Tag Archives: red wine

Let them drink wine… “hang on, how many calories is in that?”

How was your New Years? Mine was great! Lots of good food, good wine, and good company.

In fact, I probably had a little too much good food and good wine.

Most see the start of the new year as a time to shape up and shed those few kilos stacked on from the Christmas celebrations in December. Myself included!

fat barbie

Even Barbie can get carried away over the festive season!

While few of you are still kicking back and enjoying the good life, many of us are putting ourselves on a calorie restricted diet and exercise regime. Wine is one of those items that really packs a punch (or grape punch!) when it comes to calories.

Whenever I’m trying to watch my calorie intake I like to compare things to junk food, as it helps me avoid consuming it if I think I’m consuming a piece of junk food.

To put wine into perspective, here’s an overview of what you’re potentially consuming if wine was a piece of junk food.

Fine print to note – Comparisons are purely subjective and depends on how much you pour in your glass. These measures are based on a standard pour.

Red wine = 125 calories

1 quarter of a Big Mac burgerNew Phototastic CollageThink about it, consuming 4 glasses of red wine you might as well just eat a Big Mac!

White wine = 121 calories

Half a McDonald’s cheeseburger

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Consuming a whole bottle of white stacks up to be 3 cheeseburgers!

Sparkling wine = 84 calories

1 Freddo frog

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Let’s admit it, you never stop at one glass of sparkling. Am I right?!

Fortified wine = 165 calories

1 cherry ripe

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While you think that some of these beverages are relatively okay calorie wise, once you add on top of this the meal you’re eating with your wine, or the cheese and chacturie board coupled on the side, a Big Mac burger all of a sudden becomes a mountain of Big Macs!!

The lesson here is to not eat and just drink wine. After all wasn’t it Marie Antoinette that said ‘let them drink wine’?

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Happy calorie counting January!

Until next time winos

Cheers

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It’s time to celebrate some fabulous Australian ladies in wine – Olivers Taranga

Right about now, there’s an awards night happening in London to celebrate Australian women in wine http://womeninwineawards.com.au/

While I’m am all the way back here in Melbourne, Australia, I thought I would celebrate Australian women in wine my own way…

Let me introduce you to Olivers Taranga

I love wineries that have great stories behind them, whether it’s about the history or about the people behind the wine label.

Olivers Taranga is one of those wineries embedded with family history. The head winemaker behind Olivers Taranga is Corrina Wright. Corrina is joined by Brioni Oliver – vineyard, cellar door, and wine stock manager. Both Corrina and Brioni are part of the sixth generation at Olivers Taranga.

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tip the bottle Brioni.jpg Top – Corrina Wright, Bottom – Brioni Oliver (Credit http://www.oliverstaranga.com)

Olivers Taranga was the feature winery at the last fabulous ladies wine society event in Melbourne at Lumé restaurant.

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Ladies getting fabulous at Lumé (Credit @fabulousladieswinesociety)

Olivers Taranga features a diverse range of wine varieties; varieties which are not all that common here in Australia just yet, like Vermentino, Fiano and a Rosé that’s made from Spanish grape variety Mencìa (pronounced “Men-thee-a”).

To kick start the evening we were treated to a unique sparkling wine  – A sparkling Fiano called ‘The Hunt for Mrs Oliver’.  I’ve never come across a sparkling Fiano before, as it’s traditionally made as a still white wine. ‘The Hunt for Mrs Oliver’ was fresh out of the barrel. So fresh in fact, that the Fabulous Ladies Wine Society were one of the first in the country to taste this amazing drop. It’s expected to be released later this year.

Fresh, light, bubbly, and acidic, its crisp finish made it a very easy drinking. Some may say too easy!

This sparkling wine is the first sparkling in the Olivers Taranga range. Corrina, being a lover of bubbly wine, had been wanting to introduce one in to the range for some time. She experimented by using the Fiano grape, turning it into a bubble using the Traditional Method. Voila! Success!

What’s the Traditional Method? It’s the Champagne wine making method of bottle fermenting, riddling and disgorging.

