Tuesday, 18 December 2007

THE RIGHT WINE FOR YOUR FESTIVE TABLE

YOU know what you’re putting on the plate for Christmas, but do you know if what you’re putting in the glass is the right wine to enjoy with it?

Here’s some help with what matches most popular Christmas lunch offerings.

ANTIPASTO: If you’re heading towards seafood antipasto, for a bubbly try the citrusy 2002 Starvedog Lane Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir Pinot Meunier at $26, or Koonowla’s 2006 Riesling that’s fresh, crisp and limey ($22.)

CHEESE & FRUIT PLATE: Penna Lane 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon – fruity and tannic to match hard cheeses ($24;) if you’re serving soft cheeses, Piromit 2005 Botrytis that’s sweet without being cloying, is a great match at $18 for 375ml.

BAKED TURKEY, HAM & VEGIES: BlackJack 2005 Shiraz that’s a seriously gutsy red at $35 for a serious main course; if you prefer white, go for the $20 Bidgeebong 2004 Tumbarumba Chardonnay that’s robust with lots of flavour.

ROAST PORK: Red – what else but Jim Barry 2004 Three Little Pigs (a smooth blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec) at $18; for a white, Lillypilly generously flavoured yet soft and more-ish 2005 Chardonnay ($15.)

SEAFOOD SALAD: Seafood & Semillon go hand in glove so Tim Adams lemony 2006 Semillon; or the lemon/limey Chateau Tanunda 2007 Riesling ($18.)

HAM, TURKEY AND CHICKEN SALAD: Penna Lane 2007 Rambling Rosé, a seductively flavoursome pink to serve chilled ($18,) or try a touch of Spain with Bidgeebong’s slightly sweetish 2004 Tempranillo ($24,) or a taste of Italy with the Piromit 2005 Pinot Grigio – and upfront white loaded with flavour ($15.)

CHRISTMAS PUDDING: Lillypilly NV Fratelli Seven that’s a sweet, gently fortified wine at ($19 for 375ml,) or Tim Adams 20 Year Old Tawny Port ($35.)

FRUIT SALAD & ICE CREAM: DeBortoli’s Deen Vat 5 Botrytis, a delicious lighter-style “sticky” that’s ideal with fruity deserts; $12.99 for 375ml.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

WINE OF THE WEEK: Rosemount Show Reserve 2006 Chardonnay

ONE FOR LUNCH: The 2006 vintage in the Hunter Valley got off to a good enough start with cool and dry conditions, but a burst of heat in December and January reduced crop sizes… which in fact resulted in high quality fruit for makers like Rosemount, whose Show Reserve 2006 Chardonnay is loaded with stonefruit flavours, creamy complexity, oak and touches of minerality.

Pay $20.99 and put it on the table with a seafood salad or roast chicken.

ON THE TRAIL OF A FLAGSHIP SHIRAZ

CAROLINE Dunn has once again melded the very best of Clare Valley fruit and her own unique skills to create the 2002 Copper Trail Shiraz, the flagship wine of the Annie’s Lane label.

She first selected small parcels of fruit from individual vineyards, and then used small-batch open fermenters to keep these parcels separate, so that each vineyard’s unique characteristics could be brought to the fore. The wines then had 22-months in a combination of new and seasoned French and American oak barrels.

All this resulted in beautifully rich blackberry, violet and dark chocolate aromas, and well-balanced ground coffee, mineral and berry characters, velvety tannins and a silky texture on the palate.

This a deservedly flagship wine that’s a delight to enjoy now, or think about tucking it away in the cellar to further develop over the next six to eight years.

The $53.99 price is not cheap, but for such a rewarding wine is well worth it for that special occasion lunch or dinner; share it with friends over a good char-grilled steak with garlic and herb butter or peppercorn sauce.

(If you’re wondering about the Copper Trail name, it goes back to a route forged by prospectors following the discovery of copper at Burra in the late 1840s; the Trail passed through what are today the Annie’s Lane vineyards.)

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

WINE OF THE WEEK: Beelgara’s 2007 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc

ONE FOR LUNCH: SEMILLON Sauvignon Blanc has really taken off in this country in recent years, and when you can grab an award-winning bottle such as Beelgara’s 2007 at just $7.99 it’s little wonder. This wine’s got lively citrus flavours, touches of capsicum, and tropical-fruit freshness; at the price and quality it’s just the drop with summery seafoods, salads and crispy warm rolls.

AWARD-winning Beelgara 2007 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc: great value at $7.99 to go with seafood or oriental stir-fries.

A GOOD NOSE & GREAT LEGS…

WE always digress a little at this time of year to bring you our pick of some Christmas-stocking reading for a special someone into the enjoyment of wine.

And if you’ve family or friends fit that category, don’t look past giving them The Art of Wine from the Vine to the Table – sub-titled “a good nose & great legs.”

Written by wine educator, broadcaster and marketer, Robert Geddes it’s 300+ easy-to-read pages are jam-packed with the story of wine from the importance of where the grapes are grown (“soils ain’t soils,”) to their month-by-month life-cycle, the difference between making table, sparkling and fortified wines, and wine varieties including some we bet you’ve never heard of.

Rob, who was only Australia’s third Master of Wine, also talks about what to look for in terms of bouquet and nuances of flavours on the tongue and through the nose, the importance – with examples – of matching food and wine, “glass rules,” and the difference between “great” and “boring” wine lists.

This is a most enjoyable book for those who already know something about wine, but want to know more: and you’ll enjoy his lively writing style that ranges from the racy to the delightfully droll and quirky.

At $39.95 in time for Christmas, the wine buff will find themselves referring to this gem time and again – and we loved the many quotable quotes scattered liberally through its pages, from W.C. Fields’ “Who took the cork out of my lunch?” to the white-collar crim who told his captors on his way to prison: “I’m not worried about the reds, they’ll keep. But I am worried about the whites.”

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