End of Ciki’s Postcard moments.
I once went for a Wine and Food Pairing tasting session and all I remember were very wordy explanations that got my head all jumbled up with fancy terms and huge words.. Anyway after going home and looking at my notes , I realized that the 4 rules of Perfect Pairing are just like the 4 rules to throwing a great party .. and here they are:
4 rules of Perfect Pairing are just like the 4 rules to throwing a great party
1. Don’t match strong to delicate. At a party, seating your shy friends with your other milder temperament-ed friends is probably a good idea. Pairing a big, powerful, personality with a shy and introverted one, would mean the bigger personality totally swallowing up the smaller one! And so it goes, pairing a big, powerful, high-alcohol or high-tannin wine with a light, delicate dish (and vice versa) is rarely a good idea.
2. An acid (tongue) can liven up the party. It takes all sorts to tango, and at a party it is such fun to have people around, blessed with quick witt, dry humor and an “acid tongue” so to speak to have the crowd in stitches. Well true of wine as well. There’s no better quality in a wine for matching rich, creamy or cheesy sauces, deep-fried foods or fish dishes as an acidic wine can. People tend to be wary of the acidic wine/tongue like a Sauvignon Blanc or a Muscadet, but hey, it takes all personalities to tango!
3. Talkers go with listeners. The talkers pair well with the listeners. This is a no-brainer. A good listener will keep a good talker happy for hours. With food, tannins pair well with fat. Wines that are high in tannins will go well any day with greasy food because the astringency of the tannins cuts through the viscosity of the fat.
4. Follow the don’t-upstage-the-star rule. If you are inviting one LIFE-WIRE to your house party who loves to entertain, do not invite another who requires the spotlight in as great a measure. Your house will probably get trashed by one trying to out-do the other.. and your guests caught in the cross-fire! With wine, if you have an amazing bottle of wine you want to show off, especially an older vintage – they tend to be more subtle, less flamboyant – don’t serve a wildly complex dish with it. A simple dish will allow the wine to be the center of attention!
So, here we are , at SAGE again.. one of my favourite fine-dining restaurants with all my favourite people, A lil Fat Monkey, AWOL, FBB and Aly. Marian Eu (on behalf of Pernod Ricard) invited us, to the Wyndham Estate Wine Dinner at Sage and we gladly accepted.
Wyndham Estate is a leading winery located in the Hunter Valley, in New South Wales, Australia. It was founded by George Wyndham who came to Australia in 1827, and planted a vineyard around his home, Dalwood, in the Hunter Valley.The winery won four gold medals, seven silver medals and two bronze medals for its wines at the 1982 International Wine and Spirit Competition in England.The company is now owned by Pernod Ricard Pacific (once known as Orlando Wyndham wines).
We were here tonight to try out four distinctively different wines, paired with dishes prepared by Chef Daniel of Sage and his crew.
Just a quick note on the BIN wines.. why BIN? What’s that all about?
The BIN range is Wyndham Estate’s most famous range of wines with Wyndham Estate BIN 555 Shiraz as the flagship wine of this 180-year-old winery. It has won more than 200 awards since the 1986 vintage and it’s the most popular Shiraz sold in Australia.
The correct origin of “Bin” lies in the 19th century practice of British wine merchants who would buy and import in barrel or cask, mature as necessary and bottle for their own brand or for their private customers. After bottling, the wine was “binned”, hence the expression. Private customers had a “Private Bin”, and bins were numbered consecutively.. 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on.
Australian winemakers adopted Private Bin numbering as a means of identifying their wines. Over time consecutive numbering was replaced by sequences considered memorable, and Private Bin was abbreviated to Bin (e.g. BIN 707, BIN 555, BIN 888, BIN 45, etc.)
We were lucky that night to have the award winning Chief Winemaker Nigel Dolan of Wyndham Estate Australia, himself, showcase the Wyndham wines. (His C.V. is attached at the end of this post).
First up was the Seafood Platter paired with the George Wyndham Semillion Sauvignon Blanc. The seafood platter was served as hors d’oeuvres that circulated the room and the wine that it was paired with was a lovely fruity white. The George Wyndham Semillion Sauvignon Blanc when seen through the wine glass, is vibrant and pale green in color. It is a rich, flavoursome wine with tropical and citrus characteristics and a balanced finish. Its tropical notes complemented the seafood platter very well we thought.
