We recently hosted a lavish Italian lunch with the team from Ormeggio at the Spit. One of the highlights was a delicious canapé of Baccala Fritters. Chef Alessandro Pavoni has kindly shared the recipe. We’re going to be enjoying these over the festive season with bubbly.
Makes approximately 40 fritters
350g plain flour
300g grapeseed oil
12 whole eggs
1200g salted cod, washed and diced in small cubes
450g Dutch Cream potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 bunch parsley
*Additional grapeseed oil (approx. 10L for deep fryer or quantity as recommended on fryer)
In a pot, cover the potatoes with water, bring to the boil and cook for
Add diced cod to potatoes. Turn off heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Strain and pat dry.
Blend strained potatoes and cod in a food processor to make a coarse puree.
In a pot, combine water and grapeseed oil and bring to the boil.
Add flour to the oil and water mixture, turn off heat and stir with rubber spatula until fully incorporated. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer.
Add eggs one by one mixing at medium speed until a uniform dough is formed.
Add the potato and cod puree and mix until fully incorporated.
Allow batter to rest for 24 hours in a plastic container in fridge.
To cook fritters, heat grapeseed oil in a deep fryer. Scoop out batter using a tablespoon and drop into the fryer. Once golden, remove fritters using a metal slotted spoon.
Rest fritters on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Serve with aioli.
Perhaps due to iconic wines like Penfolds Grange and Henshke Hill of Grace, Australian shiraz has a reputation for being the ultimate variety to cellar for years, even decades. Many do, but it’s not always the case. Unlike cabernet sauvignon, the make-up of the shiraz grape does not automatically produce age worthy wines. The longevity of a shiraz all depends on its region, the way the grapes are grown and how they are treated in the winery.
An important factor in how a red wine ages is the amount and type of tannin it carries. Tannins extracted from the grapes skin are soft, velvety and give a lovely mouthfeel to young reds but don’t do much heavy lifting over years in the cellar. Conversely, tannins from the grape seeds are rather coarse and aggressive,making a wine uncomfortable to drink in its youth but are the pillars that support a statuesque wine over decades.
While it’s rare for a red that is voluptuous and smooth in its youth to become commanding and full of grace with age, it can sometimes happen.
Logan makes five wines based around the shiraz grape and all have different age worthiness. The Apple Tree Flat should be enjoyed in its youth, the Logan Shiraz and Weemala Shiraz Viognier are produced to be medium term agers, think four to eight years. Ridge of Tears is the showcase of our cellar-style shiraz wines, with different life expectancies. The 2014 Orange Ridge of Tears, grown at a lofty 870 metres above sea level in volcanic soils, is rich with mouthfilling velvety soft skin tannins but does also have a nice strong acid structure which should see it age sweetly over five to 10 years. At 564 metres the ironstone and quartz laced gravelly loam soils where we grow the '14 Mudgee Ridge of Tears impart strong, grainy, ageworthy seed tannins which will ease this wine gently through 10 to 20 years in a good cellar.
Plenty of choices for today and tomorrow.
We recently joined forces with Cho Cho San Head Chef Nicholas Wong to create a Tokyo izakaya-style feast at the Logan Tasting Room, and his Teriyaki Beef Short Rib was a stand out. Nic has kindly shared the recipe.
Beef Short Rib, serves 4
1.8 kg beef short rib, bone in (this should be 3 rib bones), 2 L brown chicken stock, 1 cup Teriyaki glaze (recipe below)
1. Line a deep baking tray or Dutch oven with baking paper.
2. Place beef short ribs on tray and fully cover with stock and teriyaki glaze. Fully cover air tight, either with a lid or aluminum foil.
3. Bake at 140°C for 4 hours, or until tender.
4. Remove foil, or lid, and remove from stock. Reserve the stock. Remove bones while still hot. The bones should slide out quite easily. Carefully cut the beef ribs into three pieces. Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.
5. On a very hot BBQ sear each side, brushing the leftover teriyaki on each side. The beef should look sticky and the teriyaki caramelised.
6. Reheat leftover stock, and place the beef back in to the stock to warm through. Once warmed through carve and plate with carrot pickle and steamed rice.
250ml soy sauce, 125 g castor sugar, 250 ml mirin, 80 ml sake, 100 g roughly chopped ginger
1. Bring all ingredients to boil, and simmer for 10 minutes on low. Allow to cool, strain and set aside
2 kg carrot, peeled, and cut into thin noodles, ¼ tsp salt, ½ tsp sugar, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp Korean chilli paste, 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1. Macerate carrots with sugar and salt, set aside for 10 minutes. Discard excess liquid.
