This was a superb luncheon with outstanding food, and clever, confident wine matching. The result was a very memorable occasion that will be talked about for time to come. This is why we attend the Beefsteak & Burgundy Club meetings. Well-done chef Adam Newell and winemaster Dean Derwin.
Wellington is well-blessed with excellent eating houses and great chefs. A favourite is Zibibbo Restaurant and Bar owned by Michelin Star chef Adam Newell and his wife Nicola. They established Zibibbo in 2000, and have been going strong ever since. The restaurant serves classical food based on the best and tried ingredients and produce Adam can source, and this has been the mainstay of his business. However the bar and tapas menu has become a speciality, and draws an ever growing regular clientele. Newell also offers catering and manages functions, and his masterclass cooking demonstrations are highly regarded. It was no surprise that the May luncheon for the Beefsteak & Burgundy Club of Tinakori was a wonderful success.
Winemaster Dean Derwin, proprietor of Centre City Wines, took a bold step to serve the Church Road ‘McDonald Series’ Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2009 as the arrival wine. A high 14.7% alc. and 48 g/L rs, this could be seen as too full-bodied and too sweet as an aperitif. His take was that the alcohol would relax people and the sweetness provide a sugar high. It must have worked, as there was plenty of discussion, with club members describing it as a sweet wine, made from Riesling or Gewurztraminer, probably from Germany or France respectively. We were fairly sure it was a Pinot Gris, due to its unctuous near oily texture, restrained pear and stonefruit aromas and flavours, and faintest hint of spice. The wine was too rich and phenolic for Riesling and insufficiently perfumed for Gewurztraminer. The clean fruitiness indicated New Zealand origins the body and warmth a North Island wine. Our vintage guess was 2009-2010.
The first food course was Crispy duck cannelloni with truffle parfait and tamarillo chutney, a dish with leanings towards Asia, the pasta in the form of a crisp spring roll. Moist duck with sweetness, earthiness and hints of spice, the duck liver parfait on the coarser side in texture, the dish with sweet and sour from the chutney. This was very well-received.
The wine served blind, as were all the wines, was the River Farm ‘Godfrey Road’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010. This pointed to Pinot Noir immediately with its medium-weight, right red berry fruit aromatics and flavours, showing just a hint of dried herb complexity, and modest colour depth. The accompanying acidity with the good ripeness indicated South Island, and Marlborough as the colour wasn’t deep, and the flavours gentle. That’s what we came up with as our guess, as did most of the other attendees. Unfortunately the wine really didn’t match the duck cannelloni, the food accentuating the acidity and tannins, However those who still had some of the Pinot Gris left found it an great match, the sweetness and texture of the wine meeting the oiliness and richness of the duck and parfait.
Adam Newell can cook a steak. Again it’s quality meat well-aged. The Fillet of Black Angus beef with potato gallette and porcini sauce was perfect. Decent sized cut, rare to medium-rare, tender, juicy and with real meat flavour, the searing on outside just giving an edge of char and caramelisation. Mushrooms and steak are a match made in heaven and topping the potato and in the sauce, mushroom flavours were abundant. Served as a side were brussel sprouts, steeped in duck fat before cooking. No bitterness, just melt in the melt yellow-green richness.
Dean selected the Mills Reef ‘Elspeth’ ‘Trust Vineyard’ Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2009 as the wine match. Clear-cut black fruits, black pepper and black spices, with a sweet elegance, and tannins beginning to resolve alongside good acidity. This was N.Z. Syrah, not Shiraz pushed to raisining. Anywhere North Island, probably Hawke’s Bay but could have been Waiheke Island. And 2009 or 2010. Our guess was the closest, with most other guesses being Merlot-based wine from France or Hawke’s Bay. Any decent red would look good alongside a classic, unadulterated steak, and this wine did. The wine and meat were evenly match in flavour intensity, and the tannin and acidity working through the density of the steak. The mushroom bonanza worked well with the savoury-earthy interest from a little bottle-development in the wine. The two-thirds American oak use was undetectable.
The finale was Classic tiramisu with hazelnut macaroon. The title says it all, the tiramisu featherlight and moist without being gluggy, and all the right flavours of coffee and cocoa, and a little alcohol seeming to show. The macaroon softly firm, but yielding and the layer of cream just decadent and rich enough to melt into the meringue. As is the custom for the regular luncheon, there was no dessert wine match – so attendees had no excuse to linger too long!
Zibibbo Restaurant and Bar, 25-29 Taranaki Street, Wellington, Tel: 04 385-6650 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.zibibbo.co.nz
The Beefsteak & Burgundy Club
The Beefsteak & Burgundy Club organization was founded in Adelaide in 1954 with the aim of its members sharing knowledge and experiencing great wines and food and fellowship on a regular basis. With over 190 branches around the world in countries as diverse as Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.A., it is an international success. In New Zealand there are ten branches, with five located in Wellington. The meetings are run on a semi-formal basis, with officers and committee including a Foodmaster and Winemaster who co-ordinate the meals and wines respectively. The Adelaide parent body oversees administration and maintains a constitution to provide a framework and uniformity, but it is a relaxed and enjoyable time attending the meetings and the occasional international conventions. For more information, go to www.beefsteakandburgundyclub.org.au where you can find out about joining an existing club or forming a new branch.