Last night we had the Berton gourmet evening, and Paul Bartholomeus came over from Australia to host it. (Well there was also this little trade thingy he had to attend - LIWSF). Id been looking forward to this one for a while, as the wines are all top banana, but better than that they are all in the affordable bracket. Their top cuvee, the Bonsai Shiraz will be sitting on our list at around £60.
We kick started the evening with the Head over heels Sparkling Chardonnay. Fermented in steel tanks with oak staves to impart some oak character its made by the Charmat method. Think of it as a gigantic soda stream kind of thing and you arent too far off the mark. Stupidly I never actually tried this one, so not too sure what its like, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. For the starter we poured the Head over Heels Forgotten Riesling. This wine got its name because it was literally forgotten about when they were harvesting the vineyards and after a couple of extra weeks on the vines it had ripened up nicely, giving them a fairly high potential alcohol. The wine has a lovely character of citrus fruits, lime and ruby grapefruit with a green melon like finish to it. There is some residual sugar giving it an off-dry flavour. This was a really nice complement to the pork, cabbage verjus and foie gras.
The intermediate was a rose made from Sangiovese and Barbera (sounds like some funky 60's cartoonist). A lovely nectarine skin colour this had a beautiful nose of rosehips and cranberry. I kind of forgot to taste this one as well (wasnt on top form on Tuesday!). But I got loads of positive comments about this one.
Main course was paired with the Bonsai Shiraz. The name came around when a visitor to the vineyard jokingly asked them if they were growing Bonsai vines as the vines were quite stunted and low to the ground, producing really small intensely concentrated berries. I liked this wine, Ive liked it each time I taste it. When I was double decanting it earlier in the day it gave off a really powerful aroma of cassis, blackberry and that slightly menthol note that usually comes off Barossa wines. The Boss didnt really like this wine, but then Shiraz has never really been his thing, hes more of a Bordeaux variety kind of drinker.
Cheese was matched with the 2005 Reserve Cabernet from Coonawarra. The Terra Rossa soils of Coonawarra seem to be perfectly suited for Cabs, and this is no exception. Cassis, licorice, cinnamon spices and the ubiquitous eucalyptus notes all blend very well together.
We finished with the Raisined Semillon, another late harvest wine. Rich, sickly sweet, this went beautifully well with a date sponge, sticky toffee and iced walnut.
All in all a really good night, Paul was very entertaining, and everyone left nice and happy.