Gourmet Traveller Features our Verjus30 June 2017,
For more than a decade, wine maker Sarah Gough has been producing Rhône-inspired wines in her family vineyard in Tabilk, in the Goulburn Valley region of Victoria. In 2011, however, an overly fruitful season saw the vigneron pursuing other ways to use her grapes. "It looked like the roussanne grapes weren't going to ripen at all, so I decided to make verjus instead," she says.
Verjus is made from pressed unripened grapes. Unlike other acids, such as lemon juice or vinegar, a splash of verjus can give everything from salad dressing to roasts "a refreshing zing without the aggressive bite" says Gough. At Lûmé in Melbourne, verjus is often used in cocktails instead of citrus. "We can batch them without worrying about ingredients going off or sediment forming in the bottle," says Lûmé bar manager Orlando Marzo. "And Box Grove's verjus is delicate and textured, yet with perfume in spades, so it's perfect for drinks."
Gough keeps it simple: the grapes are picked between mid-February and March, then crushed, chilled, filtered and bottled. "We try to get it in and out of the vineyard as soon as possible to avoid any rogue yeast spores that may trigger fermentation," she says. Gough still uses roussanne for her verjus, which she prefers for the natural acid backbone and hallmark pear and quince flavour.
Chef Ben Shewry is a fan of Box Grove: he uses a litre each day at Attica for his chicken and pork dishes, and is working with the vineyard to produce a red verjus for next season. "He wanted something that would better suit red meat," says Gough. "One of the Mediterranean varieties I grow – mourvèdre – might be interesting for that."
Stock up on our Verjus now!
Reproduced with thanks to Gourmet Traveller.
Words: Laksha Prasad; Styling: Aimee Jones; Image: Will Horner.
Copyright: Gourmet Traveller, July 2017