If you are a follower of this column you will know that each year my partner and I help organise a fundraising dinner and auction for the Suter Art Gallery. This year one of the auction items was a luncheon at a beautiful home overlooking the Mapua estuary with wines provided by Brightwater Vineyards and a couple of treats from our cellar late in the afternoon to end the luncheon.
Hosting the event was a joint venture between us, Hugo and Sue, the home owners and Gary and Valley Neale from Brightwater Vineyards with Sue cooking the main courses and with two of the five courses provided by us. Obviously Gary and Valley provided a range of wines to compliment the food.
The eight people we hosted made a very generous contribution to the Suter at the auction and while great food is guaranteed we made sure we served really interesting wines; last year the guests compared the same wine bottled in two ways, 750 ml bottles and magnums while this year we looked at different vintages of wines paired with the food.
However before we got serious about the wines we entered into the spirit of the dress theme chosen by the guests, 1960’s Mad Men. When it comes to the 1960’s there weren’t many great wines available in this country so we started with a wine that was normally chosen for the bottle (to be used as a candle holder) Mateus Rose! I must admit the wine wasn’t as bad as I expected but it certainly wasn’t the highlight of the luncheon; that title went to the Salmon Timbale with avocado and grapes paired with two vintages of Brightwater Vineyards Nelson Riesling, 2005 and 2012. Both wines were fantastic and each offered different complexities that enhanced the food.
The main course pairing of Poussin (baby chicken) stuffed with chestnut, mushrooms, apple, celery and brandy with Brightwater Vineyards 2012 Lord Rutherford Barrique Chardonnay and Brightwater Vineyards 2010 Lord Rutherford Pinot Noir wasn’t far behind the salmon/Riesling match.
After the first dessert of slices of fruit cake with blue cheese and the medium style Brightwater Vineyards 2011 Lord Rutherford Pinot Gris we had a second dessert of stem ginger cake with a couple of treats from our cellar, a 1977 Graham’s Port and 2005 Johanneshof Botrytis Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc blend.
The ’77 port was as close to the 1960’s we could get and the Johanneshof wine is special in that it was harvested at record brix (sugar) levels, it is now very dark, rich brown in colour, is syrupy in texture with deep, luscious flavours. In fact it is so intense a small half bottle was more than enough to satisfy 14 people, the port on the other hand came from the vintage regarded as the best from the last century and one bottle wasn’t enough so we had to open a second from the 1999 vintage before our happy guests reluctantly climbed into their taxi.
On a final note, the home has a delightful outdoor shower that was just too tempting for one guest, I think they enjoyed the afternoon as much as we enjoyed hosting it.