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A Sémillon from New South Wales + A Snack from Japan #WorldWineTravel

This month the World Wine Travel group is exploring the White Wines of New South Wales Australia. This region includes: the Hunter Valley, New England (Australia), Hastings River, Mudgee, Orange, Cowra, Southern Highlands, Shoalhaven Coast, Hilltops, Canberra District, Gundagai, Tumbarumba (what a great name), Riverina, and Perricoota. Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles is hosting and you can read her invitation. She opened this up to other Australian regions, urging, "since this is our last trip to Mainland Australia, feel free to dive outside the region if you need to!"

If you are reading this early enough, feel free to jump into our live Twitter chat on Saturday, July 23rd at 8am Pacific. Follow the hashtag #WorldWineTravel and be sure to add that to anything you tweet so we can see it. Here's the line-up of the articles...

A Sémillon from New South Wales 

Last month we looked at the red wines of New South Wales. You can read my post Chili de Moira + Beelgara Winery Estate Shiraz 2017 from that event. Though wines from New South Wales are a challenge to obtain, I got my hands on a bottle of the 2018 Silkman Semillon from Hunter Valley.

The Hunter Valley region encompasses the Hunter River and all of its tributaries. Eponymous Silkman Wines is boutique producer that is owned and operated by a local winemaking couple Shaun and Liz Silkman.

Sémillon wine is a white wine for red wine lovers, I think. It has a more full body, like a Chardonnay, but its flavors lean more bright and vibrant like a Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc. It has grown to be one of my favorite white wines.

In the glass, the wine poured a bright straw color with hints of green on the rim. On the nose, there are vibrant notes of citrus mixed with the heady floral of honeysuckle. However, on the palate, the wine is more voluptuous with layers of summer peaches and a hint of white pepper. This was a beautiful, zippy wine that was as fresh as it was complex.

A Snack from Japan

So, my pairing definitely isn't an Australian recipe. But I knew that I wanted to pair octopus with the Sémillon. And I love using my Æbleskiver pan so it's not a unitasker. Takoyaki it was! If you don't have an Æbleskiver pan, and you don't like unitaskers either, just think: you can use it to make Danish Æbleskiver, Lao Khao Nom Kok, and Japanese Takoyaki.

Takoyaki is a fried Japanese snack or street food filled with pieces of grilled octopus. Traditional takoyaki are served either on a skewer or piled into a takeaway container, with various toppings and garnishes, including aonori (dried, powdered seaweed), katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), Japanese mayonnaise, and a salty-sweet sauce.


  • ¾ cup flour (I used a mixture of ½ all-purpose flour and ¼ cup rice flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon soy sauce
  • ⅔ cup dashi stock (or you can use ⅔ cup water with a pinch of instant dashi stock powder)
  • ½ cup cooked octopus, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • oil, for greasing pan
  •  Also needed: takoyaki or Æbleskiver pan, Japanese mayonnaise, and other garnishes


To make the takoyaki batter, combine the flour, rice flour, and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs, soy sauce, and dashi. Set aside.

Heat the takoyaki pan over medium-high heat. Dab the wells with oil. When the oil begins to smoke, fill the wells with batter. Top with a piece or two of octopus and a pinch of scallions. Cook until the bottoms of the balls are beginning to crisp.


Use chopsticks or skewers, to rotate each takoyaki as they cook to give them a spherical shape. You can add a little bit more batter to complete the ball. Keep cooking and turning for 4 to 5 minutes until the outside is crisped.

To serve, place the takoyaki balls in a bowl with a scoop of rice. Drizzle with Japanese mayonnaise, another other dipping sauces you like, and the toppings of your choice. Serve immediately.

That's a wrap on our July #WorldWineTravel event, our last mainland Australia stop. Next month we are pouring wines from Tasmania with Deanna of Wineivore leading the discussion. Stay tuned.


  1. Octopus is another one of those "Jeff only" foods, so we don't get it very often. Our son, Peter, (in France) would be game though.

  2. I still don't think I will buy an abelskiver pan LOL

  3. While I should be with Jeff's wife on this one also...I can't resist octopus. This dish sounds fascinating and delicious!

  4. ooo, this is something my husband would love! The wine sounds good, too. I'll drink a good Sauv Blanc, but I prefer reds, roses the most.

  5. I love octopus and love the idea of pairing Semillon with Takoyaki. I also think it's brilliant you use the Ebelskiver pan in so many ways! It definitely gives me something to think about.


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