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Wine of the Week for week ending 12 December 2004
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Lindauer Brut NV
New Zealand

It has been an interesting week with some interesting wines tasted because an invite to a pre-Christmas BBQ said "Bring something interesting". I took four wines.

Tahbilk Marsanne 1996 from the Goulburn Valley in Victoria, Australia. Unfortunately for me I could taste cork flavours amongst the intense honeyed apricot richness of the wine. Others concurred with me but others didn't. It caused some interesting debate.

Cape Point Sauvignon Blanc 2001 from South Africa. A top performing wine in its homeland, it was exceedingly youthful for a 2001 savvy both in colour and taste. The winemaker, Emmanuel Bollinger now resides in NZ.

Stift Klosterneuberg St Laurent 2002 from the Tattendorf Thermenregion in Austria. The grape variety is St Laurent and it is of interest to Central Otago winegrowers because it could become a high quality alternative to Pinot Noir – read more about this at the St Laurent project page of the Judge Rock website. While this particular wine had aromas and flavours slightly reminiscent of Pinot Noir with a good definition of plummy fruit, I thought it more like a Pinotage with its rustic earthy depth.

Domaine Tselepos Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 from Mantinia in the Peleponnese region of Greece. A wine I carried home in my luggage after visiting Cyprus in 1998, where I tasted this wine on its release and was impressed. Nine years on from vintage, this still youthful looking red had wonderful varietal cassis characters of Cabernet Sauvignon along with mellow savoury oak. I wouldn’t want to have to pick it in a blind tasting, a little reminiscent of good NZ cabernet but with excellent ripeness and no herbal traits at all. Possibly up to 25% Merlot in the blend. It is people like Tselepos who are bringing accolades to Greek wine.

But using the KISS philosophy (Keep it simple, Susan), I've chosen the nation's favourite non vintage bottle fermented bubbly, Lindauer Brut as my Wine of the Week. This fresh, clean, medium-bodied bubbles is dry, crisp and tasty with a subtle bready character, lots of creaming fizz to titillate the tongue and a satisfying aftertaste.

It has recently been relaunched in a new bottle and looks more than its often sub-$10 price point would suggest.

One thing about such a reliable, widely available wine being so cheap, is that it is a wine to have fun with and a bubbles to practice the new-found skill of sabring, upon. We don’t have a sabre but a blunt edge of a heavy kitchen knife did the trick. I left it to Neil to perform the feat and with one quick whack of the blade in just the right place against the bottle, the cork, still in the neck of the bottle, was flying through the air. It is recommended if do you try this at home, do it outdoors, and point the bottle away from people, pets and trees. And you still get that celebratory pop.

More fun was had with my melon cocktail fizz. I been playing with watermelon as my most recent food file chapter will attest, and after a successful chilled melon soup made with bubbles, we decided to go one step further in the creation.

Melons were blended in three portions -
Pink watermelon was blended with strawberries and lots of black pepper.
Orange rockmelon was blended with orange coloured watermelon.
Green 'prince' melon was blended with strikingly green kiwi fruit and a few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves.
The three melon mixtures were layered into the glass, then the Lindauer poured into the centre to bubble up and create a snow white froth. It looks a treat when served in a big wine glass and tastes delicious too.

Last but not least, I have to mention this new gadget that's called a 'Champ-Eazy'. Invented by a chap in Tauranga, this invention won a 'Best Innovation' award at Vin Italy this year. It looks a little like a nut cracker with a rose thorn-like hook at the end. After the sabre, The Champ-Eazy is the quickest way to open a bottle of wine without first removing the foil. Find out more from the Champ-Eazy website. It costs about $40 in New Zealand and is available from some wine shops and gift stores like Living and Giving.

PS. Find out more about Lindauer from the Lindauer webpage.

© Sue Courtney
5 December 2004

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