Confessions of a Wine Addict

This is one of those stories with a bit of tragedy mixed in with pile of passion for wine. You see I am at that age where I probably shouldn’t be drinking to much but I can not help it. You see Peter Logan makes me drink, let me explain why. I think I really get where he is coming from as a winemaker. I am a huge believer in the idea that wine can be good and sensibly priced, that the price you pay doesn’t always determine the quality. I am also big on the idea that wine is completely personal, that each of us like different things and if someone likes the taste of a wine then they should be able to enjoy it. Regardless of whether it costs eight dollars or eighty.

This story starts in a supermarket chain liquor store maybe three years ago. I knew the people there fairly well, I am sure I put one of their kids through college. It was right at the beginning of what can only be described as a surge in Australian Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris). I walked in and asked the guys for a pinot gris but I didn’t want to blow a lot of money. He put a bottle of Logan Weemala Pinot Gris in my hands and said “this thing bats way above its weight, it kicks bottles that costs thirty plus dollars and its only fifteen bucks” and I can never resist a challenge like that. And he was right. I went back the next day and bought all the stock they had. The beginning of the end for me.

Some eight months later we spent a weekend in Orange with some friends while I did some work on their computers. Lo and behold one of the top listed recommendations for a vineyard to visit, the Logan vineyard. We never made it there because we had to head back to Sydney however on my return I discovered back on the bottle shop the next gem on my journey, the Hannah Rose. Allegedly named after Peters wife, she must be completely brilliant because the wine is too. Many a bottle of that went down over winter with plenty of pork, my other most favourite thing. But just when you think it cant get any worse it does.

My local pub has a small bottle shop and in it they stock the Apple Tree Flat Semillon Savignon Blanc. And here is where it goes totally pear shaped. It is only about twelve dollars a bottle, and its wonderful. So now I am sure that I am personally responsible for Peter Logan’s new tasting room. Because we down a bottle of this one almost daily and I have put other people onto it as well.

So when it can not get any worse, yesterday, we tried the Logan Shiraz. And now I am deeper in than I ever was. I wonder if he sells shares in the business. I think that this tale has a plot that I like. It’s a plot about passion, clearly Peter is passionate about what he does, he believes in it all and so do I. It is exciting to grab a bottle of wine that blows you away these days where you didn’t have to mortgage your soul to afford it. So you see Peter Logan makes me drink, I have no choice. And if I can make my dream to own a cafe in the country come true I reckon the wine list will be sorted too.

But I will leave the last words on this piece to Peter himself taken off the back of the bottle last night as the second bottle of Shiraz (we started in the afternoon) washed down a six hour slow cooked greek lamb. “Pour a big glass. We like big glasses.” Abso-bloody-lutely!

Note: The Logan website is built with out the ability to link to individual wines and pages. What is this the 90’s? Lets hope that the developers actually get that fixed so that I can point you to individual gems another day. Plus I do drink loads of other wines, possibly too many.

Edit:

Just in case you dont believe me here is today’s leftovers, and there are two more in the fridge.

Cabbage Risotto

Serves 4 hungry and 6 normal people.

Despite the sound of this dish it isn’t vegetarian. It contains pork sausages and they are the key to the dish. Please try to get decent quality Italian styled pork sausages from a butcher. If they are fresh you can remove the meat from the casing really easily. If you cant get them I recommend leaving the casing on and smooshing them as instructed. The type of cabbage isn’t too important but avoid the bitter ones, Radicchio is a bad choice whereas most green cabbages like the common Savoy are perfect. You will also need to check the seasoning on the stock or at the end, the amount of cabbage needs a boost in the salt department.

Ingredients

  • About 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • One white onion chopped fairly finely
  • Two Italian pork sausages. Remove the meat from the skins and smoosh the meat gently with a fork to create little chunks.
  • About 750g of cabbage, take off the outer leaves first the take out the core by placing the cabbage on the bench with the core facing up and push down on the centre, the core will tear through and then can be removed. Thinly slice the cabbage into long ribbons.
  • 225g of Risotto rice. Get the good stuff from a grocer if you can it simply tastes better.
  • Vegetable broth.
  • 125ml of white wine and the rest of the bottle for the cook…no seriously.
  • 30g of butter
  • Grated parmigiana (parmesan cheese) to finish.

Cooking

  • First you need to heat a fairly heavy based fry pan or something like a cast iron style pot. The wider and more open the pan the faster the stock evaporates.
  • Heat the oil in the pan and toss in the chopped onion, stir it around until it starts to become translucent.
  • Add the sausage meat and cook trhough until its starting to brown. Dont be scared of a little crust here it tastes better.
  • Add the cabbage and a bit of salt and stir it together. At this point you will be wishing you picked a deeper pot if you chose the frying pan. Let it cook down and keep it moving so it doesnt stick.
  • Add about one cup of stock, stir it together and put the lid on, reduce the heat and simmer it all for about 20 minutes. Stir it from time to time while you start on the rest of that wine.
  • At this point taste it, check the flavour of the cabbage it might need a touch more salt.
  • Put the stock into a saucepan and keep it warm a very gentle simmer is perfect.
  • Turn the heat back up to medium again. You want the whole process of adding the stock to happen at a rolling simmer.
  • Now put in the rice and stir gently to combine. You want the rice to become covered in all that goodness.
  • Now put the wine in and keep it all moving until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
  • Now add about 2 cups (or two decent ladles) of vegetable broth. Keep it moving again gently turning all the ingredients over in the simmering stock.
  • Keep adding stock a little at a time and stirring, the rice will start to absorb the liquid. As you see the rice start to puff up taste it, you want the grains to be soft but not mushy.
  • Allow the last of the stock to absorb (you will most likely have stock left over that’s okay)
  • Lower the heat on the stove and stir in the butter and the parmesan.
  • Serve immediately with a bit more parmesan on top.

Tips;

When you stir risotto choose something blunt. An upside down wooden spoon using the handle, big chopsticks etc, this stops you damaging the grains of rice as you stir. Most important take your time and add only a little stock at a time. It looks like nothing is happening and then it all comes together in the end. And enjoy that wine.