David Ridge reviews some light and fresh beverages to greet the change in season and gradual lightening of the diet. Food matched by Il Mercato.
The Hills Cider Company Apple & Pear Ciders
Adelaide Hills, SA
RRP: $3 (330ml)
May as well do these as a pair (sorry). In fact the last time I can recall cider being big was ‘when I was at Uni’ – so of course I’m not entirely sure what I can recall. This time, however, you can bet that cider is here to stay. These locally produced versions will be a good part of the reason. As more people are likely to be discerning about what they drink and as they attempt to steer clear of industrial swill, natural, artisanal produce like these make so much sense. In this space I can only hint at the effort, research and lack of compromise that results in Adelaide Hills apples and pears being crafted into these beauties. The apple just smells and tastes like the freshest apple cider, but with a little extra in length of flavour and good zip. The pear is radiant, with what else but aromas and flavours of fresh crisp pear. Please try these; don’t let the youfs have it all!
Producer: La Casa del Formaggio
RRP: $4.10/250g tub
Origin: Glynde, South Australia
La Casa Del Formaggio is an Adelaide-based cheese company that is family owned and operated. They pride themselves on using traditional, handcrafted techniques in the production of authentic Italian cheeses, including bocconcini, ricotta, mascarpone, mozzarella, haloumi and much more. Mascarpone is a deliciously rich and creamy, triple-cream spreadable cheese made from cow’s milk, denatured with citric acid. Mascarpone is ivory in colour, soft and delicate and is easily spread with a texture similar to butter at room temperature. When fresh, it smells like milk and cream.
2012 Some Young Punks ‘Monsters, Monsters Attack’ Riesling
Clare Valley, SA
Not leaving too much to chance, these punks. The name and package lie somewhere between eye catching and startling. Some might even disapprove, tut, tut. The wine is great though, persistently fascinating and delicious. It reminds of the German Rieslings, which seem likely to be prominent in winemaker Colin McBryde’s field of experiences. Soft, pervading perfumes of melon, lychee and various shades of citrus and the typical texture of an off-dry (that means slightly sweet) Riesling, contrast brilliantly with a crunchy, citrus and mineral laden palate. The extra sweetness can sometimes mask or try to make up for lack of real flavour, but in this the flavours and feel go on quite a way. Interestingly, food possibilities for this are not at all narrow and it would suit northern European and lots of hotter and spicy eastern things just as well. Worth putting aside a bottle or two of this.
Fior di Capra
Producer: Casearia Arnoldi Val Taleggio SRL
Milk Type: Goat
Origin: Bergamo, Italy
Fior di Capra is a fresh and creamy white spreadable goat’s milk cheese. It has a cylindrical shape with no crust and a delicious flavour which is naturally aromatic, reminiscent of pastures. The colour is white with smooth paste. It can be seasoned or sprinkled with olive oil, spices, flavourings or spread on bruschetta and crackers.
2011 Zuccolo Friulano
Friulano is a grape variety that is catching on and I admit to having a thing about. It just seems to me the perfect white variety, with its distinctive but austere characters wrapped in a fresh and lively package. This native of the far north-east of Italy and the region of Friuli shows aromas and flavours of peach, pear and almond, and a juicy, textured palate is typically kept tight and racy by persistent acidity and a nice touch of grip. These are the makings of a very adaptable food wine, easy to default to in most situations. There’s very little Friulano grown in Oz so far, with the best examples coming from Kathleen Quealy on the cool Mornington Peninsula of Victoria. This will change as Friulano is increasingly seen on winelists and people fall for its charms.
Campania Buffalo Mozzarella
Producer: Luigi Guffanti Formaggi 1876
Milk type: Buffalo
Origin: Campania, Italy
Luigi Guffanti Formaggi, established in 1876, is a family business spanning five generations. Located over 1300 metres above sea level, in an abandoned silver mine near Campania, the constant temperature and humidity are an ideal environment to produce quality cheese. This buffalo milk, mozzarella, made in Campania Italy, is still in production in the same area in Italy, which is an ideal grazing area for buffalo. Ideally, this cheese is best consumed at room temperature, as it loses much of its creamy, milky flavour when served cold from the fridge.
2001 Pindarie ‘La femme’ Savagnin
Barossa Valley, SA
Pindarie is holistic experience. Apart from very good wines mostly grown on her own western Barossa edge vineyards by gifted viticulturalist Wendy Allen; the place is also a discovery worth making just to see Tony Allen’s painstaking restoration of the old barn to a cellar door of wonderful hospitality. Like others, the Allens planted their Savagnin thinking it was the promising Spanish variety Albarino. It turned out to be the rather more obscure Savagnin of south eastern France. The name makes me think savoury and this shows its characteristic fruits of white peach and herb, along with a lovely, almost grippy dryness and zing that makes it such an easy and adaptable food wine. It should be at ease with the oil and spice of salt and pepper squid and the acid of preserved vegetables, as much as something raw and delicate.
Producer: Locanda La Posta
RRP: $9.95/290g jar
Origin: Torino, Italy
The Locanda La Posta follows the philosophy of natural production using only natural preservatives such as oil, salt and vinegar. A wonderful array of regional produce from the Piedmont region – artichokes, carrots, cauliflower, baby onions, baby cucumbers and olives – preserved in the traditional way with olive oil, salt, vinegar and lemon juice.
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