A Good Wine to Serve with Moose

As Yukoners, one of the real treats we have is access to a broad selection of game meats.

While I don’t hunt, I am lucky to have friends who have generously shared portions of their moose and caribou meat. I have been wondering what might be a good type of wine to serve with game meats.

A red? Definitely, to hold up to the rich and robust flavour of those lean game meats. But what kind?

Several weeks back, I had a wonderful dinner with friends, one of whom just moved back to Whitehorse after a year in Old Crow. As a special treat for my visiting 12-year-old son, she marinated and grilled caribou that she had been given by a First Nations friend while she was in Old Crow.

Knowing this special Northern food experience was in store for us, I had stopped at the liquor store and was excited to find two wonderful Australian shirazes from the remarkable and award-winning Two Hands vineyards.

While not inexpensive, at $39.95 each, they are, in my opinion, the best examples of a great Australian shiraz I’ve seen offered in Whitehorse. While positioned at the store as a “one time buy”, I am assured by their staff that more can be ordered.

Our dinner, accompanied by a bottle each of the 2006 Two Hands Angels Share and the 2006 Two Hands Gnarly Hands shirazes from the McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley wine regions, respectively, may have been the best meal I’ve ever had.

The depth, fruit and spiciness of the shirazes worked perfectly with the lean game meat grilled on bamboo sticks. I’d pair an Australian shiraz with barbecued caribou, elk, moose or mountain sheep every time. What a great combination!

I went a little off the deep end, price wise, when I saw the bottles of Two Hands because they are superb examples of Australian shirazes, always very good.

Two Hands Vineyard was established in 2000, with the objective of producing the best shirazes in Australia. It sets its sights high, but have had tremendous success. Over the last five years, many of its wines have consistently scored 90 points or higher in Wine Spectator magazine, one of the very good wine magazines that rates wines.

If $39.95 is more than you want to spend, a bottle of St. Hallett Faith shiraz, also from the Barossa Valley region of Australia, is an excellent experience and is sold at our Whitehorse liquor store for $25.15.

As well, a couple of weeks ago, we grilled mooseburgers at my cabin and drank a very good Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz ($15.25) that further convinced me that the shiraz and game meat combination is a winner.

I would encourage you to explore other Australian shirazes served with barbecued game or other red meats, starting with the enormously popular Yellowtail Shiraz, at $14.85. Or, alternatively, Little Penguin at $15.25 orJindalee Estate at $14.70. There are plenty of choices in virtually every price range. But two recommendations:

1) Look for shirazes from the McLaren Vale (like Mr. Riggs The Gaffer at $26.35) and Barossa Valley regions. They start in the middle price ranges and are usually exceptionally good, and …

2) If you get the chance, try one of the top examples, like the St. Hallett Faith or a Two Hands. They give you a memorable taste benchmark against which to judge your other shiraz purchases.

I hope you get your moose this fall, either yourself or as the lucky recipient from a friend … and get a hold of a bottle of an Australian shiraz to serve with it. I think you’ll agree that it’s a great pairing.

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