Have you heard of progressive dinners? That’s when you start at a particular location for the first course and then move on to various other locations for the other courses. I love the idea, so when I was invited to the Nepenthe Wines Food Journey dinner, I had to say yes! We would be visiting three different restaurants where the chef has hand-crafted a course to match a different Nepenthe wine. Only the location of the first meeting place was known – the other restaurants were a surprise!
Nepenthe is located in the cool heights of the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. In 1996, Nepenthe received approval to build its winery, only the second in the Adelaide Hills at the time. Since then, Nepenthe has expanded to four different vineyards within the Adelaide Hills with varietals such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Pinot Gris. We had winemaker Alex Trescowthick join us on the journey, talking to us about the wine along the way.
Enjoying the Nepenthe white wines
Our meeting place was at Solarino Restaurant at Howey Place off Little Collins Street. It was a cosy little restaurant and we were lucky it was a mild night as we had an outdoor table. We started off with some bread while we waited for the entrée to arrive.
The entrée was prawn and crustacean bisque risotto with pancetta wrapped scallops. The risotto was flavoursome and creamy and suited the pancetta wrapped scallops. This course was matched with the Nepenthe Sauvignon Blanc 2011 and the Nepenthe Pinot Gris 2011. As you would have heard me mention in my previous post Pinot Gris is one of my favourite varietals, along with Sauvignon Blanc.
Solarino: Prawn & crustacean bisque risotto with pancetta wrapped scallops – matched with Nepenthe Sauvignon Blanc 2011 & Nepenthe Pinot Gris 2011
The group then moved onto the next restaurant, Papa Goose, on Flinders Lane, for the main. We were brought small shot glasses of lemon, lime and bitters granita as a palate cleanser. I love frozen drinks, so I could have had a whole glass of it!
Papa Goose: Lemon, lime & bitters granita
We got a choice of either veal or duck for main course. Since I had a new found appreciation for duck from the Match Bar & Grill dinner, I chose the duck. It was two pieces of perfectly pink duck breast sitting on top of puy lentils, accompanied by a beetroot puree. The matched wines were the Nepenthe Pinot Noir 2010 and the Nepenthe Tempranillo 2010. I’m not much of a red wine drinker, but I found the Pinot Noir more to my liking that the Tempranillo.
Papa Goose: Seared Aylesbury duck breast, beetroot, puy lentils & walnut soil – matched with Nepenthe Pinot Noir 2010 & Nepenthe Tempranillo 2010
Enjoying the Nepenthe red wines
For the final dessert course, we moved to Collins Quarter on Collins Street. This place was very dark, so I have to apologise for photos! We had individual dessert plates with a vanilla pannacotta with mandarin jelly, white chocolate cheesecake parfait with confit cumquats and a white and dark chocolate truffle with honeycomb bavarois. Everything on the plate was so, so good, but the white and dark chocolate truffle ball was an explosion of amazing in the mouth!
Collins Quarter: Vanilla pannacotta with mandarin jelly, white chocolate cheesecake parfait with confit cumquats, white & dark chocolate truffle with honeycomb bavarois – matched with Nepenthe Late Harvest Riesling 2010
We also got a cheese platter with a goat’s cheese, a soft cheese and a hard cheese. Look at how the soft cheese is oozing! I’m not sure what the soft cheese was, but it wasn’t like a brie or camembert. While it was creamy, it had more of a mushroomy flavour. I kept eating it even though I was so full by that stage! The matched wine with dessert was a late harvest Riesling, which was only available at the cellar door. Late harvest dessert wines are usually sweet and thick, but the Nepenthe one wasn’t too sweet or thick so it went down easily.
Collins Quarter: Cheese platter – matched with Nepenthe Late Harvest Riesling 2010
Starting from 1 October and running until the end of November, Nepenthe Wines is running a promotion to take you on a culinary journey around Melbourne and reward you with some pretty great prizes. Once you register, you will be sent a food passport. You simply need to visit 3 of the participating restaurants and order a special $35 main meal, which comes with a complimentary glass of matched Nepenthe wine and you’ll receive a twin pack of Nepenthe wine, plus the Gourmet Traveller Annual Cookbook. You can find more details here.
Nepenthe Food Journey Passport
It was a great night of good food and beautiful wine!
Over & Out, April xx
April attended the Nepenthe Food Journey dinner as a guest of Nepenthe Wines and Australian Vintage.