Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Red Man!! Red Wine Jus

I am basically a red man!! Red meat and red wine. My fortieth birthday was billed as Mal's Big Red 40th and requested gifts were 'any bottle of red wine'. Now I do enjoy a good Semillon or Riesling, even the occasional Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, but red is best!

Because of my enjoyment of red wine I have taken up cooking to try and develop dishes that complement red wine. I have been having a ball each weekend experimenting on my family. They are not complaining, mind you - they love it!

One week I just threw some ingredients together to make a red wine jus and now my wife and eldest son ask for it almost every other weekend. It is simple - I made it up myself.

(1) Either (a)Take the juices left over from roasting pan (if doing a roast), or (b) simply add small amount of olive oil in frypan and bring to high heat and add diced garlic and fry for a 30 seconds to a minute;
(2) add half a bottle of Shiraz (a guzzler will do - but a nice guzzler, not el-cheapo rat poison) and boil vigorously for 3 -5 minutes or longer to reduce to about 200 mls
(3) whilst boiling stir in small amount of balsamic vinegar and small amount of soy sauce;
(4) once reduced, turn to simmer, taste, and add salt and pepper to taste (only if required)
(5) slowly mix in heaped teaspoon of butter or margarine (for a shine to the jus)
(6) mix a half teaspoon of corn flour with 20-30mls of water and slowly pour into jus whilst stirring - should thicken nicley - turn off heat and pour into gravy boat


Monday, March 27, 2006

1998 Penfold's BIN 389

I only have about a dozen of these left. I know, I know, James Halliday said they were best for drinking 2008 - 2018. I just can't help myself!

I had staff from work over on Friday night - I was cooking a BBQ (our favourite - grain fed rump - $9.99/kilo from Rode Road Meats). It was a beautiful evening on the deck with a gentle breeze with just a hint of coolness in it. I had a 'hankering' for a big red!

The Bin 389 almost jumped into my hands (at least that's how I remember it)!! It was fantastic - big and spicy aromas and big bold taste!! It was a real hit with everyone. Even though it may improve with more time in the bottle, it is still great now.

I hope I can hold on to the remaining dozen for a while yet. However a friend once told me that it is better to drink a wine too early and appreciate its potential than to drink it too late and lament its demise.

Friday, March 24, 2006

McLaren Vale Shiraz

Even though I have only been drinking wine for 5 or 6 years I am beginning to believe that my favourite Australian wine variety is any Shiraz from the McLaren Vale region. Whilst I love Cabernets and Pinots there something about the Shiraz grown in McLaren Vale.

Shiraz from Barossa, Yarra Valley and even Hunter Valley are wonderful in their plummy or chocolate flavours, however it must be the intense berry flavours that often show through in the McLaren Vale Shiraz that really knock me over. It is not that I dislike any of the others but it is just that I have noticed myself gravitating towards these wines over the last few years.

I do not know the McLaren Vale region - I have never been there! I can't even recall seeing any photographs of it but I do so love the Shiraz that comes from there!

What is your favourite wine variety and from what region - and why do you like it so much?

Monday, March 20, 2006

What do you want?

When I began this blog I wanted it to be useful to anyone reading it. I am happy to discuss any topic dealing with wine that you wish. Remember I am no expert but I thought it could be fun to discuss wine ejoyment with other amateurs.

Do you want articles on Wine storage/wine fridges? Guzzlers (under $15) or any other topic you wish.

You comments are more than welcome they are desired!!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Wine is meant to be enjoyed!! It is meant as a perfect companion to good food and good company!

Getting Assistance

As I have said in an earlier post, I was fortunate to have friends to help introduce me to various aspects of wine enjoyment. I think it is important to have a wide variety of viewpoints when it comes to wine but it is also important to have some contacts with people that are not just enthusiastic about wine but are also very knowledgeable.

When I first started there were some very good people working in some of The Grape stores and Vintage Cellars in Brisbane. Also there was a Cellar Manager at the Gap Tavern (I can't recall her name) who was excellent. However, in recent times it appears that The Grape and Gap Tavern have gone down-market (the Cellar Manager moved to Mr Corks at Jindalee - I believe) as the two big retailers (Coles-Myer and Woolworths) fight each other for market share.

I have recently discovered a new place at New Farm (Fortitude Valley??) called The Wine Emporium. They are INDEPENDENT of the major retailers and I have met two of the guys there (Tony Harper & Stewart Plant) who are extremely enthusiastic and very knowledgable about wines - not just Australian Wines but French, Italian, Spanish etc. They both conduct courses (I did one one recently on wines from Bordeaux - fantastic!!!) and write articles and appear on radio. I believe they may be part of the ownership of the store but I have thought it rude to ask them. They have always been keen to serve and ensure that your experience, not just in the store, but later drinking the wine you have selected is as good as it possibly can be.

Compared to the 'salespeople' that the other stores trot out, the guys at the Wine Emporium are almost 'Gods'!! I have been so impressed with their service, knowledge and range that I have included a link on the blog.

Sorry to be so effusive but I am extremely happy with this 'find'. The excitement of finding a good wine store with good staff is akin to the excitement you feel when you find a super-enjoyable wine for a ridiculously reasonable price and you are on your way back to the store buy a couple of cases! I really am a hopeless case - wine does that to you - it is very seductive! YUM!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

In the Beginning!!

I have not been drinking wines for very long. My first purchase was a bottle of Penfold's "Rawson's Retreat" sometime in 1998 or 1999. My first case purchase was a case of Penfold's1998 Koonunga Hill (Shiraz-Cab) closely followed by a case of Rosemount Split Label (Cab-shiraz?).

As you can see I didn't really plunge in at the expensive end of the market. In fact for a couple of years I couldn't see why you would ever want to pay over about $15 per bottle when there were so many good value-for-money wines around under that price. However, as some of you might be aware - wine is more than a little seductive. Gradually your palate changes and you can taste the difference between a $10 and $20 of wine and you find you prefer the $20 one, and then $30 and so on. This does not mean that you do not like the inexpensive wines - you buy them for every-day drinking and then buy smaller quantities of more expensive wines for special occasions. ....... and so on and so on.

It is funny how some things stick with you. We drank so much Rawson's Retreat that my family now has a nickname for Rawson's Retreat - "Ronnie's". How this came about I am not sure, but I do know for a while we called it Ronny Rawson's. I ended up buying a couple more cases of the Koonunga Hill and still have one or two bottles of the 1998.

I still have the occasional bottle of "Ronnie's" and Koonunga Hill and it is not bad - for a 'guzzler'. This is another term we have picked up somewhere to denote inexpensive but good value-for-money wines. There are plenty of these out there. I may even dedicate an article to the "guzzler".

It has been my great fortune to have a number of family and friends who are also 'into' wine. One of them invited my wife and I to a function at the Queensland Cricketer's Club hosted by Bruce Tyrrell of Tyrrell's Wines. What a great evening with great food and wine! There were many things I took away with me that evening, but the greatest thing I have remembered was something Bruce Tyrrell said. He said that "we would do well to remember that there are really only two types of wines - ones we like and ones we don't like"

Sometimes when I think I am getting too much like a "wine wanker" (a difficult term to really define well) I think back to that brief lesson from one of the 'great's' in Australian wines.

Find wines you enjoy and drink them!! Cheers!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I am definitely not a wine expert!! I am simply an amateur who enjoys learning about and drinking wine.

I am interested in discussing wines with you and sharing my experiences, likes, dislikes etc on all things relating to wine, their making, their drinking, their sales etc.

You are welcome to come on a journey with me and maybe we can learn some things together and help open each others minds (and taste buds) to new experiences.


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