Every fortnight or so, time permitting, I challenge myself to make a new dish and find a wine to pair it with. This week was a Thai Green Curry paired with Pewsey Vale Riesling 2011 from the Eden Valley, South Australia. The Pewsey Vale vineyard is a stunning site – actually perched high above the Eden Valley floor in a craggy, windy and exposed location. Although blessed with abundant sunshine, the vines need to work very hard to produce fruit in the lean soil and against the wind. This results in fruit of exceptional quality and concentration, which comes through in the wine.
The wine was intensely aromatic, but with a more restrained fruit profile than what I’ve come to expect from many South Australian Rieslings. There was a fresh lime character, green apple and floral notes, and a hint of cream: overall blended into an intense profile of many subtle aromas. The wine showed a classic dry Riesling structure on the palate – bone dry with high acidity, medium alcohol (12.5% and very well integrated), no oak, a moderate-weight body and a long finish. In terms of flavours, the mid-palate comes across with great intensity, although it’s hard to describe exactly what you’re tasting. Yes, there are notes of lime and green apple riding along a creamy texture, but also enigmatic ‘minerally’ flavours – a bit like sucking on a stone, in the nicest possible way! The longer you leave the wine in your mouth, the more this complex mineral character is drawn out.
I like this wine because it’s not a typical Aussie ‘blockbuster’. It doesn’t immediately announce its flavour or aroma profile to you – it’s far more elusive than that. I had to work hard to eke out all the flavours here, although it certainly didn’t take me long to enjoy the wine!
And as for the food… I ended the curry with a squeeze of fresh lime juice (in part to make up for the absence of kaffir lime leaves: I’m still struggling to find where to buy these in Oxford!). This, I thought, complemented the lime/green apple fruit profile of the wine rather nicely. The body of the wine held its own against the spice and the acidity cut through the creamy coconut milk base of the dish.