G’day Ladies and Gents. On Friday last, Chuck and Joan Newcomer were joined by their Wine Knot mates outback on the porch to explore the wines of Australia. Our Aussie sommelier for the evening gave a brief overview of the wine growing industry Down Under. Australia boasts its reputation as the nation with the sixth largest wine production in the world and the cultivation and creation of the Shiraz grape and vintage. With help from the hot, dry winds blowing across the central Australian desert during the day and the cool breezes flowing north from the Antarctic Ocean in the evenings, the Australian states of South Australia and New South Wales produce some of the most popular wines in the world.
Our first selection of the evening, Mt. Monster Chardonnay, delights with flavors and aromas of melon, peach and citrus fruit. The Mt. Monster winery is located in the Padthaway Valley where the environment creates an extended growing season, which allows for the grape tannins and seeds to fully ripen prior to harvesting. This wine is best consumed when young and fresh and was well received by everyone in the group. Good on ya, Mt. Monster!
Next stop was the Thorn-Clarke Winery in the Barossa Valley, the most famous Australian zone internationally. The wine selection was Shotfire Shiraz, which traces its roots deep into the terra rosa soil of the valley and the lore of the Lady Alice Gold Mine. This complex, rich, full-bodied wine was voted by Wine Spectator the 18th best wine in the world in 2005. However, as the Aussies might say, it was a bit less than all right with some of the Wine Knots but a favorite with those who prefer a serious red.
Things took quite the turn up when we took a walkabout to the appetizer table. To the tunes of Waltzing Matilda and Tie Me Kangeroo Down, Sport, we enjoyed shrimp on the barbee and a bottomless supply of bloomin’ onions. There were meat pies, cheese trays and Tazmanian Deviled eggs. In celebration of Randy’s and Chuck’s birthdays we were forced to choose between a chocolate cake or a genuine Australian Iced Vovo cake, which is rumored to be a favorite of the Australian Prime Minister. Most had a taste of each. Cheers!