be a particularly interesting election, what with the unprecedented preference arrangement between the Libs and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation; perhaps you’re hoping this leads to failure, so that the contentious Roe 8 project will be permanently diverted.  Whatever your viewpoint, there may be cause for celebration, or despair.  So – what’s on the menu?

Something to start – let’s get the ball rolling:

Amelia Park, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, 2016, Margaret River

The forecast is warm, so let’s head for WA’s perennial favourite blend – SSB.  The grassy characters that spring from semillon are alive and well in this wine.  Bright and vibrant, redolent with ripe citrus, green apple, sugar snap peas and jasmine florals.  With enough texture and complexity to make this perfectly suited to wide range of foods – it’s recommended to throw some Exmouth King Prawns on the BBQ and watch events unfold.  93 points and $20.”

Something fancy – it case it swings your way:

Martinborough Vineyards, Te Tera Pinot Noir, 2014, New Zealand

State elections have the power to directly influence our daily lives, sometimes even more so than Federal.  So let’s pretend this is going to go the way you want, and you pop into the pantry/wine fridge/cellar to open something… anticipated.   Located on the southern tip of the north island, Martinborough Estate has notable peers in Ata Rangi and Craggy Range.  This wine is right for this occasion – supple, spicy, textured and satisfying.  Ripe red cherry, pomegranate, blood plum and crushed black pepper.  Hailing from a great vintage, this is one to seek out. 94 points and for as little as $32.”

A comfort wine – in case it didn’t swing your way, and you don’t want to talk about it:

Mr Barval Nebbia, 2016, Margaret River

This brings a smile to my face every time I drink it.  “Here’s hoping it works tonight.” 100% nebbiolo picked from a vineyard south of Margs, and made in the lighter, fresher ‘Langhe’ style, this wine shows us that concentration, texture, complexity and vibrancy can come from WA nebbiolo.  After crushing, the juice spent just 5 days on skins, plunged by hand every 2 hours (a hectic schedule for Rob Gherardi the winemaker), and then bottled after 10 months in old oak.  Strawberry, minerality, refreshing acidity, violets and roses; all balanced by drying tannins and spice.  Only two barrels made, and perhaps more traditional in style to the 2015.  Love this for a lighter style red in warm weather.  96 points, and $35.

Tassie pinot... what's not to love?

Heading home on the ferry after a day spent at MONA

Heading home on the ferry after a day spent at MONA

I’ve ever met a Tassie pinot I haven’t loved.  Tasmania was the focus of conversation las night, and it reminded me how much love I have for Tassie wines, but more specifically – Tassie pinot.  Pristine like the breeze off the Derwent, uncomplicated like the people and full of pleasure like the countryside and scenery.

Typically, Tasmanian Pinot is not the cheapest pinot in Australia, however in my books, it has the most reliable flavour profile – an unmistakeable ‘Tassie’ character.  The following two wines from the great 2015 vintage are absolute standouts, for different reasons. 

2015 Devil’s Corner Pinot Noir, Tamar Valley

“Hard to go past this for value for money.  Bright summer strawberries, silky mouthfeel and enough spice on the backend to maintain interest all the way to the end of the bottle.  Packed with raspberry, pomegranate, red currant, ripe December cherries and hints of blood plum.  This is a juicy, drink now style pinot: reliable, delicious and incredible value for money.  Typically retails for around $20 and 92 points.”

2015 Dalrymple Pinot Noir, Pipers Brook

“If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting winemaker Pete Caldwell, you’ll know what I mean when I say, ‘Dalrymple is a bloody happy experience’.  Pete has an almost permanent smile (perhaps due to his great job – who knows) on his open face, and is one of the most approachable, intelligent and humorous winemakers in the industry.  This wine is created from a blend of three different vineyard regions: the Dalrymple own vineyard in Pipers Brook, Coal River Valley and one parcel from a grower in the Upper Derwent Valley.   This approach allows for each of these site terroirs to contribute complexity and nuance to the final blend.  The wine is redolent with ripe black cherry, blood plum, fresh raspberry, crushed black pepper, hints of clove and aniseed, and suggestions of Christmas spice… cinnamon perhaps.  Like all the Dalrymple pinots, this is a step up in complexity, body, structure and will comfortably cellar, if an aged pinot is more your jam.  95 points, and around $40.  Well worth it.”



Bare All Wine Co

Nic Peterkin is at it again.  Son of Dr Mike Peterkin (Pierro), and owner/winemaker of L.A.S. Vino wines, Nic has just released a super-small batch and very affordable range of wines from the Margaret River region.  There are three wines in the range: a rose, chenin blanc and a cabernet franc (all of which are multi-varietal blends). The labels are identical and don’t display a vintage, so you’ll have to keep your wits about you.

