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Wine of the Week for week ending 10 Apr 2011
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Cable Bay Waiheke Island Syrah 2009
Waiheke Island, New Zealand

When I bought the venison schnitzel I had a gamey red wine on my mind, but would it match with Syrah? I hoped so because Syrah was the variety being tasted, and the venison schnitzel, in one of the vacuum-packed packets, was the only meat in the refrigerator.

After searching the Internet for tempting sounding venison schnitzel recipes that could be made with the ingredients I had available, and didn't take hours to prepare and cook, I gave up and decided to make schnitzel the traditional way. Well, almost traditional because the breadcrumbs were whizzed up with parsley, sage and three different varieties of thyme. So I coated the schnitzels with flour, then beaten egg and covered them with the coarse breadcrumb and herb mix, then cooked them in a hot pan for two minutes each side.

The breadcrumbs were golden, the meat was tender, but it needed something more. And in the cupboard I found a jar of redcurrant and pomegranate jelly and a little bit of this on the side really did the trick. It took the food to another level.

So what about herb coated venison schnitzel, redcurrant and pomegranate jelly and Syrah? Yes, that worked too with most of the wines we had opened for the tasting.

But the wine chosen as Wine of the Week is Cable Bay Waiheke Island Syrah 2009. In the glass it's a deep, vivid, boysenberry colour and the aroma is deep and sensuous with cocoa powder, cake spice, macerated black cherries and dominatrix leather. The chocolate character is profound in the palate and is layered with allspice, oak spice, vanilla, rose pepper, herbs and leather with the mouthfeel having quite a creamy veneer. Tannins are silky with a slightly grainy-edged nap. Intense and powerful all the way through with lashings of chocolate, mocha, spice and cherry, it has well-balanced savouriness with red berry fruit adding brightness and making a clean cut through the lasting sumptuous finish.

Grown on north-facing slopes on Waiheke Island in a year that was not without challenges, but a year that has proved to be outstanding for Syrah, a small percentage of Viognier (1.5%) was added to the fermenting Syrah grapes. The Viognier has no doubt added the x-factor to the texture and no doubt assists the fruity brightness at the end.

Aged for 14 months in new and older French oak barrels, the alcohol attained is 14 percent.

Attractively presented with its black-dominant liver and silvery fern-like swirls on the screwcap, it sells for around $35 a bottle.

Check out the website to find out where to buy and more.

© Sue Courtney
4 Apr 2011

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