Wednesday 31 March 2010

Pairing Chocolate Brownie with Wine: My Verdict

I wanted a wine to accompany a pre-dinner snack of a Chocolate Brownie.  The brownie contained walnuts, so it consisted of strong chocolate and walnut flavours.

I decided to try the brownie with 3 different wines:

  • Framingham Marlborough Classic Riesling 2006
  • Sandeman Founders Reserve Port
  • Tuatara Pinot Noir 2003

The Brownie is good in its own right as are all of the wines, with the exclusion of the Pinot Noir (it was already open and even when I had it yesterday (or was it the day before?) it was tasting that it was a smidgen past it).

The Port overpowered the brownie and really accentuated the alcohol.  This was not a good match.

The Pinot Noir just didn't have the right balance, although to be fair it may be due to the state of this one being below par.

The Riesling and brownie were the best match although there was a very slight bitterness that came with the match.  In terms of a a superb fit, it wasn't quite there, and a Sticky would probably be better.

So, it wasn’t exactly a comprehensive analysis and obviously more brownie and wine is required!

Saturday 20 March 2010

Little Mexico Cantina & Tequila Bar, Auckland CBD

For a late dinner we decided to give the Little Mexico Cantina & Tequila Bar a go this evening (31 Wellesley Street, Auckland CBD) and had an excellent meal in a relaxed, but authentic, environment with attentive service.

We started with the Salsa Dip Platter which consisted of a fresh salsa, guacamole, salsa verde (we think), sour cream, a light chilli sauce and corn chips.  This was packed with flavour and for $10 great value.

I then had Beef Enchiladas that were flavoursome and accompanied by refried beans, guacamole, a small salad and salsa and sour cream.  Very enjoyable.

Jane had a Chicken Burrito that she thoroughly enjoyed.

All up it was a well priced casual meal out we thoroughly enjoyed and we will happily return.

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Palliser Estate Martinbrough Pinot Gris 2006 is a delight to drink

Palliser Estate is located in the Martinbrough wine region in New Zealand and their Pinot Gris 2006 is a delight to drink.

With a lovely Golden Hue, it has Peach and Honey to the nose and is quite sweet to taste although not in a gluggy way.  These flavours also come through on the palette with a hint of pineapple.  It has a lot of complexity, has a lovely freshness to it, with a nice long length.  It is a very smooth and nicely balanced wine.

Drinking beautifully now.

Saturday 13 March 2010

Mission Estate Jewelstone Chardonnay 2006

Mission Estate is located in the Hawkes Bay and claims to be New Zealand’s oldest winery (1851).  The last couple of times I have visited the vineyard, I tend to find that they are quite commercialised and I’m not particularly fond of the “cellar door” experience (unless dining there, which is something I haven’t done for a long time), however they do have some lovely wines.

Jewelstone is Mission Estate’s flagship brand. The Chardonnay is coloured with a Pale Straw / Tinge of Green, and has French Oak / Toasty characteristics to the nose. 

To taste, it has a hint of grapefruit, and has a lovely all of mouth experience that is very soft with a lingering tail with medium oak and medium acidity.  Drinking well now.

Sunday 7 March 2010

Fresh Ravioli Update

I've been a little absent from the blog of late, working hard, playing a bit to keep my mind off working hard, and sometimes, like tonight, finding time to cook!

Hmm, ok, I just glanced back at what I have actually blogged on the pasta making adventure - turns out it's not much! C'est la vie. Suffice to say I'm pretty comfortable making fresh pasta these days, and as of tonight, I'm pretty happy including fresh ravioli in my list of pasta making competencies.

I had tried making ravioli before, but without a ravioli tray - so just rolling the pasta, adding dollops of filling, another sheet of pasta, sealing the edges and cutting. The end result was tasty, if terribly ugly! And frankly, it was a frustrating and unsatisifying process, redeemed only by the fact that it was really very very tasty. There was a lot of swearing and serious grumpiness by the end of that particular evening however.

Ooh, but one good thing did come out of that little episode - I had truckloads of filling left, so the next night I made fresh cannelloni. Oh my word! That was heaven on earth! (and THAT episode in turn resulted in far too much pasta - so Simon made lasagne the following night! Which is probably the other reason it's been so long since I've made pasta - we ODed a little!).

So, back to present day! We were at a Living & Giving sale recently and they had several ravioli trays available. We weren't quite sure whether to go for lots of small ravioli parcels, or less larger parcels. We concluded that fewer, larger parcels would be easier to work with and bought essentially this:Good grief - why did I ever try and make ravioli without it??? This was SO easy. Yay! I'd made a filling of chopped up roast lamb, ricotta & parmesan with a bit of mint sauce - this was tasty, but needed more moisture in it. It's all trial and error though, and I was happy with the result - I just took notes to improve it next time!

Happy Days! Until next time - hopefully sooner than this time!

Friday 5 March 2010

Moana Park Vineyard Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2008

This is a lovely soft Sauvignon Blanc from Moana Park’s Cover Point Vineyard in the Hawkes Bay that is very easy to drink.

The wine is Vegetarian Society Approved and this is something the Vineyard is very proud of.  Jane & I visited their vineyard in Jan 2009 where Dan (the winemaker) took us through the wines.  It was probably our most memorable friendly wine experience of the trip at a lovely boutique winery with superb wines.

The nose has a hint of citrus, and to taste it has lovely citrus zesty characteristics I would usually associate with a Riesling and some Passionfruit flavours coming in the background.

It is a light straw coloured, medium length crisp wine that is nicely balanced and I would happily buy again.  Drinking well now and it still feels it has a bit of life in it.