Wine(s) of the Week: University (week 4)

Hi everyone,

Sorry for this post going up a day late, after a long weekend of catching up with friends, my Cousin’s 21st party and work yesterday it was too hot to do anything but lay under the air-coniditioning  to try and remain cool. This week was a little quite on the wine front, with the heat coming back into full swing in Perth for ‘sweltering February’ drinking anything but water has been low on the priority list.

BF and I went out for dinner this week to Blend with the intention of checking out the recently opened wine bar next door which is run by the owners of Blend. BF ended up requesting to select the wine for dinner and came back with a 2011 Riesling from Claymore Wines. We spent much of the meal not only enjoying the wine but also trying to pin point a flavour in the wine that we ultimately called the ‘margarita’ as it began quite citrusy at the front of the palate but as it slipped down your throat it reminded us of the kick you get from tequila. Not the best description but it really was a nice wine and a very good pick by BF. By the end of the bottle however we wandered past the wine bar next door – Midnight Fox – but decided we would have to return on a different night to sample some of the drinks on offer there.

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This weekend has been another scorcher in Perth. To combat the heat I spent an afternoon with friends with a barbecue, pool and a bottle of 2012 Shiraz Rose from Casillero del Diablo in Chile. This was a dry Rose which I picked up for half-price ($7.50 a bottle) late last year. While normally I would have wished for more flavour in the wine as I felt it was a little lacking. However for the hot weather sipping this wine over ice was the perfect remedy for surviving the hot weather.

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There will be an increase in new wines however in a week or two as we are in the process of gearing up for our next Wine Century Challenge meet – if anyone is interested in meeting up in Perth and trying a few new wine varietals with some food and good company than feel free to send me a public or private message on my Facebook page or send me an email (gourmet . vicariously @ gmail . com – just remove the spaces) if you have any questions or want to be added to the growing list of members. It’s looking like Wednesday nights will be the norm for our meets and we are currently building a collection of locations both north and south of the river.

Until next time!

Wino 101: Australia Day BBQ – Pairing Red Wines.

Hi everyone,

This is the follow on post to last weeks Wino101, which focused on white wines that you could have or bring to a barbecue this summer including sweet, dry and sparkling suggestions. This post will be focused on red wines options.

Red wines are often forgotten about in the summer months and people look for something chilled to combat the heat. Reds however can and in some cases should be chilled when served depending upon ambient temperature as well as the varietal and style of the wine.

Rose is one red wine style which people flock to in the summer months. Rose is a popular choice in the summer months as it is served chilled and has just a hint of colour from some time on the skins. I have rediscovered Rose’s this summer since I attended the Rose Revolution last year, my review of the event can be found here. At this event I discovered some new dry Rose favourites. Since the Rose Revolution I have also found some new Rose’s which I feel deliver both on their aroma and on the palate, these wines are both from Western Australia:

  • Peel Estate Winery Rose.
Peel Estate Rose.

Peel Estate Rose.

  • Moondah Brook Rose.
Moondah Brook Rose.

Moondah Brook Rose.

  • Fifth Estate Rose.
Fifth Estate Rose and Tempranillo.

Fifth Estate Rose and Tempranillo.

Shown in the image above is a Tempranillo, which is originally a Spanish grape varietal that cane be had slightly chilled in the summer or room temperature in the winter months.

Another option for red wine drinkers if you prefer a wine with more body than a Rose is to consider a Pinot Noir. Personally I prefer those from cooler climates such as Great Southerm, Yarra Valley and Tasmania – however I seem to prefer those from the Yarra Valley.

Soumah Pinot Noir.

Soumah Pinot Noir.

And while red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz may seem to heavy for the summer months do not be afraid to leave them in the fridge for about half an hour before drinking them as red wines are meant to be drunk around 20°C which is much cooler than many a day of summer in Perth.

For those who prefer their reds to be sweet consider either a sweet Rose or a sweet red such as Brown Brothers Dolcetto & Syrah or Cienna, Banrock Estate Crimson Cabernet, etc.

Brown Brother's Dolcetto & Syrah.

Brown Brother’s Dolcetto & Syrah.

Brown Brother's Cienna.

Brown Brother’s Cienna.

Sparkling Shiraz is also an option for those who love both their Sparkling wines as well as their reds. This style of wine I have only sampled on a couple of occasions but it impressed me with the refreshing and slight hint of sweetness that the Sparkling Shiraz’s I tried possessed. Common Favourites include Andrew Garrett and Seppelt.

Seppelt Sparkling Shiraz.

Seppelt Sparkling Shiraz.

Andrew Garrett Sparkling Shiraz.

Andrew Garrett Sparkling Shiraz.

Until next time!

Wino 101: Australia Day BBQ – Pairing White Wines.

Hi everyone,

The first post of 2013 is quite fittingly about barbecues’ and in particular the one many Australians will have on Australia Day at the end of the month.This will be the first of two posts, this one will focus on white wine pairing while the Wino 101 post next week will focus on red wine pairings. When pairing wines with a barbecue the main aim is to keep the wine simple as the food is simple and uncomplicated. When it comes to white wines you are spoilt for choice as summer is the season for white wine as it is drunk chilled, which helps to fight off the summer heat.

