Brown trout and riesling perfection
I recently had cause to reflect on my 25 years judging Tasmania’s regional wine show, and indeed I’m writing this from Hobart during this year’s judging.
Any thought of Tassie brings to mind fish, shellfish, crustaceans and riesling. The island state produces some of the best of each.
One of my fondest memories of fly fishing for trout in Tassie concerns Brumby’s Creek, a rubber raft, sashimi trout and riesling.
We put the raft in at Brumby’s Lagoon and followed Brumby’s Creek out of the lagoon and through the meadows. On this occasion the water was running high and fast with cold mountain water from the hydroelectric dams, swirling in blue eddies around the raft as we cast our flies towards the shore on each side. Platypuses were rising around us and occasionally swimming along with us, as we drifted down with the current. Our guide Peter Hayes was steering with a paddle.
Someone landed a fat three-pound brown trout, and Peter immediately produced a chopping board and sharp knife, and quickly sliced the fish up into small morsels, then produced a little bottle of soy sauce and a packet of wasabi from his pockets. We passed around sashimi trout. You couldn’t get it fresher. A glass of chilled Tassie riesling and you have the perfect snack.
Life doesn’t get much better.
My other favourite way to eat Tasmanian brown trout is to make gravlax. Simply slather your fillets of trout (skin on) with plenty of salt, sugar and chopped dill; wrap each fillet separately in shrink-wrap and lay them in a flat dish with a weight on top. I once used a house brick which was heavier than you’re supposed to use, but resulted after a day or so in a beautifully firm-textured gravlax, which was just delectable. Again, Tassie riesling is the right accompaniment.
It’s too early to know which 2016 rieslings have triumphed in this year’s show, but the best that I’ve had recently in my own tastings are 2016 Freycinet (AUD $27) and 2016 Stargazer (AUD $35). Both are bursting with citrusy fruit flavours and lively cool-climate acidity, just perfect for trout served either sashimi or gravlax.