Our starter for the night was the Trache of Buri Fish with Avruga Caviar and Japanese Herb paired with the Wyndham Bin 222 Chardonnay.
This Chardonnay, upon inspection, had the color of pale straw with a green tinge to it. This was a more complex white than the first, with hints of vanilla, and lemon. These characteristics of the wine tempered the buttery Avruga caviar to perfection and brought out the oceanic flavours of the Buri Fish. Incidentally I just learned that good quality Caviar NEVER tastes salty. High quality Caviar processed in the “Malossol” (Russian for little salt) style does not have a salt taste at all. It has a consistency of butter and melts in your mouth.. yum!
Royale of Abalone with Sea Scallop and Yuzu Citrus paired with the Wyndham Bin 222 Chardonnay.
Pairing the same wine with Abalone and Sea Scallop, I felt more of the oak nuances of the wine shining through. The creamy texture and balanced acidity of the Wyndham Bin 222 Chardonnay made this seafood soup a pleasure to eat.
On to the reds..
Smoked cooked Venison with Veloute of Mushroom and Foie Gras paired with the George Wyndham Cabernet Merlot.
This wine is the color of blood! It is deep crimson red and has the aroma of plum and spice. Upon tasting it – grape tannins, subtle vanilla and berries. However, upon tasting the George Wyndham Cabernet Merlot with the venison and foie gras, the tannins and spiciness disappeared leaving just a nice, short after-taste of berries. I liked this wine because it tempered the gaminess of the dish very well.
Mango Sorbet .. the palate cleanser.
Wagyu Ribeye with Truffle mashed potato and natural jus paired with the George Wyndham Shiraz.
Picking the most ‘dense’ wine for the dense wagyu was a match made in heaven.
Shiraz wines are often powerfully flavoured and full-bodied. The George Wyndham Shiraz was no exception. It had the color of dark cherry with rich purple hues and had the spiciest bouquet of all the wines. The dense fruity taste really brought out the aroma of the truffle and wagyu while the strong tannins in this red, cut right through the richness of the beef. This wine was super luscious – just like the dish!
Roasted Fig Tartlet with Vanilla Ice -cream.
Finally , a delightful dessert of Roasted Fig Tartlet with Vanilla Ice -cream had us clutching our stomachs in satisfaction. The night was over, but our love affair with Sage and the Wyndham wines will continue .. for a while yet.. for sure.
Thank you Marian, Sage and Nigel Dolan for the chance to participate in this awesome dinner:)Add: Sage,
The Gardens Residences,
(same side as Isetan)
6th Floor, The Gardens,
Mid Valley City,
Lingkaran Syed Putra,
59200 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 603 2268 1188 (Menu price RM288.00 nett per person) Google Maps
About Chief Winemaker Nigel Dolan:
Dolan is considered wine royalty in Barossa Valley, South Australia. He has won many awards – two prestigious Jimmy Watson trophies in 1992 and 2003 among them – and has been named 2009 Australian Winemaker of the Year by Winestate magazine.
According to the magazine, Dolan is “a master at producing reds with a beguiling mix of elegance, complexity and intensity …”
Wyndham Estate in South Australia is where George Wyndham planted Australia’s first commercial Shiraz vineyard in 1830. Dolan, who joined Wyndham Estate in 2007, is understandably excited about the winery’s strength of brand and its commitment to the wine as a specialty: “It’s great to be involved in the evolution of the wines, and bringing my views about the importance of regional expression with such intensely flavoured wines.”
Dolan himself comes from a family with wine-making pedigree in South Australia. His father, the late Brian Dolan, forged an illustrious career as a winemaker, running the Saltram and Stonyfell estates, and his son considers him his mentor.
Dolan, who graduated from Roseworthy College with a Bachelor of Oenology, began work as an assistant winemaker at Seppelt. After 10 years, the senior winemaker and winery manager moved over to Saltram. Then he took over Group Red Winemaking at Fosters, a massive and complex task, before coming to Wyndham.