This week, James decided on what was for dinner (I’ll always leave that to him, ha) and he gave me (Sara) the task of choosing the wine. As he’s the professional and knows what food to pair perfectly with what wine, he did give me a specific grape varietal. Alas, after work on Saturday, I go to the liquor store super excited that I get to choose whatever wine my little heart desires! (…er, mainly what label catches my eye and less than $12.)
I’ll admit it…I happen to be THAT girl, which does not happen often as I work with the public and this is a pet peeve…yes, that girl who walks into the store chatting away on my cell. I thought I’d get brownie points for holding the door open for exiting patrons, yes? Anyway, I start browsing around in the grape that James specifically told me and then thought, “wait, did he say Syrah or Shiraz??” This is the point where my husband will say that I never listen to him…but I completely disagree! I just have a horrible memory…seriously, I even wrote it down when he told me…but of course, I left the piece of paper sitting on our coffee table, ha. After wracking my brain for a bit, I go with my instinct and the best my memory could recall and remember something about a “Z”, so I stick to the Shiraz section. I am still chatting away with my friend, Angela Garner (aka Dossey), and have narrowed it down between 3 choices. Again, chosen because of the eye-catching labels and low price point…my very strict criteria, ha. Mid story, I interrupt her and tell her that she’s going to pick the wine for this Sunday and give her the choices: Cupcake, Fat Bastard or Ass Kisser. After telling me she feels privileged to do so, she narrows her choice down to one only because of how obscure it is…Ass Kisser…and well, because it has a curse word in it. (c’mon Dossey, you know it’s true…she’s always had a thing for being crass but pulls it off nicely.)
So, I grab my wine and start to head to the register when I second-guess myself, panic a slight bit (let’s face it, it’s not life of death here people but I want to get it right) and think that I better call James and just double-check to see if will pair with the food. Again, interrupt Doss, call James and come to find out…I don’t listen to him. “I said a Syrah but you can grab whatever…no worries, I’ll make it work.” (ahhh, the joys of marrying a laid-back man). I stick to my Ass Kisser Shiraz and quickly check out before I have time to change my mind.
For those of you who also have been in my situation not knowing the difference between Syrah and Shiraz, I did a little research when I got home to clarify the confusion. First off, Syrah and Shiraz wines are produced from the same grape. Why 2 names for it then? I know, I know…I asked the same question. As with any wine, the overall taste is dependent on the different territory and winemaking techniques used in its production. Traditionally, Syrah is a red grape grown in the Rhone Valley of France. It has since spread to different regions all over the world. The Shiraz is Australia’s version of Syrah and is the most popular grape in the area. The name stems from the belief that the grape’s original home lies in the town “Shiraz” in Iran. In conclusion, same grape…different regions…and if it ends with a “Z”, it’s probably from Australia..
Consumer: James & Sara
Name: Ass Kisser
Region: South Australia
Grape Varietal: Shiraz
Alcohol content: 14.5%
Food pairing: Portobello, Swiss & Chicken Sausage Stuffed Quail over a Summer Vegetable Melange accented with Patio Basil.
(oooh…sounds insanely gourmet, right? well, it is…BUT it is James’ job to be overly descriptive and fancy when writing a menu. In everyday terms, “melange” is just a fancy way of saying “medley” and “patio basil” is just that…basil that we grow on our patio, ha)
Color & Appearance: Nice Ruby Red
Nose/Aroma: Spicy, Earthy, Oaky…the very first thing you smell is alcohol, which would explain the 14.5% content
Mouth/Flavors: Spicy, Mild, Medium-bodied
Rating: (scale of 1 to 10) 6-alone 8-paired with right food
Impressions: It has a very big aroma that is quite intriguing. When you taste it, the spiciness hits you right off but then really has nothing to back it up. ..just a mild taste. The smell definitely does not match the taste when drank alone. Paired with our meal, it was perfect. It wasn’t too over bearing for the food and definitely complimented it quite nicely. Be warned, after one glass I was a bit tipsy…so it’s not a bottle that should be drank alone while watching a sappy-love story one Friday night (don’t act like I’m the only one who does that!). You’ll definitely be feeling it the next morning. After letting it open up and breathe for a bit, the taste evened out and was decent. This would be a great “kitschy” present for someone who likes to experiment in the kitchen.
Food Recommendations: Definitely sausage, anything grilled or game birds (i.e.-cornish hens, duck or quail). A nice herb-encrusted pork tenderloin would be excellent. You could try beef and it would be alright, but won’t compliment as well.