2. In a bowl mix chilli paste, vinegar and sesame oil til combined. Add carrots to vinegar mixture. Will keep in an air tight container for 5 days.
When choosing the location to plant grapes you don’t want to pick a place that can produce top wine only in a great year, but all other years the wine is ho-hum. We prefer to make a great wine in a regular year and then, in a freakish year, produce something extra, extra special. 2014 was a particularly ordinary year. But in a good way. The temperatures, rainfall and harvest dates were all pretty much bang on the long term average. It’s exactly the type of season you thought you would get when you planted grapes in the region.
It makes it a very good year to taste our two Ridge of Tears Shiraz wines side by side. You can see the classic differences in shiraz when grown in the rolling hills of Mudgee compared to the ultra-cool high altitudes of Orange. Pete believes the soils affect the mouth feel of the wine and the temperature and sun influences the flavours. The Orange Ridge of Tears Shiraz is grown about 300 metres higher, so it has more red fruits to the lower Mudgee wine’s dark earthy flavours. As the Orange shiraz is grown in rich volcanic soil it has velvety soft tannins making the wine approachable if drinking it young (although it will age gracefully over the medium term) whereas the ironstone and quartz laced gravelly loam soils of Mudgee give it more forceful grainy tannins which are great for ageing the wine long term but also make it the perfect partner for a chargrilled steak right now.
We hope you enjoy both, but like most people, you’ll probably have a definite leaning to one or the other. There’s no better year to find out.
While 2014 was standard, our ‘14 Logan Chardonnay was anything but, turning out to be very expressive. Still elegant, it has a richer core of flavour than previous years, which is possibly a result of the low yield of grapes per vine in 2014. Slow fermentation by wild yeast has produced deep stone fruit, nut and citrus flavours with 33% fermented in oak barrels to give texture and dimension. We left the yeast lees in for nine months to further enhance the texture and contribute a savoury, spicy note to the aroma.
You can enjoy it now or cellar confidently for 10 years or so.
Know why wine comes in a 750ml bottle? Liquor laws? Convenient shelf size? Nope. Back in the days before automated glass production, 750mls was the lung capacity of your average glass blower. And so it has stayed that way.
For many, 750ml is too much wine for one sitting, so here is our simple guide to the ‘fridge’ or ‘bench’ life of an open bottle…
Generally, young, fresh fruity aromatic whites like sauvignon blanc and verdelho don’t make it past the second evening, while less tropical young whites such as semillon, pinot gris and riesling can drink well for a few more days. Elegant cool climate chardonnay that has savoury, citrus and nutty flavours (rather than rich fruit) will usually see you through Monday to Friday.
For reds, the more tannin, the longer you can enjoy the open bottle. Many highly tannic wines will actually be at their best on the second or third night.
You’re better finishing off pinot noir and other early-drinking nouveau reds as these tend to fade away over 24 hours. At the other end of the spectrum, cabernet sauvignon based wines (or the lesser known varieties saperavi and tannat) may last the better part of a week. For all the red varieties in between, the wines will vary greatly in style based on region, winemaker and where they sit in the winery’s hierarchy. Shiraz, for example, can be tannic, savoury and last open for six days, or it might be a high alcohol fruit bomb that will fall over on the second night. Make a judgement call based on tannin and flavour profile and see how you go.
As far as closures go, always return the screw-cap or cork to an opened bottle and use a champagne stopper on bubbly.
The good news, generally the better the wine, the longer it will keep after opening. On the flip side; generally the better the wine, the less likely there’ll be leftovers.
We recently hosted Manly’s famed Papi Chulo restaurant here in Mudgee for a degustation feast and a standout of the night was the delectable Porchetta. Chefs Patrick Friesen and Christopher Hogarth have kindly shared their recipe and we reckon it will be a hit over the festive season - if you can wait that long.
1 pork belly, skin separated from meat
2 bunches thyme
2 bunches rosemary
2 bunches sage
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 heads garlic
300 ml olive oil
Confit the garlic in the olive oil cooking over very low heat for about one hour until garlic is soft. Strain. Keep the oil.
Pick and chop the herbs until quite fine. Mix with the garlic oil and toasted fennel seeds until a paste texture is created.
