Rich Reds and Slow Cooked Meals

Author: Stephanie Jacob & Kim Wise  

Rich, juicy reds and hearty, slow cooked meals are winter’s antidote.

The weather is dropping off and it’s time to dust off the slow-cooker. There’s nothing more comforting as nights become cooler to warm by the stove and enjoy the delicious smells of aromatic herbs and spices cooking away with a glass of red in hand. Nor can you deny the pleasure in a hearty braise, casserole, or creamy sauce soaking up the rich tannin of a juicy red. Here are some of our favourite rich reds to pair with slow-cooked meals this winter.

Mesta Organic Tempranillo 2018 | Spain | $16.99 In the high-altitude rugged landscape of Castile, walk into any local restaurant and you will see wood-roasted ‘baby’ milk-fed lamb on the menu. Garlic-scented, tender yet crispy – it’s just perfect with the vibrant, juicy nature of Tempranillo. Mesta produces a style that is fruit-driven and fresh – no oak necessary. Full of red fruits, rosemary and thyme, and soft, velvety texture – it’s dangerously drinkable, and outrageously affordable! Try Andrew McConnell’s slow roasted lamb shoulder recipe here. Fall-off-the-bone flesh with a caramelized crust - it may not be Castilian but it’s pretty darn close.

Tamburlaine Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2017 | Orange NSW | $25.99 Cabernet Franc is making its mark in cool-climate regions around Australia, and this bio-dynamically grown single vineyard expression from Tamburlaine’s is no exception. Red plum, peppercorn, juniper and fine-grained, lacy tannins, framed with just enough oak to add alluring vanilla spice. Much less serious and a whole lot softer and juicier than it’s Sauvignon relative, its incredibly versatile but especially great with vegetables, due to its earthy flavour profile. Its bright acidity works particularly well with tomato-based sauces or stews. Lasagne layered with roasted eggplant and red pepper will work a treat for those eating meat-free, whilst the soft juicy texture will also handle a touch of spice – think chickpea and chorizo stew with smoked sweet paprika.

Hochkirch Syrah 2016 | Henty VIC | $36.95 Jennifer and John Nagorcka produce wines with considerable complexity and interest from their small 8-hectare vineyard at the foothills of the Grampians in western Victoria. With climate and growing season temperatures similar to that of Burgundy, the vines are planted at high-density, farmed bio-dynamically and without irrigation, producing low-yield, premium fruit. This Syrah is Rhone-like with powerful mineral and earthy characteristics. Spicy, peppery and fragrant, it calls for a cassoulet. This rich, slow-cooked casserole is brilliant paired with Syrah tannins to cut through the fattiness of the meat, and graphite mineral acidity to balance the creaminess of the beans; it’s a humble dish that allows the wine’s savoury complexity to shine through. cassoulet

Temple Bruer Agonist Saperavi 2017 | Riverland SA | $38.99 Rich and inky, this ancient Georgian variety is one of the few grapes with red flesh as well as skin, suitably tolerant to the Riverland’s hot and sunny climate. From young vines planted in 2012, this vintage certainly shows the enormous potential for Saperavi to become a hugely successful variety in the region. Full of wild blackberry and earthy beetroot, its lush, palate-coating tannins make it a perfect partner for the heartiest of dishes, such as Osso bucco. With heady aromas of bay and thyme, and meltingly tender veal shin, it perfectly complements the sweet cherry fruit and spice of this fleshy style of Saperavi. Excellent served with soft, buttery polenta.

Kalleske Clarry’s GSM 2019 | Barossa Valley SA | $23.90 Medium-bodied, fresh and bright-fruited, this is another cracking blend from one of Barossa’s top organic producers. With perfume lift and fragrant spice, it is abundant in sweet, juicy red and purple fruits, clove and liquorice. Old-vine fruit is clearly evident here – it’s intensely full-flavored and best enjoyed with a dish equally as bold, and proves to be an astonishingly good match for spicy slow-cooked curry. The intoxicating, aromatic fennel and cardamom and medium-heat of a Rogan josh curry is perfect with a wine that really packs a punch like this Clarry’s. Don’t be scared to try something with a serious level of heat; you’ll be surprised by what this wine will stand up to!

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