Tonight, food is not so much an issue as the wine.
I did eat something at least, a McDougall’s curry cup, and then a Michelangelo’s microwave fettuccine Alfredo, which is really an interesting replay of the last two meals I did actually cook (Indian & Italian? Why not?), but those days are over, for now.
Luckily, I still have my wine. Tonight’s bottle is a Chilean cab, I ordered the stock version rather than the reservea, so it is a bit rough around the edges, but still perfectly drinkable. The trick to a good cabernet sauvignon, is to get the proper structure of the tannins aligned just so with a balance of fruit. Overall, this is not so easy, but when it is done just so, it is one of the finer quaffing experiences!
I ordered my first fancy case of wine in some time the other day, it is a higher tiered Aussie cab-blend. I am actually plotting a whole new section in the New Moon wine selection, for Australian picks. It all began with the arrival of a new distributor, and he carries an Aussie line called Henry’s Drive, which is a winery in Padthaway, a wine region in South Australia, just inland of the Limestone Coast.
The vineyards are located where there once was a mail coach line, so all the names of the wines reflect that history. The lower tier wines are called Morse Code:
(That bit of code sez – Chardonnay!)
The new higher level Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz blend is called Parson’s Flat, which is a reference to how the postal roads carried not only the mail, but kept communities in touch in the expanses of the outback. In this case, a Parson would travel via coach to visit and commune with his parish. It’s a nifty little gimmick this winery has going, if I may say – I only wish I could be so consistent with my own!
But Robert Parker (the most formidable of wine critics) gave the blend 93 points, which is 3 points above awesome, though not quite brain-melting. It is a distinctly Aussie style wine, with the heft of the blend coming from Shiraz grapes. As I may have mentioned before, in America, we call Shiraz – Syrah. But they do as they please down there, & I suggest you not argue…
My next addition to the Oz selections will be a label called Yalumba, which is Australia’s oldest family owned winery. Yalumba is located is in the Barossa Valley, also in the southern chunk of the continent (as virtually all of the wineries are). The Barossa Valley also has an interesting history, as it is the one region that does not have a British influence on it’s viticulture, but a Greman one. Therefore the first grapes planted here were of the Reisling varietal, which did rather poorly in the heat, causing them to over ripen. So the first wine of Barossa was commonly overtly sweet and highly alcoholic, and it had a tendency to turn brown in the bottle. Fortunately, as things progressed, the Shiraz style came more into vogue, & this big, robust varietal did quite well in the hot climate, producing wines bear the trademark notes of chocolate and spice. (Hooray!) I already carry Yalumba’s Viognier in the cooler, & I plan to bring in the Y-Series Shiraz/Vio blend, and the Unwooded Chardonnay.
There was a fairly formidable Australian collection at the Moon when I started working there, primarily of higher end Shiraz. But I think that given the current economic climate, as well as in respect to Australia’s own wine culture – a more lighthearted and accessible approach is in order. The thing of it is, that there are some really fantastic new-world wines to be tasted, many of which retail at under $15 a bottle, and to portray Australia’s wares as snooty and expensive is inaccurate, at best!