Cooking with Babich Wines

Jul 15, 14 Cooking with Babich Wines

You know the old saying, ‘I love cooking with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food’? Well, that was kinda what a recent cooking lesson with Babich Wines at the Underground Cookery School was like recently! It was great fun and I managed to leave the event with all my fingers intact despite the fact that I was handling sharp knives for a good part of the afternoon.

Underground Cookery School

Underground Cookery School

We had gathered at the Underground Cookery School near Old Street to see for ourselves how well Babich Wines go with food. They believe that their wines really need food to shine and after our cooking lesson, I could definitely agree. We were greeted by our host, and member of the family, David Babich with a glass of Marlborough pinot gris on arrival. A delicious, silky wine, not watery or too dry, it was a great way to start the event.

David Babich

David Babich

Babich have been making wine in New Zealand for almost 100 years outside of Auckland. Well, when they started they were outside of the city but nowadays, the city comes right up to their doorstep. Babich was founded by David’s grandfather Josip, a Croatian immigrant in 1916 when he was less than 20 years old, quite an achievement even back then.

Cowslip Valley Riesling

Cowslip Valley Riesling

Since then, the family’s aim has been to produce the best wine from the best wine regions in New Zealand. To that end, they have vineyards in Marlborough, Gimblett Gravels and Hawkes Bay as well as lesser known but quality regions. After a brief safety demo, we got down to business. Our task was to fillet a fish. I’ve never done it before but the fellows at Underground Cookery led us step by step and before I knew it. I had a fillet in hand. The sea bream was our first course and paired with the Cowslip Valley Riesling with bok choy and thai dressing was delicious. Their riesling had good depth, was full of fruit but dry at the same time with excellent acidity. Although it was only 3 years old it had a petrol, citrus fruit character. David commented that even so, it was a wine that would easily last for 20 years.

before

before

after

after

finished dish, bream and bok choy

finished dish, bream and bok choy

After that we moved on to making a flourless chocolate cake. This time we had a glass of wine by our sides. The Winemakers Reserve Pinot Noir. It’s quite easy to work a mixer with wine in hand. I liked the pinot noir, smoky and medium bodied and was tasty with the chocolate batter – we got to lick the spoon once it was all mixed. Again the sharp knives came out and our last task was to debone a lamb rump. It all sounds so difficult but our instructions were so clear that before you know it, the lamb was deboned and ready for the frying pan. Those guys at Underground are excellent instructors.

garlic

garlic

knives at the ready

knives at the ready

Douglas getting ready to tackle the lamb

Douglas getting ready to tackle the lamb

Paired with the lamb rump was the 2013 Gimblett Gravels merlot cabernet. This is quite a substantial wine with loads of spicy notes to it and a smooth finish. Eating it with the lamb, the wine had plenty of structure to stand up to it and the finish was long and deep. David commented that 2013 was an excellent vintage and that they could have done a lot more with the wine but chose not to. It will be interesting to see how they improve on their wines in the future. As for me, I really enjoyed all of them.

mmm, lamb rump

mmm, lamb rump

tucking into a well deserved lunch

tucking into a well deserved lunch

Babich wines are available in the UK via The Fine Wine Company, Excel Wines and The City Beverage Company.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: