7.09am, Salt Beach near Kingscliff, just south of the NSW – Queensland state line, New South Wales, Australia
Blue skies, the fishing boats are heading out early, and it’s going to be a nice day. The wild turkeys are poking about in the grass just back from the beach, and we’ll be off shortly, heading north to the Gold Coast, first stop for us this trip in Queensland.
We had a top day in Byron yesterday, with our very capable man in the Northern Rivers area – Frosty (the Big Dog!) – organising a trade lunch at St Elmo. This is Byron’s first true wine bar, with more than 30 wines available by the glass, and with Christian the chef doing what he does so well – it’s become THE hot spot in town very quickly. It gets dark quickly at this time of the year, and with its soft lighting and half the walls and windows being glass panels, St Elmo becomes a bit of its own beacon after about 6pm.
On the day, we were doing the Cabernet Shiraz story featuring the 2008 Scribbler, 2006 FDR1A, 2005 Signature and 2004 The Reserve – and Christian, Adam (front of house) and Frosty conspired to do something completely different with the big reds. Two bottles of FDR 1A were volunteered to soak up some chickens for 36 hours, and the Coq Au FDR 1A was the result as the main dish – supported by caramelised onions, shredded bacon and roasted button mushrooms. A really strong dish, and held its own with any of the beef or lamb numbers that we’ve seen – and a complete contrast to the cold pressed corned silverside with a homemade corn and cauliflower relish that was the starter dish with the Scribbler. That was a bit like every best corned beef and pickle sandwich your mum ever made for your school lunch box! But with bright 2008 Cab Shiraz on the side!
We had a top group of folks aboard for lunch – from Byron and Lennox Head locals to the travellers from Georgies at Grafton to the south and Babalou in Kingscliff to the north. We’ve made a plan to have our first Yalumba consumer event in this region next year – probably in Grafton – and will make the Byron trade lunch an annual! Thanks St Elmo, thanks Frosty, and thanks to the Magic Hands Man – my back is coming good at a rate of knots!