Well it’s a pretty accurate name isn’t it? If Easter goes to plan I always find myself somewhere down the beach with a bunch of great friends and a fridge full of food after doing the uber-early South Melbourne Market mission on the Thursday.
Skenes Creek was the venue for this year’s expedition. A few kms out of the popular holiday town Apollo Bay on the great ocean road and accompanied with a pretty incredible surf forecast for the weekend (as anyone who watched the rip curl pro will retrospectively attest) it was always going to be a guaranteed good time. And along with the feasting generally goes a reasonably significant amount of good to great wines, which is where I’m gonna focus today. This year the unplanned theme was certainly good-value easy-drinking (but high quality) numbers; most of which are conveniently available via that excellent little wine business: Like This Love That…
Starting slow in the car on the way down by sampling the culinary highlight that is a large double cheeseburger value meal, Good Friday dawned with a clean 3-4ft swell for some early waves before the festivities started in earnest. A seafood feast for lunch brought out some great easy drinking afternoon wines, the NV Jansz Rose leaping out of the blocks with a generous dose of acid, and swiftly followed by the incredible-value Hunky Dory ‘The Tangle’ Pinot Gris/Riesling/Gewurztraminer which is steel, citrus and fleshy stonefruit in equal measure. At well under $20 a bottle it’s one of the cheapest wines I stock and probably the most complimented by my customers. Kerri Thompson’s 2012 Wines by KT 5452 Riesling found its way out of the fridge in good time as the seafood lunch started to roll over into the mid afternoon. KT makes incredible wines across her range (I’m a big fan of her ‘tinta’ tempranillo) and from the amazing 2012 vintage her rizzles are amazing. This one showed great texture backed with some juicy fruit and acid and didn’t last too long at the table. As the afternoon ticked along with a few bottles of celebration ale and a walk along the beach, we reached for the reds with the utterly delicious 2011 Rive Droite Rive Gauche rhone blend (mostly grenache, with some syrah, mourvedre & cinsault) that leapt out of the glass, all bitter cherries and spice with a faintly anise palate. Another under $20 weapon that never fails to deliver. Somehow we managed to continue feasting through dinner and dessert before things got a little bit loose and we all retired.
After a slow day and a few waves as the predicted swell jacked in the early afternoon, I was up for cooking of Saturday night dinner. Regular readers (or Instagram followers) would know that I’m slowly cooking my way through Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals book. Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca was up on Saturday night, with some Garlic Bread, Fennel Salad and Chocolate Ganache. While the meal was predictably delicious, it was matched with some suitably delicious wine in the 2012 Ochota Barrels ‘Green Room’ Grenache Noir Syrah and the 2008 McLeay Rd Cabernet (Giaconda’s Second Label). It’s hard for me to overplay how much I love the Ochota Barrels wine. Whole bunch fermented and showing an undeniable nervous energy without a touch of stalkiness it dances in the glass and is a truly magical wine. These wines are worth twice what you pay for them, without a doubt. The McLeay Rd was all about the blackcurrant ‘Ribena’ nose and was backed with some nice supportive tannin and cedar. To help our game of cards along we also cracked another bottle of the Rive Droite Rive Gauche for good measure…
Sunday was all about celebrating the Birthday of one of our crew, with a fantastic meal at Chris’ restaurant in the hills above Skenes Creek. Highly, highly recommended if you are in the area.
Aside from the sensational food they have an exceptional and well priced wine list. We started the celebrations with the 2010 Oakdene ‘Yvette’ Sparkling, another exceptional wine from this exceptional boutique bellarine producer. This wine doesn’t have the rip-roaring acidity of cooler regions but has an amazingly delicate and delicious green apple/nectarine palate that makes it an absolute pleasure to drink. It was the battle if the Western Victorian rieslings next, with the 2011 Crawford River Young Vines and its intense texture up against the 2010 Best’s Home Block with it’s floral, slightly reductive nose, and oh so european finish. A dead heat as to who preferred what on the table. Into the reds now with the 2010 Ashton Hills Piccadilly Pinot which was a little bit leafy and disappointing, but more than made up for with the out-of-this-world 2009 Kir Yianni ‘Ramnista’ Xinomavro. Mrs LTLT and I first tried this wine in Greece at the end of a long and indulgent European holiday which included some intensive wine time in Burgundy and Tuscany. It blew us away then and blew us away again. Xinomavro (the grape) is kind of like a nebbiolo, and this wine has all the hallmarks of the great wines from Piedmont but at a fraction of the price. Bitumen, violets, acid, tannin, all in perfect balance in a wine that drinks well now (needs decanting) but will age for many years to come. Incredible stuff.
After lunch we kicked on long into the night with another epic feast for dinner and a bottle of the 2011 Dandelion ‘Lion’s Tooth of Mclaren Vale’ Shiraz Riesling, a shiraz which is fermented over riesling skins and is a great little wine – all the oomph of McLaren Vale with a little extra lift and poise due to the riesling.
Monday brought the end of Feaster and after watching the Hawks once again go down to the Cats, we joined the procession back in to Melbourne with the other holiday makers, vowing to do some exercise and undo the sins of the weekend past….
Hope you all had a good one too,