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Passing Clouds

M Leith
26 April 2015 | M Leith

The Winemaker's Wife

You know you are winemakers wife when there is never any wine at home to cook with.


Before I deal with this very serious issue of no wine in the house, I would like to share that cooking is something the WMH and I have in common. I have to admit that my absolute passion for cooking really started to spark when I used to drive up every second weekend to the vineyard at Kingower to hang out with my future to be WMH. As Kingower is quite an isolated country town we would organise groups of friends to come up and hang out at the winery and stay the weekend, which was usually necessary as much wine was usually consumed on these weekends! I used to thoroughly enjoy watching the WMH choose a random protein from the butcher and then he would prep the meat with garlic, a lot of red wine and herbs massaged into it and would finally be placed on the outdoor grill – cooked to perfection! We would work out different vegetables and accompaniments to go with it.  All friends, hands on deck to help with the peeling of beetroots or cleaning of potatoes a production line would take place and the feast would begin to form it shape. Many happy times up at the Kingower property for us and our friends. I see it is as our courting days – must be love when you drive for 2 ½ hours one way to see they guy you like hanging out with!

Back to the main issue, of no wine! What! I hear you say? Yes, the reason I am writing this particular blog is that I was reminded of this statement by the WMH a few nights ago, when as I was about to embark on cooking my favourite risotto dish, until…no wine! In quickly checking the fridge and the cellar, no white wine could be found!  Quickly texting the WMH, crisis was diverted, but little did I know that the mid range Chardonnay which I normally use in the cooking was sold out, so instead the top range was brought home. Now, I do believe that you should cook with good wine, it also means you can have a glass whilst you are cooking, but would I really put the top range Chardonnay in the risotto? According to the WMH himself ‘Yes, why not?!’

This particular risotto comes from a treasured Italian cookbook that my best friend, who is Italian, gave to me and true to form it requires 2 cups of white wine, this is quite a lot but it does make the best risotto and I am glad to say that I am pretty good at nailing this risotto. This week’s risotto was prawn, lemon zest and spring onion, it was delicious.  It probably did help with the 2 cups of Fools On The Hill Chardonnay!!

Other times, where I have been caught out with no wine at home is when cooking on the weekends and family is coming up from Melbourne. Usually we do a lamb or a slow cooked casserole and all these require quite a good sloshing (this is the technical cooking word for it) of red wine. One Easter, I was in charge of marinating a shoulder of lamb with rosemary, garlic, lemon, olive oil and half a bottle of red wine. Again, as I was mixing everything in the bowl I looked up to see all bottles sitting on the kitchen bench – empty – except for one! If any of my readers are Passing Clouds wine fans, you will shortly note that the bottle of wine that was available for the marinating of the meat was a pretty top range wine that many people cellar for 10 years…..The Graeme’s Blend.  Ok, so much thought was given to using this wine, it either meant having to go up to the local bottle shop and purchase a more appropriately priced marinating meat bottle of wine or contact the WMH and seek approval of what was about to be done with this bottle of wine.  That particular Easter dinner was the best, family appreciated the Graeme’s Blend lamb and it was cooked to perfection by the WMH.

Even though I jest about never having any wine in the house there are times where there is abundance! As food and wine matching is quite important to the WMH it is essential that if we are hosting a dinner party that the correct wine is bought to complement what we are cooking. I suppose the classics are Pinot Noir with duck or a dry crisp Riesling with scallops.  We have been fortunate enough to attend some fabulous winemaker dinners where a chef and winemaker match the food and wine together; this can be a real treat.

As I write this blog, the WMH has the porterhouse steaks on, beetroots and potatoes roasting in the oven – cooking up a feast. I was just asked what wine would I like to have with dinner? I look over and the bottles up for grabs are 2013 Angel, 2013 Syrah, 2003 Pinot Noir or the 2001 Graeme’s Blend. What would be your best food/wine match?


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