And it is about time too!
I am so pleased to say that this Summer, we are celebrating the oft forgotten and neglected stalwarts of Australian wine. The fortifieds. We have a rich history in fortified production and being not content to adhere to tradition even developed our own take on the more traditional European styles. Now it is time to think outside the box and to get back to enjoying our fortified wines which are still some of the best examples that you can find on our shelves today. I’m talking Forties, I’m talking Tawny, Apera, Topaque, Liqueur Muscat and Vintage fortified and any fortified style in between.
Here’s the back story on Apera and Topaque …
/ˈæpərə/ (say ‘apuhruh)
noun a fortified and blended wine of Australia, ranging in taste from dry to very sweet.
[derived from aperitif]
/toʊˈpeɪk/ (say toh’payk)
noun a rich, sweet, complex dessert wine of Australia.
[derived from topaz the colour; introduced in 2009 to replace Tokay in line with the terms of the Australian-European Community Agreement on Trade in Wine (2008)]
If you have not bought an Australian fortified wine for a while, you might not have caught up to the fact that we now have new names for some. While we have until 2020 to change the labeling of our Liqueur Tokays to the agreed term ‘Topaque’ so as not to cause confusion with the original Hungarian Tokaji, you will find it appearing on some new labels. Our Liqueur Muscats do not need to and will not change.
The change from using the term ‘Sherry’ has already happened and you will now see the term Apera (although Apera is not limited to these Sherry style wines). Sherry refers to a specific style of wine produced around the designated region of Jerez in Southern Spain and even similar wines produced in Spain cannot use this term. The term Sherry is believed to be the anglicised version of ‘Jerez’.
We now label our Apera wines with a level of dryness which was designed for simplicity but actually probably does not convey as much information as it could. So information such as whether a Pink Apera is a funky new Sherry style or a funky new Port style is really up to the producer to explain or the consumer to guess.
This year, the terms Apera and Topaque have been entered into the Macquarie dictionary in the digital version now and will be included in the printed version later this year. Apera was also nominated this year for The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year 2012.
Here’s how to enjoy your Forties over the heat of Summer:
- Chill down – so the Spanish typically serve their Fino Sherry chilled down with Tapas as an aperitif or a ‘sun-downer’. It goes without saying that a small glass of a Fortified wine of your choice can be chilled and offer just as much refreshment as reaching for the glass of Sauvignon Blanc. It also does not matter whether it is a Port or a Sherry style or a Liqueur Verdelho as the French have also been known to enjoy a chilled Tawny watching the sunset.
-Dessert – ok, ok .. seems lame considering everyone knows that Topaque and Liqueur Muscat go hand-in-hand with dessert. But have you tried it drizzled over ice-cream. Oooh! Yeah! #topaquetime
- Cocktails – Now this is where #aperaoclock gets fun. If you are seeking inspiration then Pfeiffer Wines has quite a delectable list on their website.
I have been experimenting just a little and have discovered that Sangria is given an extra dimension with a half a cup of Pale Dry Apera and about three quarters of a cup of watermelon schnapps added to the blend of pineapple juice and fruity low tannin red wine. I have also tried the Australian Twist & Pink Mojito which were rather tasty.
Now it is your turn!
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