There's something about Autumn that wakes up our senses and reminds us to live... - Unknown
Another cold night in the middle of Autumn, the fire is burning and candles flickering...
The bubbles are poured and guests slowly start to trickle in.. the murmur of conversation thickens with each person and soon enough the room is a buzz with eager diners ready to "Fall in love with Orange".
The first wine of the night is the NV Cuvee of Printhie's sparkling range Swift. It is an easy to drink sparkling and pairs nicely to the two canapé courses of Baked Polenta, whipped cream cheese and basil pesto followed by the Cocktail Potatoes filled with crispy bacon, garlic mayonnaise and chives.
Guests take their seats and Drew Tuckwell, winemaker at Printhie Wines, is introduced to host the evening. Drew talks about Orange as a place to live and work and begins our journey through the wine matches which leads us into the entrees.
There were two entrees on the menu - the first a Hot Smoked Salmon, Avocado & Zucchini Terrine; black pepper Crostini paired with the Mountain Range 2013 Pinot Gris from Printhie. This wine had a beautiful minerality and crisp, fruity flavour typical of a Pinot Gris which allowed it to cut through the richness of the smoked salmon and the creamy avocado.
The Roast Cauliflower & Blue Cheese Risotto was a tasty start to the main meal and had a nice balance of both flavours and textures. Diners welcomed such a warming, comforting dish on an Autumn night like this.. (mmm blue cheese hahaha.. yep got it in there somehow!). Printhie's Mount Canobolas Collection 2013 Riesling strikes a balance of acid and sweetness, perfect for the saltiness of the blue cheese and creamy risotto base! The sweetness of this wine offset the sharp cheese, where the acid cut through the richness and complimented the dish well.
With palates well and truly awake.. it was on to the mains..
Keeping with an warming Autumnal theme the first main was Roasted Pork Belly, steamed greens, hot and sour Thai Broth.
"You can have a regular wine tasting any day..."
Drew Tuckwell, winemaker Printhie Wines
Drew and Taste.E wanted to throw a bit of an unusual pairing in the mix, challenge the diner's expectations... and that we did... with the Mount Canobolas Collection 2012 Shiraz from Printhie.
A pleasantly surprising compliment to the fatty pork belly and worked really well!
"There is a fineness and elegance to this wine that is almost the antithesis of Australian Shiraz. It is very reflective of the Orange region."
Drew Tuckwell, winemaker Printhie Wines
Fresh from the market that morning, The Crow Bar's fishmonger hand selected the fish for this course. The flavours of the Oven Baked Fish Fillet, potato cake, sautéed spinach, sauce verge were beautifully balanced and made for one of the dishes of the night! The firm fleshed fish carried the flavours of the dish well and flaked beneath your fork... yummmm!
A more traditional pairing was made here with the Mount Canobolas Collection 2012 Chardonnay. A textural wine with lovely mouthfeel and a varietal Orange is known for. The citric complexity of the wine paired well with the fish and fresh, herbaceous flavours in the dish to deliver a great pairing.
While we digested it was time for a bit of fun with the winemaker... and the Wine Option game!
Essentially, diners are poured an "unknown" or "mystery" wine.. (we were very stealthy about the whole process.. hiding under the bar decanting the wine into carafes ha ha!) and only one person (Drew, in this case) knows the identity of the wine. Naturally, this person asks the questions of elimination and still one person is left standing. The game started off quickly with key questions sorting the novices from the experts... we were left with two women standing (love it!). It was down to the wire and both kept answering the same... and on the final question they were divided and the crown was won!
She was presented with the bottle of the no longer mysterious wine:
Printhie's Super-Duper Syrah 2012
As everyone finished off the last of their mystery tasting... desserts were served.
A classic Lemon & Vanilla Panna Cotta with shortbread was paired with Printhie's Apres dessert wine. The intense sweetness of the Apres was balanced with the sharp lemon and the creamy silk that was the Panna Cotta.
TIP // Love cheese?!... yep neither do I... next time you have a little dessert wine left over.. (yea I know, like that happens!!).. put it on the stove and reduce it down until you have a syrup... drizzle it over your stinky blue cheese and VOILA... simple amazingness! Alternatively, drink it with cheese...
Last but certainly not least... the Bitter Chocolate and Orange tart with fresh cream. We paired this with the Swift Family Heritage 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz... my personal favourite. A fruity, elegant wine that delivers on complexity but has the benefits of the Merlot, blackcurrant smoothness... nomnomnom... The depth of this wine comes from the earthy Cabernet coupled with both barrel and bottle maturation periods...
It was a fun night with a lot of laughs, wine and food.... as promised!
We signed off the night with the Hamper giveaway, kindly donated by Orange City Council and Printhie Wines. The lucky winner took home a range of local Orange produce and a bottle of Printhie wine to enjoy!
After the draw, diners started to filter out into the night with smiles of their faces and a Taste.E glass in their hands...
Until next time,
Happy eating! x