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June 5, 2019
“We’re all about the experience,” says Peter Marchant, sommelier and Spicers Food and Beverage Manager.
The wine and food are a massive part of every property, and it’s my job to make sure the wine lists are different and appropriate to the venue. “It’s an absolute thrill to be in front of guests and see them react in a way that is positive, particularly when it’s a wine they haven’t heard of or tasted.”
Here are five of Peter’s top reds for this winter:
“This is probably more of a Queensland winter red, at the lighter end of the spectrum when it comes to reds. In Queensland a switch gets flicked and all of a sudden we’re allowed to drink red wine, and we’re getting close to that where I am [Sunshine Coast, mid-April]. It’s very aromatic, super pretty, the colour is so vibrant. We’re pairing it with the buffalo tartare, but it can handle gamey things, small birds like quail and also duck. We’re selling a lot of it as a match.”
“Brokenwood is an iconic Hunter [Valley] brand, but for the Sangiovese they’ve actually gone to their vineyard in Beechworth in Victoria. Sangiovese is a wonderful medium weight savoury red wine, which gives you the ability to drink it across the meal. Heading into winter in the Hunter, when the fire is going and the braised veal is there, you need something with a bit of tannin and that little bit of grip, and this wine can cut through any of those gelatinous, braised dishes.”
“Malbec is a variety that we’re starting to fall in love with in Australia, which is kind of weird because it’s been around for a while, but very rarely has it been made on its own; it’s been blended with Shiraz or Cabernet. But the Argentineans now own Malbec really, they sort of stole it from the French and they love it. The reason being the Argentineans eat more beef than any other people on the planet. Malbec and beef work. In Australia we’ve got this history of beef and Shiraz [but] it normally doesn’t work because it doesn’t have the tannin. You need something a bit bolder and richer over winter and Malbec is a variety that can do that. Bleasdale make delicious wine and this for me is the new-school Australian version of Malbec, so it’s got vibrancy, but it’s still got that grip.”
“This was an old-school blend that was played with in the Hunter by Maurice O’Shea in the ’60s, and it’s starting to see a bit more life these days in the Hunter and the Yarra. This one comes from the Adelaide Hills. It’s a really interesting mix of two varieties that don’t make sense together, but do. We’ve got the spice and power of Shiraz with the aromatics of Pinot Noir and together they make this a really lovely light dry red. At [Spicers] Tamarind we’re using it for something to sit well with the Asian food. It doesn’t pick up the spice too much and it almost has a fruit jubey-ness that balances out the food. It’s such a delicious wine that people tend to taste it once and then can’t get enough of it. It can handle anything with some heat – chilli, Asian style curries.”
Touriga is a Portuguese variety that is used to make Port in Portugal, and there’s a fair bit of it in Australia because we used to make a lot of fortified wine. It’s not a big powerful thing, but it has this intensity. The Touriga gives it this dark complexity, almost a slight Port character in terms of flavour profile, but not in terms of weight. Delicious, really spicy and a complete wine, but balanced.”
Words by William Holmes
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