Tuesday 11 October 2011



SNAP-up this WA beauty with pan-fried
baby snapper and baked eggplant.
David Ellis

WESTERN Australia's Capel Vale has come a long way since Perth medico, Dr Peter Pratten and his wife Elizabeth were the first to recognise the potential of the quiet banks of the Capel River for cool-climate viticulture, planting their first vineyards there back in 1974.

And an interesting new release from their still family-owned Capel Vale is a  Debut label 2010 Chardonnay that's made from fruit that's largely from vines that were first planted as Riesling and Gewurztraminer, and cut-back and grafted-over to Chardonnay in the late 1970s.

This buy-now, drink-now wine has lovely tropical pineapple aromas together with some peach, apple and melon, and on the palate displays plenty of fresh varietal citrus and stone-fruit characters.

Pay $18 and match it with pan-fried baby snapper served with baked eggplant, tomato and a sprinkling of basil.

DUCK confit an ideal partner with
this delightful Yarra Valley Pinot Noir.
ONE FOR LUNCH: VICTORIA's Yarra Valley maker Mandala Wines has released a more-ish Pinot Noir from the excellent 2010 vintage, after skipping a year in 2009 because of climatic problems that owner Charles Smedley did not want to see impact on the company's show-case reputation.

"The 2010 vintage was outstanding with warm and mild conditions allowing for a long and gentle growing season," he says. "And particularly good was rain that came at exactly the right time, negating the need for irrigation and thus expressing our cool climate sites to their very best."

Here's a Pinot Noir from vines that were both fruit- and shoot-thinned to lower yield and maximise flavour, and which is reflected in the beautifully forward ripe red-berry fruit on the palate. Pay $28 and embrace this one with duck confit or a cold charcuterie platter.

(NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out  http://www.vintnews.com )

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