Critter wines ?

January 22, 2013

Critter wine labels

Screen shot of the search result: critter wines

What are critter wines, you may ask?

Well, especially in Australia vintners and wine-makers seems to love to put pictures of cute little animals on to their labels. They select mostly marsupials but also other little animals which call Australia their home are to be found.

So on any super market shelf in Australia you will find bottles of wine with penguins, turtles, owls, emus, brolgas (a crane), and of course koalas, wallabies and kangaroos on their labels.

These are “critter wines”.

I found various entries on “critter wines” in the blogoshere with interesting essays and ruminations about this kind of wine labels, the quality associated with the products and the marketing of these wines. One of the main question is “do they all suck”? Of course not. But some do.

Many of these critter wines show a high level of quality. One of the most famous labels is yellow tail, owned by Casella Wines, one of the biggest family-owned enterprise in the Australian wine industry.

But because of the strong Australian dollar even a successful enterprise like Casella Wines struggels especially when they are exposed significantly to the US wine market.

Let us hope that Casella Wines can manage to stay in business. Then we can continue to enjoy their critter wines. The wine blog epicurious lists the ‘2007 Reserve Pinot Grigio’ (South Eastern Australia) by yellow tail($15) as one of the top five critter wines.

I guess this vintage is gone by now. I should try their Pinot Grigio although this is not my favourite grape variety.

http://www.epicurious

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Paolo Scavino – Barolo 2004 at Casa D’Oro, Kempinski Hotel, Jakarta

November 7, 2009

PaoloScavino

Unfortunately, the circumstances prevented me from writing a proper restaurant review of Casa D’Oro, an Italian restaurant at the Hotel Indonesia Kempinski in Jakarta. I have to go back, eat there and write a proper review. A friend of mine says it’s the best Italian gourmet dining in Jakarta. It’s chef de cuisine, Francesco Greco, is a well accomplished master of fine cooking being just awarded the “Best Chef of 2009 in Shanghai” award.

But I can write about the wine, we had with our quick dinner. I selected a ‘2004 Barolo’ by Paolo Scavino, from Piedmont, Italy and one of the best producers of Barolo in the world. Made from Nebbiolo grapes grown in the cool climate of the Piemontese hills at the foot of the Alps, this wine has a deep red colour and is characterized by an elegant nose. Dried roses, cherries, and plums can be tasted together with herbs and dusty vanilla notes. The long finish is very impressive. The wine is of medium-body, very smooth and very well balanced. Wine experts award it 91-92 Parker points. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine.

I am so happy that I had spotted this wonderful wine on the extensive wine list of the hotel. I can only highly recommend it. Moreover, the wine was very reasonably prized.


Restaurant Review: Libertine in Melbourne

January 22, 2009

libertine

During the four weeks in Glenburn, Victoria I made it to the big city (= Melbourne) only once. My friend Tony Arthur had organised a lunch with Joe and Helen and myself at “Libertine”, a French restaurant in North Melbourne.

When Tony mentioned the name of the place we were supposed to meet in town over the phone, I was already enthralled. For a liberal like me, “libertine” augured well, promising freedom of French provenance.

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The restaurant is tucked away between various other entrances and not easily glimpsed. I came in my pick-up truck from the countryside and had to circle the place.

The dining area downstairs is rather small but I understand they have more facilities upstairs. When I arrived at 12:30 sharp, my friends had already assembled. Most tables were still empty but that would change very quickly. The place was packed just a little later.

Tony, Helen and Joe had been travelling together in France. As a native of Trier, Mosel, just a few kilometres from France I am not exactly a stranger to French culture and cuisine and consider myself a “francophile”.

We started with aperitifs. I was introduced to a Floc de Gascogne. Based on a XVI century local recipe, this is a fortified sweet wine, a blend so to say, between fresh grape juice (2/3) and Armagnac (1/3). It is kept for about 10 months in the cellar. The aromas it displays are almond, jasmine, roses and honey. The alcohol content of the drink varies between 16 and 18%.

Also the second aperitif, a Pommeau de Normandie was a “mistelle”, in this case a mixture of apple juice with Calvados. It’s usually aged in oak barrels for about 30 months and contains 17% alcohol. The drink displays aromas of vanilla, caramel and butterscotch flavours.

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The Pommeau de Normandie

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The Floc de Gascogne

The next two photos introduce the diners. A happy lot they were. We had not met for more than a year. It was easy to lure me down to town from my farm upcountry in the Upper Goulburn to meet up and dwell on the happenings of the past months.

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Tony and Joe

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Helen and me

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My steak

We all ordered the set menue were you have a couple of choices. I opted for the fresh onion soup, followed by a steak. The dessert I choose was a “tarte de pomme”, all very delicious. The service was relaxed but very attentive; the food of an excellent quality and taste for a very reasonable price.

We were also advised on the wines. We went with the house wine, all from bottles, a Roundstone Cabernet Merlot from the Yarra Valley. Helen had a Lis Neris Bianco from Italy. The blokes followed up with a glass of Tempranillo but by that time we were beyond producers and other wine information. I just did not record any of it any more because we were deep in philosophical conversation about love, life and the universe.

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The dessert

We had a coffee at the end, bid each other farewell and scattered in all direction with the sincere promise to repeat this as soon as possible but latest at our next visit in Australia.

The Libertine is a great restaurant. If you visit Melbourne you should schedule a meal either lunch or dinner with your friends in this atmospheric little place.

Address:
Libertine
500 Victoria Stret
North Melbourne 3051
Melbourne, Victoria
Australia
Tel.:+61-3-93295228
http://www.libertinedining.com.au


Restaurants in Jakarta – Anatolia

September 24, 2008

It was our last Saturday night in Jakarta. Everything must come to an end. After 10 years, leaving was not an easy thing. A quiet “last supper” with our friends Liz and Walter was our preferred choice. They invited us to Anatolia, a Turkish restaurant in South Jakarta.

Beautiful tiles depicting among others “grapes”.

I am a lover of Turkish food and so it came as no surprise that we just loved the various dishes which were put in front of us. Good food, good company, good conversations, fun and good wine, that should become the recipe of the evening. And look at some of the food!

Various starter platters.

Unfortunately, I forgot most of the names of the different dishes. The atmosphere in the restaurant was lively. We were entertained by a dancer and modern music from the Middle East.

What did we drink? As so often before, I was given the task of selecting the wine. I could have chosen some Australian reds but could not resist to order something new, something I had never heard of: a Turkish wine. Have you ever heard about Yakut (not not the thin Japanese milk-yoghurt drink, which is written with an l before the t)?

‘Yakut Kavaklidere’ was written on the bottle. Fortunately the back label was in Turkish. I just could not resist ordering the bottle and some more were to follow. The wine was dark red in colour. We were all surprised by its round taste, an intense fruit flavour, a bit of plum and cherries. But it was unlike other wines. I could not identify the grape variety. We all agreed that the wine matched the food very well. Existing prejudices about Turkish wines were quickly transformed into admiration. Despite the fact that this wine was simple (and not expensive) and not at all sophisticated, we just loved it. Thanks Liz and Walter for the wonderful evening.

Are you living in Jakarta and having no plans for Friday night as yet? The choice is clear. Have a meal at Anatolia.

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