Saturday, 17 November 2012

Seriously? A 1987 Lindemans Shiraz with pizza tonight?

I have so many topics queued up to blog about.  I love talking about (and drinking) wine.  Today I was discussing a very interesting new wine education concept with a friend and he called me wine-centric.  I kind of liked that!  And it fit in well with the wine educational concept he is promoting.  The guy I was talking with is Ben Hughes, who has a lifetime of experience in the wine industry as a seller, maker and educator.  Deanna and I have taken a wine tasting class from him previously which was great fun and very educational.  Ben is now starting his new and improved venture The Australian Wine and Beer School (AWBS).  It looks like a great way to teach a wide variety of people on Australian wine and beer.  Most importantly, it takes the mystique and intimidation out of learning about wine and makes it downright fun!

Perfect Cork
Because Ben was coming over and because I knew he would appreciate it, I opened my last bottle of the 1987 Lindemans Shiraz which I happened to come across when checking out the temperature in my Vintec.  Plus I knew I needed to drink it soon as with each passing year, it was at risk of becoming more past due.

I had taken a bottle of this to the Hunter Valley last year, but had about five winter months when it was not stored in optimal conditions.  That was a mistake for a 25 year old (and) fragile wine.  I was excited to have that bottle one day at Bistro Molines, but upon opening and decanting it, I found it was not in great condition and had to pour it down the drain - a real shame!  But the bottle I opened today to drink with Ben was much better.  The cork was perfect (except it was dry on the top and did crumble when trying to open it), and the wine much better preserved and drinkable than the bottle I took to the Hunter and was stored outside of proper cellaring conditions.

Since the cork crumbled into the bottle, I had to filter it to ensure no cork fragments made their way into the wine.  However, I was careful not to aerate it as it would have further harmed an already fragile (but still pretty good) structure. Opening any wine this old requires special care as I discussed in a previous post.  This wine was not brownish (brownish being a sure sign of too much oxidation in the bottle) and clearly lasted better than the bottle I opened last year.  While not having lively fruit flavors, it was still a remarkable wine, perfectly integrated and balanced, and your typical Hunter Shiraz.

Sharing a 'last bottle' bestows a great honor for all involved.  As I get down to my remaining few bottles of a particular wine and vintage, I think carefully about who I want to drink that wine with.  And knowing Ben would appreciate it and with a lifetime in the wine industry, he would enjoy this bottle of wine.  That makes it a delight to share with others.  When you have that special bottle and that last bottle, put some thought into who you want to share it with.

And notice the Temperature gauge on the bottle!  This was a birthday present from a friend after reading that I do not use a temperature gauge when checking the temperature of bottles before serving.  More on this in a future post!

And since Ben was driving, we have some wine left over to go with the pizza I am making tonight.  And I am able to share that tonight with the most important person in my life, my wife and soul mate, Deanna, writer of DAZ in the Kitchen.  This will be the most notable wine we have ever had with pizza.  Usually a Chianti or Cabernet Sauvignon does the trick, but tonight it will be a 1987 Lindemans Shiraz!  The spicy, peppery flavors should match up well with the chili and garlic I load onto the pizza.  And if you want the recipe for the pizza, check out DAZ in the Kitchen blog post for our pizza recipe.

I hope the food and wine you have tonight will be as enjoyable as what we are doing!  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. A great blog thank you for your expertise today. It was a great honour to share the wine. Thank you.