Monday 1 August 2011


PUT this on the table with winter's
beef stews or lamb casseroles.

David Ellis

WINTRY weather calls for hearty beef stews of casseroled lamb chops, and just right to enjoy with either is a good Merlot.

One particularly nicely-flavoured and well-priced drop for just such pleasures is Margan Family Winegrowers' 2009 Merlot from their red volcanic soil vineyard at Broke Fordwich, in the Lower Hunter Valley.
Merlot vines in this vineyard grow on their own roots, rather than having been grafted onto a root-stock, producing small berries with soft tannins and concentrated ripe-fruit flavours – plums and mulberries coming foremost to mind on tasting, and also delicate spice and suggestions of vanillin oak.
Pay $20 and enjoy now with one of those great winter-time stews or casseroles, or if you prefer, partner it with chicken and grilled Mediterranean vegetables such as zucchinis, eggplants and peppers.
While this is a wine that maker Andrew Margan has created to enjoy young,  put it put it in the cellar for a few years to develop typical Hunter complexities.

NICE drop with poached salmon
and boiled or steamed Kipflers.
ONE FOR LUNCH: NEW Zealand's Toi Toi Wines produces some exciting and nicely-priced wines from its quite unusual vineyards in the Marlborough Region's Omaka Valley, a place with a unique micro-climate created by the valley being open to full-sun from the north, but enclosed by mountains on all other sides, and where days are warm and the nights cool.

Toi Toi's 2010 Brookdale Reserve Pinot Gris is the product of intensely-flavoured fruit from this micro-climate, with upfront classic Pinot Gris spice and pear flavours, and good acidity.
At $17.99 it's a good match with poached salmon and boiled or steamed Kipfler potatoes.

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