One bottle of wine and four packets of Tim Tams.
Priorities. I know, this is supposed to be a wine blog, right? Trust me, you came to the right place.
So my blog name is The Aussie Oenophile, for the plainly obvious reasons that 1) I am Australian, and 2) I love wine. Hence the Tim Tams. And the wine.
After living and working in wine in Australia for the last (*cough*) 44 years of my life, I have followed my heart and my sense of adventure to Laos, where I have been living for the last 3 months. And although my heart will always belong to Australia, my sense of adventure is LOVING being in Laos. The place is incredible, although if you are expecting a 5-Star resort South-East Asian country, you might want to change your travel plans. It is simple, peaceful, the people are so friendly (and my god, do they love to party!). Vientiane might not be everybody's idea of a beautiful city, but to me, the abundance of Buddhist Temples, beautiful tropical trees, exceptionally warm weather (don't wear mascara or you will end up looking like Alice Cooper because it melts off your face), wonderful people, AMAZING coffee (I am also a coffee junkie), fresh food markets, and a plethora of restaurants of all types of cuisines, makes me feel right at home.
Oh, and I forgot to add one of the most important things.... THERE IS SO MUCH WINE!
When I knew I was coming to Laos to live, my first two questions were 1. Is there wine, and will I need to donate a kidney to be able to afford a bottle, like some other countries, and 2. Is there good coffee? The answer to both was YES! Who cares about those other boring things like terrifying traffic and access to good healthcare?
You will see more of my wine adventures in Laos (and anywhere else I happen to be) in future blog posts, but for now... the wine and the Tim-Tams.
You see, we just returned from 10 days in Australia for my Sister-in-Law's wedding, and to visit the family. Obviously here in Laos, it is not always easy to access the creature comforts of home, so we returned to Laos with 124 kilos of baggage to bring back a Weber for our Aussie Barbecues, and a shitload of Tim Tams and Cadbury Chocolate.
As I said, priorities.
Today I opened the fridge after we got back as I had a hankering for some wine. And there it was, one lonely bottle of wine amongst all the Tim-Tams and Cadbury Chocolate. And boy, was it just what the doctor ordered.
Aussie wine is here in Laos, but the majority shareholders are the French, Italians and Spanish (mainly due to the French heritage here, and the proximity to Europe, making it cheaper to import!). So today, my friends, Salud! My lonely bottle of wine hails from Guadalajara, Spain.
This wine is a 2016 Gewürztraminer from Finca Rio Negro. Gewürztraminer is not the first grape variety you think of when you think Spanish wine, but this variety does really well in high altitude and in the mountainous climate of Guadalajara. Basically, it's nice and cool there, and results in slow ripening, which gives this wine it's exceptional aroma and flavour profile.
Now, if you know me, you will know I love Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and other aromatic wine varietals, and I love it dry. This wine slots right in to these categories. As a good Gewurtz should, the aromas are highly aromatic, and remind me of Mother's Day - flowers and soap (but in a good way!). The palate is delightfully slippery and oily, but still has an acidic backbone that gives it a kick. Just like the Rambutans that I can buy for 10,000 Kip a kilo, this wine has all that flavour, or lychees for those that haven't had the introduction to Rambutans yet. In Australia, you will be ripped off at about $28 a kilo compared to the $1.50 per kilo here in Laos, but buy a couple of hundred grams and give it try, you won't be disappointed!
I doubt this wine will pair well with Tim-Tams, but hey, I love this wine, and I'm willing to give anything a try once! For the traditionalists out there, I would suggest pairing this with spicy Asian food (hey, that's handy for me!), or some stinky cheese or pate.
Looks like tomorrow I am going to have to go shopping to refill the fridge with some wine for next time!