The Best Everyday Wine Is...
In the Shanghai Wine Bar Guide we posted Tuesday night, I have, more than happily, confessed that during the past year, 80% of my liquor quota has been devoted to wine.
Tasting a bottle of wine is like watching a movie or reading a book - all the untravelled lands, unlived lives and unseen beauties, condensed in a bottle of fermented juices across time and universe, lure you into exploring the unexperienced world. Some so strange and some so enticing, that for the time being you almost can't wait to tramp over hill and dale in search of these frangrant tales, to witness the birth of these souls.
Only if we could drink this everyday, living this ebauchery yet undeniably a dreaming lifestyle...but I simply don't want it.
Why? Okay I'll explain. So, I'm food blogger and people tend to fantasize our lives, "You have the best job in the world! I envy you so much! " "You food bloggers eat fanciest stuff only, for EVERY SINGLE meal!"
Okay, it's a wrong impression!
I still remember that chilly late autumn day in New York. Deadlines were prodding me so hard that I had to gulp four sets of tasting menus down my stomach in a few days. As I rushed out of the door of that last restaurant, full and dizzy. Staggering a few hundred meters, just before we caught a cab, I couldn't help but threw up in the street, finally feeling somewhat relieved.
That was a nightmare, man.
记得有一次，适逢纽约深秋，迫于截稿压力连夯四顿 Tasting Menu，好容易熬到最后一顿，吃完出门受了冷风，哇得一声吐在路边花坛里……当时之惨状，一起吃饭的好友龙荻可以作证。
In fact, tasting menus at fine-dinings could only be a once-in-a-while spur, even for people like me. Watching food porns every day is like riding a roller coaster, or falling in love with a disastrous drama queen - it wears you out. Real life only embeds in simplicity; From the everyday ordinariness, the same-old sh*t you've been through, rise the feelings of true comfort.
And only so can the best food, the best wine or best people become the best.
I would loyally vote for Australia if asked to pick an everyday wine.
The Southern Hemisphere continent holds a significant place in the map of new world wines and a special spot in my heart. Most people remember Australian wine for its drinkability - the genial sunshine, the morning mist, and the winding coastline and valleys preserved in bottles, thanks tothe diverse terrior, made it straightfoward, honest yet full of surprises.
Price is an additional plus. It won't burn half of your monthly earning out in a wink even if you go with the expensive ones.
The very first Australian wine that swayed my mind (No, it's not yellow tail. ), was Port Philips Estate Red Hill 2012, a beautiful Pinot Noir from Mornington Peninsula.
With its rather sophisticated aroma and silky texture, this sweetly balanced 200 Kuai "strawberry jam" turned out to be a surprisingly charming baby. No wonder James Halliday gave the Chateau a 5 star rating and named it the best of 2012!
What would happen if it was a 100+ kuai Burgundy? Honestly, I don't find it very inviting.
第一瓶真正让我记住的澳洲酒（并不是黄袋鼠！），是产自莫宁顿半岛（Mornington）的一瓶 Pinot Noir，Port Philips Estate Red Hill 2012。
有着复杂香气、顺滑口感的”草莓果酱“，甜美平衡，意外迷人，200块都不到的零售价格，简直令人感动。也难怪澳洲国宝酒评人 James Halliday 老爷爷 给了酒庄红五星，还钦点它做2012年的最佳酒庄。
I discovered an interesting fact through my trip to several Australia wine estates earlier this year: foods in these estates are exceptional, essentially well-blanced with their house wines.
Despite being readily accessible, Australian wines excel in pairing with food. Some recent dining experience blew my mind completely.
Earlier in August, a sommelier at 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo picked a Yering Station Chardonnay (from Yarra Valley) to pair with my bowl of savory and pliable mushroom tortellinis. Blended coherently into the earthy truffle and sturdy creamy emulsion, the wine was just blooming as I delightfully gulped it down.
夏末去了 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo，吃到这一盆鲜味霸气、皮子柔韧蘑菇小馄饨，侍酒师跳开意大利酒，出其不意地配了一支来自雅拉谷（Yarra Valley）Yering Station的霞多丽，浑厚坚实的奶油香，搭配蘑菇的鲜味与地气，浑然一体。
In Singapore this year, I came across this 2015 Barossa Valley Viognier Cloudy Orange Wine at Burnt Ends, a new local hit specializing in Australian BBQ. The wine had smooth and rich body with a hint of grease comparable to mead, and meanwhile not short of complexity and tartness of any kind. It makes a perfect match to the pictured Baked Scallion in Truffled Hazelnut, or even Pork Belly!
