Ron Batori from Bangkok Beer and Beverage was one of the sponsors of the recent deVine Wine Club dinner at the Royal Cliff. Promising a night of gastronomic food with Wolf Blass wines, the members and friends were not disappointed.
To describe the wines themselves, Wolf Blass had on hand Stuart Rusted, one of Wolf Blass’ winemakers who has been selected as one of 50 international winemakers to take part in the Ningxia Wine Challenge running in China from September 2015 to September 2017, and this has provided a unique insight into China’s emergence as a wine producing nation. Also on the international front, Stuart has recently returned from California, where he spent the 2016 harvest making wine in the Napa Valley and Paso Robles. Spending a season in the vineyards and wineries of California has given Stuart a deep understanding and appreciation of wines from this part of the USA.
Stuart also let the members and guests know a little of the difficulties that can occur with winemaking, starting with harvesting the grapes, which can have only a one week window. “If you get it wrong, you have a year before you can try it again,” said Stuart.
Stuart also mentioned the founder, Wolf Blass himself, and his predilection with the color yellow, and hence the fact that we were to be tasting five Yellow Labels, matched up to the courses that evening.
As always, the food was under the control of Executive Chef Walter Thenisch, who continues to amaze everyone with his mastery of the kitchens. It would be so easy for Walter to re-run some menus from some time ago, but he does not. Dishes are always new.
We began with a seared yellow fin tuna loin, confit fennel and meyer lemon on aragula cream sauce. This was taken with the Chardonnay Yellow Label Wolf Blass 2015. This wine was very well appreciated by the members, many of whom were obviously Chardonnay fans. (I was even informed by a British tourist that many children in England have been called “Chardonnay”.)
The next course featured braised wild boar ragout in a red wine sauce on a Kashmiri saffron and celery root mousseline.
For this course BB&B put forward the 2015 Pinot Noir Wolf Blass Yellow Label, a more strongly bodied wine to match the wild boar, which it did perfectly.
After a sorbet of carrot and fresh ginger, we were served the main course, a roasted 65 day dry aged Charolaise beef rib eye, sautéed baby broccolis, beef marrow and morel sauce. Not many had tried a beef marrow before, so it was an interesting adjuvant to the steak.
The wine to go with the red meat was a red, a Shiraz, a Yellow Label Wolf Blass 2014. I found this a very pleasant and quaffable wine.
Interestingly, all the wines were on sale, with the price pegged at B. 980.
After the mains, it was a cheese board with a Tasmanian blue and Old Croc cheddar matched to the Cabernet Sauvignon Yellow Label Wolf Blass 2014.
Being rather partial to the Tasmanian blue, I savored this course.
The dessert was an amazing meringue hedgehog eaten with a Pink Moscato Red Label Wolf Blass NV. A wonderfully sweet dessert, but the Moscato was for me, unable to tie the sugar down.
Remembering, of course, that all wine appreciation is very personal, so feel free to challenge me at any time.
Interestingly, Australian winery Wolf Blass was named ‘Red Winemaker of the Year’ at the global wine competition, the International Wine Challenge. This was the third time Wolf Blass has carried off the award (2008 and 2013 previously).
Wolf Blass came out on top ahead of 15,000 entries from more than 50 countries, demonstrating the strength and consistency of Wolf Blass winemaking across wine styles.