As the weather cools down, most of us tend to reach for red wines to enjoy with heartier or heavier dishes. Brand’s Laira chief winemaker Peter Weinberg shares his advice on choosing the best red wines to enjoy with friends or family – whether it’s a night in or out. While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to food and wine pairing, there are some simple tricks to keep in mind.
Brand's Laira of Coonawarra in South Australia, is home to some of the oldest vines in the country and produces award-winning and world renowned reds, especially Cabernet Sauvignon. Red wines are classic winter warmers but when it comes to making great food wine matches, Peter suggests that body reigns supreme.
“Consider the weight or complexity of the dish and the wine. Heavier, full bodied wines are usually matched well with more substantial or intricate plates. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon is a good choice to enjoy with braised beef as a main or a platter of strong cheeses after dinner.
The wine you choose should be as sweet - or sweeter - than the dish. If it’s not, the wine may seem a little ‘off balance’.
I also recommend pairing wines according to a dish's spice and sauce, rather than its main ingredient. Try not to get caught up with old school rules like 'chicken should only be paired with white wines'. Select a wine that compliments the flavours and aromas of the dish.
For example, chicken with a slightly sweet barbecue sauce usually pairs nicely with fresh, crisp Rosé.
Finally, don't overthink it and enjoy your night. Experiment with different wine and food pairings and be a bit bold. Trust your senses and you'll be pleasantly surprised.”
Over coming months, Brand's Laira will be bringing the best of Coonawarra to the city as official wine partner of Good Food Month. Keep an eye out for Brand’s Laira pop-up Cellar Doors at the Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne Night Noodle Markets, and Brand’s Laira wines on the menu at all Good Food Month feature events. We hope to share a glass of wine with you soon!
Although Coonawarra’s annual end-of-vintage festival After Dark had to contend with some dark and stormy skies, the event was still a huge success with hundreds of locals and region visitors joining in the festivities filled with food, wine, live music and fun activities.
In addition to Brand’s Laira, three other local wineries participated in Coonawarra After Dark - Digiorgio Family Wines, Zema Estate and Raidis Estate – all hosting unique events.
The After Dark weekend kicked off on Friday afternoon at Digiorgio Family Wines with their traditional vintage stomp where teams rolled up their sleeves and got amongst the grapes. After they were all stomped out, locals and visitors descended on Zema Estate, where Francesca Zema served up her famous family style pizzas for everyone to enjoy.
Later that evening, more than 300 revellers headed to Brand's Laira to relax to reggae beats by popular local musician Rhys Crimmin and tuck into delicious fish and chips, homemade brownies and a glass or two of Brand’s Laira wines. Not perturbed by the weather in the slightest, the crowd danced the night away.
To round off Coonawarra After Dark, on Saturday evening Chris Raidis showcased his famous charcoal grill at Raidis Estate, while live band Kingsley George kept the crowd entertained and on their toes.
Coming up next month is the Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival (17-20 May). It’s one of regional Australia’s leading arts festivals and features exhibitions, workshops, tours and other events – many of which are hosted by Coonawarra’s cellar door wineries, including Brand’s Laira. For more details, visit www.artfestival.com.au.
Coonawarra is set to wrap up the 2018 Vintage very soon and Brand’s Laira chief winemaker Peter Weinberg is confident that this season will produce some excellent wines that represent the very best of Coonawarra.
Although it wasn’t the best start to the season with a black frost event last November, 2018 is shaping up to be a magnificent vintage for the region.
The warmer days and cool nights over recent weeks has helped produce exceptional looking grapes with intense colours, flavours and aromas. Stand-out varietals include Cabernet and Merlot as well as a pretty solid Chardonnay.
Once harvest is done and dusted, our team will turn their attention to the winemaking process. We are all looking forward to tasting our finished wines and reminiscing on all the hard work and long hours that went in to each and every drop!
