Oct 252010

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I was recently contacted by a representative of Graysonline to see if I was interested in reviewing some wine samples on the blog.  Now, you all know I am not a wine reviewer – I enjoy wine but I have not particular knowledge of it.  However, I thought it might be fun, and of course I was clear that I would only post my honest opinion.

I was sent half a dozen bottles of wine, 3 different types.  The first one we tried was a sweet dessert wine – the 2010 late harvest Sauvignon Blanc from Pirramimma winery in Adelaide Hills.  It was sweet, went well with my strawberry tart and was what I’d describe as an “easy drinking” wine.  It wasn’t particularly complex or complicated, but it certainly wasn’t undrinkable.

Next up was the 2009 Defender of the Faith Riesling from Clare Valley Estate.  We took this to my mum’s place for dinner one night and it went down well with the roast chicken.  It was a drier style Riesling and was quite palatable.  I would recommend it as an inoffensive wine to enjoy chilled at a BBQ on a sunny Queensland day.

Finally, the Jorgensen Hill 2008 Shiraz.  I actually used about a  glass of this in my favourite lamb shanks recipe and it worked well in that dish.  We also had a glass over dinner.  It is definitely a wine that is enhanced by eating.  We tried a few sips before the meal and I must confess it wasn’t doing a great deal for me.  The tannins were very noticeable and, being a young red, had yet to develop any sort of complexity or depth.  However, as I’ve said, it was far more enjoyable with the meal.

Overall, the wines were pleasant, drinkable wines.  They aren’t wines I’m going to remember forever, but they are quite reasonably priced on Graysonline:

Sep 082010

Treacle is a local restaurant located quite close to us in Grange.  I’ve previously reviewed breakfast here.

However, the restaurant has recently started hosting food and wine matching evenings.  So far there have been three evenings and we’ve attended all three!  They are fantastic value – the last one was $45/head for 4 courses + about 7 matching wines.  The restaurant creates the menu and a wine rep named BJ runs through the different wines.  For a bit of fun, you have to guess the varietal and sometimes the region.  The first evening focused on Australian wines, the second on Western Australian producers and the most recent one was all about South Australia.  We really enjoy the evenings because they’re great value, and also a great way to learn a bit more about wine and local wine producers.

The South Australian night featured the following courses:

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Firstly, there was crab and prawn wontons with a leek reductions and coriander and citrus salad.  This was a real balance of flavours – the wontons were very salty (perhaps even too salty) but the citrus salad really helped to bring the dish together.  We enjoyed this dish with a 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from Hahndorf Hill  in Adelaide Hills, and a 2008 Riesling from Eagles Rock in the Clare Valley.  Before the food arrived, I found the Riesling far too sweet, however it worked very well with the food.  Likewise, the Sav was really complementary to the meal.

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Second course was a generous portion of duck and fennel risotto.  I felt this was quite an unusual combination but I enjoyed in non-the-less.  This was served with a 2008 Pinot Noir from Chain of Ponds in Adelaide Hills.  It was also accompanied by a white – a 2008 Chardonnay from Hahndorf Hills.  The main lesson here was that duck has the versatility to be served with either a strong white, or a more mellow red.  Duly noted.

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The third, and main, dish was lamb and felafel in a red wine gravy.  I felt this dish wasn’t as successful as some of the others.  Although each component was excellent, together the lamb seemed overpowered by the strong felafel flavours.  The gravy was fantastic however!  Of course, such a robust dish needs some hearty reds to accompany it.  The wines chosen were a 2004 Grenache from Pirimima in McClaren Vale and a 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon from Patrick of Coonawarra.  These wines were both exceptional and probably the favourite amongst the red fans at the dinner.

Finally, dessert.  I was quite impressed to see something a bit left of centre for dessert.  We were served a lovely scoop of lemon curd, topping meringue and served with a stripe of raspberry coulis and cream.  The tartness of the lemon curd and the raspberry was nicely balanced by the sweet meringue and cream.  The dessert wine accompanying the meal was a 2007 Botrytis Riesling from Eden Valley.  I’m not a big fan of dessert wine, and found this a bit overpowering with the already sweet dish.

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It’s now been about 2 weeks since the last evening, and I believe the next one will be held in about another 3 weeks.  The next one will be hosted by a wine-maker, showcasing all of his wines, and it’s likely we will attend.

I like to support restaurants within the community where I live, and I love that Treacle is putting itself out there and doing something different and fun.  The food doesn’t always achieve the heights it aspires to, but often enough that I’m happy to keep coming back.

Shops 2-3 Days Rd
Ph: 3352 4144
Web: www.treaclecafe.com.au

Jan 032010

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Stanthorpe is a town about 3.5 hrs south-west of Brisbane.  It’s known for producing excellent wine, and being a major producer of apples and stone fruit.

For the New Year’s Eve period this year, J and I hired a cabin with another couple, D & J.  We spent a lovely three days, drinking too much wine, visiting vineyards and cooking copious amounts of food.  I will do another post outlining one of the dishes I made on the weekend, but in the meantime here are some images of our weekend.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable New Year’s, and feel refreshed and ready to tackle another year.

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