The de Vine Wine Club at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort once again achieved the (almost) impossible, in bringing the ‘world’s best Semillon’ to the McGuigan Winemaker’s dinner on Friday, March 16.
At the beginning of the evening, president of the de Vine Wine Club, Ranjith Chandrasiri, advised the members that since there were eight wines available, this was the equivalent to more than one complete bottle of wine per person, and caution was advised for those in charge of motor vehicles. A very responsible attitude being shown by the president.
The Australian winemaker McGuigan’s was represented by Nicholas Yap, the export manger for Asia Pacific, who advised that the winery had been going since 1830 and then spoke on the Bin 9000 Semillon 2006, which at the International Wines and Spirits competition in London, was voted ‘The best Semillon in the world’. This wine is in very short supply and Nicholas Yap informed the members that there are only 100 cases of this wine left in Australia, and none in Thailand. President Ranjith also advised that the bottles of this wine for the wine dinner were hand-carried in from Australia.
Siam Winery was the sponsor of the event, and although not a wine, their Gerolstein sparkling mineral water deserves a mention. A really refreshing mineral water and worth looking out for. With so many wines that evening, the Gerolstein was a very welcome (and sobering) addition.
The reception area was packed, as these wine dinners are always fully subscribed, with the members meeting up again while enjoying the McGuigan Private Bin Chardonnay 2010. A very pleasant drop which was universally popular, a situation that is quite rare, with wine appreciation being such a personal experience.
On being seated, the first course was a poached Boston lobster tail with a lemongrass jelly and balsamic cream. Once again a wonderful dish from the Royal Cliff’s executive chef, Walter Thenisch, a chef who never ceases to amaze, with the range of dishes he produces, and never repeats a dish. This was taken with a Tempus Two Chardonnay 2010, with the grapes grown in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. The motto of the Tempus Two winery is “Beautiful wines for beautiful people!”
The next course of a pan-seared Pacific scallop topped with pink peppercorns on a herbed risotto and coriander foam was served with two wines, a McGuigan Shortlist Riesling 2009 and the award-winning McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon 2006. For me it was no contest – the Semillon beat the Riesling hands down, and most of the wine club members agreed, some even saying they would have preferred to stay with the reception wine, rather than the Riesling.
The next course was a boneless quail filled with foie gras, cranberry and pistachio on grape stew. A brave choice by Chef Walter, with quail not being a common dish these days. It was taken with the McGuigan Private Bin Merlot 2010, a very pleasant drop indeed.
The main course (of five) was a coffee and pepper crusted Australian prime beef tenderloin with a mushroom-potato gnocchi and shiitake jus. To again allow direct comparisons, two reds were served together, a Tempus Two Cabernet Merlot 2010 and a Tempus Two Pewter Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 which came in a magnificent bottle with an embossed pewter label. The artistic bottle won that contest for the vast majority of diners.
The main course is served.
The final (dessert) course featured a raspberry cream cheese mousse, orange cake, Grand Marnier soufflé and yoghurt praline ice cream. Washed down with a McGuigan Black Label Sparkling Chardonnay NV this was a very fitting end to a rather special de Vine Wine Club dinner. As Nicholas Yap said in his address, the de Vine Wine Club wine dinners are now famous throughout Asia, and he was just so grateful that he had been able to experience one – and he could now see why they were so popular.
With some of the McGuigan wines available “cut price” after the dinner, many members were buying as many as they could. Unfortunately, the Bin 9000 Semillon 2006, the best Semillon in the world was not available!