‘The Hunt for Mrs Oliver’ was born. The story behind the title and label came from their grandma, Marjorie Hunt. Marjorie was the matriarch of the family.  On the label you’ll see flowers and feathers, which symbolise the flowers and feathers she used to collect. It’s a wine that pays homage to the great lady herself.

Next on the tasting list was the Vermentino, an Italian variety. The Vermentino was light with loads of length, and a crisp finish – The perfect wine that can be paired with seafood.

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The wine lineup! (Credit @fabulousladieswinesociety)

Number three on the wine tasting list was the Fiano, the non-sparkling style. It was great to taste the Fiano without its bubbles, as it took on a different character; textured, nutty, with great acidity.

After we finished the whites, next came the pink! The Rosé.

This Rosé was made from Spanish grapes called Mencìa. I’d never heard of this variety before, so I was super keen to try it. In fact, Olivers Taranga are the first in Australia to be growing Mencìa grapes. After the vines were planted and the grapes were picked, Olivers Taranga decided to test it out by making a Rosé. Turns out it was a success, and it’s now into its 4th vintage!

What’s a vintage? Vintages are used to describe the year grapes are picked in from a vine.

The flavour of the Rosé was refreshing, just like munching into a watermelon on a hot summers day. After tasting the wine, it left me with a warming toffee-like finish in my mouth. Delicious!

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Those watermelon summer feels

Now it was time to move on to the reds! Here’s where the party is at! There is nothing better than sitting down with a glass of red, cosied up in front of a fire during Winter.

The Grenache was the first up on the red wine tasting list.

The Grenache, for Olivers Taranga, is more of a traditional variety. It’s one they feel works well with their philosophy of trying new things, but also sticking to well known structured wines like the Grenache. It had a slight oaky and pepperyiness to it, and was described as an easy pizza drinking wine. Hello! Any wine that’s teamed with pizza has my tick of approval.

 

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Wine – Tick!, Pizza – Tick! Happy Days

Next up there were two more traditional style of wines – the Shiraz variety. It was asked what would be the plural of Shiraz – which Jane, the Fabulous Ladies Wine Society host, aptly stated that it was ‘Shirazeses’. Try say that one!

A fun fact about Olivers Taranga: Their Shiraz grape also goes into making Penfolds Grange – a high quality red wine

To start off the Shiraz tastings we had the 2015 Olivers Taranga Shiraz, which was one of their newly released wines. Alongside the new released Shiraz was an older release; the 2013 Olivers Taranga HJ Reserve Shiraz. This wine took on a dark choc, rum and raisin flavour which was velvety and smooth – wow, sounds like I’ve just described a block of Cadbury rum and raisin. Yum!

And for the finalè, to cap off the night, we finished off with a 20 year old sticky fortified wine called The Banished.

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So much stickiness! The Banished

Again, a great story as to how this one came about – second generation brothers to the winery used to live the good life of drinking, smoking and gambling rather than working on the vineyard. As a result they were banished. Ruth Oliver, married to Archibald Oliver, took over the winery and was head winemaker. You go girl!

So there you have it, some fabulous ladies in wine, making great bottles for the rest of us all to enjoy. To all the ladies in wine out there, Cheers!

 

Until next time winos,

Cheers!

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Hello Sparkling, Hello Shiraz, Hello Sparkling Shiraz

If you love sparkling wine and you love Shiraz, I can guarantee that you will love Sparkling Shiraz.

It’s a Shiraz with bubbles, served chilled!

With its sparkly appearance and festive feeling, it’s the perfect Christmassy red wine to drink in the hot Australian summer.

Over the past couple of years the world of Sparkling Shiraz in Australia has taken off.

With many wineries having both a sparkling wine and a Shiraz in their portfolio, more and more wineries are now including a Sparkling Shiraz into their mix of wines. Genius!!

