Sip, Swirl, Swallow!

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The Penfolds Collection 2017 The Penfolds Collection 2017

On Wednesday 22 November I was invited into Star City's Black Bar & Grill for a Wine Tasting Night. On show was the Penfolds Collection 2017. What a fabulous evening it turned into. Many thanks go to my supplier Comcater.

A daunting task for any chef is to match food and wine to compliment each other perfectly. This is made even more daunting when the wines in question are some of the world's best. You certainly don't want to have your food pale into insignificance against the matched wines, but on the other hand you also don't want to overstate the food so that it over powers the wine.

The General Manager of Food & Beverage at The Star, Andy North and his team did an amazing job, all evening.

Nothing disappointed and even the chefs dining at our table were impressed. Very impressed actually!

BLACK Bar & Grill

The Penfolds Collection 2017

SPANNER CRAB, wild rice, avocado
Penfolds 2017 Bin 51 Riesling

CRUMPET, smoked trout butter
CHICKEN SKIN TART, egg, caviar
Penfolds 2016 Reserve Bin A Chardonnay

TUNA, squid, asparagus, mustard
Penfolds 2016 Bin 23 Pinot Noir

STRIPLOIN wagyu MBS 9+, onion, potato, black pepper sauce
Penfolds 2013 Grange
Mystery Wine

CHOCOLATE and hazelnut delice, amarena, cherry sorbet
Penfolds Great Grandfather Tawny

Wagyu Steak in the pan at Black

On arrival we were served the Penfolds 2017 Bin 51 Riesling. It has been years since I drank a riesling and this wine was one of the standouts on the evening. Served at a perfect drinking temperature which brought out the fruit and enhanced the wine's bouquet the Bin 51 was ultra refreshing and a truly great way to start the evening. We continued to enjoy this wine until we were ushered to our table and through the first course.

The Reserve Bin A Chardonnay with just a hint of oak followed with the next course of Chicken Skin Tart. With this wine I was reminded why Chardonnays were all the flavour in the 1990's before the NZ sauvignon blancs took over the world. From this day on I am forever a chardonnay drinker, when I am not drinking a riesling that is, such was the quality of this wine.

The next course of Tuna held a great surprise, with the mustard added after the plate was presented to us in the form of a powdered ice cream. The Bin 23 Pinot Noir complimented this dish perfectly.

Penfolds Grange Hermitage

“2013 – Undoubtedly will soon be universally proclaimed to be a classic ‘Penfolds vintage’ … and indeed over time certified a classic ‘Grange vintage’!”

Peter Gago
Penfolds Chief Winemaker

The Grange Tasting was how this evening was sold to me and all of us looked forward to our first taste of this exquisite drop. WOW!

Matched perfectly to the Wagyu MSB 9+ with black pepper sauce the Grange had been double decanted during the afternoon to bring out all of the flavours.


"It reveals an incredible array of ripe black fruit, spice, meat and earth-inspired flavors, with a rock-solid frame to support this beauty (it should easily cellar for 40+ years!)."

Lisa Perrotti-Brown,
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

This is the third vintage of Grange to be awarded the maximum of 100 points, joining the 1976 & 2008 vintages.

Robert Parker is one of the world's most influential wine critics. A high score from the Wine Advocate can instantly boost a wine's reputation and, in many cases, its price as well.

The quote "Sip, Swirl, Swallow!" is attributed to Micheline R. Ramos, wine lover.

Wagyu MSB 9+ relates to the marbling present in the beef. Marbling is the visible form of intramuscular fat which appears as fine flecks within the muscle. The presence of marbling has a very positive effect on the eating quality of beef in terms of tenderness, juiciness and flavour. The grading scale runs from 0 to 9 and 9+ is the highest and clearly when cooked to perfection, the best.

The Mystery Wine of the evening was a Penfolds Bin 389, decanted once only from the magnum. According to Peter Gago, the best way to buy and drink any wine, or champagne for that matter, is to purchase it in a magnum. I think you still drink it from a glass, but he didn't specify that on the evening. The Penfolds Grange is a hard act to follow but the 389 stood up to the challenge.

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