Sticks Pinot Noir and Cowboy food

March 18, 2012

Beautifully coloured Pinot Noir

The last thing I did at Melbourne Airport when we left for Thailand in early January this year, was to buy a bottle of ‘2010 Pinot Noir’ by Sticks Winery.

I knew the bottle would not last long. On a Saturday when we felt like rural folks, we had it with a hearty meal of cowboy food.

Sticks Winery and its vineyards are located just opposite the old homestead of the Sadlier family at the foot of the hill South-west of Yarra Glen, called Christmas Hill. My friend Steve Sadlier had set up most of the vineyards many years ago when the place was still known as Yarra Ridge Winery.

If I remember correctly, my first ever wine tasting in Australia was in the tasting room of this winery. The wines were presented by Meagan, who became Steve’s wife a couple of years later. Sticks was the first vineyard I walked through in Australia. Goodness me that’s now so many years ago, maybe 1991 or 1992.

The 2010 Pinot Noir by Sticks

I was not sure if the wine would go that well with rural tucker. After all Pinot Noir makes a delicate and refined wine, something subtle and gently textured. And Sticks Pinot Noir is exactly that with delicious fruit aromas from wild cherry with a bit of spice, long on the palate with a suppleness hard to imagine. Maybe ill suited to the food we were going to have, I thought.

However that may be, we were in for a dish by Jamie Oliver, one of my favourite chefs of modern cuisine. From his “America” book, we cooked the Mountain Meatballs (page 308).

Mountain Meatballs as interpreted by Margit Adam

These meatballs are spicy. Jamie Oliver made up the recipe, he says in the book. The true Rocky Mountain dish is made of “prairie oysters”, sheep or cattle balls. We followed Jamie more than the wild West tradition.

The melted cheese in the meatball is just wonderful creamy. I also love the slight coffee aromas. This dish is a ripper of bush tucker, as we would call it in Australia. We served it with rice. I could eat it for breakfast, I must say, with bread or potatoes.

Jamie suggests a wine from the Côtes du Rhône, most likely a Grenache, a Shiraz and/or a Mourvèdre. Next time we’ll have these meatballs, I will try that.


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