PALE and slightly dry, the Yarra Valley Single Vineyard Section A5 Chardonnay 2015 is pleasant with floral and citrus notes, offering good natural acidity in each sip.
Describing Australia’s Yarra Valley, De Bortoli Yarra Valley chief winemaker and manager Steve Webber said it was one of the most exciting regions known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
“The Single Vineyard Chardonnay is very classic in terms of style and is quite elegant and minerally,” said Webber who was in Kuala Lumpur recently to hold guided tasting seminars and a wine-pairing dinner at Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur.
Understanding the white’s savoury edge, Le Meridien executive chef Antoine Rodriguez’s Slow-cooked Chicken Ballotine, Foie Gras, Fig Chutney and Walnut Crumbles fit the picture perfectly to offer harmonising flavours.
Rodriguez stayed close to the recommended proteins for the Yarra Valley wines and accompanying our entree – Confit Duck Pie, Baby Spinach, Pine Nuts and Filo Pastry, Labne – was the Yarra Valley Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2015.
With a complex bouquet of spice and Pinot aromatics, the medium bodied wine’s elegant texture offered good natural acidity and fine tannins.
Webber, who is married to Leanne De Bortoli, moved to the De Bortoli family vineyards in the Yarra Valley in 1989.
Together, they built a winery based on serious commitment to food and wine.
Having studied for a Bachelor of Applied Science in Oenology, his early understanding of horticulture and of wine industry innovation was from his late father, Ron.
This would follow by years of experience in the industry that brought an abundant of resourcefulness to his role at De Bortoli through a commitment to make great wines.
“We thought we were doing really edgy stuff in the early days of the Yarra Valley.
“But I think it was a steep learning curve. It takes a long time to understand the vineyards and the effort needed to reflect the site that you cultivate,” said Webber.
His innovation and wine-style development has earned him much deserved recognition including being awarded the 2007 Winemaker of the Year by Gourmet Traveller Wine.
He is also an active senior wine show judge and one of the leaders in the Melbourne Wine Show revolution as chairman of judges from 2008 to 2010.
Our next course at Prime Steak Restaurant was the Simply Charcoal Grilled 200 days Grain-Fed Sirloin Black Angus Dry Aged 21 days.
Served with roasted baby red potatoes, topped with comte cheese then roasted again until brown and crispy, the meat also had argula salad tossed with sea salt, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, roasted vine grape tomato and some Bearnaise sauce to complete the presentation.
The Yarra Valley Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 was chosen for the steak.
With its deep red with blue purple edge, from the De Bortoli “Winery Vineyard” at Dixons Creek, the grapes come from vines of more than 21 years old.
A sip reveals deep complexity as the layered tannins become obvious with sweet, dark and red fruits dancing on the palate.
“No matter how hard you try, the Cabernet Sauvignon won’t be hurried and in the last six months, it has just begun to soften, showing off its elegance and softness,” said Webber, adding that it was best relished alongside a handsome steak.
Personally, this magnetic red offered balanced acidity and smoothness that made drinking it a sheer pleasure.
Having to choose a favourite between the Cabernet Sauvignon and Yarra Valley Single Vineyard Section A8 Syrah 2012, which was next in line, proved difficult.
Webber said the single vineyard Syrah, selected for quality and typicity, are prized.
Taking on a garnet-like hue, the Syrah represents the pinnacle of Yarra Valley Estate as the grapes are carefully tended from the vineyard to the glass.
“Whenever people come to our winery, they cannot believe that from Australia, you can get wines of such character.
“Normally, the Cabernet Sauvignon is served last in a meal but we decided to do it differently here,” said Webber in reference to the Syrah being the choice for the main course.
The Soft Mascarpone Polenta with Onion Fondue, Smoked Paprika flavoured Fine Ratatouille, Roasted Spicy Lamb Sausage, and Soft Boiled Egg was a far lighter course than its predecessor and this worked to our advantage as the Syrah’s robust bouquet and flavour stood out prominently.
To bid adieu to the memorable night, we indulged De Bortoli’s Black Noble.
This luscious, complex and unique wine was awarded the “Best Fortified Worldwide” at the Hong Kong International Wine Challenge in 2015.
With an average age of 10 years, the amber and olive green hued Black Noble is a sweet medium bodied drink that was simply lovely with Rodriguez’s presentation of Warm Rich Sticky Candied Fruit and Sultana Raisin Pudding, Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, Cinnamon Chantilly.
Yarra Valley wines are distributed by Sunrise Wines & Spirits Sdn Bhd.
For details, call 03-6276 3993.
Reported by The Star