Saturday, 23 June 2012

The perfect winter drop

As much as I try, I can't seem to warm to drinking white wine in winter. It's simply too cold and crisp, much like the wine, itself. For many of us, there's nothing better then snuggling up on the couch with your pet on a rainy evening, glass of red in hand.

But which red wine to choose!? Especially when you're only after one or two glasses that evening and want to be able to enjoy the rest of the bottle within the week, knowing it won't go stale. And when confronted by the various options at the bottle-o, trying to choose a decent every-day drinking red for the week at a good price can be oh so vexing.

But I think I have found my match.

A medium-bodied red, Taylors Tempranillo 2011 is a delicious warming vino with hints of cherry and spice. 'Cherry and spice' - sounds like a painful song from the Spice Girls. But don't let this put you off. After all, cherry and spice in wine can only be a good thing. With savoury tones and a Spanish origin, Tempranillo is often a good variety to have with food. I envisage drinking this with tapas, spicy chorizo, crusty bread and a good quality olive oil. Yumo. But even without the food, this makes for an easy-drinking wine which, with its rounded tannins, is balanced and won't weigh your palate down.

How much? About 20 bucks a bottle. It's also available at most liquor stores, making it a terrific last minute choice that one shouldn't go past.

Music match: definitely a vino to drink with the Righteous Brothers or Leonard Cohen.

Movie match: no movie - simply listen to any of the above and read a good book and, voilĂ , you have a perfect Sunday night in.

Happy drinking.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Gluhwein. Wunderbar!

Last night I was introduced to a wine. This was no ordinary wine (ordinary wine, there's no such thing!). Picture a hot pot of red wine, infusing with orange, cloves, cinnamon and other delectable spices, simmering on the stove. Of course I'm talking about Gluhwein - a very, very German treat, best sipped under the Christmas tree.

How very wunderbar, I thought... kind of. Perhaps not at the start, but you see I had been mentally preparing my palate for a glass of rosĂ©, so it's only natural it was a surprise to the senses. Alas! I warmed to it. As I should. After all, I am half Cherman.

After a long night of Gluhwein, I woke up and immediately decided China Town was the place to be. As my friend and I walked to our seats at Dumpling King, I glanced curiosly at every dish on every table.

Now I don't know about you, but I get the feeling people don't like you checkin' out what they're eating. Is there some social etiquette rule I don't know about? And if so, does it say, "don't stare at my food, bitch, or I'll stick my fork in your eye"? At one point I snuck a peek at a lady's dish. You should have seen the look she threw me. Some day I pull an Elaine. Some day...

Alors! Can you guess who has finally had a wash?

Thanks to the friendly chap at Aussie Pooch, I now have a smelly-clean baby with freshly clipped nails and a divine lavender scent. Mr Aussie Pooch did a fabulous job, though I think he was a bit thrown with the number of names I call her: Ash, Ashlee, belle, bella, bella bambino, bella babooshka, baba, who's-a-pretty-baba... and so on. She's a real treat. And boy did she get many x

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Simply the best

Last night my friend and I tried some of the new table wines from Barossa winery, Seppeltsfield. In the kitchen we played Scrabble, with Elvis in the background and a glass of the Lagrein 2010 next to our letters. All hunky dory, really.

So my friend, let's call her Ali, she won't mind me using her real name, she's pretty neat. Not the tidy neat, the cool neat. The fun person you always hang out with. We call each other 'G' (pronounced 'Jee!'), play SingStar to tragic tunes from Tina Turner, Cher and Alice Cooper, dance with my pooch - and boy can we talk shit for hours.

About once a week, usually on a weekend, she'll come around. We almost have an unspoken deal where I provide the wine and she prepares a pot of tea for us the next morning. It's a real treat.

It's a funny thing, when 'G' gets to my house. We'll chat a bit...

'G!' - Me
'Hay G' - Ali
'How you doin', G?'
'Good G how choo doin'?

Yada, yada, yada.

'Want some vino, G?'
'Sure, G!'

We walk to my special spot where I store the wine, in their original cardboard boxes (sophisticated, I know). I kneel down and take a bottle of the Seppeltsfield Eden Valley Riesling, showing off the new retro labels and the funky engraved bottle.

She stares back, a grave look on her face, and in a deep tone she says: 'G, you know how I feel about white wine'. I take a bottle of the Lagrein.

Mr Andrew Jefford recently said that alcohol in wine shouldn't be overlooked - not only for its ability to express particular terroir, but for it's ability to connect people. Sure, he was a bit controversial in saying that. After all, how much is too much? But I'm not going to lie and say our night would have been as fun had we sat on the apple juice. And boy do I love juice.

I wasn't blind drunk when I fell off my chair. Yeah, I fell off the chair. But I wasn't particularly sober, either. But the night was a hoot. Endless laughs turned to serious chats turned to another glass of vino, another round of SingStar, another song, and so on, and so on (this is after she kicked my arse in Scrabble - mean G).

Vino - and it's alcohol content - is, indeed, special in this way and shouldn't be given the death stare. I'm certainly not saying it should be abused - what fool do you take me for, yo! - just sayin' it cops more flack than I think it should.

As for the Lagrein: dark purple, violet aromas, with flavours of earth and dark berries, finished with a small bite of minerality and spice. To be frank, it didn't particularly rock our boats, especially at 39 bucks. The Shiraz Grenache Carignan, on the other hand, was a dream boat. It was like berry soup. A simply divine drink that I'd swirl and sip while shakin' my hips to Buddy Holly on any warm summer day. And winter's only just begun.