Friends Of Australia Friday Scalloped Spuds & Lamb, Merlot

It’s once again an Australia Time Friday! It’s FRIDAY!!!!

Tonight we’re having a repeat of the Lamburger in box of scalloped spuds dish. We really like it. Just brown off the lamb burger as small chunks, seasoned with onions & garlic, then add it to the regular box of scalloped potatoes made following package directions. Into the oven for 25 minutes or so and serve. Side of peas.

Tonight’s wine was $6 at Bargain Market Grocery Outlet. They buy whatever is in oversupply, so price is very low; but, you don’t get to regularly buy any given wine. Just whatever is not sold out and the warehouse needs to be emptied to take this year’s vintage. I regularly get good wines there at $10 a bottle lower than the price elsewhere. Some unknown brands are quite good. Others have a reason for being remaindered out. Most are just fine, and you do get a broad wine education on the cheap via the wine du jour nature of their inventory.

Little Penguin Merlot at $6 was a good deal. They had the blends from Little Penguin at $5 a bottle. The Merlot is a 2017 and would benefit from a bit of bottle age, but was drinkable as it stands. A bit more tannic than most Merlot from California. Almost like it was a bit Shiraz influenced (at least in style). I find that having had Shiraz a bit, I’m becoming more “disappointed” in regular California over-smooth-under-flavored wines and this Merlot was surprisingly nice in having that bit more “something” in it. I think I still like their Shiraz-Cabernet blend ($5 for a 2016) a bit better, but not by much.

I’ve not kept up on what’s happening in Australia this week, so folks will have to chime in with updates. I’ve been busy with California blackouts, fires (yesterday we kept the house closed up and the HEPA filter running as the smoke layer was a bit much – fire about 20 miles away that looks to be out today). Then there was the Cringvention by the Democrats. Do they have any platform that is a positive thing? As near as I can tell it’s all “Orange Man Bad” and “Grumpy Whining” mixed with some “Break Things and Be Miserable” stuff like ending police and locking everyone up in their homes for a year or two. Hopefully politics in the Rest Of World, and especially Australia, is not so broken.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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11 Responses to Friends Of Australia Friday Scalloped Spuds & Lamb, Merlot

  1. Terry Jackson says:

    The Aussies found that Reservatrol decreases with the age of the wine. Get it fresh, drink it soon for the Reds.

  2. billinoz says:

    Looks like there wil be plenty of Aussie wine for sale in a year or so. CCP is going through the motions of imposing tariffs on Australian wines as punishment for ‘dumping’ good quality cheap wine in China etc etc etc…

    Ohh well I guess the Chinese will just have to do without decent wine & decent beer..

    The new puritanism of Yi Jin Ping’s China.

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    No worries, Bill In Oz. I’ll pick up the slack! I’m thinking of picking up a couple of cases of the Little Penguin …

  4. Graeme No.3 says:

    2017 was an excellent year for wine practically everywhere in S.E. Australia, so if you can get the Shiraz-Cabernet for that year then do try. 2018 wasn’t such a good year as 2017 but quite OK, and 2019 wines are looking good, but would be better after a little time cellaring (my personal opinion) as I think the Merlot would too and smooth out a little (HINT buy some and store them for winter).

    2020 was a disaster year due to fires before harvesting; many vineyards burnt out, others dumped grapes as smoke tainted.

  5. billinoz says:

    Graeme, certainly many areas in the Adelaide Hills of SA were affected greatly by fire and smoke taint. But there were good harvests in the Barossa, McLaren Vale, and down in the South East away from the bushfires.
    I wonder what the wine from those areas will be like what with the vines coming through a drought and on short water rations. more like an old fashioned dry land vineyard wine maybe ? Much more intense in flavour as I discovered back around 2006 with a Cab Sav block of vines up on the Western edge of the Barossa with no irrigation at all.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @Graeme No.3:

    I have a problem with buying wine for cellaring… it doesn’t last long ;-)

    I did, at one time, have a nice sized wine rack that would hold a couple of cases, and I did manage to get about 1/2 a case to stay put for a couple of years with good effect… but then it got all drunk up one year and I never quite was able to get that discipline back again. Something about little kids and tight money ;-)

    I suspect any new cellaring effort will have to wait until I’m moved to bigger space in Florida. I’m in the getting rid of phase right now to reduce the total “stuff” needing moved.

    @Bill In Oz:

    Clearly I’m more daring. I’d have made a batch of wine from the “Smoke tainted” grapes and found out if it was a damage event or a “feature”. Don’t you think “Smokey Cabernet” sounds like something that would go with BBQ Brisket?

    Could be crap, but you don’t know if you don’t test it… Or maybe folks have tried it in decades long gone and already know?

  7. philjourdan says:

    @BillinOz – a friend (and now my boss) went to Oz about 3 years ago. He came back with 2 observations.

    #1 – everything can kill you in Oz.
    #2 – They have some very good wines (he is a wine connoisseur).

    SO Oz is still on my bucket list.

    And so is the wine! Send all you got to the US! We will take care of any excess due to CCP petulance.

  8. Annie says:

    A relative in East Gippsland lost his grape harvest to smoke damage this year. He did explain that the grapes might be alright if certain conditions prevailed after the fires but was not at all sure. As it happened, the crop was no good. The wine there is usually delicious and luckily they had some from previous years and we could bring some home (between our various ‘imprisonments’ in Victoria).

  9. H.R. says:


    Just sayin’… maybe you should take a breather from lamb on Friends of Australia Fridays. The sheep are getting wise and may have a plan of action. Keep up the wine chatter, though. I bought a bottle of Little Penguin… the merlot, I think – a few years ago. The fact that I remember that is a testament to how good it is… and how much I can drink before blacking out ;o)

    I’ll be here all week. Try the veal”

    [Ba-dum Tiissh…]

  10. billinoz says:

    @Annie, yes East Gippsland in Vicria had a very bad time with bushfires last Summer. I used to buy wine from the vineyard at Nicholson and yes it was close to the Tambo Valley fire. And I know 2-3 people who’s homes were burned out and the fires up from the mountain from Buchan came with 2-300 meters of my former home there.Good work by the CFS stopped it crossing a road. Definitely a dry droughty Summer.

    But this Winter is being a real wet one all around South Eastern Australia with good dumps of snow in the Alps. So I think there will be a good harvest next February/March.

    The past 2 days I’ve been again enjoying The Indigo Organic Grape Growers Collective Nero D’Avola,, An excellent Sicilian grape variety ! The fact that it is organic is neither here no there. Just a great red wine. Do you know it Annie ?

  11. Annie says:

    @billinoz: They’ve all had a very difficult time in East Gippsland; first the drought, then the fires over many weeks (from November), then the really bad fires locally on NYE (around Sarsfield, surrounds of Bruthen, etc), then they hardly got going before the Wuflu, then a slight relaxation (during which time we went again to stay at a campsite at Nicholson) and then the further lockdown we are still enduring. I’m quite worried about people there; one chap was very depressed, he’d had to send everybody away on NYE, and I’m sure he’s far from alone. Fires destroyed houses within 2km of our family there; on NYE they watched with horror from Eagle’s Point, I think it’s called, at Bairnsdale as the Vic Emergency app appeared to indicate their place was a goner (it was a hoax, believe it or not).
    Very sad the local wineries won’t have a vintage this year.

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