Thursday, 22 January 2009

The Ruins Pinotage 2008

Eilandia, Robertson, $68, screwtop
I haven't tried much Pinotage, but when I saw this on special at Park n Shop for bargain price of $38 I thought I'd give it a go. The Ruins is a brand that is readily available in Hong Kong and offers organic wines at very reasonable prices. The back label goes into detail about their method of planting a crop of lucerne as a competing ground cover that encourages deep root growth in the vines and reduces yields; I always find a bit of farming know how interesting.

The Ruins Pinotage 2008 is a vibrant, sparkling purple colour. It smells of great lashing of raspberry candy and fizzy sarsaparilla. The palate is just as sweet as the nose; this wine is all about red lollies, not red fruit. I can taste strawberry chewing gum, cherry candy and sweet children's' cough syrup. I'm not really sure what to make of this, though it is young and could perhaps do with a tad more time in the bottle. It's medium bodied and has a slight frizz to it. Their website suggests serving it slightly chilled and it's certainly the type of wine that could be easily chucked back on a Tuesday afternoon. While it's not really my style there's something a tad morish about it; at the price you can try it for yourself.

Visit winery website.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Louis Jadot Cote de Beaune-Villages 2006

Burgundy, France, £6.99, cork seal
A wine from the villages of Beaune, with my village pictured in the background. Made by Burgundy big boy Louis Jadot it's a blend of fruit from the Chorey les Beaune and Ladoix villages and has spend twelve months in oak. I purchased this bottle duty free at London's Heathrow Airport, a place where the prices can be surprisingly good.

The wine's a beautiful deep crimson colour. It smells like Pinot should smell; there're cherries and berries with a lash of cream and a sprinkle of pepper. The palate is simple, but basically it tastes like one big cherry party with hordes of cherries, cherries and more cherries. It's a medium bodied wine with a nice round palate and a touch of a spice on the finish. A drinkable little Pinot that I'm certainly not going to claim is complex, but I will say is rather tasty. Louis Jadot Cote de Beaune-Villages 2006 is simple, but satisfying and brings a little bit of Burgundy at a fair price.

Visit winery website.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Wedding of the Year

Osbornes Flat Hall, Yackandandah, Victoria
31st December 2008

When you live in Hong Kong having Christmas in England and New Year's Eve in Australia is a bit of a big commitment, but some things need to be done. I left Exeter train station at 10am Sunday morning and when I finally parked the car in Yackandandah it was Tuesday lunchtime; I'd come via London, Yuen Long, Brisbane and Melbourne. With the whole wedding happening outdoors the evening was truly beautiful in its simplistic grandeur. The ceremony by the dam, dinner under the setting sun and a live band beneath the stars to welcome in 2009.

As this is a food blog I thought I'd mention the delights we ate and drunk. Instead of the usual catered crap that tends to be served at weddings this event was all about home cooked goodness prepared with love. The bride and her family and friends made many of the dishes that were served picnic style. This is how the menu looked:
  • Grissini with Prosciutto
  • Baba Ghanoush
  • Osborne Olives
  • Benjamin's Beef with Relish
  • Local Smoked Trout
  • Dolmades
  • Potato Terrine
  • Spanakopita
  • Chickpea Balls with Halloumi
  • Tomato and Mozzarella with Basil Oil
  • Seared Zucchini Strips
  • Green Salad
  • Sour Dough Bread
  • Wedding Cake
  • Maz's Famous Ice-cream
  • Strawberries
    The booze was just as much a task of love. Last July I helped bottle beer and there was a tasty range of homebrews to choose from alongside some great Aussie wine. The beers included:
  • Lovers Pale Ale
  • Orange Roughy
  • Kickback Ale
  • Thirsty Sanchez
  • Sparkling Ale
    While a late contender the evening definitely took the crown for 'wedding of the year'. A truly great weekend amongst great friends that made me almost miss Australia.