So, I got sent a free bottle of wine. There I’ve said it. I sold out for a bottle of booze. In return for writing a little something for the Jamie Oliver website about it. But you know what? It was pretty damn good and so, disclosure disclosed, I’m going to write about it here to.
Weighing in at a hefty 14.5% this is not something to take lightly and it definitely does not go with super subtle, delicately flavoured food. No sir. This is intense and brooding, complex and interesting. More Jonny Depp than Gerard Butler (oops, the strange analogies have started already).
Oh well, in for penny… Arabella’s reserve 2009 Shiraz Viognier is a real belter with great length (ie the taste follows the liquid down your throat, and then lingers for the after party), full of interesting flavours. What really hit me on first gulp (no sip ‘n’ spit here) was the tang of red meat and a hint of smoke, rare steak cooked on the bbq with just a hint of maple in there somewhere.
There were plenty of the expected fruit flavours – cherries, blackberries and whatnot. But there was also a hint of cinnamon bark, and just a touch of savoury sweetness, like molasses or a really dark honey. And it wasn’t too tannic either (by which I mean it didn’t have too much of that tooth-furring dry bitterness).
What really interested me was what food it would go with. Given those smokey meaty flavours, BBQ is a given, sausages maybe or a good rib eye. Maybe some grilled lamb chops. But the best match for me was with a North Indian lamb pilaf.
The meat complemented the smokey and fruity notes in the wine, while the aromatic and spicey sauce picked up the slight honeyed sweetness and cinnamony edge of the wine. And crucially, because the wine was smooth and not too tannic, it didn’t taste astringent with all those spices. Instead it added to the all round warmth and balance of the meal.
It’s something I’d happily buy at a tenner a bottle from Naked Wines. It’s a perfect food wine, or one to drink by itself. But at 14.5% you’ll need to watch the head the next morning…