It’s summertime and the grilling is easy!
That’s why the Wine Pairing Weekend crew headed to the grill this month — and paired those grilled goodies with wine from Australia — where, while it may be winter Down Under, they have some mighty fine wines to pair with your shrimp on the barbie as well as your sausages and shiraz! Plus it’s great prep for the Wine Bloggers Conference there in 2019!
Before I get further into telling you about the two wines pictured to get us warmed up for #WinePW, here’s who’s writing about what this Saturday June 9 and who might be joining us for the 9am Pacific time twitter chat using the hashtag #WinePW:
J. R. Boynton of Great Big Reds will be pouring “Great Big Reds of Summer: Kreuz, The Boxer, #WinePW”.
David Crowley of Cooking Chat” will be making “Grilled Steak with Garlic Butter and an Aussie Shiraz Blend”.
Lisa Denning of The Wine Chef has “Surf And Turf On The Barbie — Shrimp And Lamb Paired With McGuigan Wines”.
Nicole Ruiz Hudson of Somm’s Table will be “Cooking to the Wine: Dandelion Vineyards Shiraz and a Miso-Soy Strip Loin Feast.”
Wendy Klik’s A Day in the Life on the Farm is “Taking a Second Voyage with Burgers on the Barbie”.
As I’m hosting this month, Sue and I decided to offer up two wines along with this preview post, one white Rhone blend and one shiraz.
Because you know, Shrimp on the Barbie. Sausages and Shiraz. And Happy Hour!
2010 – d’Arenberg McLaren Vale – The Hermit Crab – Viognier Marsanne – 13.5% alcohol SRP $15
With over 100 years of great success in AUS for Rhone reds like Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre, d’Arenberg decided to try some of the whites from the region and planted Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne in the mid 1990s. They’ve been making this blend since 2005 using 14% old American and French oak barriques and a 4% wild ferment.
I think I purchased this at the grocery store on sale. I already had a 2009 and always wanted to compare them but then I had a yen for a Viognier with a chicken roasted on the grill and there went that plan — right down the gizzard! And this bottle kind of got forgotten — but when I started thinking about shrimp on the barbie, I knew it was time to find and open this wine!
My cellar used to be full of Australian wine… and I’ll talk about why in Saturday’s post. Suffice to say that while Australia is famous for its Shiraz, they grow white wines there also.
Color: Yellow with a tinge of green.
Nose: While there is only a small amount of oak, Sue picked it up on the nose and noted that it has many characteristics of a Chardonnay. This is unusual for a Viognier which is usually well-known for its floral aromatics. Considering this wine is eight years old, it’s not surprising that some of the aromatics would have dropped off.
Palate: What a wonderful silky mouthfeel with florals and drama as well as an expressive mid-palate: stone fruit, ginger, mango, pineapple, Asian pear with a super lingering finish of both fruit and texture. There is a viscous feel, almost an oiliness on the palate. This can be a good cross over wine or a wine for California Chardonnay lovers. We tasted it out of a Chardonnay glass.
Pairing: Corn and shrimp on the barbie and this wine are a perfect combo. It loves, loves, loves rich creamy food like our crab, bacon, cheddar dip and our blue cheese roasted pecan dip on a garlic crostini. At first, Sue was not so impressed, but after having this wine with rich creamy foods she changed her tune! The toast of the barrel goes beautifully with the smokey garlic butter of the shrimp as well as with the garlic sausage from the grill. Pair with BBQ lobster. BBQ oysters, oysters rocker feller, crab cakes, crab legs, and of course BBQ chicken. Hard to imagine any of that beating the shrimp!
Name: Why is this wine called “The Hermit Crab”? According to the winery, “Many of McLaren Vale’s vineyards are on free-draining soils underlain with limestone, formed by the calcareous remains of the local marine fauna. One such creature was the Hermit Crab, a reclusive little crustacean that inhabits the cast-off shells of others. The Osborn family thought the name appropriate for this, McLaren Vale’s first ever blend of Viognier and Marsanne. “Hermit” is also an abbreviation for the French appellation of Hermitage, where the Marsanne grape variety dominates.”
Biodynamic: “All d’Arenberg estate and leased vineyards are NASAA Certified for organic and biodynamic processes. This natural and environmentally friendly philosophy encourages strong root systems that penetrate the soil, resulting in lively tannin structures, soil characters and fine minerality. These practices also ensure that yields are kept low with concentrated flavours and excellent natural acidity.” They are also solar powered!
There is a LOT going on in this wine considering its age — which could be contributed to its biodynamic origins which many say makes a wine last longer both in the cellar and once opened. And it still has so much character for $15.
2014 – Terlato and Chapoutier – Shiraz – Viognier – 14% alcohol SRP $20
I bought this at the Ventura Wine Store for $16.
95% Shiraz 5% Viognier
I went to the Ventura Wine Company store looking for a different wine but came home with this: I had been sent a sample years ago and remembered that it had nice fruit and structure — a very classic AUS shiraz that I thought would be great with the French garlic pork sausage and the pork bratwurst I picked up for happy hour.
From the label: “Spicy Shiraz from the vineyards of Victoria brightens with a small boost of Viognier for aroma and balance, as has often been practiced in world-renowned Shiraz growing regions. This wine is a collaborative effort between two renowned wine families. French wine mastermind Michel Chapoutier, together with wine authority and Napa Valley Anthony Terlato.”
These famous names also contributed to my choice: we’ve been getting to know the many biodynamic French wines of Michel Chapoutier (and we have more to write about soon!) and the connection of Napa and AUS ties in with the story I’ll be telling on Saturday.
This is a fabulous wine for under $20. Great steak house wine. Expensive meal with a wine that can measure up to the meal without the huge price. Big bang for your buck.
Color: Rich, dark, decadent, like dark red velvet theatre curtains.
Nose: Nuances of black currant, blackberry with pepper and baking spice, nicely complex without one component overpowering the other. Meaty, with nice red fruit. Blue fruit, stewed blue fruit with meat pie, maybe mince meat pie.
Palate: Lovely richness rolls across the tongue. This wine has a lovely balance of blue fruit and other elements. The petit sirah glass brings out more rhubarb and stewed fruit than in the cab glass.
Many people think of Australian wines as being kind of flabby, unbalanced, lacking tannins and acids. Not this wine: it can please a palate on its own or as a perfect pairing to a rich lovely BBQ meal.
Do not shy away from food with this wine. It can handle it. Do not go light and fruity, but big and spicy.
Pairing: This wine wants garlic and rich cheese and spice. This is a versatile wine that is going to handle big bold flavors. There is oak, but there is also balance of fruit and oak. Big bold flavors in a wine can handle big bold roasted and BBQ flavors in food. Loved the cheddar cheese with blueberries in it.
Biodynamic: ?? Michel Chapoutier not only puts braille on the label (as you can see above) but he’s a HUGE proponent of biodynamic wine. I am still looking for confirmation that this wine made in AUS under his direction is also biodynamic but I did find this: The vineyard “Malakoff is farmed based on the broad philosophy for which Michel Chapoutier is famous – emphasizing soil health. The focus is on maintaining good balance in the vineyard’s natural environment while working where appropriate and necessary to improve soil and vineyard conditions.” Sounds pretty much like biodynamic but the label does not have a Demeter certification on it…
See you on Saturday for our 11am eastern and 8am Pacific twitter chat — just follow the hashtag #WinePW!
And maybe I’ll see you in Australia at the 2019 Wine Bloggers Conference!