Get the party going by matching Kaesler wines with modern Thai-Japanese fusion dishes at Ploy.

AS pioneers who settled in South Australia’s Barossa Valley in the 1840s, the Kaesler family bought 96 acres (39ha) of land in 1891. Two years later, they planted it with Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro (Mourvedre) and White Hermitage vines, thus marking the establishment of Kaesler Vineyards.

“More than 70% of Kaesler’s red wine vines are over 40 years old. Some of those gnarled, dry-grown Shiraz still provide the backbone of the intense wines produced from this prime viticultural block, their vintage brilliance discernible in the resultant wine produced,” says Sarah Macmahon, marketing director of Kaesler Wines.

“Unfortunately, during the government-sponsored ‘vine pulls’ in the 1980s, much of the valley’s irreplaceable century-old Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro vines were destroyed. In their struggle to survive, the three Kaesler brothers were forced off their historic property.”

According to Macmahon, the Kaeslers and subsequent vineyard owners initially sold all their grapes to the Seppelts. The first Kaesler vintage was only produced in early 1997 after a young winemaker from a neighbouring winery noticed the powerful intensity of the Kaesler’s fruits.

After buying the Kaesler vineyards in 1998, current winemaker Reid Bosward and his co-owners strove to establish the Kaesler brand and winery, acquiring more vineyards in McLaren Vale and Clare Valley, simultaneously bringing the Nashwauk and Clare Wine brands into their fold.

“Our primary market is Asia,” says Macmahon. “We export to Hong Kong, China and Malaysia while a small volume goes to Europe.”

Two pre-dinner aperitifs, Clare Wine Riesling 2010 and Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 left everyone in high spirits while waiting for dinner to start.

Should you plan to serve a robust Thai-accented dish for your next dinner party, take a leaf from Ploy. The zesty chilli, kaffir lime and lemongrass accents in the crispy appetiser of Deep-fried Sole Fish Fillet with Thai Herbs made a good match with Kaesler Old Vine Semillon 2008, a well-structured, pale green white wine redolent with hints of melon, lychee and kiwifruit.

Creamy on the palate with refreshing pineapple and apricot nuances and an enticing tropical fruit bouquet on the nose, the light straw-coloured Kaesler Viognier 2009 complemented the subsequent starter of Homemade Soft Bun with Crispy Popcorn Chicken and Pineapple very well.

“You’d find this wine has a nice rounded suppleness to it as it has undergone barrel-fermentation in French oak,” says Macmahon. “It’s perfect with deep-fried, multi-textural specialities, thanks to its crisp acidity.”

For strongly flavoured dishes such as Duck Breast Confit with Tempura Asparagus, she recommends pairing with an equally robust tipple such as Kaesler Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, a brilliant ruby red wine with smoky overtones of liquorice, star anise, mocha and blackcurrants.

“Sample the wine and notice how its distinct characteristics capture the deep-seated richness and subtle gaminess of the meat.”

Although the Kaesler Stonehorse SGM 2008 is one of their most popular blends, Macmahon reveals that only 3,000 cases of the wine are produced annually.

“SGM basically refers to the red wine’s unique blend of 62% Shiraz, 28% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre,” explains Macmahon.

“It has notable blackberry and plum notes tinged with chocolate and great tannins, making it an ideal tipple to serve with robust, red meat dishes such as Ploy’s Tataki-style Australian Tenderloin and Spaghetti with Spicy Lamb Ragout with Plum Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs.”

Another boutique vintage that is distinct to Kaesler is Kaesler Rizza Late Harvest 2009. Although it is nectar-sweet on the palate, the velvety dessert wine is not cloying and has an unexpectedly crisp acidity when savoured with the evening’s luscious finale of Sticky Date Pudding.

“We only produce 800 cases of this late-harvest wine every year,” says Macmahon proudly. “The grapes are left to ripen fully on the vine, causing their natural sugar to intensify and sweeten and producing an exceptional sweet wine with a nice, understated acidity. It’s perfect to be drunk in this tropical weather. We recommend serving it well chilled alongside piquant, spicy specialities and your favourite dessert.”

Wines by Kaesler and Clare Wine can be found on the wine list at Ploy.

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