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My first taste of the Sparkling Shiraz, was to be honest, not a great experience. I expected the Sparkling Shiraz to be true to the Shiraz style, but with bubbles. It was not like that at all. Instead, it was sweet like raspberries. So sweet in fact, that I may as well have been drinking a raspberry soft drink. Later on in my wine drinking years, it was at the Heathcote wine tasting festival that I decided to give the Sparkling Shiraz another go. I was so happy that I took the plunge.

heathcote wine festival sunny day

Heathcote Wine Festival

 

The winery that really won me over was Peregrine Ridge. With 5 lots of Shiraz grapes being gown on their property, in perfect Shiraz growing conditions, this made for a winning Sparkling Shiraz – it was smooth, rounded, full bodied with medium tannins, topped off with bubbles that added that extra bit of pizzazz. Drinking it made me happy, and made me feel like there was a party in my mouth – yes, you were invited.

When searching for a great Sparkling Shiraz, I’d recommend going with a winery that nails the Shiraz. After all, it is the backbone of the wine. Be prepared to spend a little extra than you would for a Shiraz, as there’s work involved in popping in those little bubbles of goodness inside the bottle.

Here are a few suggestions from Tip The Bottle to help you get started:

Peregrine Ridge – ‘Winemaker’s Reserve’ Sparkling Heathcote Shiraz

peregrine ridge tip the bottle.jpgWhile the winery produces two Sparkling Shiraz’s, the ‘Winemaker’s Reserve’ is the clear winner! This is the one that brought my Sparkling Shiraz days back to life.  With the slightly higher price point than some Sparkling Shiraz’s, this one is well deserving of a place at the Christmas table.

‘Typically the bouquet displays blackberries, dark cherries, and raspberries with hints of yeast and spice, and the palate is of intense lifted dark cherries, blackberries and sweet spice. This wine style is perfectly balanced and has a soft, lingering after palate which makes it exceptional drinking early and equally well suited to medium term cellaring.’ www.peregrineridge.com.au

 

Blue Pyrenees – Sparkling Shiraz

blue tip the bottle.pngThis wine is a slightly sweeter than a classic Shiraz, however it still has all the classic elements of being dry on finish.

 

‘The flavours generally follow on from the aromas with sweet spiced dark plum fruit up front, a rich chocolate confection mid palate, and a lingering soft tannin, spicy dry finish.’ www.bluepyrenees.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

Grant Burge – Shiraz Cabernet NV

grant tip the bottle.pngThis wine follows a similar feel to a champagne with its creaminess. It’s a great Sparkling Shiraz that won’t disappoint.

‘Our inaugural release of Sparkling Shiraz Cabernet is deep ruby in colour, with a complex, earthy nose of smokey oak, bacon and spicy cedar along with rich fruit characters of liqueur cherries and blackberries. It is elegant and lively with the big flavours of the nose carrying through to the palate. It has a creamy mousse and elegant mouth feel finishing with a perfect balance of acidity and fruit sweetness.’ http://www.grantburgewines.com.au

 

 

 

Campbells Wines – Sparkling Shiraz NV 

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Everything you’d ever wish for in a Shiraz is delivered perfectly in Campbell’s Wines’ Sparkling Shiraz. A lot of depth and character to this one. With decades of experience in making cracking Shiraz’s, this one is a proven winner!

‘Deep red with crimson hues.  Deep plum fruit, integrated spice, liquorice and mulberry with hints of bready yeast characters.  Intense sweet plum fruit up front with a crisp bead. The palate is deep and complex with mulberry fruit and earthy savoury length, the addition of Vintage Port adds hints of liquorice and mocha. Subtle well integrated oak provides fine tannins and a long, dry, savoury finish.’  www.campbellswines.com.au

 

Frizzante

Aside from the Sparkling Shiraz, there are also lightly Sparkling wines which you can get in red wine form known as ‘Frizzante’. These are wines are also served chilled, and have a slightly lower alcohol content than a Sparkling wine would typically have.

My pick of the bunch is the Frizzante from Chrismont Winery.

Chrismont – La Zona – Marzemino Frizzante 2013

Serve this one up to guests, and you will be bound to get a surprised look on people’s faces when they discover is has a little fizz to it. Think of it like a chocolate bar with popping candy in it.

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‘vibrant aromatics of violets, plums, red currants and spices with  an effervesent palate and delicious soft tannin.’  www.chrismont.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have any Sparkling Shiraz’s that you’ve tasted and loved, I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time wino’s

 

Cheers!