Trim the pork belly so it is of even thickness. Score the flesh, season generously with sea salt. Rub with the herb paste and place confit garlic cloves all over the belly. Push them into the flesh to partially crush them. Score the fat layer on the inside of the pork skin and season with salt on the flesh side. Roll the pork belly as tight as possible. Wrap with the skin. Tie the belly and skin together tightly at intervals. Leave to marinate overnight or for a minimum of four hours. Slowly cook on a charcoal rotisserie* on low to medium heat for about 3 hours until the internal temperature reaches 60°C and the crackling is nice and crispy.
Slice the porchetta and serve with roasted, salted and crushed kipfler potatoes, a mixed leaf salad and English mustard. Works beautifully with a Pinot Noir or a nice crisp Rosé at lunch.
* Or roast in an oven on top of a wire rack. Preheat oven to 200°C and roast for half hour. Reduce temperature to 160°C for 1 hour. Increase temperature back to 200°C until crackling is extra crispy. Make sure the fan is on high if you have a fan-forced oven.
Vintage 2012’s cold growing season and late summer rain might spell disaster for some wine – but not for sparkling. Cold and wet is the norm for Champagne so our ‘12 Vintage ‘M’ Cuvée has turned out close to perfection.
All previous vintages, back to the inaugural 1998, have been roughly equal parts chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. In contrast, this 2012 vintage is skewed heavily towards chardonnay (79%) with just 11% pinot noir and 10% meunier.
The result is a tight, fine, long and dry sparkling, full of lemon, almond and green apple characters from the chardonnay grapes and a hint of pinot-derived wild strawberry. The lovely rich brioche aroma comes from ageing the wine in bottle for 3 years on its dead yeast lees.
We also tried something a little different with the Logan Sauvignon Blanc, arguably our most consistently high quality wine. The cold, sunny climate of Orange is the perfect place to grow this variety, producing a vibrant and mineral-rich style to which we add more texture by fermenting a parcel in oak barrels.
Our 2015 savvy is the first vintage to undergo fermentation with the skins in (a process usually reserved for red wines) and the result is a lovely salty finish. Coupled with a spectacular 2015 harvest, this year’s Logan Sauvignon Blanc is more complex and sort of ‘crunchier’. Perfect for warm weather!
While trying new things we decided to introduce a new line to our Apple Tree Flat range. The inaugural Apple Tree Flat Cabernet Merlot is a beauty - chunky, gritty and robust - crying out for BBQ’d beef or lamb. This equal parts blend of cab sauv and merlot has plenty of bright red and dark fruit flavours – blueberries, mulberries and blackberries with a little blackcurrant and plum – with violets, dark chocolate, tobacco and nutmeg to round it out.
We think you’ll like it; particularly the little price for such a big wine.
Cab merlot, sem sauv blanc… mixing wine varieties is common. Mixing red grapes with white grapes – less so. In the Rhône Valley, the inquisitive French played with fermenting a small amount of white viognier grapes with red shiraz. It worked a treat and they have been turning out this gorgeous, pretty yet structured drop for decades. It’s the inspiration for our Australian take on this multi-coloured blend.
To make our Weemala Shiraz Viognier we pick and crush the two varieties at the same time so the juice and skins of the white weave their way through the red ferment, allowing a little magic (or alchemy) to happen. The Mudgee shiraz has fantastic flavours and lives beautifully for more than a decade in the cellar, but the grainy tannins can leave the mouth a tad dry after a sip. So during fermentation special tannin from the viognier binds to the shiraz tannins, transforming them into a new tannin molecule which has a velvety smooth feel in the mouth. That is why our Weemala Shiraz Viognier is predominantly (75% in the 2013) from our Mudgee grapes. There is a little of our Orange shiraz in there too as its cool climate red fruits and spice characters add complexity while being complimentary to the shiraz viogner's style.
You don’t want too much viognier to achieve the silky tannins, as it has a strong aroma of apricot marmalade and flowers that will overpower in concentration. Like the very successful 2012 (four Gold and two Silver medals in major wine shows) our new 2013 Weemala is 97% shiraz and just 3% viognier. It sounds insignificant but believe us, it’s not. Besides softening the tannins this small amount of white grapes actually intensifies the red colour (more alchemy) and gives a subtle floral lift to the aroma.
A marriage made in heaven.
What does the winemaker drink when he’s not drinking wine?
