Friday, 27 April 2012

So... Some Wine?

Tallarook Shiraz Viognier 2004, Victoria

This producer is I fear defunct.  Rather a sad outcome as I reckon they made some nice wines, not for everyone, but a bit more than interesting and rather enjoyable.

The pliers add to the rustic nature of the photo,
just like my messy kitchen.
Fading ruby to look at, this smells like dried herbs and flowers, with, violet? over mineral earth. The palate follows through with more herb, leather and dry earth, but the fruit is suprising with it's bright rasberry lolly and cherry character. Open for an hour or so classic shiraz fruit and spice show through. From here stem and leaf chime in and this producer always builds over an acid/tannin backbone, oak is subtle but nicely present. This all carries the wine and imbues structure and length. 90.

A bit of an old world pretender, I'd be intrigued to see this next to a couple of examples from the Rhone. Overall this is tight, but opens with a bit of time, it may also be a bit over age, but again this is gracefully so and I really like the faded primary characters yielding to other funk and complexity.  Like many good wines, the fruit comes up once the bottle is open for a little while.  The other point to mention is the deft handling of the Viognier, some of the previous editions of the wine have used Marsanne to the same end; the element to like here is that it is intergrated with such class.  The only hint to it's presence is the slight floral edge and ephemeral dried apricot note.  So many of these wines are so overladen with the viognier that they taste like apricots and flowers, which if the shiraz is good does not compliment, but rather overtakes.  As they say less is more right? 

Sunday, 8 April 2012

And So To Dessert

Pear With Figs In Red Wine

A dessert done many times, this edition has a few tweaks I enjoy to give it a little more zing. I always like playing with elements typically used at the opposite end of the flavour spectrum; the chilli in this instance would more often be seen in a savoury offering, however here the very small amount used enhances the flavour and lifts the dish as a whole. Dark chocolate and chilli are in my book a rather classic combination anyway.

I must apologise for the terrible photo/plating,
time was short however you get the idea...

Pears, peeled*
Dried Figs, 2 per pear

1 bottle Red wine
Star Anise, 1 head
Cinnamon, 1 stick
Cardamom, 1 pod
Chilli (small sliver)
Dark Chocolate, 50g finely ground
Brown Sugar, taste

Double Cream

*I tend to leave the cores and stems in the pear. I like the aesthetics of the pear on the plate like this and it all holds together better. The purists would say there is little worse than biting into a lovely pear and getting core or seed. That seems a bit silly to me when you know it will be there, decide for yourself and prepare accordingly...

Prepare the pears and set in a saucepan so they fit snugly, this means they wont move around unless you want to adjust them, thus select a pan size accordingly. Put the figs in as well and throw all the spices in. Pour the wine over the top, they should be covered by about ½ to ¾, more is probably better. Poach gently for around 45 minutes, here long and slow is good. Set the pears and figs aside when done and retain the liquid.

The wine and spice can then be reduced by half and sugar added. I have not put a measure here as it depends how sweet the wine and your taste, you will need to balance it to the spice. Strain the liquid and then slowly combine the chocolate through the sauce.

Pour the sauce over the plated pear and figs, serving with cream.