Wednesday night Vic and I were invited along to the Shaw + Smith Wine Dinner at the National Wine Centre. It was a pretty fitting time for wine, we’d just spent the public holiday down at Sea and Vines but with Shaw + Smith we jumped to a new region: The Adelaide Hills. I’ve been to a few events at the Wine Centre before, for product nights and for charity lunches, but this was my first time going along to one of the wine dinners.
The Shaw + Smith menu. Sashimi of kingfish canapé. Olives, dukkah, and olive oil & balsamic.
We started with a glass of the 2012 Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc and canapés. The sashimi of kingfish, with lime & fennel and horseradish gel, was really light and fresh. We got to have a quick chat before sitting down for the meal and the rest of the wine.
But before we get to that: the bread. It just kept coming, terrible for your hips but amazing for your stomach, taste buds, etc. We were given bread before every course, and while the bread itself was nice, the real reason we enjoyed it so much was because of the dukkah and the balsamic. The dukkah had a rich and salty flavour, and was made in house, and the balsamic was sticky and sweet. We were hoping that they sold them somewhere at the Wine Centre, but unfortunately they don’t.
Michael Hill-Smith. Flowers.
There were 9 people on our table, and I got chatting to the lady next to me, turns out she bakes gourmet pies and sells them at the Murray Bridge Farmers Market every Saturday. *Scribble, scribble*. It’s definitely added to my diary, and how could it not be. As soon as she started talking about rabbit, venison, and beef & Guinness pies I was already drooling.
There was plenty of time to chat at the dinner, and I can’t reiterate how much I love dining with strangers. It’s always interesting to get to know someone for a night, but it’s even better when you’re sharing food and wine. Of course in-between courses we also did a lot of listening, as Michael Hill-Smith took to the microphone to talk to us not only about the wines we we drinking, but Shaw + Smith, their history, and wine in general.
He was funny, and incredibly knowledgeable, it was one of those times where I just had to sit there and soak it up. One of my favourite things with wine (apart from drinking it) is getting to hear from someone directly involved with the wine or the wine making process, because this is usually where you get really see their passion. It’s the same with food, and getting to meet the chefs who create it.
Textures of rabbit. Roasted duck breast & confit leg. House made chocolates. Aged English cheese.
Of course, of course… then there was the food. The first dish (excluding canapés) would have to be my favourite. It was called Textures of Rabbit: with sage buttered gnocchi, jamon iberico, & mustards. The rabbit was delicious, not an inch of it was dry, and the potato gnocchi tasted like it had been soaking in butter for days (in a good way of course). I wanted every mouthful to last so much longer than it did. With the rabbit we had a 2010 Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay, and a 2006 Shaw + Smith Aged Release Riesling.
Our main was duck, cooked two ways. It was really interesting having the two pieces of duck on the one plate, each tasting completely different. The confit duck leg sat perfectly on the plate, but the moment my knife touched the meat it just slipped through, and the meat fell off the bone. With the duck we had a 2010 Incognito Pinot Noir and a 2010 Shaw + Smith Pino Noir.
There was no grand dessert, instead we had a selection of house made chocolates, and cheese. Both good accompaniments to wine. With this we had a 2009 Shaw + Smith Shiraz and a 2010 Pre-Release Shaw + Smith Shiraz. After the meal Phillip Pope, the chef at the National Wine Centre, came round to every table, happy to chat about the meals and how he created them.
Overall we had a great night, it was a good chance to try some wines, learn more about the Shaw + Smith winery, and meet some new people.
This was the first dinner of the 2012 Wine Dinner season. The next dinner with Henschke is already sold out, but there are four others. The wine makers involved are D’Arenberg, Charles Melton, Penny’s Hill, and Teusner.