You’ve never heard of the AWAS – Australian Wine Appreciation Society? Well, now you have, and you are going to thank me for it….especially if you live in the Lower Mainland.
This group was started in 1989 by a bunch of fun loving, Australian-wine loving folks. They hold around 10 events each year, and membership in this group costs only $40 per person or $70 per couple. The events run around $130 per person. Guests are allowed but will pay a premium. In the past, they have been able to get some Principals from Australia to come to their events and present their wines (Wolf Blass attended one!). There is a lot more information and sign-up info at the website, above.
This past Friday we attended one such event at Glowbal, in Vancouver. The food was terrific and was paired with some absolutely world-class wine. We started with a range of appies they passed around and paired with a bubbly that I didn’t get info on (but it was quite tasty). To the main courses!
BTW I have not given accurate prices on the wines as I simply have no idea; unless I found the exact bottle on a website that gave a specific price.
I am not a ‘ceviche’ fan….I do not eat raw fish at all, and consuming the scallops was a bit of a challenge. Having said that, they were delicious. It was paired with these two wines:
Another thing I never eat – veal. This was sublime…the veal cheeks were fall-apart tender. I didn’t need a knife. And some of the best tortellini I have ever tasted.
The wines were the same grape, but from very different areas of Australia and they were totally different:
I think I was in the minority, but I felt (and my wife agreed) that the less-traditional Shiraz, from the Hunter Valley, outperformed it’s Barossa counterpart in every way, particularly in the pairing with the food.
Sous Vide Lamb Loin – lamb sweetbread, confit sun choke, pickled eggplant, cumin spiced lamb jus
You may sense a pattern here, but I never eat lamb either. This was the best I have ever had.
You are thinking to yourself: this must be the wrong picture. There is nothing about this that screams strawberry. But it’s there, you just had to look for it.
The final wine pairing of the night wasn’t really meant to be a pairing at all, and we enjoyed the wine AFTER, not with, the dessert (which was delicious).
What a terrific evening, and a real treat to taste a 19 year old Shiraz that has been well cared for.
Whenever I go to an evening of wine tasting which spotlights a specific country, whether it be a wonderful event like this or our own theme nights, I always find myself thinking about the comparison between said country and wines from our own backyard. BC wine can be pretty special if you find the right bottles. Would wines from BC stack up against what we had tonight?
Well, there are a handful of BC dry Rieslings that would clobber the one we tasted tonight. Certainly I’ve never had a BC Semillon that would even compare to tonight’s beauty.
Cabernet? Probably not, although there are some very underrated BC Cabs.
Shiraz? Well, I’m not even going to try to make a comparison, because BC Syrah and Australian Shiraz are so different, they are hardly even the same grape.
We sat next to Tony, the AWAS President, and talked about these comparisons throughout the night. If our schedules allow, we are going to try to get together and have a full-on “Australia vs. BC” wine duel.
Who will win? Well, I have a pretty good idea, actually….but one prediction I can make without hesitation: It will be close!
Big thanks to Tony, Rick, Trent and Patti and the rest of the folks behind the AWAS for allowing us to join in on their little fun. It was a special evening, and we look forward to doing it again in the summer.
Next up for the blog: Our Argentina theme night, which we held at our place a couple of weeks ago, and so, so, so much random great stuff to update you on. Stay tuned!