26 September 2023

Raise A Glass To This Mushroom Risotto

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By Christine Salins.


Viognier is the perfect food wine, according to Yalumba chief winemaker, Louisa Rose. “If someone can tell me a food that doesn’t go with Viognier, let us know, because that is a much smaller list than what does.”

This white variety, which predominates in the Côtes du Rhône region of France, is aromatic and flavoursome, with fine tannins and low acidity but plenty of texture and body.

“These are not wines to sit around and have a sip of in the afternoon after you’ve mowed the lawn or on the beach,” Rose said of the seven different Viognier styles profiled in this week’s wine column.

“Quite honestly, this is a wine style that will cross the boundaries of all different types of food and it absolutely crosses into the foods that you might normally have a red wine with, (including) red meat.

“I’ve done breakfasts and brunches all over the world and anything you can think of – black pudding, mushrooms, truffles, eggs, granola, muesli and yoghurt – Viognier is just a beautiful match.

“Then you travel the spice route through northern Africa and Asia, through the curries and spices, and the complexity and freshness (of Viognier) is just amazing. One of the reasons is the texture but it’s also the low acidity that wraps around the food flavours and enhances them.”

Surprisingly, Viognier stands up to strong flavours like dumplings with chilli (pictured) as effortlessly as it does with the Mushroom & Thyme Risotto recipe here.

James Lindner, of Langmeil Winery, producer of a Viognier blend called Three Gardens, says the variety can handle the oiliness and spiciness of Mediterranean and Asian fusion food, including fatty foods like pork belly, and scallops & chorizo.

It goes beautifully with cheese too, especially the Yalumba Botrytis Viognier, a dessert wine that paired with cheese is a match made in heaven.

Yalumba’s senior brand manager, Jessica Hill-Smith, says that while consumer difficulty in pronouncing Viognier holds the variety back (it’s pronounced vee-on-yay), chefs love it. “When chefs get involved in the conversation, the possibilities of what food their Viognier can go with are endless.”

Restaurant tasting menus work well because they enable people to try wines that they are unfamiliar with. “Restaurant Botanic in Adelaide has asked us time and time again for some aged Viognier to match its dishes. The interest is there; we just have to encourage people along the way,” she says.

Wild Mushroom & Thyme Risotto

2 glasses of Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

250g Arborio rice

500ml of chicken (or vegetable) stock

A handful of thyme

A few sprigs of rosemary

½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese

2 large handfuls of sliced mushrooms

Micro herbs and shaved parmesan to garnish

Pour yourself a glass of the Eden Valley Viognier, then add a glass to a saucepan and top it up with stock. Heat the stock and wine mixture slowly and keep it at a low simmer.

Heat the oil and half of the butter in a heavy-based pan and cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the thyme and rosemary and stir to release the aroma.

Add the rice and stir it through the oil until it starts to look translucent. Slowly ladle the stock into the rice mixture, stirring to allow each ladle to absorb completely before adding the next ladle. Repeat until the rice is cooked “al dente” – Italian for “to the tooth”.

Pan-fry the mushrooms in the remaining butter until browned. Take the risotto off the heat and stir in half of the cooked mushrooms, along with the grated parmesan, cracked pepper and salt (only if needed) to taste.

Serve the risotto, topping it with the remaining cooked mushrooms, a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, shaved parmesan and micro herbs.

Pair with a glass of Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier.

Recipe courtesy of Yalumba Family Winemakers.

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