Match Made in Heaven: Spring Wines
The perfect pairing of food and wine can make for an experience that brings out the best in both, as Tony Cox discovers.
A recent tasting showcased the RSRV range produced by G.H Maison Mumm, with matching canapes prepared by gun chef Ryan Fitzpatrick of The Ohana Group, provided yet another reminder of how exhilarating the experience can be when you have the right combinations.
Each of the four Champagnes in the range is designed to celebrate the most celebrated Grand Cru terroirs of Champagne and Ryan matched the flavour profiles perfectly. To start, an Amuse of Fraser Isle Spanner Crab Remoulade with brioche wafer, green apple, French shallot and beach herbs prepared our palates and tempted our tastebuds.
Mumm’s RSRV 4.5 utilises only pinot noir and chardonnay from five grand cru villages to produce a wine of elegance and freshness with low dosage enhancing the cleanliness on the palate – in my humble opinion the drink of the four. To match, Ryan served up Noosa Half Shell Scallop Tartare with freeze-dried mandarin, speck, pickled eschallot, avocado, horseradish and local Macadamia. It was
a perfectly light start with the mandarin picking up the citrus tones of the wine; in particular, sweet citrus; a touch of fresh truffle on the top brought it back to earth.
RSRV 2012 Blanc de Blancs is, as the name suggests, 100% chardonnay, in this case entirely from the village of Cramant.
Whilst it is fresh and lively, the low pressure results in a lower effervescence, emphasises the base wine more; perhaps straddling the border between Champagne produced by the big houses and those made by growers where terroir is stressed more. This chardonnay wasn’t in the green apple mold; it had palate weight and persistent acidity to match the richess of Forage Farm’s Pork “Crackle” with braised pork belly, cider gel, chicharron, black garlic, grain mustard and parsnip. Ryan had cured the pork belly in a brine of juniper and fennel to pick up the tones of the wine and the addition of celeriac as a heavy root vegetable matched the terroir.
RSRV 2009 Blanc de Noirs is 100% pinot noir from a single village, Verzenay, and receives extended lees aging. It has a beautiful perfumed nose and still maintaining freshness and minerality. With the underlying profile of the base grape being red, it matched perfectly with red meat; particularly Ryan’s Maleny Angus Beef Braised with Onion Cigars, tomato chip, smoked Maleny Dairies Labneh and garlic flower. The extended aging gave it additional perplexity and palate weight which saw it stand up to the red meat exceptionally well.
The final act was the RSRV Rose Foujita, a blend of six Grand Cru terroirs with three pinot noir and two chardonnay, plus still pinot noir from Ambonnay utilised to generate colour. Rich, powerful, with time in oak for the dosage liqueur adding a delicious vanilla edge, we enjoyed it with a berry petit four; “Berries & Flowers” incorporated local berries and textures, elderflower, sable tart, candied mint and white chocolate Macadamia cremeux. The pastry and red berries picking up the vanilla and brioche tones in the wine.
These wines, whilst not readily available, represent a notable change in philosophy by a big house. They highlight the terroir of the Grand Cru villages, a philosophy employed more by grower houses and further south in Chablis and Burgundy. They are worth trying.
There are old-school rules for matching wine with food that generally say white wine with white meat such as fish and chicken; red wine with red meat. However current thinking tends to discard that and will instead look at intensity of the wine; a light red is suitable to go with fish and a good pinot noir with salmon or ocean trout can be a match made in heaven.
What is more relevant is enjoying the company of the people you are with and creating warm fuzzy memories. Although, the more wine, the fuzzier the memories…
Cheers and good drinking!