Meanwhile in the French Corner of Rozelle….

3.35pm, Monday 8th August, Shortland Esplanade above Newcastle Beach, Newcastle, New South Wales

Whilst I’m on a catch up roll, I’d like to rewind to last Thursday, and our Yalumba with The Wine Society dinner at this lovely little French corner of Rozelle on Darling Street – at “La Grande Bouffe”. All polished timber, wrought iron lights, crockery and cutlery laden antique oak sideboards, wooden bistro chairs and wait staff with authentic french accents – the Bistro thing here is very real. If in any doubt whatsoever, the first appetiser course of snails in garlic butter does the job!! Here are mine….served with the Yalumba 2010 Vermentino.Welcome to La Grande Bouffe and the wines of Yalumba presented by The Wine Society, with our charming MC Anna – recently seen in the Sydney production of ‘Calendar Girls’. I could tell almost immediately that we were in for another great night out!!

And folks, that’s exactly what transpired! Again I got so tangled up with talking wine – and theatre on this particular occasion due to the theatre strong nature of the group – around the tables, that I didn’t get photos of all the food courses. Sorry! But I think I got enough to give you the right tone for the whole thing.

With the 2009 Yalumba The Virgilius Viognier and 2008 Yalumba FDW7C Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, there was a choice of entrees. The richness of the two equal favourites were successfully sliced apart by both white wines – with the FDW 7C having just the slightly upper hand on the night with that touch of smoky oak over the top. Here are our two star entrees:

“Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Leek Fondue” and the “Twice baked Spinach, Caramelised Onion and Goat’s Cheese Souffle”. And for the record, as the souffles were put down onto the table in front of the happy diners that made that cheesy choice – yes! – they did ‘shiver’ on the spot!!

That’s the only course I have pics for, but let me list the 2 main course options that according to the folks dining – were the best dance partners for the 2007 Menzies Coonawarra Cabernet & the 2006 Yalumba Signature Cabernet Shiraz:

“Cassoulet of Duck” = for The Menzies
“Entrecote Steak With Sauce Bordelaise” = for The Signature

Then with the grand daddy of all Cabernet Shiraz blends right now from our house – 2004 The Reserve – was a selection of French blue, goat’s and washed rind cheeses.

As I said earlier, we had a host of theatrical folk along on the night, so I went off on a tangent for them, giving each wine it’s own individual ‘actor’ personality. Here’s a couple of examples. My current fave being the lean, muscular, attractive but a touch predatory in a magnetic way alpha male Richard Roxburgh….became The Signature – all primary fruit up front with a devastating palate steamrolling through behind. The elegant refined intelligent enigmatic statesmanlike Sam Neill became ….The Reserve…..beautifully integrated tannin and fruit with endless length unrolling in a memorable fashion, with just where it’s going to end not quite sure – but it will happen well!

You can see why we ended up staying out SO LATE on a school night!! So thanks to our man Michael Price for setting the whole event up, and to Anna for babysitting us from The Wine Society side, and we all made a pact to do the dinner again next year with the new vintages – and with a different country’s cuisine, done as well as head chef Robert Hodgson did the French world justice here. We got him out from his pocket sized kitchen for a chat and a well deserved curtain call at the end of the evening.

So I’ll make sure I check out a serious number of plays before next year’s dinner so that I can keep up with the conversation, and I’ll see you all then.

I’ll just hang my head out of the window and check out the surf at Newcastle Beach.

Pity I’m no good at the ‘Gidget’ thing, as the boys are out there catching waves right now.

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