Friday, 23 October 2009
So, yesterday was all about Taltarni. Established in 1969, Taltarni is a founding winery of Victoria’s Pyrenees wine region. The picturesque 700ha property, was purchased by John Goelet in 1972 and released its first wine in 1977. Today Taltarni has 132ha of vines.
The Pyrenees wine district is one of life’s hidden treasures – the rolling hills, sweeping bluffs and gum trees create a beautiful landscape and a great place to relax. In local aboriginal dialect Taltarni means ‘red earth', describing the rich, red soil of the region. To read more about their vineyards click here.
We have been selling wines from this estate for nearly 15 years and there is now a huge following in Jersey. Our biggest selling wine out of everything we sell is the Taltarni Brut Taché Sparkling 2007 (The wine we celebrated with at our wedding nearly 12 years ago). We sell in excess of 15,000 bottles a year of this wine alone which is more than what is sold in the whole of the UK! That just shows how popular this wine is in Jersey. Arnaud described us as a 'Champion Seller' - what an honour!
After Neil's introductory welcome, Arnaud introduced himself and told us a little about the background of the properties owned by John Goelet. The first wine that we were to have with our starter of Roasted Goats Cheese with and Aussie Eggplant Relish was the Taltarni 'T-Series' Sauvignon/Semillon 2008. A recent addition to our portfolio, we just loved its fresh and lively attack with lemon, passionfruit and mango notes from the Sauvignon Blanc complemented by straw and guava flavours from the Semillon. The very easy, refreshing natural acidity was perfectly complemented by a well textured mid-palate which they gain from lees contact. These flavours and acidity worked very well against the goats cheese, cutting through its creaminess very well indeed. This wine, for the price (£6.95), is very impressive and many agreed. Not only is this wine great without food but stands up well to a complex palate of food flavours. Great start!
Taltarni T-Series Shiraz 2006 with this dish. Shiraz is a varietal with which Taltarni has excelled from the very start. This wine offers a soft Rhone style structure with deep colours, a vibrant assortment of juicy plummy fruit, and assertive but integrated oak. This is a quaffable red which is not hugely powerful, so it's perfect to drink with many different styles of food. The wine worked well with this dish, particularly with the pancetta, aubergine and pesto dressing. In fact, many noted that the wine brought out the lime flavours in the dish which was quite interesting.
Taltarni Heathcote Shiraz 2005 and Taltarni Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon 'Cephas' 2001 (not currently available on our site yet).
Sourced from a single vineyard, Taltarni Heathcote Shiraz is partially barrel fermented and matured for 16 months in American oak. It is crafted to reflect the distinctive style of the Heathcote terroir. We couldn't wait to tuck into the beautifully cooked duck, so inviting, so soft and flavoursome. The jus was stunning and added a slight sweetness to the dish which when paired with the wines really took them to a higher dimension. The Heathcote (one of my personal favourites) is rich with hints of sweeter red fruits, chocolate and vanilla oak aromas. It has exceptional structure and is very well balanced and everyone loved it. A lovely match with this dish.
The Cephas 2001, with 72% Shiraz and 28% Cabernet Sauvignon structure really, when I look back now, was the winner of the two wines. The room was almost equally split on which one was the favourite but I feel the Cephas did in fact have that edge, for a number of reasons. The Cabernet had really added to the structure and length of the wine as well as very smooth tannins on top of the body, richness and red/black fruit flavours from the Shiraz. In fact this wine was so fresh that you would be very hard pushed to guess the age if tasting blind. It tasted like an 04 or 05. The cellaring potential for this wine is therefore great and I spoke to Arnaud about Taltarni's library of wines dating back to the 1970's. Their wines are proving to age exceptionally well and Arnaud said how impressed he was when he was at Taltarni last year and had the opportunity to try some of the much older wines. I think I better check how many bottles we have left because it will be very interesting to keep a case or two to try this wine in another 10/15 year times and see what the result is. A mouth-filling, complex wine that also worked very well with this dish. A great success!
Domaine Pouderoux Maury Rouge 2007 from Arnaud's home territory, the Languedoc. It was a lovely match and a perfect end to a wonderful meal. Many people had never been to Danny's before and they were very impressed. Danny will certainly be seeing us again for food and wine dinner in the future. Huge thanks to 'Team Dunell's' for their professionalism and team-work and to Danny and his staff for making the evening a great success. Also, huge thanks to Arnaud himself for coming to Jersey to share his wisdom and expertise. He was a pleasure to listen to and we look forward to seeing him again next year. He has been really taken by Jersey and we are already planning a rather special event for next June. Watch this space! - Jane
UPDATE: Today we had the opportunity to try the wines from Domaine de Nizas with Arnaud and Neil was very impressed with them. Watch this space because we will be stocking some of these wines in approximately one month.
Thursday, 22 October 2009
The Gallimard Brut Cuvée Reserve (such a great small house Champagne) was a beautiful start to the evening and we all wondered outside to enjoy the warm (ish) evening.
