Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Dispensary Enoteca and Dr. Loosen Chateau Ste Michelle Eroica Columbia Valley Riesling 2006

Building relationships is the key in this industry. In my ‘A little memo...’ post earlier this month I received a comment from Jeremy in Perth in which he was, I would suggest, taking a shot at certain ‘types’ that work in the restaurant scene. Thinking more about what he wrote, and sort of reading between the lines as he put it, I more or less agree with him.

In Melbourne I have built some great relationships. Likewise the same in Perth (just got back last night). But sometimes it is the most unlikely places where great relationships are made. That place is Bendigo, and the person is Tim from The Dispensary Enoteca.

About three weeks ago I headed up the Calder Hwy and spent two days in Daylesford and Bendigo pressing the flesh. Pretty much all my appointments went well, save the ones that cancelled of course, but it was the genuine honestly from Tim that really impressed me. There was no bullshit about him; if he like a wine he told me, if he didn’t likewise (suffice to say he is currently pouring three of my wines). But for me the thing that really stuck out was his generosity with his time. It is very rare someone will give you time in the middle of service, yet he did this and then made time to see me later in the day during his break.

The Dispensary is a great little Enoteca type of place hidden in a laneway off one of the main streets in Bendigo. Seating about 25 inside and out, Tim has very skilfully managed to fit a kitchen, bar, wine wall and fridge in to a very tiny space as well as making room for 4 tables, a communal table and seating in the front window. All this without the slightest sense of being cramped. The menu follows the simple design of an Enoteca/cuccina with terrine, soup and what I had, croque-mademoiselle.

Now I reckon I have had about a dozen different types of croque-mademoiselle, but this one was the pick by a country mile. Perfectly toasted bread sandwiches still perfectly smoked salmon with a dill garlic butter. And with this I enjoyed a wine that Tim sold me on – Dr. Loosen Chateau Ste Michelle Eroica Columbia Valley Riesling 2006 from Washington State. Slightly developed in the glass, this wine, unlike our Rieslings, does not throw the kero waft, but instead a much understated stewed pineapple and subtle spice. The palate like the nose delivers restrained flavours of stewed prickly pineapple and cinnamon with the acid holding it all together as if it were from the 08 or 09 vintages. It turned in to a Remington moment where I liked it so much, I bought a bottle (drank later that night with honey and soy glazed salmon).

So, without turning this post into a Mills and Boon story, having good relationships is key to this industry. Because sooner rather than later, the people that are always in meetings will come around because they will not be able to resist the wine you have. And by the way, thanks again Jeremy for your comment in my “A little memo...’ post.

The Dispensary Enoteca gets Two Birks

The Dispensary Enoteca
9 Chancery Lane Bendigo

... and the wine

Drink with salmon
drink till 2016
Quality cork 12.5%v/v $39

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