Here's a story of a wine region you've never heard of. A hidden spot on the Limestone Coast that Penfolds have used as a source for their top wines and we've raided to deliver one of the best value reds around.
Oh yes, this Hesketh Mezzo Shiraz Mataro is a winner and not just of gold medals (it picked up one of those at the 2015 Adelaide Wine Show). Why so cheap if it's so good? Well the Tatiara district has no profile, even if Penfolds are big fans. That means the Hesketh family have to work even harder to make something fantastic - and boy does this overdeliver!
A dense and deeply coloured red with a very dark core. Bright and dark stone fruit aromas are tempered by a complex array of smells; from lavender and supple leather to meatiness, forest floor, earthiness and spice.
A bold wine. Big-boned and generously flavoured, the Shiraz is vibrant and the Mataro provides dark gamey flavours and fine grainy tannins.
In the mid 1980's Robert Hesketh and Mark Swann planted the first vines on the terra rossa over limestone soils in the Tatiara agricultural district in South Australia. Despite its remote location half (MEZZO) way between Adelaide and Melbourne, the soil profile, availability of artesian water and warm dry climate made it the ideal place for the production of premium quality fruit. During the 2014 vintage, the Hesketh family, with winemaker Phil Lehmann, cropped for quality in the Old Mundulla Vineyard, with a view to making one of the first regionally branded wines from the district. Use of the Italian term Mezzo represents not only the location, but is also a nod to the heritage of those who built and managed the original vineyard.
The Shiraz (66%) fruit for MEZZO was picked late March; a month ahead of the Mataro (34%) grapes due to the naturally slower ripening of this variety, both were then fermented entirely in open fermenters with 8-10 days on skins.
Ageing of the Mataro took place in old French oak puncheons for 6 months, while 85% of the Shiraz was aged in a combination of new (20%) and older (80%) hogsheads. The remaining 15% of Shiraz was aged separately, in stainless steel, to preserve the bright fruit characteristics, resulting in an elegant wine that expresses strong regional characteristics.
Medium-Bodied and Textured Red Wines
In the middle of the gamut from light to bold, medium-bodied reds are some of the best food pairing wines. Classic examples of this style include varieties like Sangiovese and Merlot. You’ll find there is quite a bit of variation in these varieties because of regional differences in growing and winemaking. For instance, a Merlot from a hillside estate on Spring Mountain in Napa Valley will have high tannin and blackberry flavours whereas a Merlot from a large valley vineyard in Lombardy, Italy will exhibit subtle tannins and soft cherry flavours.
Room Temperature (63-69 °F / 17-21 °C)
Lasagna, Pizza with Red Sauce, Spiced and Roasted Meats, Hearty Vegetable Soups, Hamburgers, Roasted Vegetables, Strong flavored spices like Cinnamon, Fennel, Anise, Cumin, Rosemary, Chili Pepper, Allspice
Rack of Lamb with potatoes dauphinoise
1 x 7-bone rack of lamb
250ml/9fl oz red wine
A few sprigs each of rosemary and thyme
3 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 white onion, finely sliced
4 anchovy fillets (optional)
A couple of thyme sprigs, leaves picked
200ml/7fl oz double cream
75ml/2.5fl oz milk
1kg/2lb floury potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
1.Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Make the potatoes first. In a large pan, melt the butter and add the onion, anchovies and thyme. Cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, until the onions are completely soft.
2.Add the cream and the milk, bring to the boil, then run it down to a simmer and cook to reduce and thicken the cream. Add a little pepper, and a pinch of salt if it needs it. Stir in the potatoes and make sure they're completely covered in the cream. Transfer to a baking dish, cover with a layer of parchment paper and a layer of tin foil and place in the oven for 40 minutes, removing the coverings and returning to the oven for the final 10 minutes to colour the top.
3.As soon as the potatoes go in, start on the lamb. In an ovenproof frying pan, heat a splash of oil over a high heat. Season the lamb, then sear it on all sides until golden. Pour off excess fat, then pour in the red wine, herbs and garlic and bring to the boil.
4.Take off the heat, then place in the oven alongside the potatoes for 20–30 minutes, depending on how you like your lamb cooked. I prefer mine pretty pink, so I usually go for just 20 minutes. If I get my timings right, I usually take the lamb out of the oven at the same time that I take the coverings off the potatoes so that it has some time to rest while the potatoes finish off.
5.Slice the lamb into chops. Spoon over the sauce and serve with the deliciously decadent potatoes.
Recipe from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/9959598/Rack-of-lamb-with-potatoes-dauphinoise-recipe.html
Image from https://www.yeovalley.co.uk/recipes/rack-of-lamb-with-dauphinoise-potatoes-and-salsaverde
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