After being seated in the wonderful Italian Room (always a favourite of ours for dinners) and the official welcome from Neil, Mel told us a little about her family and the winery itself. The winery was established in 1984 after 22 Hectares of prime Terra Rossa soil was purchased in 1974 by her father, Ian. In 1985 they won the Jimmy Watson Trophy for the best one-year old red wine in the Royal Melbourne Wine Show. So, they realised that there was massive potential and the winery grew to 100 hectares by 1987. In 2007, after the purchase of a further 24 hectares and the celebration of their 25th Anniversary, Ian's daughters, Kate and Mel came on board to work at the winery. They also run a very successful restaurant at the winery called 'Upstairs at Hollick'. It was actually the first winery restaurant in the whole of the Coonawarra! It sounds amazing with stunning panoramic views over their vineyards as well as into their barrel store. I would love to visit there one day!
The risotto starter (Risotto of Jersey Crab and Sweetcorn with Parmesan Shavings and Basil Oil) worked particularly well with both the Sauvignon/Semillon 2008 and the Chardonnay 2006 but my personal favourite of the two, with the food was the Chardonnay. The full and complex palate of fresh fruit and mineral notes compliment by a soft, creamy mouth feel really worked well with the creaminess in the risotto. A succulent and balanced wine with an elegant structure, fine texture and excellent persistence. No wonder James Halliday and Matthew Jukes love it so much.
Cabernet/Merlot 05 was complex and intense with lashings of sweet black fruits and chocolate notes. Its fine and velvety tannins combined well to give the wine a soft and lingering finish. It worked very well indeed with the food. We didn't get a chance to ask Mark, but it looked like the filling in between the meat and the flaky pastry was within a thin pancake, a technique I had recently seen on TV that helps to 'mop' up the meat juices and helps keep the pastry flaky. The technique certainly worked. Well done Mark and his team for a perfectly executed dish.
The straight Cabernet Sauvignon 04, my personal favourite, offered a wonderfully intense and vibrant mix of dark berry fruit aromas, laced with hints of mint and dark chocolate. This is a big, slightly more rustic red with excellent length and texture that worked so well with meat as well as with the creamy mashed potato. It was divine.
The Hollick Ravenswood 2002 was much anticipated with the cheese course (Gouda and Parmesan). A very classy wine that showed great depth of fruit and fine tannins especially against the parmesan and oat biscuit.Very complex and concentrated. We all loved it but it would have been great to have tried this against the beef wellington as it could have been a real stunner with the beef.
Hollick Botrytised Riesling 'The Nectar' 2008 was stunning with the Thin Crispy Apple Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream. It is not called 'The Nectar' for nothing. Its luscious palate of concentrated apricots, and citrus fruit mingled particularly well but I have to say that the brush of chocolate and the chocolate stick that accompanied gave the wine it's wow factor - even Mel was surprised at how it brought out the flavours in the wine. It was mouth-coatingly complex with a fresh and vibrant palate revealing undertones of lemon and mandarin. Yum!
All-in-all, a fabulous dinner with extremely enjoyable wines. Hollick winery has a wealth of talent for creating award winning wines from many different grape varieties. Having recently taken on a much larger range of wines from them, we very much look forward to their future vintages. This is certainly a winery to watch! Huge thanks go to Mel Hollick who not only was charming but enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable. She was a delight to listen to and we look forward to her visiting Jersey again sometime in the future. Also, thanks to Mark Jordan and his team for the wonderful food and to Sergio and his team for looking after the wines.
Friday, 16 October 2009
With the room filling up fast, it was time to settle at our tables. Neil introduced himself and spoke a few words about the Prosecco and the next wine, the Pieropan Soave 2008 whilst the staff busily brought through our first course - Seafood risotto with white truffle shavings and fresh pesto. The quality of the scallops in this dish was outstanding and the risotto was a beautiful consistency. The Pieropan particularly enhanced the scallop and had enough acidity to cut through the creaminess.
Neil then explained a little about the next two reds Ca dei Frati Ronchedone 2006 & Tenimenti Corvina/Cabernet Sauvignon Thesaurum 2006 we were to have with the Roast Rump of Lamb. It had been marinated in sage, thyme, garlic and lemon and served with slow braised Italian beans in a tomato broth. The Ronchedone was the clear favourite of the two with this well executed dish. One of Neil's favourite reds, it was clear to see why this why it is so great, especially with food. Great depth of fruit and perfumes of spicy red fruits that complemented the tender lamb and brasied beans very nicely indeed.
The reds carried through to the cheese course of Dolcelatte served with 2 different Italian pressed dried fig and almond slices and fresh figs. It is worth mentioning here that Jamie Racjan from Fungi Delecti supplied Feast with much of the produce used during the evening and it really showcased what beautiful foods he grows locally and imports into this Island. Well done Jamie! Click here to see more information on his company and his products. The creamy Dolcelatte was one of the best I had had for quite some time and the pressed fig slices were delicious.
After a few more words from Neil we eagerly awaited the dessert of Lemon Tart with passionfruit mascapone and amaretti biscuits with Maculan Moscato Dindarello 2007. The lemon tart was a dream with great pastry and light brulée topping which worked really well with the citrus notes in the Dindarello.
Kasia wrote "I would like to say a huge thank you to Motor Mall for putting on a great evening and for the fantastic feedback during the wine tasting. The event went very well indeed and it was great to see many surprised faces when they realised that a Tawny Port could also work well with the tart but undoubtedly the winner on the night was the Rietvallei Muscadel."