Thursday, December 30, 2010

MARGARET RIVER GEM, plus dessert duel!

plus dessert duel!

Pat Whelan’s Brandy and Cream Sauce is delicious with a
good steak – see his book An Irish Butcher Shop.

Far be it from me to try and outdo Pat but we've been using a Cream and Mustard Sauce with steak for quite a while now and  it is hard to beat. Certainly worth a try – double click on the image to enlarge the recipe. Cook’s note: we do tend to add a handful of mushrooms.
Fraser Gallop

The wine here had to be good and thanks to the folks at Wine Alliance, we had a big contender: Fraser Gallop Estate 2009 Cabernet Merlot (63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 11% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Franc).

Would the blend stand up to the rich sauce?  Pas de probleme! It is a vibrant deep red in the glass with blackcurrant dominant in a lovely smelling wine.  It is full and soft and juicy with a cranberry type freshness reined  by tamed tannins (they mention a gravelly tannin in the tasting notes but I didn't find that at all) to give a beautifully balanced drink.

Had more than the usual amount of sweet and fortified wines in for the holidays and was searching for a match for two of them last night, after the steak. Pulled out a bunch of Edelweiss printed shot glasses, used only rarely since purchased at about 4,000m up on Austria’s Grossglockner a few years back. Ideal for little try-outs!

First up was the Pfeiffer Rutherglen Muscat Victoria, Australia (recently bought from Karwig Wines). This had a wonderful dried fruit bouquet leading to a rich yet fresh and sweet palate of lasting sweetness with elements of dried apricot and caramel. Tried this with the Christmas pudding and was delighted with the result.

Next up was a Curatolo Marsala (Fine) from Sicily. The Sicilians like to drink it with the “Queen’s Biscuits”. I had already tried that, so felt pretty certain it would be okay with an Christmas Oxford Lunch Cake. And it was. Perfect.  Marsala is a fortified but not a sweet wine.

Had to leave two others, both sweet, neither fortified, for another day. One was a Moscatel de Valencia 2009 (from Marks and Spencer) and the other a 2004er Heimersheimer Sonnenberg Scheurebe Eiswein (from Karwig Wines).

Berry pies and crumbles for the first I’m told while suggestions for the German include desserts containing citrus, such as citrus fruit salads, Pavlovas and compote. Anyone got any other ideas on matching these two?

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