Shadowfax Wine Dinner at Pello

By Franz Scheurer

 

Last night we met wine maker Matt Harrop from Shadowfax Wines for a wine degustation dinner at Pello in East Sydney. The Shadowfax winery is in Werribee Park near Melbourne and sources the majority of fruit from their vineyards in Werribee, Heathcote, Tallarook and Geelong. The rest is bought in from small growers in the Adelaide Hills, Yarra Ranges, Beechworth and Geelong. Their winemaking philosophy is careful site selection and keeping yields low to let the terroir speak for itself. Matt loves stems and likes whole-bunch pressing and this is reflected in the wines. Shadowfax uses screw caps exclusively for all of their wines. If you’re in the area drop in and have a look at their funky, modern cellar door facilities and food store. You might want to make a weekend of it by visiting one of the many nearby attractions, like the Werribee Open Range Zoo, the Victorian State Rose Garden, Chirmside Mansion and formal gardens and the Werribee Park Sculpture Walk.

 

The evening started with a ‘Sweetcorn Soup with Basil Crème Chantilly’ accompanied by a glass of Chandon NV Brut. Someone in the kitchen has been to Claude’s judging by the Parmesan wafer on top of the demitasse. A ‘Roast Marron, Seared Scallop, Pea Veloute & Shellfish Oil’ paired very well with the 2004 Shadowfax Pinot Gris. The marron was juicy and cooked to perfection and the scallop beautifully sweet with the star anise and amaretto notes in the oil holding it all together. The Pinot Gris is made in the Italian style: spicy and textured, albeit with a little more residual sweetness. Matt tries very hard to keep any colour out of this wine and due to his fining techniques the familiar pink Pinot Gris tinge is totally absent from this wine.

A superb ‘Vanilla Smoked Barramundi, Celeriac & Apple Remoulade, Mustardseed Dressing’ was lifted by the 2003 Shadowfax Chardonnay. The Chardonnay is quite light in colour, a blend of regions with 30% from Beechworth and the rest made up with fruit from Geelong and the Yarra.  Malo is kept to a minimum leaving it with both buttery and green apple flavours and the wine spent some 11 months in French barriques after natural fermentation using wild yeasts. This is a very pleasant drink indeed and should come together even more in the next year or so. A plate of ‘Spiced Duck Leg, Roast Breast, Foie Gras Tortellini & Orange Sauce’ went well with the 2003 Shadowfax Pinot Noir, a young, vibrant and fruit-forward wine with a touch of stalkiness. I particularly liked the idea of the ‘spiced cumin’, the idea of a spice salt/aromatic sugar followed through with all the dishes. The ‘Roast Venison Leg, Parsnip & Hazelnut Puree, Barberries & Chestnut Mushrooms’ convinced both with its colour and texture. A terrific piece of New Zealand venison meat, it was perfectly presented. Alas the match with the 2002 Shadowfax Shiraz did not work very well, as the Shiraz, a rather one-dimensional and dare I say almost insipid wine, was not up to the strong flavours of this dish. The meal finished with a ‘Pink Grapefruit Granita with Peach Salad’ and a stunning ‘White & Dark Chocolate Teardrop with White Peppercorn Ice Cream’ accompanied by a 1999 M. Chapoutier Muscat Beaumes de Venise. I would like to take this opportunity to thank chef Thomas Johns for a terrific effort and Matt Harrop for showcasing his wines.

 

For more information:

Shadowfax Winery and Vineyard

K Road

Werribee VIC 3030

Tel.: 03 9731 4420

 

Pello

71-73 Stanley Street

East Sydney NSW

Tel.: 02 9360 4640