A winemaker who only sells to hotels and restaurants, and not to the popular supermarkets, must be confident in his products. Meet Peter Papanikitas, a big Aussie with some big wines wearing the Stonefish label.
The Stonefish wines have garnered medals and plaudits from all over the world. In the first months of this year Stonefish has been awarded:
2013 Reserve Shiraz – Double Gold
2010 Cabernet Sauvignon – Double Gold
2011 Merlot – Double Gold
2014 Sauvignon Blanc – Gold
2013 Chardonnay – Gold
2012 Shiraz – Bronze
An impressive haul by any standards.
The Mantra restaurant in the grounds of the Amari has also had its fair share of awards, and came up with the great idea to combine a Wine Dinner featuring Stonefish Wines and some special food from Italian Executive Chef Maurizio Susan. Maurizio hails from Trieste, with his last port of call being Dubai, before joining the Amari. He is a chef who took a little time to settle in, but now has the Amari kitchens as his own personal fiefdom.
The Amari’s Italian Executive Chef Maurizio Susan.
The dinner began with a brilliantly presented Wagyu beef carpaccio taken with the Stonefish Cuvee Brut NV, from Australia’s Hunter Valley, one of the more famous grape growing areas. This was a very light sparkler and a great palate cleanser, getting us ready for the second course – a Salmon mi-cuit, a French term for semi-cooked.
The mi-cuit salmon was served on black tiles and was a new way to present an international favorite. This was taken with the Stonefish Sauvignon Blanc 2013 from the Margaret River in Western Australia. I have spoken before on this wine – just a superb drop. And mightily popular too.
The next course was, for me, the pick of the evening. Simply called a river prawn salad, it was unlike any “salads” I have had before, which you know is generally a bed of rocket lettuce, a couple of sad prawns and drowned in 1000 Island. This was nothing like that – Chef Maurizio presented the salad vegetables in a raw form maintaining taste and texture. Brilliant!
The wine with this was the Stonefish Chardonnay 2013, another from Margaret River and a good example of an un-oaked Chardonnay.
The next course saw us into the reds, starting with the Stonefish Merlot 2011 (another of the Gold medal winners) taken with a mushroom (Cepes) risotto. A good pairing with the wine having a long, long finish.
The main course was a veal tenderloin taken with the wine of the night – the Stonefish Reserve Shiraz 2010 from the famous Barossa Valley in Australia. This was a wine you couldn’t fault. If you like a good red, this is it! And likewise this was an excellent dish from Chef Maurizio, and another excellent pairing. Maurizio admitted that they had four tastings before coming up with the definitive menu, with this attention to detail providing the diners with an exceptional evening.
The always affable Kevin Fisher came dressed in full regalia including the ceremonial ‘skean dhu’ (dagger).
The dessert was a chocolate medley with 4,000 calories per spoonful, and this was taken with the very amazing Flying Finix Botrytis Semillion, a wine that has been a favorite of mine for the last three years. Peter Papanikitas informed me that this was the end of the stock, so if you like a dessert wine, do try this one. You will not be disappointed.
This wine dinner was exceptional. Good food, fine wines, and the additional factor of Peter Papanikitas being there in person to discuss the wines with the diners that evening.
Chef Maurizio presented the river prawn salad using raw vegetables in a form maintaining taste and texture. Brilliant!
Many restaurants and hotels are now stocking Stonefish Wines, including of course, the Mantra. There is also Bennett’s Wine Bar, a small place on Siam Country Club Road, near SP5 Village, which stocks a limited range of Stonefish wine (095 609 0384).
Mantra Restaurant and Bar, Beach Road (down from the Dolphin Circle), telephone 038 429 591, fax 038 428 165, [email protected] Open seven days, bar from 5 p.m., restaurant from 6 p.m. but 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. for Sunday Brunch. Secure parking within the Mantra car park.
The dinner began with a brilliantly presented Wagyu beef carpaccio.