1.12pm, still at Auckland Airport, North Island, New Zealand
Just grabbed some lunch and back to finish off the New Zealand block of work with the two jobs from yesterday – a trade lunch and consumer dinner.
Our trade lunch was set up by the Auckland-based team at Negociants NZ , and we had 60 of the city’s trade and press turn up to Cibo for a very edgy four-course food adventure that chef Desma had put together with our wines. All the little brothers and sisters from the Y Series and the Barossa Edens were out in the courtyard for folks to try, and we held the big guns back for the sit down session.
Now I’m not much of a one for rare tuna, but I polished off every sliver of the opening dish – black sesame crusted tuna with watermelon plank, crispy duck salad and palm sugar dressing – that was sent out with the 2008 Virgilius Viognier. I need to have a rave here to go with my picture, as this was one of those “sometimes the wine and food just slide in and out, and you don’t notice where one starts and the other finishes ” moments. The soft creamy texture of the tuna and the fresh juice from the watermelon with the zippy coriander and the sweet duck chips were just the ticket for the viscosity and similar aromatics in the Viognier.
Go to Cibo and ask for the dish!
The other thing that Desma put together – to go with the 2005 Octavius Shiraz – was Roquefort with spiced sausage. It was a wedge of the cheese at just the right temperature, but the ‘sausage’ was actually made from dried figs and pistachios. Of course the combination worked with the smoky forward fruit and coffee mocha of the Octavius. Another win. It’s always a bit daunting for a restaurant to host the rest of the trade from any given city for one of our tastings, but Cibo ploughed through it all beautifully – both the front of house boys and the kitchen team outdoing themselves. Even the coffee was memorable! Thanks for a great day NNZ – Dale you chose well – and Cibo, and the Auckland on and off trade.
PS Just to prove folks had a good time, here’s (left to right): Noriyo from The Village Winery at Mt Eden, Gee Ling from the Soul Bar (where we did our last trade lunch), Roi from The Westin Hotel, me, and Tinna from NNZ
***Just for the pop music fans, remember David Bowie’s film clip for “China Girl”?? It was filmed in New Zealand, and Gee Ling in the photo right there, was the china girl on the beach with Bowie!! How cool’s that!!
Then on to the last job of the NZ tour – the folks at Glengarry’s have put a deli wine bar, Dida’s, into their HQ downtown Auckland store, and they have a purpose built events room along side for tastings and dinners. It’s flat out for the month of August, but we were lucky enough to get a run last night with a room full of interested folks – with the food done by in-house chef Vincent Marshall. That’s him in the picture in between offsiders Tony and Mereana, once everything was under way.
I have to say that once again we were staggered by how well the food matched up with the wines, and my picks were the pancetta wrapped prawns with pickled vegetable salad paired with the 2007 Eden Valley Viognier and the very surprising Parma ham wrapped gorgonzola dolce with PX reduction and poached pear alongside the 2005 Octavius. With a small dinner group of 30 people, we were able to spend a fair time talking to everyone, and on this occasion I think one bloke – lets call him the BBQ King – got in absolutely his 20 questions!! But it’s a good thing as it means folks were really interested.
Thanks Regan and all at Glengarry’s – we have a feature there right now out in the store as well – and we’d love to do it all again next time we’re in town.
So at the end of 11 days, I think it’s fair to say that we at Yalumba are still firmly involved in a mutual love afair with wine folk – both trade and consumers – from both islands of New Zealand. We have a lot to look forward to next year when we come back – learning to fly fish, the World Rugby Cup, bringing the 2006 vintage big reds to town – which will be a treat in itself – and eating our body weight all over again in the local sweets Perky Nanas (choc flake covered chewy banana fudge!) and raspberry chocolate fish and the best kept lollie secret in the country – RJs choc filled licorice logs. Why wouldn’t we all be lining up now!
So “me haere atu au” to everyone we’ve seen this trip …. which apparently is ‘Gotta Go’ in Maori … be safe, and we’ll see you when it’s 2011, or when you’re in the Barossa. Over and out and I’ll see ya when I’m back in the Big Brown Sunburnt Country next door.