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How to host a mulled wine party – Jamie Oliver style

Mulled wine is the perfect Winter party drink; there’s lots of it, and people can help themselves. It’s just like a Summer punch party, but in Winter.

Hold up, what is mulled wine exactly?

Mulled wine is a spiced up red wine, with flavours of cinnamon, star anise, cloves, nutmeg, and peel. It’s served warm, and is the perfect ‘cold-hands-warming’ beverage.

My friend hosted her first mulled wine party, and it went off like a flamingo hanging from the ceiling!

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Photo Credit @meghannmaee

How do you host a mulled wine party?

Take Jamie Oliver’s mulled wine recipe

Click Here for the recipe

Source ingredients from your local grocer

Coles and Woolies will have all your mulled wine needs, although if you come across a specialised spice shop like Gewürzhaus house this is a great option as well – amazing fresh produce, and they even have a ‘ready-to-use’ mulled wine spice mix, if you can’t be bothered getting all the individual ingredients.

 

Photo 26-08-2016, 8 39 07 AM.jpg

Photo Credit @meghannmaee

Souring the main ingredient – the wine!

This can be a tricky one. Certainly don’t go using your Penfolds or vintage red wine you’ve been cellaring in this mix, as the flavours of the spices and peel will override much of red wine notes.

Instead, use something that’s full bodied like a Tempranillo or a Shiraz.

Tip the Bottle's Tip - Source a dozen bottles of clean skin wine. 
Let's be honest, you'll be using lots of it, and it's an effective way to keep costs down.

Brew for around 15 minutes

This gives you enough time to primp yourself before the guests arrive, and sort out the record player for some cracking party tunes.

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Arrange some nibbles

When hosting a mulled wine party, a mulled wine host should also provide an accompaniment of nibbles. If cooking isn’t your strongest point, you can always ask your guests to bring along a snack.

Here’s a few suggestions on how to feed your guests, while they’re sipping on their mulled wine.

  • without a doubt cheese and crackers!
  • strawberries
  • cinnamon donuts
  • mini meatballs with chilli sauce
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‘Donut’ leave your guests go hungry!

 

Arrival of your guests

Once your guests arrive, hand them an empty coffee mug, and take them to the magic mulled wine pot to fill it up.

Coffee cups are an ideal way to serve the mulled wine, as it holds the heat of the wine and creates a bit of fun among the guests as they pretend to drink coffee.

Surprise your guests by offering a splash of amaretto

While this is not in the recipe, it is a common addition that smooths out the flavours of the mix, and adds that little bit of extra kick your guests are not expecting.

If the mulled wine pot gets low, top it up!

Lucky you have those extra clean skin bottles on hand! You’re welcome.

This is the (one of the many) best parts about mulled wine – the fact you can just keep topping it up. With the brew of spices and flavours in the bottom of the pot, it will just keep on giving throughout the night.

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Time for a refill!

Be prepared for spillage

If you’re hosting your party in a house with hard flooring, any spillage can be hosed down.

If you’re hosting on carpet, be sure you have a massive bag of salt to lap up any spillage, and newspaper to cover. This will soak up any stains quickly. Next day vacuum it up and apply some carpet cleaner. Voila! Clean again

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Quick to action with all hands on deck will fix any spillage

 

A fun winter party idea! With only a few days left in winter, you better get cracking!

Until next time winos
Cheers

 

 

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Wine and Food Match test – Jamie Oliver’s Beef Tagine & a Shiraz

This week I’ve decided to road test a food and wine match suggestion I recently read about.

 

I came across this suggestion through Foxtel’s Lifestyle Food newsletter, featuring their wine expert Angus Hughson. His motto – ‘Life is too short to drink bad wine’. I couldn’t agree more.

Foxtel Lifestyle Food newsletter

The wine suggestion was the 2012 Angove Long Row Shiraz; an elegant spicy Australian Shiraz, described as being medium bodied, peppery, fruity with dark cherry notes.

 

The food suggestion was Jamie Oliver’s Beef Tagine. For those of you who don’t know me, I must let you know I am a massive Jamie Oliver fan, so this match suggestion had intrigued me from the get-go; yep, that’s me with Jamie Oliver.

