8.23am, Warragul, Jewel in the Heart of the Gippsland Region, Victoria, Australia
We kicked off the Rare & Fine domestic roadshow last night at a litle place called “in2food” which you’l find in the main street of Warragul, right in the middle of the famous Gippsland dairy district – east of Melbourne. This restaurant is in the old masonic building and chef/owner Phil Wilson has given the place a really sharp burgundy and gunmetal facelift – and he was the boy that sent out the food matched to our wines that sent a bit of a good time ripple through Warragul last night.
Just before I go on – here’s the drum on Phil (with the great hair!). He was apprenticed to Guy Grossi at Melbourne’s Florentino, so when he makes his own pasta, you know he’s picked up all the tricks from a master.
The whole event was masterminded by the boys that own Press Cellars – fine wine independent operation – THE one stop wine shop in town, and that would be David Cann and Stuart Hay. Great local Gippsland selection, plus the interesting things in bottle from most regions of Australia. Now I’m going to have to fly here, as we’re due out in Hawthorn for a whiz bang wine lunch at 12 noon, so here’s the highlights for mine of what we saw on the plate and in the glass – whilst it’s all still fresh in my mind.
2008 FDW 7C – Teresa Heuzenroeder’s elegant Chardy from the Adelaide Hills with Prawn & Snapper Ravioli with Spanish Saffron Sauce & Sauteed Tiger Prawns. Homemade pasta wrapped around the fishy combo stuffing with chilli, coriander and dill added – in the reduced stock made with the bones from the snapper used for the centre – cream and saffron added = the sauce!
2006 Signature Cab Shiraz – try thinking a Cherry Ripe used to stir a well made cappucino and you’re on the track – with Confit Duck Leg with Purple Cabbage, Dried Fig & Red Wine Sauce. The leg was cooked off in duck fat with roasemary, sage and oregano for a couple of hours in the oven, and the caramelised cabbage and dried fig base was just as good as the meat shredding off the bone. Winner!
2006 Single Site Hahn Farm Shiraz – with Grilled Tasmanian Eye Fillet, New Season Potato Rosti, Forest Mushroom ragout , topped with truss cherry tomatoes. They say you can judge a chef by his sauces – well do not miss an opportunity for the mushroom ragout.
2004 The Reserve – with the cheese and more dried figs and quince paste to finish
And the full stop for the evening very nearly stole the show – 2009 Botrytis Viognier FSW8B – chill till frosty and enjoy.
Would rave on for ages about the lovely folks that came along for dinner, tried the wines, played wine options with the mystery wine being the 2008 FDR1A Cab Shiraz – the huge range of wine and Barossa and how we’re going in the overseas markets questions that we answered – but I have to get cracking along to the next job.
But we love Warragul, and I reckon on how no one wanted to go home last night when even the bottles were empty – that Warragul likes us a bit! Well our wines anyway!
Thanks Nick Brown, thanks Phil with the great hair, thanks Stuart & Dave – such nice blokes, and see ya next year without a doubt Warragul!