I’m not much into the advanced cooking and the molecular gastronomy which reigns in so many restaurant kitchens today. I don’t want a show; I want great and honest food which I am convinced in the end will be number one for most of us. My most precious food memories aren’t related to 8 course-meals filled with carbon dioxide snow, heated rocks and sommeliers thoroughly explaining why this and that wine is the perfect match. No, my best memories tend to be when the chef deals with as few ingredients as possible, doesn’t forget local tradition and just stick to high quality ingredients.
Do I sound like a reactionary? Well, I’m not. Take the following dish I first bumped into in Saint Emilion; a well hung beef, charcoal grilled and then just salted. On the top, when ready, some finely-chopped onion that is allowed to get just slightly warm. Along with that, goose or duck fat fried French Fries! Simplicity at its best. And just awesome with a younger Merlot from Saint Emilion or Pomerol.
Preparing it at home, I’ve added haricot verts which is fried quickly in butter and at the end some finely-chopped garlic. Salt and pepper. This is my all time favorite when having a younger red with plenty of tannins in the glass. It doesn’t have to be Bordeaux; it is a just as perfect match with a young Shiraz from McLaren Vale. For example the 2007 Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz….
The flagship wine from Fox Creek is decanted six hours ahead. How will it taste compared to the 2007 The Vicar I had just a few weeks ago? First of all and basically what it’s all about; what a combination! The well hung Scottish Highland beef and my unhealthy heart arresting – but completely irresistible fries in duck fat – are just divine. Having the Shiraz reserve with the meal just completes the picture.
Quite dark color, still young brim. Initially, lots of blackcurrants on the nose. Then some Victoria plums, licorice, oriental spices, humus, mint and fine toasted oak (vanilla, ground coffee, dark chocolate). A seducer on the nose.
On the palate there’s a lot going on. Or to quote Ken Griffey, Jr: “Wow! It’s like there’s a party in my mouth and everybody’s invited!”
Quite complex for its age with notes of plum skin, humus, herbs, especially mint, blackcurrants, toasted notes and licorice. Plenty of fruit backed up by a compact but most enjoyable tannin structure. Never too much and just concentrated, the 2007 Reserve Shiraz will probably attract consumers in search of elegance. Still, the intensity is most impressive and the finish long. An easy to understand-wine and yet classy.
So, why is it such a great match with the food? Basically because there’s no conflict of interest. The meal which is kept simple allows the wine to shine, while the wine never is too much and distracting you from the dish.
Fox Creek’s premium wine will surely benefit from further ageing although it doesn’t hurt a bit drinking it already. Probably capable of up to ten years of cellaring but let your preferences guide you. I’d start popping around 2015.
2007 Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz, McLaren Vale, 92-93 p
PS. Screwcap. Why risk a great wine which should be drunk within ten years. Bravo!
PS.2. If the 2007 The Vicar was more mineral driven and European in its style, then this is classic Mclaren Vale.