A Wine Pairing dinner: The Fish House and wines from K1 Vineyard in Adelaide, South Australia
According to the description of "K1 by Geoff Hardy" in the Opimian brochure, this ultra-premium, cool climate vineyard in the southern Adelaide Hills of Australia, is as well known for its beauty as for its premium wines. Since a visit to Australia to admire the scenic vineyard is not on my schedule right now, I had to settle for tasting some of the K1 premium wines at the Opimian food and wine-pairing evening at the Fish House in Stanley Park.
My supper club friends and I have recently been experimenting with low-carb recipes from a cookbook by Karen Barnaby, Executive Chef at the Fish House: The Supper Club makes Moussaka, Low Carb "rice", and Low-carb Pizza and Breakfast Muffins. So I invited a few of my foodie friends to join me at this event.
Since we planned to enjoy the wines as well as the food we decided that a cab to and from the Fish House was the way to go. The reception was set for 6:30 PM with dinner to follow at 7 PM. Despite a pelting rain and slow traffic we got to the Fish House with time to spare.
Hardy is a very well known name in the Australian world of wine and "K1 by Geoff Hardy" sounded as though there would be a story behind. it. Bec Hardy, Sales and Marketing manager for "K1 by Geoff Hardy" wines was on a cross-Canada visit, with her new husband, to talk at the Opimian events, and would be telling us about the history of this vineyard and the wines we would taste with dinner.
When we arrived at the reception, we were offered a glass of the sparkling Hand crafted Salmon NV. Blended from handpicked grapes from specific blocks of Pinot Noir from the Adelaide Hills winery and Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from their Limestone Coast winery, the wine presents a complex impression of strawberry, red apple and citrus... and of course it "sparkles".
While a smoked salmon and goat cheese moussse was set before us, Bec told us a bit about herself, and then gave us an introductory overview of the vineyards and the wine.
Bec has a Viticultural Science degree from the University of Adelaide, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust certifications, and worked for several different winemakers and agencies before coming back to work in the family wine business.
The Kuitpo Vineyard at the southern tip of Adelaide Hills was founded in 1987 when Geoff Hardy and his family began planting vines to grow grapes of the highest quality in order to make super premium wines.
The K1 designation comes from the fact that this was the first significant vineyard planting in the Kuitpo area. Located on the Southwest escarpment of the Mount Lofty Ranges, at a height of between 300 - 350 meters above sea level, this site is ideal for a premium cool climate vineyard.
The dinner menu began with Albacore tuna tataki with a sesame-cinnamon crust and served with a passion fruit reduction. The cinnamon in the crust added an unexpected spice to the tuna and the whole dish was delicious.
The tuna tataki was accompanied by a 2009 K1 'Silver Label' Semillon Viognier. The blend of 30% Viognier with 70% cool climate early picked Semillon produced a crisp and refreshing wine with citrus and tropical fruit aromatics.
Next on the menu came slow-roasted pork shoulder with salsa verde, sweet potatoes and braised greens.
The food was delicious, but there was a problem with extreme unevenness of the plating. We noticed that some plates, like the one pictured, had generous slices of the roasted pork. However a couple of the plates had slices that together barely added up to one slice on the plate shown.
This unexpected problem with the service carried over to the wine pouring where one glass would be filled with a about a third of the quantity of wine that was poured into the glass next to it. Whether there were newer servers involved in poring the wines or just poor attention to detail, this was not something that I would have expected at this restaurant. While the taste and quality of the food was excellent, this bumpiness of service lessened the overall enjoyment of the evening.
The two wines served with the pork were the 2007 K1 Merlot and the 2008 K1 "Silver Label' Cabernet Tempranillo. Both of these wines were made 100% from K1 vineyard grapes. The merlot was a rich dark red wine with spice and tannins and should develop even greater complexity if cellared for 5 to 8 years.
The Cabernet Sauvignon/Tempranillo was also a rich fruity wine. Tempranillo as I learned in the Opimian wine tasting session earlier this month, is a common varietal from the Rioja and Navarra regions of Spain, where it is often blended with Cabernet.
For the dessert course Pecorino and Camembert cheese was served with biscotti di vino and the wine accompaniment was the 2007 K1 Shiraz.
Overall our group had an enjoyable evening. We met some delightful new friends at our table, enjoyed the food and learned about the vines. The main disappointment was the unevenness of the wine pouring and that should be a simple fix for any future wine events.