Hot on the heels of Oktoberfest comes the Austrian Wine Festival, with great food to boot.
Contributed By Stephanie Yeo
|PHOTO COURTESY OF SONY PICTURES RELEASING INTERNATIONAL|
Australian wines we’re familiar with, but mention Austrian wine and you might just get a double-take from the casual wine-drinker. For wine lovers whose palates have yet to be introduced to Austrian wine, this year’s month-long Austrian Wine Festival offers a good opportunity to pair some of Austria’s best whites and reds with dishes from top-name restaurants including French restaurants Brasserie Wolf and Les Amis, Mediterranean restaurant Esmirada Orchard, Italian restaurant Angelo’s, as well as Indian restaurant Song of India. The festival will see a total of 12 restaurants offering over 60 Austrian wines from over 20 premium wine estates.
While it has yet to establish a firm presence in the local wine market, Austrian wines have caught the attention of some respected names worldwide. Master of Wine, Jancis Robinson praised Austrian whites for their “beautifully pure, full-bodied, food-friendly” character, while New York Times critic Eric Asimov has extolled the fineness of Austrian reds.
Being aromatic and crisp, Austria’s wines are widely hailed as food-friendly wines. As such, the festival covers a broad range of Austrian wine pairings, including an authentically Austrian meal prepared by Austrian chef Karl Dobler at Au Petit Salut Private Dining which will feature classic dishes such as venison croquette and homemade pork sausage. To prove that Austrian wines can go well with Asian flavors, Singaporean chef Jimmy Chok will be serving up a fusion-style tapas menu every Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the festival.
Austrian wines are usually handmade at small, family-owned vineyards, as compared to big-name corporations in old-world wine producing countries. And while it is better known for its whites such as the Grüner Veltliner and Riesling, Austria produces a fair amount of reds too. By blending indigenous grape varietals such as Blaufränkisch with international red varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, a blend (cuvee) is produced. Full-bodied, elegant and fruit-expressive, these blended wines appeal to the modern, young and cosmopolitan palate. Ladies will love the noble sweet wines such as Beerenauslese and Eiswein, which are cheaper than the French or German equivalent.
Here is a peek at the food-and-wine pairings from the respective restaurants:
Tuna with Avruga Roe (Bistro Soori)
A subtly zesty mix of chilled diced tuna, spring onions, shallots, Japanese yuzu, white miso and olive oil garnished with avruga roe pairs well with wines like the Jurtischitsch, Grüner Veltliner Dechant Alte Reben 2008, which hints at a typical Grüner spiciness, with aromatic herb, cool mint and green papaya notes.
Steamed Cod Fish in Chinese Herbal Broth (Golden Peony, Conrad Centennial Singapore)
A silky, tender piece of cod is steamed separately just under four minutes, and served with a clear, tonic broth infused with “dang gui” (“Angelica root”) and “dang shen” (“Codonopsis pilosula”). Recommended to pair with the Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Grassnitzberg 2008, which exhibits fresh aromas of gooseberries, capsicum, layered with citrus and tropical fruit flavor.
Mustard Chilly infused Spatchcock, Chargrilled in Tandoor with Avocado Garbanzo Chat (Song of India)
Succulent and tender, the boneless spatchcock is marinated with rich exotic spices of ginger, garlic, cashew nut paste, grain mustard, yellow chilli powder and cheddar cheese. Best matched with the Huber, Riesling Berg 2009, which is a highly complex wine with rich minerality, and flavors reminiscent of ripe fruits of peaches and apples.
The Austrian Wine Festival is happening from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15. The Opening Dinner is on Oct. 15 at Brasserie WOLF (80 Mohamed Sultan Road, The Pier at Robertson, #03-13. Tel: +65 6835 7818). Log on to Facebook under Austrian Wine Festival (Singapore) 2010 for complete list of participating restaurants and dates for tutored tastings.
With wine flowing in her veins, Stephanie Yeo’s fascination with grapes stem from wine-tastings and wine-inspired travels to Austria, Australia, Italy, Spain and South Africa.