Before today, Thomas Hardy was just a wine that I liked to drink from time to time. That was till I actually met Thomas K Hardy in person.
Last week at the Istana Hotel KL, Thomas Hardy wine food pairing dinner, I got to meet the charming man himself. He is in fact, fifth generation Thomas Hardy. At the dinner I learned that he had his first taste of wine at the age of seven, a claret mixed with lemonade given to him by his Aunt Madeline. I guess you could say, he has come a long way since then.
fine food, paired with some thoroughly fine wines at Urban, Istana KL
In 1985, Thomas Hardy produced the Pictorial Atlas of Australian Wine, with five editions selling 170,000 copies worldwide. Thomas says that wine is a reflection of the people who make it – it imbues its character. As a wine master craftsman over the past 10 years, Thomas has created a successful range of wines from grapes grown in prestigious cool-climate wine areas of South Australia.
the Dizzy 201’ 2005 Shiraz
In June 2008 , Thomas Hardy released a 2005 Barossa Valley Super Premium Shiraz (called the Dizzy 201’ 2005 Shiraz), sourced from 80 year old dry grown vines in the heart of the valley floor at Nuriootpa, the wine was matured for 2 years in the finest new French and American oak hogsheads before bottle aging at a constant 14 degrees Celsius, deep under the Adelaide Hills in the ‘Tunnels Wine Cellars’ – the old Adelaide to Melbourne Train tunnel disused since the 1890’s. This is an opulent wine made for the ‘long haul’ in the mode of ‘Penfold’s Grange’.
Felix Darrel of JFS Boutique Spirits and Thomas K Hardy
Thomas Hardy’s collection of wines is depicted as rich, generous and tannic – some may wonder if it is the wine or man being described! Despite being in the wine industry all of his life and a fifth generation winemaker, Thomas says he still learns new things about the industry. He travels regularly to keep in touch with the marketplace.
Keeping with tradition is important!
We would soon be pairing all these luscious wines over a 6 course meal
After a quick chat with Thomas, it was time for dinner..
This amuse bouche of what looked to be an Egg shell, Creme brulee and Profiteroles, was a sight for sore eyes. I was pretty impressed with the presentation that laid before me.
the flavours were exquisite too..
Digging into the depths of the egg, there were more surprises in store.. the Egg Custard with Lobster, Sea Urchin and Miso scented with spicy togarashi pepper emulsion was a rich, smooth oceanic slurry that slinked down the throat without any trouble.
The creme brulee was in fact, goose liver creme brulee served with an apple chip and spice bread – decadent and immensely gratifying.
The Profiteroles that enveloped a smoky salmon mousse was light and airy. Totally delicious.
First starter – Kumamoto Oyster Pannacotta, black grain pearl with capers berry, pineapple carpaccio, aloe vera jelly, rape seed oil dressing, petite salad & Chinese lychee infused Japanese horseradish sorbet paired with the 2009 Thomas Hardy Imprimatur Chardonnay
The 2009 Thomas Hardy Imprimatur Chardonnay had a well-integrated woody nose and tight palate with nicely aged, elegant flavours and zesty acid backbone. It complemented the metallic flavours of the oyster and the Chinese lychee infused Japanese horseradish sorbet perfectly.
Second starter – Baked Labeyrie foie gras feuilette with truffle duxelles, morel mushrooms, garlic froth & port jus paired with the 2008 Thomas Hardy Family Tradition Cabernet Sauvignon.
Modern eclectic fusion with a French touch is Urban’s forte. But here you see a French classic making a buttery comeback. Urban’s Baked Labeyrie foie gras feuilette with truffle duxelles, morel mushrooms is decadence wrapped in more decadence. A supremely buttery puff pastry that flakes away to expose the beating foie gras heart. Oh.. be still my beating heart!
The Family Tradition Carbenets is a blend of Carbenet Sauvignon and Merlot from the famous Coonawarra region of Australia. The wine is full bodied, and tannic – perfect for cutting through the richness of the foie feuilette. For me, this was the most enjoyable wine-food pairing course – definitely my favourite for the night.
First Mains – Mullawarra Lamb Parmentier with spicy merguez, honey pumpkin & shallot reduction paired with the 2009 Dizzy201 Vintage Reserve Shiraz Carbenet
And although the food is innovative haute cuisine, Urban sometimes eschews fancy presentations in favor of a hearty, rustic approach. I’m talking meat-focused and diet-busting dishes. I loved this carnivore-centric mains of Mullawarra Lamb Parmentier. Hearty and definitely something you can sink your teeth into. Paired with the 2009 Dizzy201 Vintage Reserve Shiraz Carbenet you could feel the aromas of raspberry & blackberry fruits permeating the mouth. This wine had balanced tannins and a velvety finish which did justice to the gamy Mullawarra Lamb.
Second Mains – Sous vide herb crumb Mandagery creek venison loin, with braised 1824 grain feed cheek ravioli, beetroot, celeriac, glazed apricot, jumbo asparagus verte and shiraz bing cherry reduction paired with the 2008 Thomas Hardy Imprimatur Shiraz
Venison is my absolute favourite and when done a bloody medium rare and paired just right, with a full bodied wine, it’s almost too good for words. Well in this case it was paired rather well with the 2008 Thomas Hardy Imprimatur Shiraz. In this wine, you could immediately make out a bouquet of raspberry, cassis and mulberry fruits.. spicy and oaky yet subtle and again filled with characteristic velvety tannins.
Fifth course – Australian and French cheese platter with pineapple saffron clove jam , muesli granola paired with the 2008 Thomas Hardy Imprimatur Shiraz
A terrific selection of cheeses here. No complaints.
Sixth and Final Course – Valrhona bitter sweet chocolate tart, infused grand marnier, caramalized banana, hazelnut milk ice-cream, orange tuile and caramel paired with the Geoff Hardy Full Fronti Liqueur Frontignac
There sixth and final course comprised of chocolate and ice-cream. The Valrhona bitter sweet chocolate was indulgence in a tart form. That’s right: cheese and chocolate, one after another – what better way to end dinner right? The hazelnut milk ice cream, orange tuile and caramel was clearly designed to balance the first. Juicy and light, it took every ounce of willpower not to slurp it in one. Our final dessert course was served with a glass of Geoff Hardy Full Fronti Liqueur Frontignac. This liqueur “muscat” is gorgeously lifted and ethereal – the fruit flavours on the palate is an experience in itself and not to be missed, making this wine the perfect encore for a fantastic meal!
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Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur
Lobby Level, East Wing
73, Jalan Raja Chulan,
50200 Kuala Lumpur
For Reservations: +603 2141 9988 ext: 3691
Email: [email protected]
On the Wines: Contact Felix Darrel, JFS Boutique Spirits, 14A, 1st Floor, Jalan Scott, Off Jalan Tun Sambanthan, 50470 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Email for info here