A while ago, we were at Neo Tamarind attending Cape Mentelle’s wine pairing dinner.
We said yes immediately when the invitation came along as we have visited many vineries at Margeret River during our vacation at Western Australia last three years. As one of the great wine-producing regions of the world, Margeret River’s wine is something which we really enjoyed throughout the trip. The fortuitous marriage of world-class wines and fine, fresh produce make dining out in Margaret River a gastronomical delight.
Wine industry pioneer David Hohnen and his brothers Mark and Giles established Cape Mentelle Vineyards in 1970. Wine industry pioneer David Hohnen and his brothers Mark and Giles established Cape Mentelle Vineyards in 1970. The winery’s flagship Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced primarily from the original Wallcliffe Vineyard. While it is famous for its red, Cape Mentelle’s sister winery, Cloudy Bay, in New Zealand. Cloudy Bay won world recognition with its Sauvignon Blanc. Cape Mentelle meanwhile developed a stylish Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend that was to become another benchmark of the Margaret River region, and a Chardonnay sourced from vineyards outside the estate. Now Cape Mentelle is complete with both premium reds and whites.
Cape Mentelle’s Cabernet Souvignon is s now widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading cabernets.
Ashley Wood, the viticulturist of Cape Mentelle were there with us. He was born and raised in WA, growing up in the Swan Valley but subsequently move to Margeret River as he is passionate about the region and its distinctively high quality fruits. Upon completed his Bachelor of Viticulture in the NSW, Ash then spent 12 years working in vineyards in MR before joijing Cape Mentelle for their 2007 harvest.
He jokingly called himself the grape grower, but his job scope is not as easy as growing grapes on your own backyard. a Viticulturists play important roles in the production of wine, as the quality of fruits will greatly impact the quality of wine. He needs to have an extensive knowledge on soil type, diseases, pest, weather, harvest timing, etc. Not an easy feat!
We tried 4 variations that night – Chardonnay 2011, Cabernet Merlot 2010, Shiraz 2011 and Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. We also started the night with some Sauvignon Blanc Semillion 2012. It is a soft, light-bodied wines that are simple and fruity.
We found the steam cod a bit on the bland side. It will be nice if it is being lightly pan fried with skin-side down, until the skin is crisp and golden brown. However, the coconut herbs reduction is a fresh, nice change from the usual dressing. The chardonnay has a vibrant flavour of lemon curd, pears and citrus blossom. The mild acidity goes really well with seafood too.
Everyone enjoyed the roasted chicken very much. The meat was tender and juicy, and went really well with the slightly tangy apple sauce. The roasted garlic bulbs were excellent too, as I finished the whole thing! The Cabernet Merlot 2010 has a light hints of red fruits, aniseed and tobacco bouquet. It has a medium to full bodied palate with soft and elegant tannins.
I loved the roasted duck breast – cooked just right with soft, tender meat. The red cabbage puree had just the right amount of acid to cut through the duck breast’s richness. The Shiraz 2011 has a deep and penetrating aroma of rich blueberry fruits with plum skins, aniseed, black pepper and all spice. It is a wine of great depts which has mulberry and blueberry fruit supported by a touch of dark chocolate and liquorice.
It was great catching up with fellow food bloggers such as MissyBlurKit, AhBok, Wilson, FatBoyBakes, KY, Eiling after we went MIA from food related events for so long. We had fun trying out the varieties of wines and learning more about Cape Mentelle. It was a waste that we did not have enough time to visit their vineries three years back. Even the owners of the B&B which we stayed in highly recommended Cape Mentelle.