Restarting

img_20160910_161957

Hikaru Japanese Courtyard Restaurant

Plans for Saturday with the girls long lunch have been in play for over a month. It was a chance for us all to catch up, have a chat and a laugh and get a little tipsy on some vino without the hassles of responsibilities of day to day lives intruding. It was also a chance for a friend who has recently given birth, and was starting to come back to work, to let loose and re-live the old days. The scene was Newtown, Sydney. The setting a Japanese restaurant because we all love sashimi and there was to be wine, of course.

 

The day before, working oddly late on a Friday a text arrives from a friend seeing if I have seen The Results. She had great news, the goal of years of hard work had finally paid off. She can finally relax and enjoy having the DipWSET after her name. I had not seen any communication and really didn’t want to know, given especially that Saturday was coming and not wanting to ruin the fun. Despite the needling from colleagues to check and confirm the good news I simply did not want to chance that the news was not good.

Alas, at some point in the commute – I did. Justifying to myself that I would only brood over the possibilities until I had the confirmation, that Saturday would be a lot less fun with me sulkily checking my phone and toying with the idea all day. So I did…

img_20160909_184303

…and I’m glad I did 🙂

Retsina…To finally tasting it!

Retsina.

I’ve seen it sitting on shelves at bottle shops and also mentioned in writing of aeons past, in a book where a character found refuge in a bottle while stuck in Greece. The question for me was always what would be so appealing about a basic wine combined with resin?!

So what is retsina?

Well, it’s a traditional Greek wine. Long history. Has been in production for at least 2000 years. Yes, two millennia. Or as the fount of all wisdom tells us:

“Today the traditional grape for Retsina is Savatiano with Assyrtiko and Rhoditis sometimes blended in, as well as other grape varieties throughout Greece. On the island of Rhodes, Athiri is the main grape. Modern Retsina is made following the same winemaking techniques of white wine or rosé with the exception of small pieces of Aleppo Pine resin added to the must during fermentation. The pieces stay mixed with the must, and elute an oily resin film on the liquid surface; at racking the wine is clarified and the solids and surface film are removed from the finished wine.[1] Nowadays, protecting the new wine from oxidation is easy to do with far simpler means and much less resin is used for retsina than traditionally called for. Such wines lack the pungent “whiff of turpentine” streak of old, and are considered ideal accompaniments to such strong-tasting local cuisine as pastırma or garlic dips.”  thanks to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retsina
 

Anyway, I digress. I am currently enjoying a glass of said nectar – from Tsantali. It’s an acquired taste. Must be chilled. Though, I can see how this would be really good with seafood, mostly cold prawns maybe fish caviche etc. And yes, I am sitting on my balcony. With music. Wine. Thinking of food. And since Wikipedia mentioned garlic, I am now thinking of that as well.

Grant Burge Miamba Shiraz 2004

It’s 6.40pm after a long hard day. I need a drink, so I opt for a bottle of Miamba. I first sampled this one back in 2006 when working for Vintage Cellars and they were flogging it to their members over the phone. Loved it then and I loved it even more now.

Dusty. Magical. Plums. Juicy. Violets. Dark. Sensuous. Sensational.

The feel of midnight blue superfine silk flowing over skin. A lead fist in a velvet glove.

It’s a dark and dense blood red, almost black. Impenetrable and inviting. Spicey. Punchy. Forward. Incredibly long intense blackcurrant finish. Cedar. Cigar box. Dark chocolate. Chocolate covered fruit. Stunningly mysterious. Chewy tannins.

A hedonist’s delight!

24hrs later –

Still a little dusty but it has mellowed with more floral characters coming through. Still fruity though! With plenty of life. Red and blackcurrants, whiff of warm plums. Good dose of dark chocolate and i’m getting a glimpse of aniseed coming through.

On the palate, intense flavours of blackcurrant and chocolate. Lively acidity and slightly grippier and dirtier tannins then last night. It packs a punch for sure. Rich roast of lamb and potato. Rosemary! There’s some rosemary in there…

Like a hot chocolate with a hint of chilli. Lovely little bit of spice with heat.

48 hours later –

It’s even more complex and divine. Has opened up further and is even more hedonistically brilliant! Cloves, cinnamon, dark cherries, chocolate, plums and raspberries coming through. So much smoother on the palate – the spice is more subdued but still very much there. The tannins are grippy, the acidity incredibly juicy. Stunning long warm finish, with wild cherries and spices dominating. Utterly delicious. This is a lovely example of a blockbuster shiraz with a distinct chocolate aftertaste.

72 hours –

Smoother and chocolaty palate with the structure coming through as the fruit recedes. Not even starting the decline. This is definitely a very long lived wine. Would love to try this again and again as the years roll on!