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Fall Sangria

A Thirsty Spirit is back after a summer hiatus.  Here are some food and beverage related summer highlights:

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This was our ABV 4th of July combo. Yep, that’s a blue beer. Our dog had miso cream cheese, scallions, and potato sticks.

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Checking out veraison at Red Tail Ridge at the end of July.

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Eating my weight in seafood on a trip to Northern Spain in August.

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Those Spaniards make a mean cafe con leche.

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The love for food over there is so strong that we were able to get this amazing looking (and delicious) breakfast at a gas station!

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And, of course, the wine and cocktails weren’t too shabby, either. This is a Negroni from one of Madrid’s classic cocktail bars, Museo Chicote.

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My favorite beverage of the trip, however, was cider. Here’s Noah practicing his pouring technique.

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My first US Open. Stocking up on cocktails during a rain delay. Thanks to the weather, I got to see Sharapova and Roddick in one day.

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Catching lunch in Montauk.

And, now to the point of this posting, Fall Sangria.  

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Corey made me a simple syrup with cinnamon, allspice, clove, nutmeg, star anise and fennel seed. He also cooked down apples, pears and cranberries with a little bit of sugar.

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I combined the fruit and the syrup with Chardonnay, white Port and lemon juice, and voila, Fall Sangria at ABV.

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Eden, take 2

Following our lunch at Heggies, we headed to Henschke’s Hill of Grace vineyard.  Most of South Australia has been spared exposure to phylloxera, so it was common for us to see signs like this.

Vine aphid, root louse, insect. Whatever you'd like to call it, it attacks and kills grapevines. It can be transported in soil, grapes, leaves, or on footwear, clothing or vehicles.

Signs warning to keep out of vineyards without permission were common, too. 

We all had to step in this bucket, with cleaning solution, prior to entering Hill of Grace, so as to not spread any unwanted pests.

No exposure to phylloxera means that South Australia has some of the oldest commercial grapevines in the world.

This is Grandfathers block, the oldest in the Hill of Grace vineyard, planted by Nicolaus Stanitzki around the 1860s. The vines are on their own roots from pre-phylloxera material brought from Europe by the early settlers. These gnarled Shiraz vines are dry-grown.

The first wine we sampled was the 2006 Hill of Roses.  The wine is named as a tribute to Johann Gottlieb Rosenzweig, one of the early Barossa Lutheran pioneers, whose name translates to “rose twig”. 

The vines for Hill of Roses come from the Post Office block (see namesake in background). These vines are only 19 years old, too young for inclusion in the Hill of Grace bottling. That being said, the wine was deemed tasty enough to have its own bottling.

Henschke considers 2006 an excellent vintage, with cellaring potential for the Hill of Roses up through 2026.

Dark fruits, herbaceous and spicy. Complex and layered with velvety tannins.

Cyril Henschke, the 4th generation, made the first single vineyard wine from the vines in the Grandfathers block in 1958.  These original vines are now over 145 years old.  The grapes are all hand-harvested and fermented in traditional open-top fermenters.

Here I am, enjoying my Hill of Grace in the Hill of Grace. It is a translation from the German ‘Gnadenberg’, a region in Silesia, and the name given to the Lutheran church across the road.

Don’t tell, but I preferred the 2006 Hill of Roses to the 2006 Hill of Grace.  There was something about its brooding nature, or maybe I tend to root for the underdog.

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Barossa, take 2

Mid-day on 5/5, we reassembled for lunch and a Barossa Shiraz Terroirs Master Class at Rusden Wines.

Resident cat overseeing the vineyards.

We sampled a flight of 9  Barossa Shiraz, with the intent of highlighting sub-regional differences.

Two standouts for me were the 2008 Rusden Black Guts; well-balanced, elegant, red and blue fruits, lavender, mineral and the 2006 Elderton Command Single Vineyard; peat, iodine, silky tannins, dark cherries, quite concentrated.

You know lunch is going to be good when you see big hunks of meat cooking in a brick oven.

The pork and the lamb were delicious on their own as well as with the locally-made horseradish and wines.

There was some activity out in the winery that we checked out after lunch.

Time to press the Mataro (Mourvedre) that had been shoveled out of the open fermenters.

Yes, he had gotten into the fermenter with bare feet.

Basket press at work, doing a slow crush.

 

Check out the must oozing out between the staves.

 

Look at that electric magenta color! We all tasted a sample and it was like liquid jam.

This next photo is not entirely pertinent, but I thought it was pretty enough to warrant inclusion.

Probably an image that many folks have of what life is like at a winery.

Barossa’s going to be a 3-parter, so stay tuned.

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G’day mates

Believe it or not, my first glass of wine in Australia was a rosé.

On the day of our arrival, we had a lunch at Flying Fish in Sydney, hosted by Robert Oatley wines. First up, was the Sangiovese rose, overlooking the Sydney Harbor.

The second wine I had was a Gewurztraminer.  I’m writing this as a poo-poo to anyone who thought I would be drowning in Shiraz. The wines I had on Qantas on the way over do not count.

It was great meeting everyone on Sunday – I was a part of “Group 2” – East Coast and Canada, but I had a chance to meet the West Coast folks, too, before they made their way west to Perth.  Sunday night culminated in a pub crawl of “The Rocks” neighborhood of Sydney.  I made it back to the hotel by 10 pm, while others in the group ended their night at Golden Century at 4 am.

On Monday morning, we departed Sydney headed for Hunter.

Heading up a hill to check out the Hunter Valley. In true outback style, we rode in the back.

The cows share the vineyard land in the Hunter, or more accurately, the cows get the non-good vineyard sites. Apparently, the kangaroos only eat the grapes if they're really hungry (they prefer grass).

Our hosts from Brokenwood did not let us go thirsty at the mountaintop - note the iced bucket of assorted Semillon vintages.

Local oysters were paired with the Semillon after our arduous journey to the top.

During our BBQ luncheon at Brokenwood, the winemaker showed up and opened some older vintage Semillons - a 1984 and a 1994. These wines are so special and not made in this style anywhere else in the world - complex, with nutty, anise and melon rind aromas, plenty of acid and a long finish.

After lunch and a tasting, we took a stroll through the Brokenwood vineyards. We were advised by the GM of the winery to take a "roadie" with us - yay, Coopers. Here, a local bird enjoys the Graveyard Vineyard.

The barrel samples of the 2011 Semillon were reminiscent of lemon curds - bright and lively. A good alternative to afternoon espresso.

Brokenwood's motto is "make great wine and have fun". They taught us how to play bung cricket. Those bungs rarely bounce how you expect them to.

What you might notice in this picture is a short bus, a Canadian, and a bottle of Champagne. What you may not notice is that the clock in the front of the bus reads just after 7 am. This morning, after a 5:30 am wake-up call, we got on a bus from Hunter, back to Sydney, to take a flight to Adelaide, to take a bus to Claire. Whew. At least we had a little something to toast to the fact that it was happy hour time in NYC the day before.

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The joy of the search engine

WordPress has some analytics, which allow you to see how many folks are visiting your site, as well as how some of them got there.  One of my favorite things is to see what is being typed into Google, etc. that then directs people to my blog.  Once in awhile, it’s a gem like this:

haus wifes loves cleaning the haus. especially after several gins

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