新加坡大热的澳洲烤肉店 Burnt Ends，喝到这支来自南部Barossa Valley、以Voignier酿造的浑浊橘酒（2015 Kalleske Plenarius Viognier），喝来有种蜂蜜酒油叽叽的口感，圆润顺滑，香气复杂得不是一点点，却又不乏酸度，是的，搭配松露榛子烤大葱或烤五花肉，都能 Hold 住~
Another orange Chardonnay from Margaret River, L.A.S. Vino was brought to Old Jesse Tianping Rdto accompany my favorite Shanghainese food, namely shredded tripes, braised yellow croaker and lardy big wontons. The Chardonnay gave everyone at table a lovely night!
Then it was the rarely seen 100% Pinot Meunier（2015 Murdoch Hill Pinot Meunier Surrey） I encountered in Shanghai natural wine bar Vinism, brewed in the mountains of Adelaide. Light-bodied, acidic laced with aromatic berry, happily wolfed down together with a plate of 8-year-old Chaoshan goose meat.
最近在上海自然酒吧Vinism喝过一支纯的Pinot Meunier（2015 Murdoch Hill Pinot Meunier Surrey），来自阿德莱德山里，高酸度的轻盈酒体，透着丰富的莓果果香，一盘潮汕8年老鹅肉，几口酒就吃完了！
But my favorite one by far is this Single Block Chardonnay carried all the way back from Oakridge Wines, consumed at one of the best yakitori spots in town (鸟啸)! Pairing it with tenderly roasted chicken skewers, especially with some succulent Chicken butt, is almost to die for!!!
It is not much a coincidence if you look into why Australian wines match so well with complex Asian cuisine, especially Chinese.
不过我最喜欢的，还是我从澳洲酒庄一路背回上海的 Oakridge 单一田霞多丽，搭了最近市区内异常火爆的烧鸟店鸟啸……和各种烤鸡肉，特别是肥美可人的鸡尾，简直是天作之合呀！！！
Australian vignerons sometimes pick grapes fresh before they go fully ripe. Many producing areas, including the aforementioned Mornington Peninsula and Margaret River adopt such practice to preserve the fruitiness that makes their wine more drinkable and pairable. The shifting climate of the continent grants its wine complexity, which happens to share the same quality as Chinese food.
Quote from the Wine and Dine Awards hosted by Wine Australia last week.
It was a lucky day. By 2:30pm of the day, I had already sampled all the top wines from the ten wine regions in Australia, greeted the head winemaker of Oakridge Wines, and enrolled in a Master Class tutored by Fongyee Walker, the first Master of Wine in Mainland, and Yang Lv, the first Master Sommelier in Mainland!
不仅下午2点半就喝遍了澳洲十大产区、遇见了最近才刚写过的Oakridge Wines 的主酿酒师 David Bicknell，还参加了一堂由中国大陆首位葡萄酒大师赵凤仪老师和首位侍酒师大师吕杨老师联袂带来的大师班，主题特别适合我：当中国美食遇上澳洲美酒。
The topic couldn‘t suit me better either: when Chinese food meets Australian wine.
After our numerous experiments to make sparkling Rosé work with garlic steamed scallops, or to use some tangy fruity Pinot Noir to offset the grease and spice from Sichuan Saliva Chicken, I still found it mindblowing when a chunk of Shanghainese braised pork belly was tamed by a Tasmanian sparkling...it was pure magic.
When Ms. Walker shared her secret recipe: sparkling shiraz for Northeastern food, I immediately started fantasizing a double cooked pork slices and dried tofu and Korean BBQ wine party in my brain. Dope.
而赵老师的私心分享更是绝妙：东北菜配 Sparkling Shiraz，当场开始幻想锅包肉尖椒干豆腐朝鲜烤肉起泡红酒趴！
But Mr Lv said something most provoking that I can't agree more:
Wine pairing is not about food but people
Drinking is an enjoyable journey of discovery. Textbooks as references would be boring to follow as strict guidelines. The best way to tackle the fickle wine world is by going through your own insticts as you keep trying - it is to not disdain the popular, or to embrace the niche to be able to locate the comfort zone of your tastebud. And when it comes to pairing, nothing matters more than your heart.
Now, which Australian wine is your special kind?
哈哈哈，喜欢单饮黑皮诺，爱用香槟或泡泡酒搭配一切菜的我，大概是懒 + 浮夸吧？恩，十分符合我们🦁座的人设。
Written by Xiaoyi Liu aka 喜北
Translated to English by Judy