I cooked Sunday roast – 2006 Timo Mayer Cabernet, Yarra Valley, Australia

May 29, 2011

As you know I am not much of a cook. But today I cooked a traditional Sunday roast. I am so proud. I did it. Not that it was particularly difficult. Actually I just seasoned the meat, put it into the oven for 60 minutes, and voila there was a delicious meal.

This called for a special wine, and a special wine we had. I choose a ‘2006 Cabernet’ from the Mayer Vineyard, made by my old friend Timo Mayer in the Yarra Valley. Timo is one of the famous South Pack, a group of young and creative wine-makers in Victoria.

This is a beautiful wine, full of red berry flavour, a good structure and a long finish. The cherries on my palate were almost like the ones of a Merlot, but it is a straight Cabernet, amazing.

Great colour

The roast was just perfect with its pink colour. It was Thai beef of a very good quality. As were the other ingredients by the way. The girls made a Yorkshire pudding. Moreover we had broccoli and carrots as vegetables.

The roast

Delicious Sunday lunch

Great vegetables

From here it was downhill all the way. First came my favourite cigar, then came the port. I just love Sundays like this.


2011 party at Two Hills Vineyard

February 20, 2011

From time to time we organize a big party at Two Hills Vineyard; that’s what we did on January 2nd, 2011. We invited some of our neighbours, friends and family to spend an afternoon with us.

We were very lucky, the weather played along. The second of January turned out to be a splendid summer’s day. We were busy preparing the food, cooling the wine, getting soft drinks for the kids and so on.

We put out the garden furniture. I prepared the grill which is a man’s job in Australia. The “barbie” as they call it, is something like the holy grail for the weaker sex, the hormone driven, muscular men of down under.

According to some expert witnesses, I did well. Not bad for a “semi-vegetarian”, I guess. We had lashings of food and buckets of wine. In the following I will introduce some of our guests.

fltr: Ruby, Helen, Jenny, Timo and Michael

fltr: Heidi, Steve, Brownie, Helen and Michael

The kids table

Netsi and Stacy

Rhonda, Jenny and Hilary (background Timo and Richard)

Our lovely neighbours, Richard from down and Hilary from up the road

And now some cool dudes:

Brownie

Steve

Timo (should anybody say winemakers cannot play cricket)

Cricket was the game of choice of the kids and adults alike

Australian crayfish from our dam

Persian spicy mango by Ali

Meagan’s Pavlova, the Australian dessert

Men in black

Busy talking friends

Rhiannon and Bill

My love for turbans always shows when I have got a few drinks.

I do not have photos of most of the food. I was just too busy. The yabbies (a kind of Australian crayfish) came from our dam where we caught them with nets. They were superb. I just got one of them.

We drank of lot of our 2004 Merlot and other wines and beers.
Thanks folks for following our invitation and making our day.
It was splendid indeed.
See you at Two Hills next year.


The five best Riesling wines of 2010

February 18, 2011

Riesling the queen of white wine

Well, let’s be clear from the outset: this is not the result of an orderly wine tasting. I am reminiscing about the most remarkable Rieslings I drank in 2010. The five wines below are the ones I selected, and I call them “my best Rieslings in 2010 – the Man from the Mosel selection”.

As you might know, any recall from memory about events past is a tricky and challenging thing. I also do not have the opportunity to drink these wines parallel to each other (what a shame). But here is my top five list:

1. ‘2009 Dhron Hofberg Riesling GG’, by Grans-Fassian Estate, Leiwen, Mosel.

This is a marvellous Riesling. The 2009 vintage was great. Grans-Fassian is a top Riesling producer from the Mosel. With 95 Parker points the Dhron Hofberg Riesling is just divine. I could not believe my luck when I casually strolled into the cellar door and picked up these treasures.

2. ‘2008 Schieferterrassen Riesling’ by Heymann-Loewenstein, Winningen, Mosel.

Weingut Heymann-Loewenstein is another of the great Riesling producers from the Mosel. The wines are made in a different style from the mainstream. They show great character and have funk. Only on April 30, 2011 the 2009 vintage will be released. I am very excited and cannot wait to taste the 2009 Riesling.

3. ‘2008 Monzinger Halenberg Riesling trocken’ by Emrich-Schoenleber, Monzingen, Nahe

The wines made from fruit grown at Monziger Halenberg are among the best Riesling wines in Germany. The Nahe is the region where my maternal grandfather started to introduce me to wine when I was just a boy. Ever since I love this very diverse region.

