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Wine of the Week for week ending 28 December 2003
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Quartz Reef Pinot Noir 2002
Central Otago, New Zealand

We've have the Christmas ham already (see last week's wine of the week), so now I'm talking turkey. A roast Turkey stuffed with apricots and macadamias and served with a red cherry sauce is going to be a decadent treat for a Christmas Day feast. And with fresh Central Otago cherries in the stores just in time for Christmas, what could be a better accompaniment than one of the sensational 2002 vintage Central Otago pinots.

Not that I need an excuse to drink the Quartz Reef Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002. It's smooth and delicious, velvety and rich, abounding with cherries, red berries, spices and savoury herbs with terrific balance and length. It's probably my favourite from the spectacular 2002 vintage that has produced a fine crop of Central Otago Pinot Noirs that everyone seems to be talking about. It has the edge, a slightly acidic edge to balance its beautifully ripe fruit and keep its honest Pinot expression.

Annabel Langbein's Ultimate Roast Turkey, published in Cuisine Magazine in October 1998, is a long time favourite. Even when I dont have a turkey, I halve the stuffing recipe to pack into a chook instead.

Soak 200 grams of dried Central Otago apricots in 1/4 cup of orange-flavoured liqueur and 1/2 cup water until plump. Finely chop 1 large onion and 1 stalk of celery and saute in butter until tender. Mix in 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs, 1 cup of chopped roasted macadamia nuts, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, the chopped apricots and their juices. Mix well, stuff into the cavity and secure. Place a rack in a baking dish and pour in 3 cups of water. Place the bird on the rack, cover and bake at 170C for 90 minutes, basting twice. Remove cover, brush turkey with butter and cook for 190C for about 15 to 20 minutes and stand before carving. Refer also to packaging guidelines.

Annabel Langbein's Red Cherry Sauce is made with cherries from a tin or jar. I used Delmaine Pitted Cherries in syrup (these are actually from Hungary). She uses 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1/3 cup malt vinegar (I used balsamic), 1 1/2 cups of orange juice, 2 cups of turkey stock made from the giblets, 425g of cherries in syrup, 1 tablespoon of cornflour and 1/4 cup orange liqueur. Heat the sugar and vinegar until boiling. Add the orange juice and stock and boil hard for 15 minutes. Add the cherries and syrup. Mix the cornflour and liqueur together and stir into the mixture, stirring over heat until it simmers and thickens. Add some pitted fresh cherries to the sauce just before removing from heat.

I'd like to roast some fresh Central Otago cherries to accompany the bird as well. This is my recipe, I've tested it and it is just delicious. Mix together 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of orange liqueur. To this add 1 cup of whole fresh black cherries, stalks intact. Mix to coat the cherries with the glaze. Place cherries and glaze into a small oven proof dish. Add a few grinds of black pepper, a shake of salt and for a distinctive Central Otago touch, some sprigs of thyme. Pop into the oven to roast at 200C in a fan oven for about 10 minutes, remove from the oven, stir to recoat the cherries with the glaze and pour off and reserve excess liquid. (If you have too much liquid, the cherries will braise rather than roast). Roast again for about another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add about a teaspoon of the reserved glaze to the dish and stir to recoat the cherries with the glaze. It should sizzle as you add it to the dish. Remove roasted cherries to a separate dish for serving or use to garnish the roast.

Quartz Reef Pinot Noir 2002 carries 14% alcohol and costs about $44 in retail. It should be reasonably available.

For further information on Quartz Reef, visit their website at

© Sue Courtney
21 December 2003

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