7.53am Brookhollow, Houston, Texas, USA
Sunday, 27th September: Austin Rewind
This was my third visit to Austin and our first consumer wine dinner. Boy did we get set up well! Mirabelle restaurant, charismatic chef/owner Michael Vilim, and their crew have the reputation of putting together the best wine dinner in town. And “let’s get right to it” (as they say around here in Texas), that reputation is well deserved. These blokes at Mirabelle are a machine! Everything just happens, and as the wine speaker you just have to duck and weave around them and let it happen! It was a genuine pleasure to work with these folks, and we have already made the decision that this will now be an annual event ongoing.
Now for the details. It was a stinking hot Sunday afternoon, and we had 60 people hiding out with us inside the Mirabelle, starting off with just the right refresher, and then it just rolled on – as you can see:
- The snap crackle & pop citrusy (I have no reference for the appearance – Captain Colourscheme, the young winemaker from home, usually does the colour references) 2008 Y Riesling with Thai Pickled Shrimp Fresh Rolls with Jalapeno glaze was the early warning for folks that they were in for a bit of a different experience this dinner
- The baby exotic 2008 Y Viognier with Spicy Fish Cakes & Nuoc Cham Sauce (fish sauce with cilantro, or fresh coriander as we know it)
- The smooth as silk 2008 Wild Ferment Chardonnay with Casoulette of Clams with Lemon Basil Chive Puree
Then the main events! I have pictures of these, and I wish I could do scratch & sniff panels with a camera as well, as this style of cooking that incorporates the Southern or Tex-Mex method and ingredients is every bit as aromatic and exciting as the Asian influences we have at home.
The 2007 Bush Vine Grenache slid in and around Navajo Crusted Boar with Guajillo Butter, Green Chile Polenta, and Poblano Corn Salsa. Now some explanation for the folks not in the Tex-Mex know. Navajo crusted means using a combination of sesame seeds, pine nuts, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, cloves and a secret ingredient toasted and put through a coffee grinder to lightly crust the boar fillets – which I will tell you literally melted in your mouth! Guajillo butter is the red sauce looking base in the photo, and it is made from a larger chilli that’s used for its flavour and not much heat. The green chile polenta is the soft mash that holds the whole thing together, with the roasted corn sitting on top. Special!
Then the two Cabernet Shiraz blend goodies, little brother 2007 Scribbler and big brother 2004 Signature were like bookends for the Beef Tenderloin with Ancho Fennel and Aged Gouda Butter, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Braised Swiss Chard and Sweet Onion Viniagrette.
I have to be honest, I was pretty much talking non-stop on the night for each wine and then around the tables, so I never even saw the dessert – as it was vacuumed off the plates so quickly! It was Vanilla Gelato with Cajeta Cake, Almond Croquant and Mission Fig Coulis. It was served with a frosty cold glass of our Museum Muscat – which converted a lot of folks to old Australian fortifieds in a heartbeat!
All told, a lovely introduction for Yalumba to a nice big chunk of Austin’s wine drinking folk, and we couldn’t have asked for a better partner in this particular Texas culinary two step! And gals – check the picture of Michael Vilim – master chef – see what I mean! That’s one date on our dance card that’s set like jelly in next year’s calendar. Wine dinner at Mirabelle, Austin. Check!