Lauraine Jacobs

Food Writer and Author of Delicious Books

Wines to drink

25 November 2010


Winemaker's Lunches can be hit and miss affairs, but they are always entertaining. I was lucky enough last week to go to a splendid feast at Barolo, the ritzy Italian restaurant within the gorgeous Langham Hotel in Auckland. Selaks winemaker Brett Fullerton presented the Winemaker's Favourite range, matched to five courses of lovely Italian food.

My assessment of this lunch? A hit! I got to sit with the charming Rob Sinclair who is Selak's national sales manager, the wise old Warren Barton from Wanganui who has written about wines as long as I can remember, Phil Parker who takes great wine tours within the Auckland region, and my extra-talkative mate Hawkesby who is always funny. Lots of laughter and fun at our table.

The food was marvellous; perfect for matching wine as it is robust and flavoursome , just as you would expect from an Italian chef. Standouts were the goat cheese tart with melt-the-mouth-light-as-air pastry and "agnolotti del plin, beef broth, braised cabbage" pictured above. Remarkable as the pasta was silky and wonderful and flavoursome and fabulous.

As for the wines, they were terrific. Selaks Winemaker's Favourite Methode Traditionnelle 2006 set the mood with its effervescent gingery flavours. This wine has come a long way since Mate Selak started out 76 years ago and produced something called Champelle at one stage. We also tried the Sauvignon Blanc 2010(tart and juicy) , Viognier 2009 (the boys liked this), Pinot Gris 2009(I loved the pear flavours), Chardonnay 2009 (a fabulous feeling in the mouth), Merlot Cabernet 2009 (sweet flavours and aromas as only Hawke's Bay can yield), Syrah 2009(medium-bodied but amazing value) and the Marlborough Ice Wine 2010( which was elegant but no match for the chocolate dessert, but Brett told us that anyway.) The whole range is well recommended and can be found in stores and supermarkets where the price really stacks up for good-value well-crafted wines.

You will be pleased to know I jumped in a taxi and went home for a quick nap after that.

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