Monzingen is a small village next to Martinstein where I spent time with my grand parents. I walked all the different hills and slopes in the vicinity. Emrich-Schoenleber is one of the top producers at the Nahe, a lovely family too where father and son make the wine together.

4. ‘2009 Riesling Leiwen Laurentiuslay GG’ by St. Urbanshof, Leiwen, Mosel

Another wonderful wine from the Mosel. Weingut St. Urbans Hof is located in Leiwen, Mosel. Recently we had a bottle of this Riesling with Sunday lunch. Goodness me what a treat that was. I had only one bottle with me when I came back from Germany in November. The good news is: I will be in Trier in mid March and guess what…..

5. ‘Dr. Mayer Riesling Kabinett trocken’ by Timo Mayer, (Yarra Valley), Remstal, Wuerttemberg

Timo Mayer is an Australian boutique wine maker of the Yarra Valley and a native of Grossheppach, Remstal. He made this wine while travelling in Europe. The grapes come from his brother and the family vineyard. The 2009 vintage was ideal for making this wine. Timo shipped about 60 cases back to Australia. We were so lucky to have access to a few bottles.

You might say, all these wines are German Rieslings, did you not drink others? Well, I did. I tried quite a few Australian ones but that’s usually not my cup of tea. But I am undeterred. My to to list (to drink list) is long.

I admit that I also love Riesling from the Alsace, France. Though they are creamer, heavy, earthy.

I also love Riesling from Rheingau und Rheinhessen, in fact there are so many good German Rieslings it is very difficult to say which one to drink first.

Please let me know what your best Riesling was in 2010.


Rinaldi 2008 Barbera d’Alba – the real stuff

October 5, 2010

2008 Barbera d’Asti by Rinaldi

To have an experienced wine-maker staying over at ones home is a blessing. I always learn so much about different wine styles and different wines. When Timo Mayer, owner and wine maker of The Mayer Vineyard in the Yarra Valley, visited us in Bangkok recently, we had the chance to catch up with the world of wine-making.

He brought a bottle of ‘2008 Barbera d’Asti’ of Giuseppe Rinaldi from Piemont, Italy. He had visited the winery on a study tour to Italy and wanted to share this treasure with us. Rinaldi makes his wines “the good old way”, using no barriques, no destemming, no filtration etc. He is one of only about a handful of wine-makers left who are not producing heavy (oaked) wines for the American market.

One bottle is just the beginning

The results of this traditional style wine-making are wonderful. The wine is fruity with a good structure, the acids are remarkable, the tannins are fine and delicate. You taste the earth the grapes were grown on and not the oak they were exposed to. This is Barbera d’Asti of the best. If you have a chance to indulge in it, my suggestions: do it.

Address:
Rinaldi Giuseppe Az. Agr.
Via Monforte, 3
12060 Barolo (Cn)
Tel.: +39-173-56156
Fax: +39-173-56156
Year founded: 1890
Owner: Rinaldi Giuseppe


At the winemakers home – Timo Mayer, Yarra Valley

April 30, 2010

Timo Mayer and his Mayer Vineyard are well known among the wine fraternity in Australia, Germany and the UK. Timo is wine maker at Gembrook Hills and he has his own vineyard in the Yarra Valley. The Mayer Vineyard is what is called a boutique vineyard. Timo is also member of The South Pack, a group of innovative and independent winemakers in Victoria.

We know each other since many years. In fact Timo made the second vintage of our Two Hills Sauvignon Blanc (2002), which won a bronze medal at the Singapore Wine Show. Since many years our two families have been together, usually for skiing on Mount Buller, eating and drinking, either at our vineyard in Glenburn or at Timo and Ronda’s place, the Mayer Vineyard.

Also this time Timo and Ronda invited us for a gourmet dinner after an afternoon of ice skating and a visit of the Victoria market in Melbourne. The latter program was only attended by our two daughters; the old folks were only in for the eating and drinking part. Needless to say, Timo is not just an excellent wine maker but also an excellent cook.

Timo Mayer in the kitchen

My pictures of the event were somehow heavily affected by the enthusiasm of our re-union, and maybe, maybe, the alcohol of the many wines we tasted. Anyway, I do not have excellent pictures to show you. The longer the evening went on, the more terrible my pictures became. Bear with me. It was a great evening.

