Executive Chef Kirk Weiss and Head Bartender, Nick Attard, (WSET – Wine and Spirit Education Trust – Level Two graduate) hosted the final “wine and dine” event for 2018. On this occasion we were introduced to the wine and cuisine of “Down Under”.
We were greeted with an introductory glass of white wine – Tahbilk, Marsanne, a varietal originating in Rhone, France but grown in the central Victoria region since the 1860s. Nick noted that the winery has vines dating from 1927.
Nick also presented another “trivia” challenge – 10 questions with one of two options for each answer – Australia or New Zealand.
Damper bread (according to Chef – sourdough meets scone) toasted and served with a poached egg on plum jam with the requisite touch of vegemite.
Wine Pairing – Sparkling wine, Chardonnay/Pinot Noir blend, from the Adelaide Hills Jacob’s Creek winery.
Shrimp on the Barbie – marinated in orange, pepper, spice and lime – barbecued and served with garnish of fried onion and chopped green onions.
Wine Pairing – BrokenWood Semillon from New South Wales Hunter Valley, a warm region. Nick indicated that this wine went through malolactic fermentation to produce the creamy feel and body – usually used for Chardonnay.
Lamb, rubbed with bacon fat and roasted in the oven at low temperature for 5 hours. Served on polenta with a hint of blue cheese and a delicious reduction.
Wine Pairing – De Bortoli Pinot Noir. Lightly oaked but old oak. Yarra Valley, cool enough for pinot. Amazing pairing – didn’t think that Pinot could stand up to lamb.
Wild boar tart (Australia is known for its tarts and pies). Started with 3 litres of sauce and reduced it to ¾ litre. Topped with pommery cream and juniper berry and fried kale.
Wine Pairing – The Laughing Magpie, 2012 d’Arenburg – a shiraz/viognier from McLaren Vale, the Bourassa Region. Finished in 50% French oak, 50% American oak (8% of this new oak)
Chef indicated that this dish was designed to reflect the “colours” of Australia. Red rock, browns and yellows.
Orange Roughy with a smoked paprika rub, peppercorn hollandaise sauce and garnished with fried onion.
Wine Pairing – Two wines were presented with this course. Rebel Red, a montepulciano (Italian varietal) grown in the McLaren Vale and La Bohème Act Four, a syrah/gamay blend – grapes grown in the cooler Yarra Valley
Pavlova – classic – Kiwi, strawberry, blueberries, meringue and cream with rose glace and a fruit glaze.
Chef and Nick agreed that New Zealand was the earliest to adopt this dessert although there are those that believe it was Australia or somewhere else entirely! Did we care? It was delicious.
Wine Pairing – Campbell’s Rutherglen Muscat – Australian “sticky” – muscat petit grape rouge, ripened on the vine to almost raisin consistency, fermented in oak barrels and moved from barrel to barrel mixing different years – solera process. The alcohol level is quite high – 17.5%
“For instance, suppose the solera consists of three barrels of wine, and half of each barrel is transferred once a year. At the end of the third year (and each subsequent year), half the third barrel is bottled. This first bottling is aged three years. The third barrel is then refilled with by transferring half of the wine from the second barrel. The wine transferred from the second barrel has an average age of 2.5 years (at the end of year 2, after barrel transfers, it was half 2-year old wine, half 1-year old wine, for an average age of 1.5 years; at the end of year 3, before barrel transfers, it will have aged another year for an average age of 2.5 years). The second bottling will then be half 3.5 years old and half four years old (the wine left in the last barrel at the previous cycle), for an average age of 3.75 years. The third bottling will be an average age of 4.25 years (one half wine that was left over from the second bottling – average age 4.75 years, and one half wine transferred from the second barrel after the second bottling – average age 3.75 years). After 20 years, the output of the solera would be a mix of wine from 3 to 20 years old, averaging very slightly under five years. The average age asymptotically converges on five years as the solera continues.”
There were four ties in the results of the Trivia Challenge – each winner received a bottle of wine.
Barry and Trudy Barnard
Robert and Andrea Israel