Sipping & savouring a Vasse Felix lunch at Alyn Williams
The proof is, as they say, in the pudding. In our canapé, starter and main courses too at the Sip & Savour lunch with Vasse Felix which I presented at Alyn Williams earlier this month! What better way to show off Margaret River’s famously elegant, food-friendly wines.
When in Margaret River, shellfish – whether western rock lobster from the ocean or freshwater yabbies – are the order of the day, so Alyn Williams came up trumps with crunchy crab tubes/celeriac canapés for our classy aperitif, 2013 Vasse Felix Sauvignon Blanc Semillon. And with its subtle touch of barrel and skin contact for savoury complexity and depth, celery and caraway meringue/walnut crème worked well too. Though I pounce on this wine when Waitrose runs one of its periodic 25% off deals, I suspect I won’t be making these intricate canapés at home!
When I interviewed Chief Winemaker Virginia Willcock a couple of years ago for Wine-searcher, I wasn’t in the least surprised to learn that this Western Australian pioneer of funky Chardonnays has a savoury, not sweet tooth. When I asked her about a wine and food match she found hard to resist she shot back “great funky, mushroomy chardonnays, and mushroom risotto with truffle oil.” Which made it very easy for me to propose our starter of Caulifower cheese/Orkney scallop/winter truffle – a creamily textural, earthy concoction which played along perfectly (if I say so myself) to the funky tune of 2013 Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay. With fresh, well-focused acidity, it also served as a brilliant palate cleanser between mouthfuls.
But it got better. I’m not a meat eater, save for when I’m on wine and food matching duty and, I confess I was glad to be on duty so that I could enjoy the sublime, deep savoury connection between 2010 Vasse Felix Heytsebury and braised shin of Hereford longhorn/creamy grains/Roscoff onion/baby chard/pickled mustard seeds. Right up Virginia’s street!
Vasse Felix don’t export their dessert wine but the 2013 Vasse Felix Cane Cut Semillon marks a departure of style in favour of a lower alcohol (10.5%), lighter (128g/l residual sugar), fresher wine. A freshness which met with much approval, especially when paired with Yorkshire rhubarb upside down cake/yoghurt sorbet.
Like the sound of that? Next month (20 April), I’ll be presenting another Australian wine and food matching tasting over dinner at Le Pont de la Tour and, in June, I’ll be co-presenting a Sip & Savour lunch with one of Australia’s leading winemakers (in fact, the winemakers’ winemaker), Louisa Rose of Yalumba. Why not join me?