I’m a novice when it comes to wine, but on occasions when my dining partner knows a thing or two, I’ll admit sipping the right wine with my meal makes the whole experience a lot better.  I leapt at Wine Selectors’ invitation to “The marriage of food and wine” event, firstly because I wanted to learn more and secondly because it was at Flying Fish, a restaurant I’ve been keen to try.

Our host for the evening was Chris Barnes, one of their wine selectors and by the end of the evening, our table was literally littered with wine glasses, a stunning sight.

Flying Fish

The first thing I got out of the Event was that older wine tend to be more complex and works better with stronger flavours, seems obvious, but so reassuring to hear from an expert like Chris.  The two white wines provided were:

2005 Chrismont Riesling: King Valley Victoria, crisp citrusy wine.
2010 Dandelion Vineyards Wonderland of the Eden Valley Riesling: intense lime and lemon.

We put the theory to the test with three starters of varying flavours, from light to strong:

Sydney Rock Oysters

Fresh shucked Sydney rock oysters with soy and ginger: soft texture and taste with a mild lift from the sauce.  And true, the 2010 Dandelion Vineyards Wonderland of the Eden Valley Riesling smelt and tasted lighter and worked with rather than against the oysters.

Cornet of Trout

Cornet of ocean trout tartare with chive creme fraiche: a tad more complex and a mix of texture but again, I thought it went well with the 2010 Riesling.

Duck Rillettes

Toasted brioche with duck rillettes and foie gra mousse: naturally the duck packs a punch but it’s accentuated even more by the foie gra.  Here, the 2005 Chrismont Riesling provides the depth needed to compliment the food, where I reckon the younger Reisling would have struggled for attention.

And of course, as explained by Chris, Riesling has been unfairly tainted as an overly sweet wine.  I see what he means, it always conjure up a ‘Blue Nun’ syrup impression for me.  None of that was present in these two delicious examples.

For my main, we had a choice of blue eye trevalla and duck breast.  After the duck rillettes, I reckon the trevalla might have been too light.  The Dutton park duck breast and confit leg pastilla with buckwheat, quince and pan juices was stunning; gamey, full flavoured with a lovely light soy after taste.

Here I couldn’t really choose between the two reds on offer:

2010 Riposte by Tim Knappstein No 1 Pinot Noir: Adelaide hills.  Full of fresh red berries and red cherries that used to grow in the district.
2008 Tarrawarra Estate Reserve Pinot Noir: outskirts of Melbourne, rich and full-bodied.

In fact, I narrowly preferred the 2010 Pinot Noir. For me, the strong berry flavours worked well with duck.  I reckon it will be stunning with a few more years.

Duck BreastFlying Fish Chips

And a well deserved, honourable mention for the chips, just the way I like them, thick with herb flavours and a liberal amount of salt.

Our dessert was a Cheese selection which again helped me to see how different flavours works with wine.  Our final wine was 2009 Coriole Vineyards Sangiovese Shiraz delivering delicious dark cherry, dark chocolate and nutty tannins flavours.  This was followed by gorgeous mini morsels of sweet which I must admit I just couldn’t fit in.

Cheese selectionmini dessert

I wouldn’t say I’ve become an instant expert on wine, but I think the Event has helped me to understand how to match my wine a tad better.  I also left with a greater appreciation of Riesling, that much maligned white, although I also have to admit, the whole experience has strengthened my preference for Pinot Noir.

Oh, and I loooove Flying Fish food 🙂

The marriage of food and wine experience was courtesy of Wine Selectors and the sweet people at keepleftpr.

About Wine Selectors: I always thought they were just that wine tasting company at the airport, but in fact it’s a business that is over 35 years old.  Airport marketing is just one part of their activities, it’s a wine club business, predominantly online.  They represent over 400 independent wine makers and deliver to over 200,000 customers Australia wide.

Flying Fish
21 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont
(02) 9518 6677

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