But let us start with the food. Out of this fine piece of tuna below, Timo made a delicious sashimi (second picture below). After that we ha another entrée, garlic prawns. The fist main dish was mussels with chorizo sausage chunks followed by some fish (white-head for the kids, and tuna). We were not in the position to eat another main course, although there was beef and various other meats waiting for us. What a wonderful feast that was. Delicious stuff.

Tuna

Sashimi Timo style

Garlic prawns

Mussles with chorizo sausages and herbs

The wines we tasted before, during and after the meal were:

• 2006 Vintage Yarra Burn Sparkling, Yarra Valley

• 2009 Bloody Hill Chardonnay, Mayer Vineyard, Yarra Valley

• 2008 Bloody Hill Rose, Mayer Vineyard, Yarra Valley

• Grande Signature de Rapatel, Roussanne-Bourboulenc, by Gérard Eyraud, France

• 2008 Bloody Hill Pinot Noir, Mayer Vineyard (and we had the 2009 vintage as cleanskin)

• 2008 Les Griottes, Beaujolais, by Pierre-Marie Chermente, France

• 2007 Syrah, Domaine des Rapatel, Gérard Eyraud, France

• 2006 Big Betty Shiraz, Mayer Vineyard, Yarra Valley

• 1996 Cornas, by Thierry Allemand, France

I did not take tasting notes, this was a social event and not a formal wine tasting. Below you will find photos of some the bottles. The two bottles from Domaine de Rapatel are not represented. You can find reviews in my earlier blog entries.

Vintage Yarra Burn Sparkling

This Yarra Burn is a wonderful cool climate sparkling wine, a classical blend of Pinot Noir (58%), Chardonnay (35%) and Pinot Meunier (7%), from the Yarra Valley. The price is about A$ 22/bottle, great price-value relationship.

2009 Bloody Hill Chardonnay, Mayer Vineyard

Just released, this young white wine from the Mayer Vineyard, although low in alcohol, is an easy drinking but very fine and delicate specimen of a modern Yarra Valley Chardonnay. It has funk, is zesty and very harmonious.

2008 Bloody Hill Rose, Mayer Vineyard

Great wine for hot days and not so hot days. We compared the Bloody Hill Rose with the Grand Signature de Rapatel and found to our amazement that both wines, despite being of such different origins, go well with the garlic prawns.

2008 Les Griottes, Beaujolais, France

Ha, this fine wine from Beaujolais by Marcel Lapierre of Domaine du Vissoux, is just a very seductive drink. Made of Gamay grapes it represents the traditional style of a truly grand Beaujolais. It is not as fruity (among them strawberry) as the “nouveau” wines but has the structure and depth we treasure so much. The carbonic maceration gives it some banana flavours. It is low in alcohol but rich in flavour. Get a bottle of it, if you can. The wine is young and you can enjoy it for some time to come.

The 1996 Cornas by Thiery Allemand

This wine is very powerful and just amazing. Thierry Allemand, the son of a factory worker and not blessed with a family history of wine making, is producing two blends, Les Chaillots and Reynard both from Cornas. The wines are made from low yielding, old vines. Thierry is one of the “wine gods”, the masters and spin doctors, producing “cult” wines. It has the “burned rubber” taste which needs some time to get used to in the beginning.

The Shiraz pannel

From left to right, we drank the Syrah by Domaine de Rapatel, 2008 and 2009 Big Betty Shiraz by the Mayer Vineyard and the 1996 Cornas by Thierry Allemand. Whereas the Domaine de Rapatel Syrah is “raisin” wine, made from very ripe fruit, heavy and full of fruit flavour, the Mayer wines try to be less of that style.

Timo sees the Cornas as a benchmark for his own Shiraz wines. Both Big Betty Shiraz vintages follow the traditional wine making of Burgundy. The Cornas has the “burnt rubber” taste, which is rejected by many wine lovers and seen by some as a fault (which is nonsense). It is also full of stalks and tannins on the palate resulting from the whole bunch fermented grapes. The range of different tastes, just from one grape variety, is amazing. I ended loving the Thierry Allemand style wines best.

The morning after a successful battle with delicious wines

The evening ended with coffee and water. We stayed over. It was just a wonderful evening, a great re-union and the sharing of experiences. We had to get up the next morning fairly early because Lucy and Charlotte were going horse riding. Getting up was not the slightest problem, we were still enchanted by the magical evening. Thanks folks.

PS: The Bloody Hill Pinot Noir wines I have not mentioned above but will do so in a separate entry.