Azahara Wines for Those Summer Foodie Events
Summer is here and The World Loves Melbourne often ventures from my penchant for reds and into the world of whites. In fact we love both. Summer BBQs are not just a meat fest these days and chops and sausages a thing of the past. BBQ food is more savvy these days and so are the wine choices. The World Loves Melbourne has been asked to review two wines from the AZAHARA range, perfect for those summer foodie events and at an affordable price.
From a Victorian farm owned by Spanish sparkling winemaker, Freixenet, comes an eclectic mix of avocados, mangoes, citrus, and now AZAHARA - wines capturing the vitality of this mixed enterprise. By the way The World Loves Melbourne appreciates Freixenet, being a large premium Spanish wine company, and their keen interest and participation in the Australian wine industry. We've met with some of their representatives at foodie functions and dig their passion for all things food and wine.
The name AZAHARA is derived from the Spanish word for orange blossom. AZAHARA wines are fashioned to partner bright, fresh dishes and bright, fresh company. Its natural companion is healthy Mediterranean cuisine but a friendship is developing with exotic food of the orient.
Befitting the 19th century Cava heritage of its Spanish owners, the first AZAHARA releases were sparkling wines – a Chardonnay Pinot Noir Brut and a Moscato, first produced in 2012. These wines were met with immediate market success, including an international gold medal – so AZAHARA has been extended to fruit forward, still wines – initially Pinot Grigio and Shiraz.
Winemaker Dr. Phil Spillman says of the range extension “This is a great opportunity to showcase the character of the property, combined with the Spanish heritage of the owners. There’s a good deal of exotic character in the landscape here, with orange groves and avocado and mango plantations crisscrossing with Azahara vineyard blocks. It’s exciting to be contributing to Freixenet’s vision in Australia. I take this as inspiration and licence to make these wines in a style befitting the Spanish dining and entertaining experience, whilst staying true to the qualities that are naturally expressed by this farm. Azahara character stems from the heritage of its owners, a caring mixed farm culture and thoughtful winemaking. We’re serious about having a good go at making something really special from Victoria’s Murray River.”
The AZAHARA Pinot Grigio is crisp and vibrant, perfect to enjoy by itself as well as with food. This wine features Nashi pear, lemon zest and subtle ginger notes. Textural and creamy mouth- feel, balanced by bright acidity and a refreshing, clean finish. Perfect with seafood Tostadas, Vietnamese prawn curry and Middle Eastern dishes.
Grown and harvested from vineyards which rest alongside the orange, citrus and mango groves at Red Cliffs, North West Victoria. The colour is brilliant straw and across the palate you experience crunchy apples. Fresh Lemon. Lime cordial. Spiced pears. Textural and subtle creamy mouth feel. Bright acidity with a refreshing and clean finish.
The AZAHARA Shiraz is a juicy and balanced Shiraz. We were impressed by the strong lucious hit of fruit and the elegance and balance for a wine in this price range! Juicy dark berries, black cherry and liquorice notes are balanced by a well-structured body and a silky, lingering finish. Selected from the finest Shiraz parcels and matured in old French and American oak barrels. Ideal with sticky pork buns, lamb cutlets and Szechuan pepper beef.
AZAHARA Shiraz also hails from North West Victoria. Stretching over 350 hectares (865 acres) near the Murray River at Red Cliffs, the vineyard is a model of successful contemporary viticultural management. The colour is brilliant garnet and on the nose you experience fragrant blackberry, spiced plum and mulberry with subtle mocha and savoury herbs.
Across the palate there is the joy of juicy dark berries, dark cherry and liquorice notes. Great mouth-filling body, medium tannins and a lingering, textural finish. Highly recommended.