Every year, international winemakers and cellar hands descend on Coonawarra to gain valuable experience in the vineyards and wineries. Meet Leonore Salancon from Bordeaux, France. Leonore joins the Brand’s Laira team as assistant winemaker for the 2018 Coonawarra Vintage.
Q. What initially attracted you to Coonawarra?
I’ve always wanted to work in Coonawarra as the region is internationally renowned for producing amazing cabernet - my favourite grape to work with!
Q. Where else have you worked in the wine industry?
I have worked in numerous wine regions in the past including Bordeaux in France, Marlborough in New Zealand and the Napa Valley in California. In 2016 I also worked for a family winery in the Ferguson Valley in Western Australia.
Q. What do you love about working at Brand’s Laira?
I really enjoy Brand’s Laira’s approach of combining traditional winemaking techniques with modern methods. It can be challenging at times to adapt your winemaking style between the two; however it’s been a fantastic experience learning new skills from the team. My favourite part of my role is being able to follow the ferment and being aware of what’s happening in the tank – the aromas and the taste. For me, that’s the most exciting part of winemaking!
Q. What’s your favourite Brand’s Laira wine and why?
Definitely Stentiford’s. I love this wine’s choc-berry taste and how incredibly smooth the tannins are. It’s well balanced and delivers good harmony between nose and mouth.
Q. Where to after you finish Vintage 2018 in Coonawarra?
Hmmm…good question! I’m not really sure. I’m not ready to go home yet and I’m hoping to find a permanent winemaking position in Australia.
If you want to experience the very best of a Coonawarra vintage, why not try and visit the region during the infamous Coonawarra After Dark 2018 weekend, 13-15 April. Experience all the excitement and buzz of vintage, as four Coonawarra wineries - including Brand’s Laira - open their doors to visitors at the very peak of the grape harvest.
For more information on Coonawarra After Dark, click here.
With Easter fast approaching, the Brand’s Laira team is excited to offer newsletter subscribers an exclusive Cellar Door March offer – just in time for long weekend celebrations with family and friends. Drinking beautifully now or perfect for cellaring, the March offer features a 6-pack of wine which includes 3 x 2013 Brand’s Laira Tall Vines Shiraz and 3 x 2013 Brand’s Laira 1968 Cabernet.
Take advantage of our exclusive Cellar Door offer today. All wines are in limited quantities so be quick so you don’t miss out. Click here to place order.
If you’re entertaining family and friends this Easter and looking for some inspiration, the Brand’s Laira team share what they’ll be serving up for Easter Sunday lunch.
“This Easter, my wife and I are hosting our immediate family for lunch. On the menu is a leg of roast lamb seasoned with sea salt and black pepper. I’ll pair this meal with Brand’s Laira 171 Cabernet Sauvignon (2012) – a rich, bold wine that will complement the succulent lamb flavours perfectly. This wine has been in my cellar for eight years now and it’s drinking beautifully.”
Trent Brand, viticulturist.
“Our Easter Sunday feast will be predominantly seafood, starting with an asparagus salad followed by scampi linguine for the main dish. Both dishes will match deliciously with Brand’s Laira Blockers Chardonnay (2012) which is vibrant and fruity, accompanied by creamy oaky notes.”
Amy Blackburn, winemaker.
“Since Easter usually involves enjoying chocolates (and more chocolates), I’ll be whipping up some homemade chocolate truffles to serve for dessert after Easter Sunday lunch. My recipe is quite simple and the resulting balls of goodness are sweet and rich! I’ll be offering my guests a glass or two of Brand’s Laira 1968 Vines (2013) as they nibble away at my decadent truffles!”
Sam Flint, Cellar Door manager.
Vintage arrived early in Coonawarra this year, keeping the Brand’s Laira winemaking and viticultural teams on their toes! As chief winemaker Peter Weinberg explains, a mixed bag of weather conditions during the growing season pushed vintage forward.
