Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Erin's 40th at Esposito@toofeys - part 2

So where were we....

The big day had finally arrived and all that was needed to do was to get frocked up and then pick the cake up from French Lettuce in Carlton; job done.

On arrival Erin and I had our first drink for the day, a glass Prosecco, and got down to opening and checking the wines with Erin organising the place settings; done, done and done.

Our guests started arriving, and all I asked of Erin was not to hang around the door of the restaurant – you know how easy bottle-necks form. So after we broke up the first bottle-neck the mingling started, and before you knew it, everyone who needed to be there were happily sipping their aperitifs and chatting about whatever they were chatting about. So with everyone there, we got started.

Now one of the main reasons for doing a dego was that Erin was always banging on about how she had never seen me in action, doing the sommelier thing and all, and also not seen me work a group, something that I would do on almost a nightly basis at The Point. This day I was responsible for the food and wine matches and also the introduction and explanation of the food and wine – for Erin and our family and friends. This was not a garden variety group let me tell you.

So, on with matches.

The amuse of Tathra oyster and Manzanilla worked because both flavours are essentially palate cleansers – the salty glycerol of the oyster and again salty, yeasty texture of the sherry.

The first savoury course I think is always the most important. Degustation events are all about savouring and catching the attention of your taste buds. If you don’t achieve this in the first course, it’s going to be a tough trick to bag it after the first. This is why I went with two wines with two different flavour spectrums. So, in having two different flavours in the glass, you need two different flavours on the plate, and this was achieved with the abalone and chicken consommé.

The Bual Madeira is a wine that grabs your attention straight away; a massive spice hit on the nose followed by that brandy spirit hit. In the mouth, the wine deceives the nose by being soft and rich, with an almost fragrant feel. The longer in the mouth, the wine builds in flavour and mouth feel, becoming warmer and warmer with a toffee finish. The Bindi Sparkling was courteous of my friend Michael Dhillon from Bindi. With only 100 magnums produced, the two bottles of the 1994 Blanc de Blanc could not have been fresher with lovely citrus and bready notes in both nose and palate. The idea was the Madeira with the consommé to break through the oiliness and the sparkling with the abalone, with the sparkling lifting the saltiness of the abalone.

Next we had the mud crab with a wine that I just love, the Chateau Jolys Jurançon. This is a style of wine that I dearly hope will one day challenge the Savvy B domination in this country. This wine has an elegant white floral nose that is further pronounced in the palate along with citrus and soft acid, something that I wanted when matched with mud crab. This match was for the wine to accompany the flavour of the crab, not compete with it.

What dego would be worth its salt if there were not game there. What game you say? Barramundi I say! Barramundi is the game of the deep, with almost earthy texture about it, followed by a long clean flavour of sea and salt. With a fish like this, you need a wine that is a stand out amongst its peers. The Tapanappa ‘Tiers’ 2007 Chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills may be a new label, but it is sourced from possibly the best Chardonnay vineyard in Australia.

The ‘Tiers’ Chardonnay had belonged to Petaluma until recently, with Petaluma having recently belonged to Brian Croser, possibly the most respected winemaker in Australia. The Tapanappa label is a partnership with Lynch-Bages of Bordeaux and The Bollinger family in Champagne – a handy alliance you might say. This wine is all white Burgundy, citrus, grapefruit, stonefruit, liquorice and custard, and thats just the nose. The palate is similar with flavours that just seem to go on forever, and yes, the liquorice powder hit at the end was sexy sexy sexy. I think this wine was easily the favourite amongst the group. This whole match was just down to savouring two gorgeous flavours simultaneously. This was a no brainer.

Three courses to go, stay tuned....

1 comment:

  1. Fi from www.fwoglegs.blogspot.comJuly 8, 2009 at 6:53 PM

    oi vey! I'm always attracted to photos of me. I should send your blog off to all my foodie and winey friends with a "...want something grand? Give this a red hot go!!" (the dego experience that is. not me).

    I was truly surprised by the sequence of some of the flavours... turned my apparently pedestrian assumptions on the head with one sip and a flip of a barra tail.