Recent bottlings wine with food and wine as experiences.

Will these recent bottlings, Mount Eagle Eden Valley Montepulciano 2021 and Knotts Eden Valley Nero D’Avola 2021 go well with food. In the simple sense-yes, though you should really ask, does the chemistry of the wine enhance that of the food. About this I waver.

As a beverage poured from a carafe or jug, revealing the freshness of the new vintage, a thirst quencher, coolish to chilled, the buzz of alcohol, wine makes sense with food. Other times, as with freshly opened oysters, with the brine in which they grew, they are perfect, and I do not want the taste contaminated with wine.

Somewhere, sometime, the humble village wine changed into a different beverage. One date is 1933 when Andre Simon founded the Wine Society. Now with so many wine students, even Master Sommeliers, wine has become weighed down with too much discussion. It’s also not a fair debate as this discussion is one way, as wine is now serious and for this you must pay. And with steeply rising prices any magical synergy with food disappeared.

Does wine complement a bunch of grapes? No, and so it is I find wine is less about the food and more about the company or location. I’m enjoying a [yellow tail] Sauvignon Blanc 2023 on the estuary wharf at Tuross, NSW. Delicious. I rang brother Richard explaining what he was missing, and he called me ‘a prick’! Next, two serious drinkers discovering the wine list at the Tour D‘Argent, Paris. Imagine the size of the menu to complement this list.

My fondness for the old Sydney Chinatown restaurants centred around the good food, the crays and fish in tanks, and their happy unawareness that selecting wine from a food smeared, plastic covered page listing six whites and reds at rock bottom prices was unusual.

This changed in the 1990s, not so much by wealthy Sydneysiders but by wealthy Chinese-Asian tourists and the owner’s realisation there was more money in a posh waiter, a Yarra Valley Chardonnay and giant wine glasses than stuffed dumplings.

In about 1983 Warren and Jacquie Mason, long time members of the Sydney Wine and Food Society, reimagined wine judging with the Sydney International Wine Challenge. After judging, the best wines were then rejudged by matching against a range of food courses. Warren and Jacquie saw it this way; ‘a wine competition not judged on what minor technicalities might flaw the wine but one where the wine’s attributes, when seen in context with appropriate food, was the principal consideration’.

Perhaps like others they wondered whether some science might link the complementarity of wine and food. For years I read the chief judge’s comments on the food and wine matchings and how unconvincing they themselves became as the years ticked on.

Such a test is best left to each of us as it varies by the glass and the occasion. Dining out is about the theatre and other times the pleasantness comes from the location. Just that moment at that location makes the wine more than it is, enough to relate the story again and again.

Perhaps this is the first rule of enjoying wine, a feeling that cannot be taught only realised when you are ready.

Drinking as you eat makes sense and I find wine better than a cup of tea or beer. Though these days when I sip particularly good wine, I drink water after the food to prepare the palate.

Back to sales. The wines Glug makes are strongly flavoured and will push back against full flavoured foods so I have no doubt you will know what you are drinking. Nothing much drinks well with delicate food, perhaps a pale delicate white and as for Champagne just sit back and enjoy it as is. Our wine makers go to a lot of trouble to develop the flavours and they are enough and really cannot be enhanced.

A useful food bet are our warm climate Barossa roses made from Grenache and Mataro, Kitts Creek Barossa Valley Rose 2022 and Kitts Creek Barossa Valley Rose 2023 while Barossa Grenache should have a bigger role at your table so try the Crayford Barossa Valley Grenache 2023.

So, Drink Widely Drink Well

David Farmer

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