Dinner, private dining room, meet the winemakers: that’s the kind of invitation a girl can’t refuse. Or my blokey plus one for the night for that matter.
2012 is going to be a cracker vintage, Stuart Blackwell predicted at BLACK by ezard for the St Hallett’s Cellar Session.
“This is the second time we’ve had Stuart and Toby – two most excellent guys I might add – unveil the new Blackwell and Old Block Shiraz (2010 & 2009 respectively) with us and as with last time both wines are right on point. The find of the night, for myself anyway, was the 2009 Old Garden Grenache. A wine I’d never tasted before and one that ticked two boxes for me: great interplay of spice and fruit for interest and freshness for pure gulpability. Tough to put down.” Josh Fraser Wine Director The Star later told me.
I’m with him on that, but I was also very taken with the St Hallett Eden Valley – 2011 is quite different from the previous vintage (both delightful in their own ways.) 2011 light and crisp, playful and herbacious. An indication of the selected blend of seven vineyards.
BLACK by ezard was a great venue choice for the night, with a very classic menu to support the wines. While I’m usually a natural girl, the yuzu and wakame jelly enhanced the Pacific pleasure. A great piece of steak is just what we want to match a big Barossa red: signature grill smoked the sear yet didn’t take through so didn’t take over. Just so so right! As was a hint of cumin. And to finish, two fantastic cheeses: Cabot Clothbound Cheddar and Old Telegraph Road Fire Engine Red.
Stage 2 of my St Hallett winetasting was at the Sydney Good Food Wine Show. Standing next to me was Reed and Judy Walker. We’d only just met. When I asked them if they had been to the St Hallett cellar door the newlyweds nodded in unison; “We did.” Then in the heat of a Barossa Valley summer, Reed disclosed he preferred the Frivola. Now in the Sydney winter, the three of us let St Hallett’s Luke Tyler pace us through more reds.