A Tasting of Australia

Friday, August 20, 2010 - 
Tastings is easily becoming a Wednesday tradition for the hubs and I.  As you may have read, I can't say enough about how great the food, wine, company and staff are at this establishment. 

This Wednesday was no different when it came to great food and fantastic wine pairings.  We were invited to kick back and relax as we were whisked away on a tasteful journey to Australia.

We began with a sparkling red by NV Engine Room.  To say I was surprised by my first sparkling red would be an understatement.  Light on the palate as a sparkling, but with berry tones of a red, it got better with each sip.  Perfect sparkling to enjoy as we prepared for an evening of great food.

As we sipped on the aperitif, we were also poured a tasting of Torbreck's Woodcutter's Semillon.  This white had the creaminess of a chardonnay, alluding to a nutty flavor of almonds.  At the same time, the palate was covered with subtle exotic fruit flavors.  Brian's extensive wine knowledge shined through as he explained why it would work well with Chef Steven's Fish & Chips. 

My favorite of the evening - Turbot sashimi over a kiwi-lychee relish.  The citrus flavors burst in your mouth as the grapefruit aioli complimented the white fish and relish.  The "chips" were crisped lemon potatoes, giving the perfect amount of crunch and saltiness to the dish.  I loved the citrus flavors as they highlighted the fish.  And to hubs surprise, no "fishiness" was present - just delish.

Two Hand's shiraz, Angel's Share, led to an interesting learning experience of shiraz vs. syrah.  This educational moment from Tastings led to the understanding of regions and how they impact the names.  The conversation continued as we enjoyed the bold shiraz.  All of the rich flavors of licorice, coffee and pepper jumped out as they lingered on the tongue.  I love the flavors of shiraz, and it always makes me crave a meaty dish.  Steven came through with his version of a meat pie.

Barbecued chicken and braised fennel were served in a flaky pastry crust, served on top off a plum and quince chutney.  The earthy plum flavors complimented the hearty barbecue sauce of the dish.  My favorite was how the queso blanco on top cut the richness of the barbecue with its own smooth flavors.

After our great shiraz conversation, I was excited to be presented with Mr. Black's Concoction for our third course.  Another from Barossa, the deep red shiraz delivered on all the fantastic flavors.  It had a great intensity of being full and spicy, leaving me wanting more.  And the marketing! I absolutely loved the bottle and could see how when perusing the store shelves, I would easily pick this up. With a shiraz like this, another rich flavor like lamb was just what my taste buds craved.

The lamb was so flavorful and tender on it's own, but the red currant and shiraz reduction took it to a whole new level.  The sweet chili couscous was perfect as the buttery taste mixed with the sweet but spicy flavors.  The lamb and couscous were perfect as they melted together in your mouth.  I was extremely thankful for the extra portions on this dish!

For our finale, we were poured a tasting of Yalumba's Botrytis Viognier, part of their Hand-Picked series.  This 2008 vintage was sweet and flavorful as expected. Unfortunately, I did not try it by itself, as I had already dove into the dessert - lamingtons.  Creamy and rich pound cake, I could eat it alone.  But after it having soaked in the flavors of both Grand Marnier and Dumante, I may never have it solo again.  And then drizzled with a white chocolate ganache?  Incredible.  Both macademia nuts and cashews were chopped up and sprinkled on top of these pound cake popsicles before presented on a smear of mango preserves.  Heaven.  All the rich flavors were cut so perfectly with the Viognier, it was a sweet paradise and an amazing note to end on.

Trust me, you won't want to miss out on these upcoming events:

  • Winemaker Series: Charles Smith (Sept. 1)
  • Truly Progressive (Sept. 8)
  • Varietal Series: The Blends (Sept. 15)
  • Regional Series: Napa in Nap Town (Sept. 22)
  • Truly Progressive (Sept. 29)

Chef Steven will also be at DigINdiana (twitter: @digIndiana), so if you want to try some of his great creations, purchase your ticket for DigINdiana today.  This event will showcase local foods and restaurants with tastings, demonstrations and live music.  You don't want to miss it - August 29th at White River State Park.  Purchase your tickets on the website - I'll see you there (or you can follow me day of on twitter - @angieahrens.)

And don't forget to reserve your spot at one of the upcoming Tastings event - you won't want to miss out on another great night from Steven & Brian!