New Year’s Eve Tipples….

Fireworks over Sydney Harbour..courtesy SMH.

Fireworks over Sydney Harbour..courtesy

New Year’s Eve 2012…or was it New Year’s Eve 2013? I’m never quite sure which year to use. Do you use the year you’re about to finish? Or the year that you’re about to start? I’m going to reference it as NYE13 through this post. Regardless of which nonmenclature you prefer, “NYE” is usually accompanied by the following:

  • Huge parties that finish well into the New Year (by which time the host has run out of food and you’re left scrounging for the unbroken Doritos to scrape the last of the home brand Guacamole dip from the plastic dish).
  • Head shaking at people who queue/camp for days in order to secure a spot by the beach/river/city just see approximately 15 minutes of brightly coloured, expensive explosions.
  • A complete lack of ability to secure vehicular travel home from said “vantage” points once all the pretty lights have finished
  • At least one good bottle of booze (even if you supplied it at the party yourself and tried to hide it from the great unwashed)
  • And last…but not least: potentially a thumping hangover when the hot sun raises you far too early from much required coma-esque sleep.

So, with all that in mind we decided that we’d actually stay home for NYE13. There were specific reasons for this:

  • We’d just returned from a very large Christmas week in Tasmania where “overdoing it” in regards to food and booze seemed to happen every day.
  • There was no possible way we could have topped NYE2012 night out, physically under the bridge at Dawes Point at the official City Of Sydney party, all thanks to Scarborough Wines…see picture below…
blurry due to the photographer's sobriety levels 29 seconds before midnight...

blurry due to the photographer’s sobriety levels 29 seconds before midnight…

So considering the above, we decided to stay in to avoid any of the pitfalls that befall the usual NYE revelry, but we still had to drink well.

The Line up....

The Line up….

Endeavour Beer 2012 Reserve Pale Ale 

Crisp, clean.. Blended from 3 hops: Galaxy, Cascade and Summer.  Maybe a little junior in its development at the moment, this had the hallmark floral lift but I do prefer the stablemate Amber Ale made with (underutilised) Topaz hops.

Champagne Dumangin Brut 2000 

I was quite happy to see this for sale in Australia, especially as we recently visited the cellar door in Chigny-Les-Roses, Champagne but only tried the NV (along with the Ratafia and Marc). Incredibly well priced for 1er Cru family produced Champagne. This was only just starting to become light gold in the glass. Fine on the nose with lovely Chardonnay fruit and baked biscuits. Complex through the palate, soft mousse and plenty of acid still to carry this wine for a lot longer. Great value considering it was the same price as the mass, cloying NVs that are incessantly pushed during this time.

Dopff au Moulin 2010 Riesling

From the spiritual home of Riesling, Alsace; Dopff is located in the incredibly picturesque town of Riquewihr. We managed to spend an incredible amount of time at the cellar door (but that is for another Post yet to come), so along with the Dumangin , I had managed to rekindle a little of our European Crusade. This is the entry level Dry Riesling but still has so much. Made from the vineyards surrounding the town of Riquewihr. Minerality, flint, lime and just a little more rounded fruit than would a Dry Australian Riesling.  Incredibly easy to drink, but still gives enough to think about…especially as it evokes those memoirs and terrior.

Moo Brew Imperial Stout 2009

Disclaimer on this one, Owen “OJ” Johnston, Moo Brew head brewer, is an old friend of mine. Yes, I knew him before he was famous. He is often mocked from old work colleagues and friends about his “home brew.”  Truth be told he, (along with a small, dedicated & loyal team of brewers/staff), has pushed, driven and impelled Moo Brew beyond a plaything for a man who has almost everything, to one of Australia’s most successful Craft/Small breweries more than capable of standing on its own two feet as a self sustaining business inside the might of David Walsh’s Moorilla Empire that has exploded with the opening of MoNA. OJ has learnt on the job, but the brand parallels his growth and development. You might think this is simply blowing smoke up his arse, but check the Moo Brew trophy cabinet and you’ll see I’m telling the truth.

Brewers give good head.

Brewers give good head.

But the beer…oh…the beer. OJ has played with varying barrels over the years for the Vintage Stout, and to his credit as a brewer, has never fallen foul of the dreaded brettanomyces that killed Foster’s Crown Ambassador Reserve in 2010 (side note..the bottle shape for that beer was exceptionally similar to the Moo Brew stubbies that had been produced for a few years before Ambassador was released and just as the label was really taking off. It was enough to drive OJ to write a letter to them). I make sure I get at least 2 of these each year, drink one early-ish and try and hold the other for a little while to see the development. This is a work in progress obviously as the Vintage list isn’t that old yet. The 09 exploded in the glass with full mocha head above a pitch black body. Bitumen, chocolate and espresso on the nose. Flavours of bitter Lindt 85% chocolate, lovely toasted malts, a smidge of oyster/soy and coffee. The body still lean enough to almost be sessionable. I wish I had a dozen more….

Absolut CherryKran Vodka

About the time I was enjoying the stout, my wife poured herself a vodka. We don’t normally have flavoured vodka in the house, but this one stood out amongst the other labels. Normally we just mix good vodka with Soda and Fresh lime. Refreshing, simple and tasty. Nadine mixed this one with Natural mineral water, and all it did was dull the sweetness of the supposed “White cranberries, sun-ripe cherry and sweet plum.” It actually enhanced a bitter characteristic so much that it had some Tonic water tendencies. A dash of natural raspberry fruit juice cordial put things right for a slightly sweeter drink. Very strange, think we’ll be sticking to the plain vodka, lime and soda from now on.

Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet 1999

I had this bottle from release in a pack of six and now have 3 remaining, so I had no problem with provenance. Always stored in climate controlled units. The cork came out perfectly which was a huge relief. As I decanted mid- afternoon, the blackcurrant smells filled the room which only lead to the anticipation of tasting…

Older wine demands classier photography

Older wine demands classier photography

Perfect integration of tannin and fruit. Incredibly smooth on the palate…blackcurrant and just a touch savoury on the nose. Still plush black fruits in the mouth filling flavour. American Oak which is usually so dominant in young vintages of this wine has done its job and held everything together. Long long tail of flavour. Just a beautiful drinking wine and deservedly one of the greatest Cabernets in Australia.

We ended up seeing the midnight fireworks by standing on chairs on our deck and peering through the trees to glimpse the bright colours. The neighbourhood was quiet as we contentedly saw out 2012 in vinous style.

Happy New Year to everyone reading this, may 2013 bring you happiness.

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