Who, what or where is Crouchen?

The wine pourer showed me the bottles of the two truly delicious fruity Rieslings we were tasting. The first a medium sweet wine with honey and limes and heavenly, almost nectar-like, textural viscosity, hinting there might be some botrytis in there yet exuding freshness and zing to the finish. The second similarly luscious but fresher, brighter, with honeysuckle in the background, a tickle of citrus zest and ginger-like spritz.

Both delightful aperitif wines on their own, but I had asked him to open something with a touch of sweetness to accompany my Thai basil chicken dish. A Riesling perhaps. The stir-fried chicken is finished with Thai sweet chilli sauce and Thai fish sauce. It’s really tasty and has the requisite amount of heat. A problem though, I had no Thai basil – too cold for it now – so I made it with coriander (cilantro) as it’s always available fresh at the fruit and veg store.
Crouchen Riesling from Brown Brothers

The wines were Brown Brothers Crouchen Riesling 2009, and Brown Brothers Crouchen Riesling 2010, respectively. I had liked the first marginally better when I tasted the wines without food but I preferred the 2010 just a a little more with the dish, but they both worked exceptionally well.

So here’s a trivia question with 3 options to choose your answer.

a. Is Crouchen a person?
b. Is Crouchen a grape?
c. Is Crouchen a place?

The truth is, any answer would be correct. Just ask Google. But in this instance the answer is grape. And when it’s blended with Riesling the Brown Brothers way, it’s delicious. In fact so delicious it is evidently one of the most popular white wines in Australia.

Now it turns out that Crouchen is known by other names, but the real McCoy Crouchen is an ancient French grape variety that originated in the western Pyrenees close to Spain.

The Brown Brothers website, www.brownbrothers.com.au, explains that while it is no longer produced in any quantity in France it is now found in parts of South Africa and Australia where it is a vigorous variety, producing a wine of flavour and body and a delicate finish.

The blend varies from year to year but usually around 60% Crouchen from their Mystic Vineyard in the Murray Valley, and 40% Riesling. from Milawa.

These wines are moderately lowish in alcohol, the label on each stating 10%. Both wines are sealed with a screwcap and RRP is $15.99, but you can often find them on promotion for less.

I like them! They suit a time and place.

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