Jul 072015
 

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Last Friday Aussie Wine Guy and his associates dined at one of Canberra’s prestige restaurants, Courgette, which is located on Marcus Clarke street in the city, provides a central and accessible location.  The establishment is well appointed with a relaxed but refined ambiance.

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Service was prompt and courteous, providing us with a superlative menu of options for our lunch.  The restaurant also has quite a formidable wine menu, although as a party on the whole we decided to leave the wine paring to our capable hosts.

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AWG decided, after much agonizing, on an entree of chicken liver parfait, brioche, quince onion jam, sultanas and winter flowers.  This was paired rather boldly with a Sauternes style Darlington Point botrytis Semillon, lusciously thick, viscous and sweet with just the right mix to compliment the salty, savoury tones of the parfait – an inspired paring which was the envy of the table.

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For the main, AWG went with Dutton park confit duck leg, red cabbage, parsnip puree, roasted chestnuts finished with a port and thyme glaze.  This was paired with an unsurprisingly refined French Grenache, which featured a slightly spicy aftertaste well paired to the delicious flesh of the duck leg; the port and thyme glaze providing the smooth flavour bite after bite.

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To finish up, AWG’s dessert selection was a serving of baked chocolate mousse, banana fritters, honeycomb with salty nutty ice cream.  This was paired with a tasty Italian dessert wine, consisting of the more unusual Carmenere and Oseleta grapes.  It proved to be an excellent companion to the sweet mousse and coolness of salty ice cream.

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The enjoyable lunch was the highlight of the week, no contest,  Canberra is blessed with an array of fine dining options, and Courgette proves to be a top competitor in the market.  The staff were exceptionally helpful and welcoming, the menu was simply delectable and the depth of the wine range very impressive.

One day, Aussie Wine Guy would love to return and place an order for a bottle of Chateau Petrus, which AWG understands is a feature of Courgette’s very well appointed and comprehensive cellar.

Lastly a big thanks to Mike H for taking the lead on booking a superlative lunchtime option.

May 202015
 

IMG_1666Sometimes it’s easy to forget there’s more beyond the bottle.  Aussie Wine Guy recently acquired a small cache of wine cases, and it reminded us of the art emblazened on the side of a simple case of wine and how elegant and refined  it can be..

We have an interesting collection of name brands; Penfolds, Jim Barry, Peter Lehmann in addition to some less well known names.  Of course now we have the interesting problem of what to do with these cases, but we’re sure it’ll be interesting!

Stay tuned for more.

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May 182015
 

A Degustation

On Friday Aussie Wine Guy and associates took lunch at Rubicon restaurant in Griffith, ACT.  We opted for a group agreed 4-course degustation which kindly evolved into a 5-course owing to dietary restrictions of one of our diners.

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The menu at Rubicon was as delectable as one would expect in a top tier restaurant.  Choosing between the entree and main options was a delightful but tough chore, however we decided on the following selection (pared with house selected wines in the table below).

  • Entree 1: North Atlantic Scallops, apple and lentil salad, bacon, shiso,
  • Entree 2: Pork assiette – belly with chilli lime caramel; rolled shin and boudin noir, crispy ear and herb salad
  • Main: Chargrilled beef fillet in bacon, charred asparagus, potato boulangere, horseradish cream, olive
  • Dessert: Poached quince, chevre Bavarian cream, caramelised sauternes jelly, peach puree
  • Cheese plate: selected cheese
     
Pizzini Pinot Grigio 2014
Lightfoot & Son
Myrtle Point
Chardonnay 2013
Domaine Joncier – L’o de Joncier Grenache 2013
Carmes du Rieussec Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion 2011
El Candado
Pedro Ximenez
Sherry NV

 

Entree 1 – Scallops

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A solid start, and the pairing with the Pinot Grigio was a superb way to cleanse  the palate.  AWG remarked at the time, that the Pinot Grigio was a remarkably underrated wine.

Entree 2 – Pork

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An outstanding second act paired this King Valley Chardonnay with an amazing pair of pork combinations – fatty and crisp and outstandingly prepared.  The Chardonnay bucked the trend of being overtly sugary, which made it refreshing and crisp a perfect combination to the savoury goodness of pork belly.

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Main – Beef

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Our main for the day was accompanied with a fairly obscure 100% Grenache from the southern Rhone.  The beef was served with an array of complementary flavours, from bacon to a fine horseradish cream.

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AWG had to do some research on the Grenache, and came across this snippet:

The Domaine Joncier L’O 2013 is actually a de-classified Lirac making it all the more exciting. Made of 100% of Grenache grapes picked at the beginning of the harvest, in a parcel over 45 years from Lirac. The harvest is manual, the yields are low, the vinification is natural and gentle but all this develop the intensity and the elegance of this wine. The total destemming allows very round and fine tannins.

Source: https://francaboutwine.com/product/domaine-joncier-lo-2013/

Dessert – Poached quince

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Dessert was a nice change of pace, stepping into the sweet, sweet world of after main dishes.  The quince was very nice and full of flavour, but the highlight could well have been the caramelized sauternes jelly coupled with the cream, topped off with a nice cold glass of Sauternes dessert wine direct from the Bordeaux region.

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Finishing touch – Cheese

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Finishing off our fine lunch was this cheese plate containing a variety of soft and hard cheeses.  This was paired against a glass of Spanish Sherry which the party remarked reminded everyone of Christmas.

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Summary

Rubicon is an excellent venue and the food, service and ambiance are amongst the elite in Canberra.  The food is but a part of the dining experience, it’s a truly enjoyable experience which is best enjoyed with good company.

Rubicon on Urbanspoon

Jan 142015
 

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At the very start of 2015, Aussie Wine Guy was a guest at regular contributor Ted’s wedding in Melbourne, Australia.  It was my honour to be responsible for the careful decanting of a precious 40 year old bottle of port from Rutherglen stalwart Stanton & Kileen.

The bottle had been bought for Ted by his father, when he was born (sorry Ted, it does give away your age!).  Needless to say, the task of removing the cork without tainting the bottle was not easy, but was managed very carefully with skill and focus.

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Aussie Wine Guy is proud to bring you these photos from the uncorking and decanting of the 40 year old port, courtesy of Michael Weinhardt photography, who were the official photographers at the wedding reception.