“Coonawarra experienced a wet Winter and Spring in 2017 which provided a good start to the season,” says chief winemaker Peter Weinberg.
“Our hearty vines showed their strength and resilience during some low temperatures in November. We’ve also experienced quite warm conditions over the past few months including a number of heatwaves which has played its part in pushing vintage forward.
"Picking the whites is well underway, with Riesling near completed. The Chardonnay grapes are showing some great characteristics and are looking very promising. We have also now picked some Merlot and Shiraz.
What’s really exciting for the winemaking team this vintage is our new ‘optical berry sorter’ – an innovative wine sorting machine that analyses our picked fruit and ensures only the best of the best make it into our wines. Our red berries have just been optical sorted and we are expecting some very high quality reds to come out of this vintage."
The anticipation is here and the count down begins!
Spicy noodles, BBQ sticks, dumplings, divine desserts, live music & the very best wines out of Coonawarra all under the stars - this is what balmy spring evenings in Sydney are made of.
Good Food Month’s Night Noodle Markets returns to Hyde Park on October 5 to 22 with 40 sizzling food stalls serving up the best street food from across the Asian region plus our grand pop-up Cellar Door makes a return.
Serving our award winning blockers range along with Cellar Door exclusives like our Old Station Rosé and Flagship One Seven One, enjoy a glass or a bottle in your very own slice of Coonawarra.
So mark your calendar, book the family and gather your freinds and head on down to our Cellar Door.
Don't forget to check out our Sydney Night Noodle Market competition to WIN a years worth of our Blockers Wines + A Plumm glassware pack all valued at over $1,600 - Follow our Instagram page here for more details on when and how to enter.
Brand’s Laira Wine and Black Star Pastry have collaborated on what is the ultimate wine dessert!
We present the Limited Edition ‘Cherrymisu’ Dessert. The ‘Cherrymisu’ has been created to celebrate the opening weekend of Good Food Month Sydney Night Noodle Markets.
Friday 29th September 2017, Sydney - Cult Sydney bakery Black Star Pastry has collaborated with iconic Coonawarra winery, Brand’s Laira, to create a limited edition dessert to celebrate the opening of Sydney Night Noodle Markets.
Inspired by the flavours of Brand’s Laira 2014 Blockers Cabernet Sauvignon wine, the indulgent multi-layered dessert is a modern take on the traditional tiramisu. Created by Black Star Pastry’s Executive Chef, Samuel Yeo, the dessert features layers of deliciousness that represent the rich red earth and layered soils the Coonawarra region is famous for. Samuel Yeo describes what dessert lovers will experience when they dip their spoon in;
“As you work your way through the layers you’ll uncover flavours inspired by the flavour notes of the wine; Brand’s Laira Blockers Cabernet Sauvignon infused mulled wine jelly, a sour cherry compote, whipped vanilla mascarpone, gingerbread sponge and hidden within it pieces of grated dark chocolate.”
Sam explains; “We wanted to have a bit of fun with the concept so I decided to make a ship out of Valrhona Orelys chocolate as a take on the iconic Brand’s Laira logo. Each Cherrymisu dessert will have a handmade chocolate ship on top of it that brings an added texture to the overall dessert.”
For two days only, the first 100 people to purchase a glass of Brand’s Laira Blockers Cabernet Sauvignon from the Brand’s Laira Cellar Door at Night Noodle Markets in Hyde Park will be lucky enough to receive a sample of this decadent delight.
Details: Brand’s Laira X Black Star Pastry Cherrymisu desserts will be available to the first 100 consumers to purchase a glass of Brand’s Laira Blockers Cabernet Sauvignon from the Brand’s Laira Cellar Door on two selected nights.
Dates: Saturday 7th October and Sunday 8th October 2017.
Location: Brand’s Laira Cellar Door, Hyde Park
One dessert redeemable per transaction on a first come first served basis. All consumers must be over 18 and provide ID at the time of purchase.
The perfect age means everything in winemaking.