Would you like some (really good) wine with your cheese?
WATCHING my cellar slowly deplete fills me with mixed emotions.
Even as the wines I have spent years accumulating now leave empty spaces in my wine rack, they are fulfilling their true purpose, which was to drink them and provide instant gustatory pleasure.
These bottles also reignite a moment in my history. Tastes and textures that hack my sensory memory and allow me to travel back to a place and time far away from the claustrophobia and repetition of quarantine and isolation.
As my wine collection dwindles in size, however, I am now looking to replenish my stocks.
I will be sourcing all my new wines from independent retail, small wholesalers who have built their business serving restaurants and those restaurants who have had their doors closed but are still operating takeaway wine sales.
Secondly, I commit to buying wines that can age because when this is all over I want to use wine to retell myself of what we went though and how I will never take the moment I open wine with friends for granted ever again.
Finally, I want wines that fit my new reality. I am drinking more, looking to drink well, buying local and nearly always having wine with a meal.
Instead of going to our favourite wine bar for our vinous hit, we are now forced to recreate that moment at home. To avoid the alcohol-fuelled frenzy of pillaging our cellars for 'one last bottle' it's advisable to have a good amount of 'house wine'. Ideally, this wine is light, fresh, smashable and uncomplicated. In a time of isolation, having a ready supply of easy-dinking wines is the new essential.
White - 2019 Unico Zelo 'River Sand' Fiano, Riverland
Rose - 2018 Chalmers Rosato, Heathcote
Red - 2018 Head Wines 'Head Red', Barossa Valley
The Swiss Army knife wine
This grape goes with everything - not just different food and various cooking techniques, but different occasions, moments, and one day, people. Nebbiolo is a chameleon whose pale colour and rapier acidity draws comparisons with pinot noir, but its powerful tannins offer structure more akin to cabernet sauvignon. Outside of the grape's region of Piedmont in northern Italy, Australia has more nebbiolo under vine that any other country. From light and juicy, to smooth and savoury, nebbiolo has more tools than the proverbial Swiss Army knife.
Light and juicy - 2018 Fletcher 'Minion' Nebbiolo, Central Victoria
Smooth and savoury - 2016 Luke Lambert Nebbiolo, Yarra Valley Victoria
From isolation into hibernation
As we adjust to more of our lives spent indoors, seasons will change and soon we'll be in the midst of colder months. Food goes low and slow in winter and 'comfort food' will take on new meaning this year. I want a tool kit of smart, versatile reds that both compare and contrast the intensity, complexity and richness of winter cooking. Think wines of brightness and freshness that 'cut' through fat, and wines of like-minded texture and weight.
Bright and fresh - 2017 Ten Minutes by Tractor 'Down the Hill' Pinot Noir Mornington Peninsula
Texture and weight - 2018 St John's 'Blood and Courage' Shiraz, Barossa Valley
Bubbles with no comparison
Australian sparkling wines are often dammed with faint praise. The best versions are saddled with unfair comparisons to the more luxurious Champagne. But just like a cover band, it's just not the same. Yet Ed Carr and House of Arras sparkling wines have achieved a feat of winegrowing, blending and ageing that makes them unique in Australian wine. They have crafted a distinctive and incomparable set of sparkling wines that take the aromas, tastes and textures of Australian terroir and place them on an equal footing with Champagne.
Everyday bubbler - House of Arras 'A By Arras'
Small Wins - House of Arras 'Brut Elite' Chardonnay Pinot Noir
Big Moments - House of Arras 'Blanc de Blancs'
DELICIOUS.COM.AU/DRINKS FOR MORE DRINKS NEWS, RECIPES AND REVIEWS.
Originally published as What to do when your lockdown wine supply is running low