A winemaker does enjoy more than fermented grape juice. Here are some of Peter Logan’s non-wine faves:
At the end of a hard day squeezing grapes, Pete loves nothing more than a nice fresh, cold, crisp beer. Not a fan of the very of-the-moment American Pale Ale style (far too aromatic and sweet for him, kinda like the beer equivalent of a heavily oaked buttery chardonnay) he prefers a good lager, refreshing with just a hint of bitterness at the back to clean out the palate. In cooler weather he loves a hearty stout or porter and when in London for work, he'll head straight to the nearest real ale pub for a warm and creamy pint, which goes great with a pork pie or scotch egg.
But man cannot live on beer (and wine) alone.
Visiting Japan each year, Pete has developed a real appreciation for sake. The good stuff is like unoaked white wine only with less intensity. It can be charming, particularly if you’re dining on delicate food like sushi or yakitori.
He’s partial to a classic G&T at cocktail hour. Bitter and refreshing. Or an Old Fashioned or Negroni - administered with caution as the potency can bring an early end to a fun evening.
Finally, as a nightcap he enjoys nothing better than a single malt whiskey. Preferring the cleaner styles to the peatier ones, he always picks up a bottle on his annual visit to our Scottish importer, Lockett Bros Fine Wine and Whiskey Store, in the sweet Scottish seaside town of North Berwick. He doesn't pair his wee dram with food, just conversation or contemplation.
2011 was a difficult vintage for many types of wine due to lots of rain and cold, cloudy conditions. As this kind of weather is often experienced in the Champagne region of France it’s little surprise that 2011 was a great year for our bubbly. A roughly equal blend of the three primary varieties grown in Champagne - chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier – our crisp 2011 Vintage 'M' Cuvée is a beautiful pale salmon colour with characters of lemon, wild strawberry, roasted almonds and oyster shell before a long, dry finish. There are even some brioche-like bakery hints from ageing the fizz on dead yeast lees for more than three years. Let’s pop one now.
The chardonnay revival keeps gaining momentum which is good news for the Orange region - it excels in the cool temperatures found high up on Mount Canobolas. Vintage 2013 was quite a rich year for chardonnay in Orange meaning our '13 Logan Chardonnay is a little more full bodied than the previous three years while still very much in our balanced and delicate style. 23% was fermented in French and Hungarian oak barrels to give a savoury complexity and smooth mouthfeel. The aroma is bright with fig, orange rind and a hint of gunsmoke (think sparklers). The palate is smooth with flavours of white peach and nuts with a fresh citrus finish.
2014 was a very good year in central NSW for most varieties. Our first red to make it to market, the '14 Logan Pinot Noir, shows the quality of the growing season. A perfume of rose with plenty of red fruits like cherry, wild strawberry and Campari jump from the glass. The light bodied palate has all the same flavours with a little lick of tannin and a long dry finish. Seriously sexy stuff.
The noble variety of riesling hails from Germany and comes in many different guises. In its homeland you will find everything from surprisingly lovely and complex bubbly (called sekt) through to the interestingly named trockenbeerenauslese, where the mouldiest individual berries are selected to make an intense sweet wine. Then there’s eiswein (ice wine), where grapes are left on the vine until they freeze before being hand-picked and pressed, leaving behind the frozen water and so concentrating all the sugar, acid and flavours.
We prefer the popular German style known as trocken (or dry). Many of these wines retain a little sugar to balance the high natural acid and produce a finish that is dry, yet with a juicy and fruity palate. This is the style of our Weemala Riesling. Quite dry, light, fresh, aromatic, fruity and delicious.
Riesling likes a long, slow ripening season to produce its lovely bright flavours and keep the acid structure that is so important to this variety’s character. In warm climates, the riesling grapes tend to ripen too quickly and taste a bit dull. So the cold, sunny climate of Orange is the perfect place to grow this great grape.
Now in its eighth release, our Weemala Riesling has become very popular over the past few years and is our best performer at award shows. Despite people predicting a big riesling renaissance in Australia, sales are still at less than 5% of the total bottled white wine market. Hopefully we’ll witness a slow, steady and directional increase in the amount of riesling being drunk in this country over the coming years. Prost!
Can you develop a good wine palate, or is this something you’re born with?
Firstly, what is a palate? It’s the wine taster’s ability to identify firstly the aromas and flavours in a wine and secondly the structural elements like acid, tannin, polysaccharides and alcohol and how all these factors come together to give the overall balance and character of a wine. Often followed by the ability to pontificate ad nauseum about wine, boring everyone to tears!