Sparkling wine can be drunk throughout the entire meal. Sparkling wines range in degrees of sweetness as well as flavours and aromas. Common aromas include nutty, toasty, fruit, and yeast. With common flavours on the palate including those listed for aromas as well as the texture from the bubbles and the final finish of the wine. Below is a  Tasmanian Sparkling which I sampled on Christmas Day. Tropical fruit with a nutty finish, this wine would be a great drink to sip on throughout the entire barbecue.

Ninth Island NV Sparkling.

Ninth Island NV Sparkling.

For those who like it sweet can consider a

  • Sweet still: eg. a Chenin Blanc or Moscato or,
  • Sweet sparkling: eg. a Moscato or Spumante.

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Banrock Moscato is one that I tried this past weekend so as to be able to recommend wines at work. Personally this wine reminded me of Brown Brothers which is the ‘premier’ Moscato that people think of when they come in for a bottle at work. The tiny differences between the two wines can be easily justified by Banrock being roughly half the price of Brown Brothers. This is a wine is sweet with passionfruit on the palate and a delightful drink when chilled.

When you have your meats cooked and salads out of the fridge, you can choose to continue with the sweeter white or instead opt to move onto the more dryer white wines which have along with the fruit the sweetness from the sweeter wines is replaced by oak and/or acid coming through on the nose and palate depending upon the varietal you choose. Favourites for a dry white wine include:

  • Rieslings: acid and stone fruit – think Great Southern or Tasmanian,
Plantagenet 2012 Riesling

Plantagenet 2012 Riesling

  • Sauvignon Blanc: citrus, grassy and crisp – think New Zealand.
  • Semillon Sauvignon Blanc: tropical and citrus fruit, the wine has more aroma on the bouquet than the Sauvignon Blanc – think Margaret River where my favourite ones have lychee on the palate for a zingy surprise that leaves you feeling refreshed at the end of the glass.
Leeping Lizzard Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

Leeping Lizzard Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

Next week I will post up some options if you’re more of a red drinker for what to drink at a summer barbecue.

Until next time!

Wino 101: Christmas Lunch/Dinner Wines (Australian Summer Edition).

Hi everyone,

While the northern hemisphere is rugging up for a cold winter in Australia we will be getting our barbecues and bathers out in expectation of a hot and sunny Christmas Day. This post will hopefully be a good guide for you, whether you are supplying a lunch or dinner at your place of even just bringing a bottle of wine to wherever you end up on the festive occasion. I have broken the wine’s down into different categories of food that is often served in Australia on Christmas Day, along with some personal favourites.

Appetisers:

A nice glass of bubbly is a good way to start off your Christmas Day of feasting.

BBQ:

Consider lighter to medium bodied red wine or an acidic and aromatic white wine or dry Rose will pair across the range of foods you can barbecue. When pairing wine with barbecue you want to keep the wine simple and uncomplicated to match the simple flavouring and styling of food that you would barbecue.

Seafood:

When it comes to seafood you want to pair it with a light wine which has a nice degree of acidity behind it so that you really get the best flavours out of pairing it with the seafood. Look for a citrusy Sauvignon Blanc, a fruity and crisp Pinot Grigio/Gris or a dry Rose.

Roast Lamb/Beef:

Lamb and Beef being  darker and more dense meats will need a wine with more structure and depth in it so that both the wine and the food will compliment each other rather than one overpowering the other. You will also need to take the sauce(s) you will be using into account as their richness will also impact upon which wine is your best option.

For the meat: a red wine like a Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon that has seen some age in the bottle as well as having had the chance to breath either in a decanter or by opening the bottle before serving. Also if it is a very hot day think about popping your bottle of red into the fridge for about 15 minutes before serving so that thee wine will be at it’s optimum serving temperature while you eat your meal (15-20C). The wine will also develop over the course of the meal as it warms and you will see it’s aroma’s and taste evolve along with your meal.

Roast Chicken:

A roast chicken being a lighter meat allows you to pair a white or red wine with it, depending upon what seasoning and sauces you. For a roast with a light lemon seasoning look for a Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Grigio/Gris, Chenin Blanc or continue with the bubbles.

Roast Pork:

Less tannic reds are preferred when pairing with roast pork as it is a lighter meat than Beef and Lamb and due to that needs to be paired with a more softer wine that still has enough body to pair with the meat. Look for a red blend that contains Merlot or Viognier to soften the wine.

Cheese/Fruit:

Soft cheese = eg. Camembert and Brie

Consider white or sparkling wines, so as to not overpower the softer textures and flavours of the wine, however if you are daring a full bodied dry red is said to also pair nicely due to it’s contrasting texture and flavour.

Hard cheese = eg. Cheddar and Parmesan.

Consider red wines for a stronger tasting cheese otherwise if the cheese is milder in flavour and medium-to-hard texture you can then look into pairing it with a fortified, sparkling or a full bodied white wine.

Eye cheese = ed. Edam, Gouda, Havarti and Swiss-styled cheese.

Consider a full bodied white wine, medium bodied red wine or a sweeter desert or fortified wine to play best with the softer textures of the wine and the stronger flavours found in some of these cheeses.

Blue cheese = eg. Gorgonzola and Danish Blue.

generally sweeter and fortified wines do better with blue cheese, however if it is a mild blue cheese you can possibly pair it with a softer red wine. Look for a wine which is aromatic but sweet to give you the best contrast with the blue cheese.

Fruit: consider aromatic and/or sweeter wines.

Desert:

Fortified, sweet still and sweet sparkling wines would go amazing with desert.

Until next time!