4.32pm, Saturday 26th June, South Cove, East Perth, Western Australia
Well folks, we finished the jobs for Perth last night, and I’m going to catch up all three events as the travelling roadshow gets washed, ironed, sorted and packed today.
Catchup Friday, 25th June: Consumer & Trade Dinner at Maurizio’s Restaurant, North Perth
I walked in yesterday to open the wines for the event and straight into a proper Italian restaurant where any English spoken is with a heavy accent. All of a sudden my hands took on a life of their own as my Italian side took over, and I fit straight in.
Once we were set up, owner and chief cook Maurizio pan fried half marron in olive oil, garlic and chilli and tossed them in pasta for the staff dinner. We were able to sit in and started the night exceptionally well ‘a la famiglia’. The canape this evening was a big one: a whole wheel of 36-month-aged Parmiagano Reggiano carved into small chunks to go with the Jansz NV bubbles. This was followed by a mixed antipasto ‘del mare’ plate of baked scallops, scampi and octopus terrine with the two 2008 Viogniers from the one vineyard: the Eden Valley and The Virgilius.
Then one of the more original dishes I’ve seen on this seven-week tour came out next with the 2006 and 2007 vintages of the Menzies Coonawarra Cabernet: a risotto made with the Menzies incorporated into the chicken stock and laced with fresh radicchio. This is something that Maurizio saw years ago as a youngster in Treviso in the Veneto area featuring a local red wine, and he’s done this version of it with ours.
We finished up with a surprise birthday cake of Tiramisu, and in the picture in the back row left to right is Nicola the front of house (just won best maitre’d in Perth at this week’s restaurant awards) , our gal in Perth Jackie, and Maurizio himself; front row trying to hide behind me is Lee – our head gal in Perth. Lovely way to finish up our whole tour actually – on a really sweet note!
Catchup Friday, 25th June: Twist Club Businessman’s Lunch at Chez Pierre, Nedlands
This is the sixth annual Yalumba lunch we’ve done with the Twist Club boys, and trust me, it is definitely one of my favourite jobs of the year – me and 45 business blokes – all with an extremely healthy interest in big red wines. It might sound like a loud, noisy, boisterous event – and you’d be right!
But the restaurant they choose always turns out some great food, we always make sure our very best of the reds are poured for lunch, the boys are an amazingly well wine informed bunch, and I save them some of my more interesting stories from the road, so it all seems to go very well! Bring it on for next year gentlemen, as I’ve promised to show them our new release 2006 Single Site shirazes as well. As my pick of the day, I went with the duck leg and layered potatoes with the treble of 2006 FDR 1A, 2005 Signature and 2004 The Reserve. Special!
Catchup Thursday, 24th June: Vintage Cellars Shenton Park Consumer Dinner at The Platform Restaurant, Woodside Plaza in downtown Perth
We’ve set up a great relationship with the Vintage Cellars folk in Perth, and Shenton Park is their flagship store with its special ‘downstairs red room’ – site of many Yalumba master classes over the past few years. This was our first consumer master class with Paul and the boys, and it was at Platform – a red hot and hospitable restaurant and bar around the back of the Woodside Plaza. They have an excellent canape/tapas menu and put together strong tasting plates to go with the 10 wines on for tasting. It’s one night when I should have taken my camera and didn’t – as even the individually skewered tempura prawns looked great as well as tasting the same. The wasabi & sesame crusted Tasmanian salmon wedges were spot on with the Viognier and Chardonnays, and the seared peppered tuna on zucchini & haloumi fritters held their own with the Cabernet Shiraz set, as did the mini beef mignons!
Great bar as well, if you’re looking for somewhere to hide from the manic get-out-of-the-city evening traffic – and nice folks at both the bar and stoves. Thanks to the folks from VCs, and also to Emma – our new gal on the sales team in Perth, from the Barossa actually – job well done!