Castle Rock Riesling 2011 with slow roasted pork belly and fennel.
I'll be honest with you from the get go - the riesling was an afterthought. As I stared down the barrel of a kilo of pork belly, my thoughts were as far away from wine as is humanly possible for someone with a penchant for all things liquid-grape. Always my "go to" meal when out and about, pork belly would oftentimes satisfy me when on a restaurant menu, so why not try nail it at home?
To the dismay of my acquaintances and those who know me well, my particular infatuation with Gordon Ramsay is legendary. It's no surprise then that this is where the basis of my recipe originates. I won't bore you with the nitty gritty so here's a summary:
Chop up a bulb of fennel with some garlic, throw it in a pan with some star anise, cardamom pods, fennel seeds, bay leaves and cook it till it smells good. Have your scored, seasoned pork belly ready to be seared and press that pig down until the fat has gotten nice and crispy like. Flip it over, de-glaze the pan with some white wine and lemon juice (if you must know I used my favourite white house wine G Cleanskin SSB from Margaret River and enjoyed the end of it as the pork cooked) and bring to the boil. Once it's boiling, top the oven ready pan or tray up with chicken stock, making sure not to get any of the lovely pre-crackling wet. Re-salt your already sodium induced skin and chuck it in the oven for a couple of hours at 160-180.
Now when it's ready, take it out, put the pork belly aside and marvel at the glorious broth in front of you. Put it on the stove to reduce, stir in some seeded mustard, remove all the little flavour factories (anise, cardamom pods etc) and mix it around. Once the pork has settled, cut it with a bread knife and place it on a plate, pour some of the broth next to it and eat.
Enjoy with Porongurup Riesling. A relatively inexpensive Riesling with a lot of the characteristics of something more refined, the Castle Rock balanced out the acidity of the broth blow for blow with enough body to carry the heavier, fat laden properties of the pork belly and the spice very evenly matched. In fact, I was surprised at the concentration of fruit and acidity, oyster shell and lemon in synchronisity, a touch of sweetness, hardly noticed but definitely appreciated.
I think I'm starting to believe the Porongurup hype, I'm stashing a few of these in my cellar for next time, truly a bargain.
Get all over the Castle Rock Riesling here - I'm glad I did.