While some people do naturally have a good palate, with consistent practice and concentration you can train even the most novice of wine tasters - eventually. You have to focus on each of the aromas, flavours and textures in a wine and recall how these elements differ from one wine to the next. The good news is the more wine you drink, the better you’ll become.
About 25% of the population are supertasters who experience taste at a far greater intensity to the rest of us. This could be a help or hindrance as supertasters are much more averse to bitterness and may rate poorly some wines that the rest of us love. Women and those of Asian descent are more likely to be supertasters. As we age past 60 years we begin to lose our sense of smell and taste, and smokers have dulled taste buds. So an anglo 90 year old male smoker ain’t gonna pass his Master of Wine exam.
Do you need a good wine palate? If you’re not a winemaker, journalist, sommelier or wine show judge, of course you don’t. You just need to know what you like and where to buy it.
Can you smell that? It’s our new aromatic whites and rosés, classic examples of the great 2014 NSW Central Ranges vintage.
Some standouts include the 2014 Logan Sauvignon Blanc with its generously vibrant lime and pink grapefruit aroma and flavour together with a little guava, sage and a minerally core. We like to enhance the “quintessentially Orange” characteristics with a little barrel and malo-lactic fermentation and yeast lees stirring, creating a savvy that’s aromatic, fresh, complex and textured with crisp acidity and a long finish.
Rosé excelled in 2014. Both our Logan ‘Hannah’ and Apple Tree Flat rosés look great. The 2014 shiraz and merlot grapes from Mudgee had oodles of flavour and colour, producing a 2014 Apple Tree Flat Rosé with bright red colour and lovely strong berry fruit flavours. A touch of spice on the aroma and a dry, crisp palate make it the perfect barbecue wine.
We also have a couple of exciting new red releases including our two Ridge of Tears Shiraz from 2012. This range showcases our top shiraz from both Orange and Mudgee and seeks to expose how good these two regions are but also how different they can be.
The 870m altitude and volcanic soils lend a distinctive style to the Orange Shiraz - from the aroma of red berries, roasted thyme, star anise and beef stock to the bright and fresh just medium bodied palate and very long minerally finish. This unapologetically cold climate shiraz brims with personality and purity of character.
While not the dizzying heights of Orange, the Mudgee Ridge of Tears Shiraz is still grown 564m above sea level, with very cold nights. Mudgee’s red loamy and ironstone soil is evident in this wine’s rich aroma of dark and red berries with plums, florals, spices (like white pepper and coriander seed) and earthiness. This 2012 has a particularly “Mudgee” palate - at the bigger end of medium bodied shiraz, a touch rustic with a tight structure balanced by a lovely smooth texture.
As 2012 was a very low cropping vintage, these two shiraz should age gracefully for plenty of years.
French cellar-hand Jean-Francois worked with Logan during the 2014 vintage and we asked him to share his insights into the perception of Australian wine in France (we think we may have enlightened Jean-Francois a little during his time in Mudgee)…
JEAN-FRANCOIS: Bonjour! I travelled to Mudgee from St Emilion in France, world famous for our Bordeaux blend of merlot (60%), cabernet franc (30%) and cabernet sauvignon (10%).
Where I come from, most people drink local. We French tend not to even think about Aussie wine; we are not exposed to all that the Australian wine industry has to offer. This is why my journey ‘down under’ has been so enlightening.
Generally in France, the belief is that Aussie wine is all about volume and driven by massive production. I was surprised to discover such diversity, from big producers of mass quantities to boutique family operators like Logan.
In France we have been making wine since the Roman invasion in around 50 BC. We benefit from the knowledge of centuries of vignerons before us, and this has afforded an intricate understanding of our terroir. For this reason, in France we say that we make wine in the vineyard – not just in the cellar.
It is interesting that so many miles away, Logan follows the same logic. Peter’s philosophy, too, focuses on the vineyard and letting fruit flavours speak for themselves. Such winemaking requires restraint, not too much meddling, and respect and understanding of the terroir. I can taste this sensibility when I drink Peter’s wine. It is quite European in its approach.
The Logan wine that has most impressed me is the 2012 Weemala Tempranillo. It’s very deep and full-bodied with lots of character, lovely balance, nice tannins and beautiful aromas. I’m not used to tempranillo but perhaps this is a varietal I can introduce to my friends back in St Emilion. I can teach them that when it comes to Australian wine, there is much to know, and they have much to learn!