Jul 222014
 

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Inside Sage Dining Rooms

Last Friday night, AWG and his darling wife were fortunate enough to be able to dine again at Sage Restaurant in Braddon, ACT. 

Since we last dined at Sage back in 2012, they’ve made a few changes, such as the introduction of a Chef’s Pick – 5 mystery courses from the menu.  Naturally, we opted for this option in addition to the wine paring option (for one).

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As the designated driver, AWG opted for a single glass of Burgundy (above) but sampled tiny tastes during the degustation.

Trip Advisor, at the time of writing, ranks Sage as the #1 restaurant in Canberra, and it’s hard not to agree.  The food is second to none, and the wine pairing by renown sommelier Abel Bariller is simply inspired.

Course 1 – Sugar Cured Ocean Trout, avocado, wasabi, olive, citrus

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Perhaps being the first plate of the evening left an indelible impression, this dish was a real triumph – great texture and flavours, complimented by being paired to a light French wine, which I think was a grenache gris (I forgot to note it down).

Course 2 – Butternut Pumpkin Soup, chestnut cream, parsnip crisp

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The next course was a delectable pumpkin soup, which had a beautiful silken texture, paired to a local Lark Hill chardonnay.  The soup was very well made, and a perfect addition to a winter menu, I might add!

Course 3 – Glazed Pork Belly, cauliflower, radish, green ginger wine

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Pork belly is my achilles heel when done right, and the craftspeople in the kitchen at Sage know exactly how it should be prepared.  This evening was no exception, the serving was succulent and juicy, and well met by a drop of Italian nebbiolo.

Course 4 – Pressed Lamb Neck, gnocchi, charred broccoli, quince, pecorino

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Our last savouriy dish was a very impressive serving of pressed lamb, perfectlly complimented with an arrangement of well thought out textures, particularly the gnocchi (an AWG favourite) which absorbed some of the strong flavours from the lamb. 

Does it get any better than this?  Perfectly paired to a surprise – a Brazillian cabernet sauvignon satin, which continued our ‘wine tour of the world’.

Intermission – Peach Sorbet with strawberry snow

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A customary palate cleanse arrived not long after, and we were treated to a lovely sorbet in chilled ceramic bowls. 

Course 5 – Caramel Popcorn Parfait, pickled blueberry, peanut, burnt butter snow

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To finish the evening, our meal was completed by a texture/flavour explosion of caramel, popcorn and peanut accompanied by a Rutherglen muscat.  The strong muscat sat perfectly with the sugary force from the dessert – a beautiful match both in texture and taste.

A big thanks to the management and staff at Sage for accommodating us at short notice.  We were very late in securing a reservation, and they were kind enough to fit us in.  Although it was a very busy night, the food, the wine and the service were top notch, and as always, we were impressed.

No doubt we will be back to Sage in the (hopefully) not too distant future.

Sage Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Jun 142014
 

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Aussie Wine Guy is blessed with generous friends who, from time to time, gift bottles of liquid gold – ice wine – mainly from Canada.

This bottle, from Canadian vineyard Rivière du Chêne is aptly called “Monde”, which translates to “world” in English.  This is a world-class dessert wine, and embodies all the characteristics dessert wine lovers cherish – layers of juicy fruit and a refined sweetness which doesn’t wash out the caeful fruit combinations.

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‘This brilliant sticky wine lives up to the vaunted expectations when it comes to one of Canada’s best exports.  Using Orrefors dessert glasses (pictured above), the wine produced a good viscosity on initial swirls in the glass, whilst producing a beautiful golden hue.

The first sitting, it was paired with home made salted caramel parfait which provided a salty bedrock against the perfectly crafted fruit combination of the ice wine.  Afterwards, we vulgarly finished off the bottle without any accompaniment because it was that damned good!  Highly recommended.

Jun 132014
 

Torbreck The Struie

Last month AWG hosted a rare dinner party, and decided that after a long wait, it was time to uncork this excellent offering from South Australian powerhouse winemakers Torbreck. 

The 2004 “The Struie” is an exceptional example of the quality you can expect from the Eden Valley region, which typically results in a cooler climate wine – and typically white wine at that.  What Torbreck have done with “The Struie” is to artfully blend fruit from both the Eden and Barossa Valleys, producing an outstanding finished product.

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Although this is priced and marketed well behind the formidable “RunRig” (Shiraz), “The Factor” (Shiraz)  and “The Descendant” (Shiraz Viognier) this wine is no slouch, especially after a decent spell aging in the Aussie Wine Guy cellar.  We estimate, we’ve had this bottle on hand since around 2008.

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Given a decent amount of time to air in a shapely decanter, we unleashed the full potential of the wine’s delicate but intricate bouquet.  A swirl in the glass produced a first (and subsequent!) taste of chocolate, cinnamon and licorice, and a tapered finish which lingered pleasantly.

This wine has likely more life left in it, but honestly you can’t go wrong opening it now.  Recommended drinking: now – 2018.

Jun 112014
 

St John's RoadA little while ago, we opened a very nice bottle of Shiraz from the Barossa valley which we’ve had sitting for a number of years.

The wine is the attractive “Julia” Greenock Shiraz from the St John’s Road vineyard.  Given the ten years of aging, we carefully decanted the wine into a Riedel decanter, as illustrated.

We paired this aged Shiraz to a meal of kebabs and mixed steamed vegetables, which is standard fare around our place these days.  The wine stole the meal though, as the thoroughly well rested tannins blended into a very well crafted Shiraz, for which the Barossa Valley is rightly known for.

I think it is fair to say that our patience (or lethargy) in getting around to opening this bottle paid huge dividends – the aromatic bouquet hung around the island bench and the decanter for any hours afterwards, I just wish we had a few more bottles in reserve!

Recommended drinking now.

JuliaGreenoch Shiraz