Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Voyager Estate at Stoked - good!

March 14, 2018 - This was another email from Yin-How at Stoked alerting the world to a wine dinner that paired the Bertha delights with the latest offerings from Margaret River's Voyager Estate. 

The email actually told of two wine dinners on consecutive days, the other showcasing wines from Barossa Valley's Yalumba winery. We find that wine dinners on the bounce are generally to be avoided, since the system usually takes a day to recover and is not really up to scratch in time to appreciate and enjoy the second. We opted for the Voyager in memory of a delightful bottle or three enjoyed at lunch on one of the IWFS Ipoh trips - lush, velvet, potent and powerful beast it was. Totally memorable. 

Voyager Estate Export Director Fiona Findlay and the Lenglui
I had shared the email with my Wine Sifu, knowing he enjoys the good meat with the good wine. He was not able to join, but shared that he had visited the Voyager Estate winery and had had a well jolly time of things there. He gets around, does Wine Sifu. 

Yin-How's email noted that the wines of Margaret River have "been rightly regarded as one of the true pretenders to crafting authentic convincing Bordeaux style wines. While there is undoubtedly more dense core of fruit in wines from this region, the underlying mineral and leafy nuances are still present. Voyager Estate is one of the foremost established quality producers from Margaret River and personally, the Cabernet Merlot 2001 remains for me one of the best new world Bordeaux blends I have ever tasted, complex, cigar box notes mixed with pure cassis fruit and soft grainy tannins. We will taste the spicy, plummy refined Shiraz as well as their flagship Cabernet Merlot."

Cured Mackerel. Watermelon, Pesto
Which I think was the one we had had in Ipoh. Belter of a wine, and as Yin-How says, one of those that somehow sticks in the memory. Wines that would be served on the night were
Girt by Sea Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Girt by Sea Chardonnay 2016
Girt by Sea Cabernet Merlot 
Estate Shiraz 2013
Estate Cabernet Merlot 2012

Iberico, Asparagus, Parmesan
All wines would be specially discounted on the night as well. How to resist?

We arrived slightly late (as usual) at the Stoked. Everyone was sat with their aperitif wine, a charming Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend which we quaffed voraciously and cheered our table guests, one of whom would turn out to be Voyager Estate Export Director Fiona Findlay who would be our guide for the wines on the night. Hugely warm and full of stories, Fiona was a delightful companion for the evening. 

Lenglui later remarked that of late we seemed to be getting parked with the wine reps at the wine dinners we attended. I had not noticed it, but on reflection it proved true - we got sat with the people who were either making the wine or bringing it in. Possibly is because of this blog and the thinking being that I can get more detail and content for writing up the dinner. Never considered that I might garner a reputation for keeping this diary. There you go. 

Now nearly a month gone, I can't remember too much about the first few courses. I recall them having good tastes and matching the wines nicely, but the individual tastes and combos - gone. The beef was a standout - could really taste the age on it and the rich cheek busting jus, er, busted the cheeks and tongue nicely. Dessert was also a standout, with yoghurt and blueberry getting supercharged by the lime to lend a creamy citrus end to the evening. The Mackerel was a fishy basil bite somewhat both sparked and diluted by the fiery herbs and raspy watermelon, which equally diluted the light acidity in the mid bodied Chardonnay. And the Iberico felt a bit sad compared to the vervy servings Chef has produced on previous visits. Seem to recall a soft crust on the meat which did not quite do it for me. Can't remember the Girt by Sea Red, though there was none left in the glass. 

Dry Aged 60 day Sirloin
The wines were pretty much on point, and Ms Fiona talked well and not overlong about them. I recall enjoying the Semillon/SB as a very good and friendly ice breaker - a convivial wine perfect as aperitif. The Chardonnay had perhaps a shade too much power for balance, though perhaps needs a bit of time in bottle. Can't remember the Girt Cab/Merlot. One of those where taking notes seemed uncultured, especially sat next to the Export Director. The fact that we did not buy any of the whites is suggestive that they were not quite to our taste or value proposition. I tend to be very Scotsman in spending on the booze; Lenglui not so. 

But we did buy six of the Estate Cabernet Merlot, though in fairness the Shiraz showed better on the night. There was good fruit and solid power and just enough boldness to stand up to the full and firm aged meat and rich coffee tinted jus. To which the Maitake mushroom gave good earth and chewy bite. All smack and whack in the mouth from both food and wine. The Boys Club would love this one. Can't remember the Kelp paste.

The Cab/Merlot was softer and could not quite face down the beef. But we are not huge fans of the big and the bold (sounds like a TV series…) and the Cab/Merlot is a lovely wine that will match the home grilled steak. As said, we bought six which are now stored in the bathroom awaiting space in the wine fridge. I had planned to take a couple to a dinner with my  Wine Sifu the following week at the Butcher's Table (click here to read my report>>) - in the end I decided against; we ran into each other at a wine dinner in DC Restaurant with DC Vajra wines (report hopefully upcoming) where he said he would bring his big Voyager Estate Tom Price 2004 to try with the Butcher's Rib Eye - I felt the Cab/Merlot was a bit lightweight and would get sucker punched. Which proved right - see the above link. 

Blueberries Compote, Lime,
Yoghurt Ice Cream
Stoked Restaurant
T : +60320948262     M : +6012 2802948     
F : +603 20948264
E : yhwong@vintry.com.my                   

Voyager Estate Wine Dinner 

Marinated Pear, Lavender Honeycomb, Cured Lardo Potato and Roe Crispy Leaves and Sofrito 
Voyager Estate Sauvignon Blanc – Semillon 2016

Cured Mackerel, Watermelon, Pesto 
Voyager Estate 'Girt By Sea' Chardonnay, 2016 

Iberico Intercostal, Asparagus, Parmesan Veloute 
Voyager Estate 'Girt By Sea' Cabernet - Merlot, 2012 

Dry-Aged 60days Sirloin, Grilled Maitake with Kelp Paste 
Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot 2012 
Voyager Estate Shiraz, 2013

Blueberries Compote, Lime Zest and Oil, Yoghurt Ice Cream

Bailey’s Bon Bon Coffee & Tea

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