Chrismont’s wonderful new release La Zona Fiano from the King Valley is a most exciting aromatic white and should be considered a serious top-tier restaurant quality food wine although it drinks perfectly well on its own. Fiano originated in Campania, Italy and is also found in Basilicata, the Salentine Peninsula in Puglia and in Sicily. Fiano loves the sun so it is suited to Australia. Its small berries retain their high acid levels as they ripen, lending itself to production of a complex and fresh wine style.
The La Zona Fiano features tropical aromas of melon, lychee and deeper, rounder fragrances of honey and almond. Serve it chilled: it announces itself subtly, but as it warms up a little it comes alive, and oh so magically. Its palate is supple and soft but the fruit flavours are vibrant and sharp thanks to fiano’s cleverly zesty acidity. Flavours of clean citrus and tropical fruit linger on the tongue, building mid-palate, as does the impressively silky texture. It’s a clever wine with several balancing acts up its sleeve.
Chrismont is now celebrating its second summer season presenting authentic hand-crafted Sicilian and northern Italian food in its opulent, award-winning cellar door and restaurant complex. There are extended views over the vineyards and of the valley floor below. A visit to this winery for a free tasting across the entire La Zona and Chrismont range comes highly recommended.
We’ve matched the 2016 La Zona Fiano with banana leaf steamed red mullet with a tangy palm sugar sweet and sour chilli caramel dressing. While this is clearly not a traditional pairing for fiano, it illustrates perfectly the versatility of this very unique and delightful wine. www.chrismont.com.au
Banana Leaf Steamed Red Mullet with palm sugar sweet and sour chilli caramel
Recipe: Megan Chalmers
Serves 4 as an entrée
Palm Sugar Sweet and Sour Chilli Caramel
2 cups crumbled palm sugar
½ cup water
2 cups coconut vinegar
2 knobs ginger, peeled and julienned
1 kaffir lime leaf, whole
2 sticks lemon grass, bruised with the back of a heavy knife
5 long red chillis, halved and deseeded
1. In a medium saucepan add palm sugar and water. On a high heat, bring to the boil, then reduce heat slightly and cook until the liquid becomes golden in colour (caramelised).
2. Remove saucepan from heat and add coconut vinegar.
3. Return to heat and bring back to the boil, add remaining ingredients and reduce until sauce thickens. Serve warm.
Steamed Red Mullet
One large banana leaf (Asian grocers sell them)
4 fresh cleaned red mullet
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
Vietnamese mint leaves (for garnish)
1. Lay banana leaf flat and lightly coat with extra virgin olive oil.
2. Lay red mullet in the centre of the leaf and season well.
3. Wrap the fish by folding the banana leaf gently into a parcel.
4. BBQ the wrapped fish over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until tender. No need to turn.
Remove fish from the BBQ, unwrap and coat with palm sugar sweet and sour chilli caramel. Garnish with Vietnamese mint leaves and serve immediately.