Me Jamie Oliver

Armed with the wine suggestion and recipe in hand, off I trundled to my local supermarket to source the ingredients. Unfortunately my local wine seller did not stock this particular wine, however, Angus did suggest a Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon or a Grenache as the best wines to pair with Beef Tagine.

Putting my reading glasses on, I scoured the wine racks to find something that would be of similar style to the Angove Long Row Shiraz. What I came out with was a Partisan Trench Coat Vintage 2010 from McLaren Vale – a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre (or commonly known as a GSM wine).

 

Partisan Trench Coat

The label stated the style of the wine to be ‘spicy, complex and brightly fruity’, which I figured aligned well with Angus’ first suggestion of pairing it with an elegant spicy Australian Shiraz – A man in a trench coat is elegant right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a long 3 hours waiting for the beef tagine to cook, I could not wait to sink my teeth in to the food and wine.

 

The verdict? Angus you are a star. This was a match made in heaven. The melt in your mouth meat paired perfectly with the spicy and fruity Shiraz – or in my case the GSM.

 

The Partisan was a dream to sip on – peppery on the nose, and spicy on the palate. I could easily drink this wine without the beef, however drinking it with the tagine really did balance out the 100+ spices that went in to the dish.

Jamie oliver beef tagine partisan

If you have a few hours to spare, I highly recommend you to whip up this dish and have your Shiraz on hand to serve up at a dinner party. I can guarantee you will have your friends coming back with their wine glass asking ‘Please sir, I want some more?’

 

Until next time wino’s,

 

Cheers

 

 

Here’s the recipe! Credit to Lifestyle Food channel.

http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/16634/beef-tagine

Ingredients:

  • 600g stewing beef
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • a small bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 800ml vegetable stock, preferably organic
  • 1 small squash (approximately 800g), deseeded and cut into 5cm chunks
  • 100g prunes, stoned and roughly torn
  • 2 tablespoons flaked almonds, toasted

For the spice rub

  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 level tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix*
  • 1 level tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 level tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 level tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 level tablespoon sweet paprika

 

*Ras el hanout (Arabic for ‘top of the shop’) is a blend of the best spices a vendor has in his shop. The mixture varies depending on who is selling it, but can be a combination of anywhere from 10 to 100 spices. It usually includes nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, aniseed, turmeric, cayenne, peppercorns, dried galangal, ginger, cloves, cardamom, chilli, allspice and orris root.

 

Method:

1 Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the beef into a large bowl, massage it with the spice rub, then cover with clingfilm and put into the fridge for a couple of hours – ideally overnight. That way the spices really penetrate and flavour the meat.

 

2. When you’re ready to cook, heat a generous lug of olive oil in a tagine or casserole– type pan and fry the meat over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add your chopped onion and coriander stalks and fry for another 5 minutes. Tip in the chickpeas and tomatoes, then pour in 400ml of stock and stir. Bring to the boil, then put the lid on the pan or cover with foil and reduce to a simmer for 1½hours.

 

3. At this point add your squash, the prunes and the rest of the stock. Give everything a gentle stir, then pop the lid back on the pan and continue cooking for another 1½hours. Keep an eye on it and add a splash of water if it looks too dry.

 

4. Once the time is up, take the lid off and check the consistency. If it seems a bit too runny, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more with the lid off. The beef should be really tender and flaking apart now, so have a taste and season with a pinch or two of salt. Scatter the coriander leaves over the tagine along with the toasted almonds, then take it straight to the table with a big bowl of lightly seasoned couscous and dive in.

 

 

 

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Gibsons Wine Bar and Two Red Wines

This little corner bar has been a hit with the locals for a longtime, me included.

