Here’s the truth: If I’d known how incredibly wonderful, how complex, how fascinating this Lillypilly 2002 Noble Blend was going to be, I wouldn’t have been so selfish and opened it tonight for Wine Blogging Wednesday #66, , hosted by Jennifer Hamilton, The Domestic Goddess who asked us to think about dessert FIRST. Read her blog post, Your Tenderest Twosome.
I also wouldn’t have opened it had I known it would cost me $40 to replace it–if I could find it at all. (I do admit I have a 2006 which has a $13 price tag).
I should have suspected it would be outstanding. After all, I bought it at a Grateful Palate Imports Warehouse Sale on the advice of Dan Phillips, and just about everything I’ve had from those sales has wowed me.
This wine was the 12th and last bottle of a case that Dan Phillips, owner of the Grateful Palate, helped me pick out. I had said I wanted something sweet but not too sweet, that I liked ports but wanted something a little different, maybe something white. Dan said he knew exactly the wine for me: it wasn’t out on display, as part of the sale, so he sent Tim Coles to find a bottle for me in the back.
Tim came out with a Lillypilly 2002 Noble Blend. I don’t remember exactly how much Dan charged me for it; I do remember thinking it was a little more than I wanted to spend for a 375 ml bottle of a wine I knew nothing about except his recommendation (and at that time, I knew nothing about what his recommendation meant!) My guess is I paid around $15 because if it had been more than $20, I would have said no, and if it was less than $10 I wouldn’t have batted an eye.
But before I get more deeply into the wine, let me address some of the parameters of the prompt. Jennifer argues that while most meals end with a dessert and coffee or a dessert wine, the pairing often comes as an after thought, without as much care as the rest of the meal.
Obviously she’s never been to dinner at our house! We like dessert, we like ports, we like late harvest wines, and recently, I’ve discovered fine sherries and madeiras. Not only are we fond of dessert, but I love to bake and create simple, easy yet memorable desserts.
I was definitely up for the challenge and devoted a significant portion of my day to shopping and preparing our meal and dessert.
THE DESSERT and HOW TO MAKE A GALETTE
Although I wasn’t sure what the wine would be like, when I went to figure out my menu, I hoped it might be similar to Bonny Doon’s 2008 Vinferno, a blend of grenache blanc and rousanne, which I adore–and not just because of the name!
I suspected it would be interesting with a warm spicy apple pie so I picked up some Granny Smith apples at the Farmers Market and a crust at Trader Joe’s. I sliced a few apples thin, sprinkled them with 1/3 cup brown sugar and ground spices: pumpkin pie spice, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom (the extra cardomom takes it over the top; you might want more sugar). Instead of putting the crust into a pie pan, I placed it on a cookie sheet, mounded the apples and a few blueberries in the center, then folded in the crust toward the center to make a galette. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until apples are tender. Cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.
For dinner, earlier in the day I stopped by the mushroom farm for oyster and brown (baby portabella) mushrooms which I prepared in a quiche along with brocoli and cheese. We also had homemade mushroom/potato/leek soup and a salad of field greens. I served it with a nice rich, aromatic, full bodied Eberle 2006 Viognier even though I really wanted to break open my last bottle of their 2004 Rousanne (wow, that one hit the spot!)
Finally, it was time for the dessert of apple blueberry chai spice galette and the Lillypilly 2002.
1) It’s a gorgeous clear golden yellow hue–the perfect color for dipping Easter eggs.
2) It’s very aromatic, lots of crazy orange citrus fruits like tangerine plus a hint of tropical fruits.
3) More citrus. Pineapple. Sweet good times. The citrus is mostly tangerine and mandarin with maybe a little grapefruit, the fruit with a hint of sharp rind on the edge. Pineapple–the sweetest honeyed pineapple but if you eat too much–the acid will get you, but really well balanced overall between acid and fruit. Something else odd, not unpleasant, but hard to describe–is that the botrytis? I need to learn more about that!
Easy twist on and off closure.
WOW! It’s only 11.5% alcohol. Not that it tastes “hot” or anything but the flavor is so dense, intense, interesting and well, this is a wine from AUS so I guess I made certain assumptions…
Variety : 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillon,
5% Muscat of Alexandria, 5% Riesling.
Last but not least: when I looked it up on the website, I saw it won A LOT of awards:
SHOW AWARDS :
TROPHY — Best Australian Sweet Wine, 2008 Rutherglen Wine Show
TROPHY — International Sweet Wine of the Year: 2008 International Sweet Wine Challenge, Riverina Wine Show
TROPHY — Best Sweet White Table Wine Fruity Styles: 2008
TROPHY — International Sweet Wine of the Year: 2007 International Sweet Wine Challenge, Riverina Wine Show
TROPHY — Best Sweet White Table Wine, 2007 Riverina Wine Show
TROPHY — Best Sweet White, 2007 Boutique Wines of Australia
TROPHY — Best Australian Sweet Wine, 2007 Rutherglen Wine Show
TROPHY — Best NSW Sweet White Wine, 2007 NSW Wine Awards
TROPHY — Sweet Wine of the Year – Winestate – 2006
TROPHY — Best Australian Sweet Wine, 2006 Rutherglen Wine Show
TROPHY — Premier White Wine 2006 Southern NSW Wine Show
TROPHY — Best Dessert Wine, Sydney International Wine Competition 2006
TROPHY — Best Dessert Wine, Brisbane Wine Festival 2006
TROPHY — Best Sweet White, 2005 Boutique Wines of Australia
TROPHY — Best Sweet White Table Wine, 2004 Riverina Wine Show
TROPHY — Best NSW Sweet White Wine, 2004 NSW Wine Awards
TROPHY — Best 2003 & Older White Wine, 2005 Southern NSW Wine Show
TROPHY — Premier White Wine 2005 S. NSW Wine Show
TOP 100 — Sydney International Wine Competition 2008
BLUE GOLD — Sydney International Wine Competition 2008
TOP 100 — Sydney International Wine Competition 2006
BLUE GOLD — Sydney International Wine Competition 2006
GOLD — 2008 International Sweet Wine Challenge, Riverina
GOLD — 2008 Rutherglen Wine Show, Class 127
GOLD — 2007 Cowra Wine Show, Class 56
GOLD — 2007 International Sweet Wine Challenge, Riverina
GOLD — 2007 AWC Vienna International Wine Challenge
GOLD — 2007 Boutique Wines of Australia, Sydney
GOLD — 2007 Rutherglen Wine Show, Class 127
GOLD — 2006 Rutherglen Wine Show, Class 127
GOLD — 2006 Brisbane Wine Festival
GOLD — 2005 Royal Perth Wine Show, Class 30
GOLD — 2005 Boutique Wines of Australia, Sydney
GOLD — 2004 Riverina Wine Show, Class 38
GOLD — 2004 Royal Perth Wine Show, Class 30
GOLD — 2004 Rutherglen Wine Show, Class 45
GOLD — 2004 ASWS Stanthorpe, Class 21
TOP 40 — NSW Wine Awards 2007
TOP 40 — NSW Wine Awards 2004
I am not surprised.
Now what to do? Devour it? Or save it and savor it?
If you’re in AUS, you can get the wine from the winery for $38.50 plus shipping and handling. The 2006 is $22.50. I’m not sure what the exchange rate is, but last I knew it was not favorable toward the American dollar making this one mighty expensive one.