We all love a good party here at M2woman and dinner parties at home are such a great way to really get to know one another. It is a time to relax and enjoy one another’s company in a far more intimate situation than you’ll get at a bar, a restaurant or even a house party. It’s easy to turn up with a bottle of wine, the dilemma is what wine to turn up with. While it is winter you can readily assume that the meal will be suited to the season and more likely to be a roast, a ragout or a pasta dish. Either way you’ll do well choosing a red for the evening. If you choose a red to suit the personality of the host or hostess you’ll have an even greater chance to impress. Here are a few reds that I have chosen to suit with the different personalities of the wines to help you pick the right wine. I have also included a bit of a story to share on each making you even more dinner party ‘reddy’!
GRANT BURGE MESHACH SHIRAZ 2010 – BAROSSA VALLEY, AU
The Barossa Valley is one of the oldest wine growing regions in the southern hemisphere. First planted in the mid 1800’s it soon became recognised for the superior nature of the wines produced here. Something that is rare in the ‘new world’ is that these grapes escaped the ravages of the phylloxera outbreak that threatened to wipe out the industry in the late 19th century and lead to the mass culling of a lot of vines around Australia and New Zealand. The Barossa Valley, however, wasn’t affected at all, so it is one of the very few places that you’ll find very old vines producing grapes with incredible complexities.
The Meshach, named after Meshach William Burge (1843 – 1942) Grant Burge’s great grandfather, is the flagship of the Grant Burge range. Selecting the very best Shiraz, Grant Burge first started producing the Meshach back in 1988 and has since gone on to win multiple awards and several of Australia’s top trophies. It is generally regarded as one of the country’s best dry reds.
This iconic wine has been produced from hand picked grapes from vines that are nearly 100 years old (and even older in some cases) to deliver incredible complexities, and blended with wine from younger vines in different subregions in the Barossa with amazing flavour and colour profiles.
The 2010 Meshash is dark red in colour with purple hues. The aroma has an intense dark chocolate richness mixed with berry, aromatic spices and leather. The palate bursts with fruit flavours and velvety tannins with a complex array of spice, toffee and an intense berry flavour.
This is a truly distinctive wine is priced at around $120 a bottle and, given that the grapes used could be over 100 years old, it is well worth the investment.
Personality: If you truly want to impress your host and the host has an appreciation for classics and old world charm, then this is the elder statement, the true gentleman within this selection. The perfect accompaniment to venison or or a a juicy side of rare sirloin.
If you like: a well balanced wine, dark and complex then this is the perfect choice.
MILLS REEF ELSPETH SYRAH 2013 – GIMBLETT GRAVELS, HAWKE’S BAY, NZ
Bestowed with ‘Classic NZ Wine’ status, this superb Syrah from the exceptional 2013 vintage brims with intense flavour and complexity. It is gaining 5 Star appreciation from most of our local wine critics and it is little wonder coming from the Mills Reef team – they never fail to impress.The grapes for this outstanding wine were all from the coveted Gimblett Gravels area of Hawke’s Bay and from the exceptional vintage of 2013.
This outstanding example of a New Zealand Syrah brims with flavour and intensity, displaying luscious boysenberry flavours mixed with spice and liquorice, the wine has lovely balance and intensity and smooth, lingering finish, on a perfectly integrated and balanced plate.
Personality: If your host is a bold dresser that is consistently well groomed and loves a good party, then make sure you turn up to the party with this one. Perfect to accompany any red meat dish and ideal to go with a big juicy steak.
If you like: a big juicy red, dark in colour and well balanced then this is the red for you.
TE MOTU (CABERNET SAUVIGNON, MERLOT AND CABERNET FRANC BLEND) 2012 – WAIHEKE, NZ
Te Motu Vineyard is one of the earliest vineyards to be established on Waiheke. The name ‘Te Motu’ comes from the original Maori name for Waiheke, Te Motu Arai Roa (‘island of long shelter’).The vineyard is on the slopes below Stoney Ridge and the area is recognised as some of the best wine growing land on the island. Pioneering the industry on Waiheke, the grapes here were first planted in 1988 by the Dunleavy family who still own and work the winery today. The winemaking is now under 3rd generation family member Sam Dunleavy who brings a huge amount of knowledge to the team.
They specialise in Old world Bordeaux style wines that are best suited to the region and, with a lot of vines now really coming ‘of age’ they are producing some outstanding blends.
2012 was described by John and other winemakers on the island as a typical Bordeaux type season so this, the flagship of their range, is an outstanding example..
This cabernet, merlot and cabernet franc blend delivers a fragrant bouquet of cassis, dark plum, vanilla and toasted nuts. The palate is seductively savoury with soft and subtle tannins dark-red berry fruit along with dark plums, dried herbs, earth and funky game, beautifully balanced with fruit richness and an elegant yet persistent finish.
Personality: If you want a fine example of a Bordeaux style wine, if your host has an appreciation for elegance and you want to impress them with something they may not have tried before – if they like to stand out from the crowd – then be sure to bring this along. At under $100 a bottle, and presented with an outstanding purple ‘neck sleeve’, this wine is set to impress. Perfect to go with a spread of game like wild boar or venison.
If you like: big red wine with a difference, one that you won’t find just anywhere, a wine that has an eye catching presentation, then get hold of a bottle of this.
YEALANDS ESTATE WINEMAKER’S RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2015 – GIBBSTON VALLEY, CENTRAL OTAGO, NZ
Yealands lead the market as our most sustainable winery and even compete on the world stage as one of the most sustainable wineries in the world. Founded by Peter Yealand only a few years ago, this winery has achieved more than 1000 awards over just a few short years for the outstanding wines they produce. While their main vineyard is in Marlborough – where they have New Zealand›s largest single vineyard – their winemaking is not limited to this region alone.
This particular wine is from the Gibbston Valley in central Otago, where New Zealand’s earliest impressions on the global market for Burgundy style wines began. The area is recognised globally for producing outstanding Pinot Noirs and this is a great example with a beautiful seamless texture, elegance and balance associated with Gibbston Pinot Noirs.
“I have always had a soft spot for the wines coming out of the Gibbston sub-region in Central Otago”. Says winemaker Tamra Kelly-Washington and her passion for these wines comes through in this fine example.
On the nose you get distinct aromas of cherry, plum and spice complimented by powerful tannins , savoury, cherry and plum on a textured mid-palate.
This wine is the only non-bordeaux style wine in this list. It’s a great example of a New Zealand Pinot Noir and at around just $25 a bottle it is also the least expensive in the range.
personality: If your host is from overseas and you want to give them a taste of a great New Zealand red that is not at all pretentious, then take along a bottle of this. It won’t break the budget but it will be a crowd pleaser. Perfect to compliment an easy meal – not too complicated, a stew or a roast would be ideal.
If you like: lighter style wines then this is the best choice for you.