First Adelaide Top Rank Wines Dinner a hit

The Real Review’s first-ever Adelaide event took place finally (after two postponements!) on March 16, at Herringbone restaurant.

This sold-out dinner featured 12 top-rank wines encompassing some of the most exciting varieties from a span of regions across Australia and New Zealand, a range of styles and producers, from the biggest companies to the smallest artisans.

This sold-out dinner featured 12 top-rank wines encompassing some of the most exciting varieties from a span of regions across Australia and New Zealand.

All 12 wines were gold ribbon award winners, that is, they scored at least 95 points from The Real Review tasters. They were matched with an outstanding menu, which was complemented by Herringbone’s service and ambience, which could not be faulted. We hope to be back some day.

On Arrival

O’Leary Walker Drs’ Cut Reserve Riesling 2017

From a single vineyard in the Polish Hill River subregion owned by two Adelaide cardiologists, the doctors’ cut is a steely, early harvested, ageworthy style of riesling that is dry and minerally, highly appetising now and promising to age superbly for many years.

Pressing Matters R69 Riesling 2017

This Tasmanian, from the Coal River Valley, is a semi-sweet style which proved a good foil for the O‘Leary Walker. A total contrast in style and origin, it was highly fragrant and deliciously juicy. The rieslings were not accompanied by a course but quite by accident, this wine proved an excellent match with the spicy scallop dish that was served next.

First course

  • Whipped cod roe and potato crisps.
  • Baked scallop, nduja, soubise, smoked paprika.
  • Cured ocean trout, turnip, soy, fermented horseradish, pickled wombok, toasted buckwheat.
The wines

Xanadu Reserve Chardonnay 2018

A wonderfully intense grapefruity style of regional chardonnay, which went superbly with the cured fish and the whipped cod roe à la taramosalata. The Gingin chardonnay clone was strongly evident in the focused intensity of the wine. Chief winemaker Glenn Goodall simply cannot put a foot wrong.

Orlando Lyndale Chardonnay 2018

The Orlando brand has been revived by owners Pernod Ricard and this excellent Adelaide Hills chardonnay sourced from Woodside and Piccadilly Valley represents the pinnacle of their white wine craft. Also good with the dishes described above, although the scallop dish, spiced with paprika and the Italian sausage, nduja, would have been a better match with the Tassie riesling.

Second course

Organic Barossa duck and pork neck terrine, salsa verde, dill pickles, cured yolk, crostini.

The wines

McWilliam’s Single Vineyard Tumbarumba Pinot Noir 2018

McWilliam’s have made a big effort in recent times to source grapes from cooler climates for table wines that suit modern tastes, and this was a finely structured, aromatic, cool-climate high-altitude pinot that was a fine choice with the terrine.

Rockburn Eleven Barrels Parkburn Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019

A darker, more powerful style of pinot, typical of Central Otago, was also good with the food and was one of the stars of the night, although a few of us thought it would have been even better with a fraction less oak. A selection of the best 11 barrels of wine sourced from the Pisa Range/Lowburn subregion.

Henschke Johann’s Garden 2017

The big grenache content of this classic Barossa blend (77% grenache, 19% mataro, and just 4% shiraz) meant that it was right at home alongside the pinots. Light, fragrant, aromatic, low-tannined and succulent, it was a lovely early-drinking red. It was up against a lot of more expensive reds on the night but was right at home.

All three wines went well with the terrine.

Third course

Bultarra organic slow-roasted lamb shoulder, baba ghanoush, sweet-pickled lemon, radicchio salad, candied walnuts, local pear, marinated chevre, vincotto, fried potatoes, garlic, rosemary.

The wines

John Duval Annexus Mataro 2018

This is only the third vintage of this limited production Barossa mataro from a single vineyard in the sandy-soil Light Pass district—a dry-grown, centenarian vineyard. The wine was one of the stars of the evening: powerful, profound, earthy-mineral and very complex.

Chapel Hill House Block Shiraz 2018

Like the Duval mataro, this was a most impressive wine that was dark and brooding and full of mysterious depths that promised to age long-term and keep unfolding more delights as it ages. Chapel Hill continues to be a McLaren Vale standard-bearer.

Taylor’s St Andrews Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Undeniably cabernet, from the Taylors St Andrews Clare Valley vineyard, a wine of intense blackberry and blackcurrant flavours with well-harmonised oak which drinks well now and shows every indication that it will age long and gracefully.

All wines were right in their element with this outstanding dish of slow-roasted Flinders Ranges saltbush lamb, especially the shiraz and mataro.

Fourth course

18-month-old Parmigiano Reggiano, Kangaroo Island honey, fresh focaccia.

The wines

Yarra Yering Dry Red Wine No.1 2018

This was voted the wine of the night by quite a few people. A gorgeously elegant, pure-fruited, seamless blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec and petit verdot, it clearly demonstrates how Sarah Crowe has polished the iconic gem that is Yarra Yering, so while the wines are softer and finer textured with less oak and less extraction, they will certainly age as well as ever. A wine of unforced beauty.

Haan Wines Merlot Prestige 2017

A sumptuous merlot that shows what can be done with this fickle variety when grown in the right place and handled appropriately in the winery. The vineyard is on the low-vigour, low-yielding sandy soils of the Barossa’s Light Pass district and was full-bodied, fleshy, fruit-sweet and plush, an exemplary merlot. Both wines were superb with the cheese—but then, aged Reggiano goes well with just about any red wine.

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