As my last ramble was about a sojourn to the beginning of our online wine retailing venture Vineonline , I now reminisce about my finale, the ultimate day, with the people, product and brand I am so proud of.
Now everyone that has shared a bottle with me knows that I have certain convictions. One of those is my long held belief that our Aussie neighbours have only given the world two great things, cow and Shiraz.
This long held belief has stayed strong over many long lunches or dinners that have meandered late into the evening, often with Australian friends and acquaintances. It has all been thrown at me. Cricket, for instance, however give me the swagger of Viv and the West Indies any day (If you are that good you may as well be really cool).
Often seafood has been laid down as a challenge, but to me a dozen bluff oysters and a bottle of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, during a lazy afternoon in March surpasses any king prawn or barramundi with an oaky Chardonnay.
However the collision of Aussie Wagu steak (100 day grain fed, 500 grams minimum) and Aussie red wine (top drawer South Australian shiraz) to me is a gastronomic symphony, an unadulterated pleasure. The love has been built through a myriad of experiences. None more than spending time with my old mate Sam Daw, owner and winemaker of Lavina Wines Maclaren Vale. Many a time we have sat on the sprawling veranda overlooking the vineyard and enjoyed a King Henry fillet cooked medium rare to perfection and washed down with some of his top wine; Lavina The Aurum Release McLaren Vale Shiraz. A massive Aussie rounded with the finesse a cut of that note deserves (To be fair we willingly migrate to the Lavina Gold Series Barossa Valley Shiraz as the night progresses, bloody good vino that as well).
So it came to be, my last day with the team. I presumed we would finish the week sitting on a few cases, sampling the latest parcels, telling lies, convinced we were the best buyers of very fine, but economical juice in the land. The others patiently listening to me prattle on for a final time.
But no, my colleagues had other ideas. We sojourned to a small northern Taranaki town, Urenui. Situated at the foot of Mount Messenger, it is the last stop for petrol or a pie before the King Country. Here in the tiny Urenui Hotel, I was treated to my ultimate Friday afternoon long lunch, and that is saying something!
It was mid- January, about 10 degrees, pissing down, and the fire was roaring. After a couple of refreshing lagers we sat down at the only table in the pub, however it comfortably sat a dozen of us.
It was then that the Penfolds Grange, RWT and Lavina Royal appeared and I knew all that rambling had been for a purpose. These great people were going to see me out in my own personal nirvana!
There was only one option for all; a 600 gram scotch (ribeye to us more cultured southerners) perfectly marbled and cooked to perfection. I could have eaten that piece of beast with a plastic teaspoon. It must have been hung longer than Mary Antoinette, so tender and delightful the massive cut. This complemented by the above mentioned biggest and yet most layered, textured and refined of all the Australian Shiraz, meant that I had bowed out as I had wanted to; a very contented and hazy Boozy Foody.
Time to move on and become a butcher…