A new release for his L.A.S Vino label, to be released in April this year is his 2015 Barossa Shiraz.  Keep your eyes out for this one – as usual he has embarked upon this project with originality and confidence.

Bare All Wine Co Rose 2016

50% Shiraz, 25% Pinot, 10-15% Nebbiolo, plus a bit of Viognier 

Spicy, concentrated, full, textured and exciting. Made at the urban winery event at Petition in the Perth CBD.  Unfined, but filtered. 92pts and $20

Bare All Wine Co Chenin Blanc 2015

91% Chenin Blanc, 5% Riesling, 4% Viognier

Natural barrel fermented, no malo, lees stirred, two barrels only.  Carries sediment. Only settled in tank for two weeks, cloudy.  Cloudy apple on the nose, tight minerally, delicious. Paired with crab at the Wildflower restaurant degustation. 94 pts and $20

Bare All Wine Co Cab Franc 2015

80% Cab Franc, the balance being Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo & Petit Verdot

Oak for 2 years, tank topped with pressings of Cab Sav, Neb + PV.  There's a caramel flavour mingled into the raspberry, blackberry fruit.  This is perfect for Perth summer (if it ever gets here) medium/light bodied, pinot-esque.  91 pts and $20

2015 LAS Vino Barossa Shiraz, release April 2017

From a 20yr old shiraz vineyard in the Barossa, made by his mate Jimi Lienert in the family shed over there (the surname should sound familiar…. His uncle Steve Lienert is the senior red Winemaker at Penfolds).  Full and spicy - elegant and full of fruit - red apple, blood plum, long and plush, love this. 95 pts and $65.

Wines to Drink When it’s Raining


Who can believe this weather recently? It’s supposed to be summer!  If you, like us, have drastically altered your wine choices to suit the storms, and have dusted off the winter clothes months earlier than you expected to, then we hope this little buying guide will help refresh your memory on stormy wines… even though it’s still summer.

Below is a little buying guide for rainy day wines, plus some standouts from recent trips to the local.

Cabernet + Cabernet Merlot blends – Margaret River.  
Producers to look out for: Cullen, Deep Woods, Vasse Felix, Amelia Park, anyone really.  Most wineries create delicious Cabernet + cab blends at many different price points.  If you’re really in the mood to search – Ipso Facto Cabernet…. Moorish.  And for something a bit off the wall – try the Brash Higgins Cabernet Franc from McLaren Vale.  Phwoar.

Big + peppery - Barossa Valley.  Producers to look out for: Yalumba, Standish, First Drop, Spinifex Creamy and juicy - McLaren Vale. Producers to look out for: Some Young Punks, Brash Higgins, Ministry of Clouds
Structured, engaging and elegant - Frankland River. Producers to look out for: Swinney Vineyards, La Violetta (Up! shiraz)

Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale – some elegant and exciting examples to be found in both of these regions. Producers to look out for: S.C.Pannell, Ochota Barrels, Clarendon Hills – and for a great value and totally slurpable suggestion – don’t walk past the Kaesler Stonehorse Grenache Shiraz.  Around the $19-20 mark.

Interesting plantings all over Oz.  Producers to look out for: West Cape Howe – value for money at ~$20

Interesting plantings all over Oz.  Producers to look out for: Primo Estate, S. C. Pannell, and from WA (always support your local superheroes) Mr Barval and L.A.S. Vino.  Love both these WA boys – and they make their Nebs from the same vineyard.  If you’re a true nerd, you’ll seek out both, open them at the same time, and see the difference the maker makes.

nteresting plantings all over Oz. Producers to look out for: Coriole

Powerful, spicy and intense: Margaret River Producers to look out for:  LAS Vino, Pierro, Deep Woods, Cullen, Xanadu, Vasse Felix…. The list is extensive – Margs Chard is renowned for a reason.
Spicy fine and long: Mornington Peninsula, Tasmania Producers to look out for:  Dawson & James (premium – treaty yourself – fine and gives Burgundy a run for its money), Tolpuddle, Yabby Lake.  We’re smiling as we suggest these – they’re all incredible.
Bit of everything great: Yarra Valley Producers to look out for:  Mac Forbes, Giant Steps, Seville Estate

Great Southern first, then Clare Valley, Eden Valley, Tasmania Producers to look out for:  Paul Nelson (Denmark, lees contact, complex), Brave New Wine – Sunshine & Hercules (natural, out there), Grosset (classic benchmark – world class), Clos du Tertre (Great Southern – fine and precise).