Hidden Gems at Grazing in Gundaroo

19 Mar

As part of the NSW Wine Festival (and in the lead up to the Canberra District Wine Harvest Festival), Grazing at Gundaroo hosts a “Hidden Gems” wine dinner. While the Canberra region is known for its riesling and its shiraz (for good reason), the dinner shows off those lesser-known but still highly regarded wines by pairing them with food. Win! We’re in.*

Aaaaad, we’re late. It’s a 6.30pm arrival for a start at 7, and I arrive at 7.10 while Boyfriend makes it at 7.30 (thanks every single traffic light on Northbourne). We’re mortified, but the folks at Grazing (particularly the man who appears to be the head waiter) are incredibly kind and forgiving. The head waiter (?) asks us about the temperature in the room, is polite, and welcoming, and the rest of the staff look genuinely happy to be there; nothing is too much trouble. The restaurant is packed (testament to the restaurant, the wineries, and the wines on show), and we’re tucked into a back room with another small table. The first canape is a Bermagui rock oyster with salmon pearls, paired with Lerida Estate’s 2008 Brut Rose. It’s a perfect match. The oyster isn’t oversized like some of the Pacific ones seem to be, so the flavour is both concentrated and delicate. The Brut Rose is similarly delicate and easy to drink. We’re later told that the vintage has only just been opened (I reckon it’s going to be a hit).

2013-03-14 19.39.35

The zucchini blossom is filled with potato and ricotta, and comes with Eden Road’s Long Road 2011 Chardonnay. Chardonnay is the only wine I really struggle to drink, but this works. The blossom’s batter isn’t as light as Sage’s blossom but the filling is superb.

2013-03-14 19.37.34

The entree is local rainbow trout (smoked over grapevine clippings!). The trout smells very strongly and is probably a touch overcooked. The olive tapenade has a lovely deep purple hue and I think the trout could have benefited from more of it; the almond puree is a little bland. The watercress works well (bring back watercress! So much nicer than omnipresent rocket), but the puffed grains taste a little like stale Rice Bubbles. It’s not an unpleasant texture, but I’m not sure what it adds to the dish.

Where is the rainbow trout?

Where is the rainbow trout?

 

There it is!

There it is!

The entree is served with Lark Hill’s 2012 Gruner Veltliner. It’s unusual but another perfect match, and I start to really appreciate why it’s so popular (and expensive). The Wily Trout 2012 Sauvignon Blanc pales in comparison. I’m sure I’d normally enjoy it, but it just can’t compete against Lark Hill’s signature wine.

Main is an 18 hour pork belly and a sous vide rabbit. The rabbit’s texture is unlike anything I’ve ever had before–it’s almost airy, and when it first hits the tongue it feels rubbery, but it falls apart in the mouth–and soaks up the flavours around it. The pork belly is a little chewy and doesn’t hold my attention like the rabbit.

 

Gorgeous presentation of the meats

Gorgeous presentation of the meats

2013-03-14 20.53.23

The matching wines are Domaine Rogha Crois’s Barrel Select 2010 Pinot Noir, and Capital Wines’ 2011 Tempranillo. As part of the politicians series, the Tempranillo is named the ‘Ambassador’ (because Tempranillo is a little more foreign than our other wines). Like most of the Capital Wines I’ve tried, it’s delightful. I’ll be keeping an eye out for it.

The final course is a cheddar with a Cabernet and red onion marmalade, pickled walnuts and oat crackers. The oat crackers are, as to be expected, a bit bland. They probably achieve their purpose: they bring out the flavour of the cheddar and they’re dry, so I’m encouraged to wash each mouthful down with either Shaw Vineyard’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon or McKellar Ridge Wines’ 2008 Trio (Cab Sav, Cab Franc and Merlot), and the pickled walnuts are a sweet, flavoursome accompaniment (where can I get more?). The wines, again, match well.

Oat crackers are a thumbs down (okay, okay, I can see why they were chosen)

Oat crackers are a thumbs down (okay, okay, I can see why they were chosen)

Overall, it’s a lovely meal, with lovely genuinely matching wines, in a lovely location, with lovely hosts.

 

Date: Thursday, 14 March

Cost: $120 per person *I was lucky enough to win one ticket to the event from a competition held via the Canberra Wines Twitter account. Get following!

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile. While it’s an expensive evening, the variety of wines available made the cost justifiable.

Want more? The Canberra Wine Harvest Festival is on from 6-7 April. Get keen!Β  Loved it last year.

 

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9 Responses to “Hidden Gems at Grazing in Gundaroo”

  1. jude March 19, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Looks great. The Veltliner is incredible, I have some tucked away for Ron πŸ™‚ BUT HOW DID YOU DRIVE HOME???

    • inthetaratory March 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

      Boyfriend didn’t really drink (I may have enjoyed some of his wine…) and drove us home. And drove us back to Gundaroo early the next morning to get my car. And then we drove into the ‘peak hour’ Friday morning traffic. Lovely to see the sunrise and sunset! πŸ™‚

  2. Gary Lum March 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    I love Grazing. The first time Bron and I went there we had a tasting tray lunch with lamb tongue, pig ears and terrines. The offal was to die for. Some time later we had lunch there again and had a standard three course meal, again sublime. I loved your photos T1.

    • inthetaratory March 19, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

      Am impressed that the offal was done so well! The experience has really convinced me to go back again. We also loved the oysters served at Capital Wines during the Summer side Festival. Thanks so much for your comments re my photos. Am trying hard! πŸ™‚

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