Champagne is globally recognised as the drink of choice for a celebration. However, I recently chose to break away from convention by bringing a bottle of La Zona Prosecco to a romantic weekend away in Portsea as my fiancé and I celebrated our one-year anniversary since first meeting. I should finish this story by saying how delightful and perfect it was on this said occasion, if only I had not left it in the fridge at the hotel and driven all the way back to Melbourne before I realised. Oops. Fortunately I was able to track down another bottle quite easily.
La Zona Prosecco is made on home soil in Victoria’s alpine King Valley region. The second bottle I found I kept close at hand and opened one night without any celebratory excuse to enjoy an as aperitif and with a gourmet seafood dinner of fish and chips. The aromas of apples, pears and citrus tickled my nose as the soft bubbles rose in the glass. It fulfilled its requirement as an aperitif with a crisp, refreshing quality like that of your first beer after a long, hard day at work. The La Zona Prosecco is infinitely drinkable and fortunately does not burn a hole in your pocket like Champagne. My advice? Get on board.
Stockists: On the pour at the Carlton Wine Room, directly from the Chrismont website or at Dan Murphy stores
LAWSON’S DRY HILLS Gewurztraminer 2010
Marlborough, New Zealand
While Marlborough in New Zealand is more famous for producing another white grape variety in plentiful supply, I decided to turn my attention to the Gewurztraminer grape made by Lawson’s Dry Hills.
To be honest, I am not normally drawn to the rich, sweet-smelling bouquet of the Gewurztraminer grape. However it makes a much more interesting food-matching wine, especially when paired with spicy Indian cuisine or more broadly speaking, spicy dishes containing pork, chicken and even vegetables like pumpkin.
The Lawson’s Dry Hills Gewurztraminer contains oodles of character with its musk and rosewater aromas that remind me of too many nights sitting on the couch eating a tub of Jock’s Turkish Delight ice-cream. Couple that with some more subtle hints of citron, papaya and gunflint and we’re beginning to nail down the key descriptors. The palate is typical of Gewurztraminer with its rich, round texture, great flavour intensity and a tropical fruit finish. Try a bottle for something different and to suit a spicier dish.
Stockist: Vintage Cellars
ROAGNA Dolcetto d’Alba 2011
It was only last weekend that I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s film ‘Psycho’ for the very first time. What a classic. I still get shivers recalling the closing scene when the audience finally sees the twisted side of the film’s villain, Norman Bates. Readers might find it odd to be bringing up such a cult classic in a wine review, but strangely enough, I found parallels between Mr Bates and this bottle of Roagna Dolcetto. Allow me to explain…
Your average Dolcetto is a light-bodied, fresh and juicy style of red wine. Its simplicity gives it a charming, sweet personality like the Mr Bates the audience first encounters. However, all is not as it seems, as we roll in the example from Roagna where there is clearly a different personality at play. This Dolcetto can only be described as one that shows the more serious side to this grape variety. From the very beginning there are more savoury, bitter cocoa aromas followed by a playful whiff of a horse’s saddle. There is still the typical hint of plums on the palate, but it is hidden behind the secondary characters rather than at the fore. The gritty tannins, graphite-like finish and tightly wound acidity further show an unexpected side to this grape. This savoury Dolcetto from Roagna is not the sort one typically meets. Nor was Mr Bates, whose suspicious behaviour suggests a deeper, darker secret to his character and ultimately, a surprise twist.