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.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Voyager Estate Tom Price wine at The Butcher's Table - stunning!

March 22, 2018 - My Wine Sifu had been expressing a need to feed his inner carnivore and bust one of his magnificent wines for the occasion. One of the Boys had said that the Rib Eye at the Butcher's Table was top rate so I figured it would be worth the booking to try. We had to juggle dates due to the BT advising that renovations were being scheduled across our March dates, but eventually a collectively convenient one was determined and the countdown began. Pre-order was the usual crispy knuckle to which we added the rib eye medium rare, and we would add other BT delights once we arrived (for my earlier report on the Butcher's Table click here>>).

I had earlier shared info with Sifu on the Voyager Wine Estate dinner at Stoked (which he was not able to attend) and he shared back that he had bought a bottle of the Voyager's Tom Price on a visit to the winery in Margaret River in Western Australia. It seemed like serendipity - the fates were indicating it was time for it to be tasted. Yes. No argument here.

The Kiwi's beautiful Domaine Du Pegau - silky and sweet
For a change, we arrived bang on 7.30 and both Sifu and long term squeeze Lucy were seated and ready for the off. I had brought a Wirra Wirra Lost Watch Riesling secured from a previous wine dinner along with a 2011 Domaine Du Pegau CdP given me on my last birthday by the Kiwi a.k.a. Doc Wine to compare with the Tom. Normally I like to share wines given me with the people who did the giving. But I had nothing else on short notice in the wine fridge that seemed appropriate. Sorry Doc - will open something appropriate at our next get together. 

We cracked the Riesling to whet the throat and figured foodwise to start with the steak and then move to the knuckle and have some salad to go with everything. Also to start, we ordered some of the legendary Siew Yoke to whet the appetite and let the salt skin give some counter to the tickling acidity of the Riesling. 

I thought to start with the CdP which in retrospect was…  not wrong, but it would better have paired with the knuckle. As it was, the rib eye came to the table and…  yeah, should have opened the Tom and poured both. Didn't think - bit tired, I guess…

For me the steak did not stun. It was tasty enough but seemed to lack sufficient balance across the fat, sear and meat. It was also a shade cool. Notwithstanding, the Pegau CdP was magnificent, all blush and bloom and blowsy, like a cancan dancer in full flight. Perfect balance across fruit and tannin, and full powerful mouth of dark sweet honeydew plums and damsons leading to a rich full and long finish. Ticked all the boxes, this one. Beautiful drop of wine. 

In contrast, the Pork Knuckle was magnificent, all taste and meat and crisp crunchy salt skin and making for a perfect mouthful of meat, fat and salt crunch. It was superb with the last of the CdP and for me was an excellent match.

The Tom had remained unopened at this time. There was some debate as to whether to open it, given the lateness of the night and the fullness of the belly. But open it we did. And boy, what a wine… that rich chocolate mouth you get with the top end grapes, silky sleek in the mouth and a finish that lasted a week. Simply one of the better Cabernets I have tasted across my twenty two year wine career (call 1996 as the start). Ranks well up there with the Mitolo Serpico and the Joseph Phelps Cabernets - would happily buy this wine and lock it away. 

The Rib Eye - pretty good, but wasn't fully stunned...
This is not a wine one gets to taste every week. It came in a spanky box with a fold out info leaflet which I'll repeat verbatim:

The Fruit
Being able to grow fruit for a Tom Price wine is a wonderful challenge for a viticulturist. I have the exciting and enjoyable responsibility of singling our pockets of the vineyard for special nurturing as Tom Price blocks. Though not every vintage ensures a Tom Price wine, seasons like 2004 make all the years of effort worthwhile. 

The early season was blessed with good rainfall which allowed for excellent soil moisture and budburst was even with a bright green leaf colour superior to anything seen before on your vineyards. When the rains fell away in early October the vines were were well set up for uniform flowering. The weather conditions in the ripening phase were outstanding, with a classic warm and dry "indian summer' lasting well into April. Our vineyard techniques didn't skip a beat and the result was fruit harvested in optimum condition with perfectly balanced flavours and ripe, super-fine tannins.

26 year old original Estate vines have provided the fruit for this wine. The fruit was handpicked and hand-sorted before being crafted by the winemaking team over a number of years into the wine that it is today. Meanwhile, my team and I are waiting patiently for another 2004

The 2004 Tom Price - stellar...
Steve James, Viticulturist

The Wine
At Voyager Estate we have always maintained that great wines are made in great vineyards. In reality, however, when considering how rare wines such as 
Tom Price are made, it is a combination of several factors that all come together at once, a very exceptional event indeed. It takes phenomenal vintage conditions, excellent vineyard management and careful winemaking to make a wine we deem worthy enough to be considered a Tom Price wine. On these rare occasions, when all the factors do align, we simply give the fruit the lead and act as the caretaker, thus allowing the wine to evolve from its natural origins.the

The fruit components for this wine were divided into two batches that were fermented n open and upright fermenters with regular pump overs or plunging for soft extraction. Fermentation was conducted with small amounts of the 796 Bordeaux yeast strain at temperatures around 30 degrees. Ferments lasted as long as 21 days, after which one component was pressed, while the other was left on skins for further texture and tannin modification. The two wines were inoculated for malolactic fermentation and then transferred to barrel for 24 months. Two years later, the wine that emerged for bottling was a true reflection of the fruit that started it all.

The 2004 Tom Price Cabernet Sauvignon has been a delight to craft. It will age beautifully and reward those who join it on this journey.

Cliff Royle, Senior Winemaker

So - it is a Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.2 alcohol harvested across27 March to 2 April, had two years in 50% new and 50% old French oak, bottled on 30May. It is a deep brick red, with an abundance of dark, juicy ripe fruit on the nose (think mulberry, blackberry and cassis) which combine with dark chocolate and soft, integrated French oak. Chocolate and sweet on the palate, where dark fruits dominate this juicy wine. Soft finish with velvet tannins that belie an underlying power that should allow cellaring for up to 20 years. A classic wine made in an old-world Bordeaux style. Again, all this came from the blurb. And it says pretty much how it tasted. Sweet, lush, fruit. Stellar stuff. 

Butcher's Table Counter - Mr Ho is centre
It's going to be tough to try and outdo the Baron and his wine on this showing. Only regret is not having opened it first - it would have been stellar with steak (though as said the beef on this occasion was a bit below expectation). I was going to bring one of the wines we had bought at the Voyager Estate dinner; glad I didn't - they were nowhere near the calibre of Tom. Margaret River was never quite on the bucket list of wine regions to visit. It is now. Anyone got any 2004 Tom Price they need to unload?

Butchers Table
26 Jalan SS2/103
47300 Petaling Jaya
Selangor DE Malaysia
Tel:  +6 03 7728 2843
email: mybutcherstable@gmail.com
Facebook: The Butcher's Table

Opening Hours
Tuesday to Sunday
11.30am to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm

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