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.


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.


Hosting the vintner – with Timo Mayer at Patara in Bangkok

November 3, 2009

I admit, we take all our friends traveling through Bangkok to our favorite Thai restaurant if time permits. Patara is Thailand’s best restaurant and was awarded the corresponding prize for this achievement in 2009. We just love to dine there.

When Timo Mayer and his two daughters came through Bangkok we were pleased to have them for a couple of days and show them around. The Mayers’ came from Germany where Timo was helping with some wine-making in his native village near Stuttgart. He was also selling some of his Australian wine in various places (London for instance).

He was loaded with different bottles of very unique wines some of which we tasted together at various occasions. But one evening was reserved for fine Thai cuisine. Patara sent his tucktuck taxi service to pick us up from our home in Thonglor.

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The colorful entrees

We decided that we would order the food and Timo would choose the wine. As always we started with the three colorful delicacies shown above. Somehow I had problems taking clear and crisps shots of the food that evening. But you can look up earlier posts in this blog where you can find some more photos of the various Patara signature dishes.

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Happy diners

Timo selected the ‘2007 “Hugel” Riesling’ the classic wine from Hugel & Fils from Alsace. Jean Hugel, the senior vintner and wine-maker of this pioneer family of wine-making in Alsace was a legend and had passed away only in June this year.

I had never tasted their wines before and was very excited about the choice. Hugel and Fils maintain not only a very informative website but also an entertaining blog. I had visited Riquewihr, the picturesque Alsatian village where the winery is located many years ago (actually decades ago).

As a high-school student I had visited Alsace and its villages with my school and tasted my first Gewuerztraminer ever. A couple of years later I had seen a play at my “alma mater”: the Bonn University music and arts festival telling the story of the Alsace in three languages. After that my fascination with Alsace was complete. I had the chance to visit several times but mainly the north of the region. Our favorite destination was a restaurant, Au Cheval Blanc near Wissembourg but this is another story.

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The ‘2007 Hugel Riesling’

The ‘2007 “Hugel” Riesling’ is a very fine wine, young and vibrant. 2007 was a good vintage because the grapes had the opportunity to ripen for the longest time ever and therefore the grapes were very healthy. As a consequence the wines show great elegance and balance. The wine is fruity with mineral notes, a typical Alsatian Riesling with the characteristic petrol note. I love Riesling with Thai food.

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After we “demolished” the food

Our evening was great fun. The culinary delights of Thailand are just “breathtaking” for the palate. I can only highly recommend the restaurant. I love the atmosphere and the professional and friendly service.

We talked a lot about Timo’s German visit, his impressions, the adventures and, of course, wine. But when friends from afar visit, time flies. That’s how it was. Hours shrink to seconds and in a blimp of the eye it’s gone.

Address:
Patara Fine Thai Cuisine
375 Soi Thonglor 19 Sukhumvit 55, Klongtonnua Vadhana, Bangkok 10110
Tel. +66-2185 2960-1 Fax. +66-2185 2962
www.patarathailand.com


A Sunday at Bloody Hill

September 21, 2009

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Great Yarra Valley views from the Mayer Vineyard (left to the dam)

On a beautiful Sunday in early August, we were in for a surprise visit to the Mayer’s. We bought some “nibblies” (Australian for cold meats, sausages, cheeses, condiments, etc.) and some wine in Healesville and drove up the steep drive to Bloody Hill on top of which their beautiful house (rammed earth) is situated. Alas, they were in and happy to welcome their unannounced intruders.

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The vineyard at the crest of the hill is very neat

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Some of the wines on “offer” (f.l.t.r.: a Silvaner from Franconia, Dr. Buerklin-Wolf, a Riesling from the Pfalz and a Dr. Mayer Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley)

We came at the right time. A shipment of Riesling wine (about 60 cases) which Timo had made on a visit to Germany last year had just arrived and was ready for tasting. Moreover, as a member of the South Pack, Timo was in the preparation of a wine tasting tour to three Australian cities (Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane). The South Pack is a group of eight innovative young Australian wine-makers who have raised the bar for the selling of premium and super-premium wines in sluggish markets.

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The German Brotzeit

A quick “Brotzeit” was thrown up and the wine tasting could start. We did not drink in any kind of order but rather according to gusto and enthusiasm. First cap of the rank was the German Riesling Timo had made, Dr. Mayer Riesling of which I have no picture which speaks for itself. This was not a time for tasting notes but for joy and nourishment of body and soul, for Australian and Swabian story telling and song.

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Bloody Hill Pinot Noir

Timo is a native of a small hamlet, called “Grossheppach” (about 4,500 inhabitants), today part of the small town called Weinstadt (translated: wine city) in the Rems valley (the Rems is a small river), Wuerttemberg, about 15 km east of Stuttgart. As everything in Germany, Grossheppach has a long history.

Grossheppach

Coat of arms of Grossheppach showing the river Rems and four grapes on a vine

Furthermore, the village has a long tradition of vine cultivation and wine making. Timo comes from a family of small vintners (and farmers).

In 1279 a historical deed is the earliest written testament of the flourishing wine production in Grossheppach. Magister Rudolf, a local doctor, had bequeathed his house in Esslingen and three vineyards in Grossheppach to the Abbey of Bebenhausen which was witnessed by knight ‘Fridericus miles de Heggebach’.

Timo showed as a historical chronicle of Grossheppach with black and white photos which also depicted his family in the 18th and 19th century. Here we are, thousands of kilometres away from the old land and talking grape production, wine traditions and wine styles. To cut a long story short, Timo had made his first ever Riesling wine in Grossheppach and shipped it for sale to Australia.

It was not the time for tasting notes, I guess. We opened one bottle after the next. First the Riesling wines, then Chardonnay and finally Pinot Noir and Shiraz, all Mayer Vineyard wines and Timo Mayer creations.

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Mayer and Dr. Mayer Pinot Noir and a traditional German wine label with the coat of arms of Grossheppach

The Mayer Vineyard is only a small operation (2.5 ha under vines). All wines are hand crafted and from a single vineyard. Timo believes that wine is made in the vineyard, therefore there is minimal interference. The reds are unfined and unfiltered. Timo makes wines with a difference, with great character and individuality. As he says “he wants to bring back the funk”, and funky these drops are. James Halliday, “the wine pope of Australia”, has awarded his highest rating, a 5 stars, to the Mayer Vineyard.

The Dr. Mayer Pinot Noir is one of the newest creations from the masters hands; a great wine, elegant, whole bunch fermented if I am not mistaken. Timo assumed that all of it would be sold during the South Pack promotion tour together with the Riesling. By now there should be nothing left, I guess.

Needless to say that the day extended to the night and ended with a pasta feast for 9 hungry mouths.

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The pasta sauce in the making

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The magician at work, this time in the kitchen and not in the wine cellar

We had a great time. The children played all afternoon. We walked the vineyard and Timo showed me where he shot a deer. Then we went to get some of that venison for us to take home. The “Brotzeit” led to dinner and then it was time to drive home to our own vineyard in Glenburn. Good news is that Timo is planning to make Riesling again in 2009 and maybe the following years.

For sales and enquiries contact:
timomayer@bigpond.com.au

The following wines are for sale:
Bloody Hill Chardonnay
Bloody Hill Pinot Noir
Big Betty Shiraz
Mayer Close Planted Pinot Noir (also as the Dr. Mayer Pinot Noir)