Gibsons Wine Bar is its name.gibsons wine bar hawthorn

Each time I step in to Gibsons, I immediately feel at home. Suffice to say, while I don’t have racks and racks of wine lined up in my home, it’s the friendly and welcoming atmosphere that gives it its homely feeling.
With an extensive range of wine on offer, you have the option of either picking out a bottle from the rack and/or fridge, or selecting a glass of wine from the wine list on offer. Not only do they stock wine, but they also stock a range of beers, ciders and spirits to cater for everyone. Perfect if you’re having a drink with a non-vino drinker!
With the drinks  sorted,  you can also order a side of olives, cheese or bread and dips; and if that doesn’t suit, you can even order takeaway to be delivered to you in the bar from local nearby places, just like you can do at home. 
gibsons red wine olives
2 glasses I recently drank at Gibsons, and loved were
A full bodied oaky red, with tasting notes of dark berries and licorice.
This particular wine was quite rich and robust. So much so, that it was definitely a wine for slow drinking, compared to a typical Shiraz that I’m used to.
James Halliday rated this wine 92/100
Who’s James Halliday you ask? Google him. He’s one of Australia’s leading wine writers and critics. If you see a great review and rating by him, then you’re on to a winner.

 

Epsilon Shiraz BarossaEpsilon Shiraz Barossa – $10 a glass
A medium bodied red, with tasting notes of berry and chocolate.
While not as rich and robust as the Tatiara, this Shiraz was a pleasure to drink.
James Halliday rated this wine 94/100

 

To accompany the wine, my friend and I ordered takeaway pizza which was delivered to us in the bar from Pizza Religion – A delicious traditional Italian style thin crust pizza – mmmm! My favourite food to accompany any glass of wine.

So, be sure to get yourself down to Gibsons, and if you see me there popped up in the corner sipping on a vino be sure to say hi!

73 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

Until next time winos,

Cheers.

 

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Choosing a red wine for a Sunday roast

There is nothing better than sitting down to a roast dinner on a Sunday. A roast dinner that someone else has cooked, with close friends, sharing a great bottle of wine, at a pub.

This happened to me a couple of weeks ago, on a perfect autumn day, where the sun was shining and there was a slight crispness in the air. It had been quite some time since I had sat down to a roast dinner . While I can cook, and cook a roast quite well, I’m not known to be one to cook myself a roast dinner and polish off a whole chicken or leg of lamb in one sitting. I am however, fascinated by those who can; how can one human being stomach that much meat in one go? Any who, getting back to my perfect Sunday lunch.

collingwoodThe pub of choice was The Grace Darling Hotel. A much-loved watering-hole nestled in trendy Collingwood that serves up roast dinner each and every Sunday; the ‘Sunday Roast Today’ was lamb. Yum!

This made my meal ordering quite easy. The next part came the “I’d like to see the wine menu please”. Since my vino girlfriends and I were each going to have a glass of red, we decided to share a bottle. Scanning through the menu, the girls decided to task me with job of choosing a wine that would match perfectly. While the idea of choosing a red might be easy for some, the pressure of getting the right match with food can be quite hard, as it can make or break the wine and/or the food.

On the menu, there was the choice of a Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and a Nebbiolo, with tasting notes listed beside each. Trying to gauge the taste of each wine from reading the descriptions, it was the Nebbiolo that stood out at me. The tasting notes it had listed included violets, wild mushrooms and rose petals. Mmm who doesn’t love flowers with a lamb roast? Aside from the bouquet of flowers, it was the mushroom note that had me hooked. Yes I am a lover of mushrooms. The food kind, not the ‘other’.

Nebbiolo, pronounced “Neb-ee-yolo”, or as I would say “YOLO wine”, is a dry Italian red, likened to a Pinot Noir but with more body. This Nebbiolo was named Pinga, and was a 2012 vintage that hailed from Pondalowie Vineyards, Toolleen within the Heathcote region – a wine region in Victoria Australia renowned for its reds.

 

pinga_front_labelpinga_back_label

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

roast_dinnerWhile we waited for our roast to arrive, we decided to pop the cap and get started. Needless to say, without the roast, this wine was a delight to drink. WITH the roast, it was even better. We polished off the meal and bottle quite easily, and it became clear to us all that the Nebbiolo was the perfect choice. I now think that the nursery rhyme ‘Mary had a little lamb’ should be re-written to ‘Mary had a little lamb and a bottle of Nebbiolo’.

 

Shame Sunday’s only happen once a week.

 

 

How about you? What’s your choice of wine you like to pair with your Sunday roast ? Feel free to post your comments in the section below.

Until next time winos,

Cheers.

 

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