Levantine Hill Estate Dinner en Rouge at Waterfront
Levantine Hill Dinner en Rouge was a stunning event, celebrating the release of the Levantine Hill Estate 2016 range of red wines at a private room in the fabulous Waterfront restaurant in Southbank. The World Loves Melbourne was invited along to experience the new releases, which included Estate Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines were released only after gracefully ageing, so the 2016 release has been much anticipated.
First course was delicious refreshing tangy Atlantic salmon tataki, yuzu koso ponzu, daikon, beetroot nori paired with 2012 Levantine Hill Estate Disgorged Methode Traditionnelle (sparkling).
Chief Winemaker Paul Bridgeman took us through the new releases at an exquisite five course dinner, explaining how each wine is painstakingly crafted and how each of the wines honours an old world French heritage. Paul is a great communicator not only speaking directly about the wines but giving us historical context as well. Pauk Bridgeman spoke of the demanding 2016 Harvest and the ability of the vineyards to stand up under conditions of duress to produce memorable wines. Paul has completed 23 vintages as a winemaker in the Yarra Valley so his expertise is second to none.
Chief Winemaker Paul Bridgeman gave us a full dissertation on each of the Levantine Hill Estate 2016 wine releases.
Moreton Bay Bugs, smoked tomato butter, capers, tapioca, fennel was a showstopper paired with the exceptional 2016 Levantine Hill Estate Pinot Noir.
The 2016 Levantine Hill Estate Pinot Noir displayed great tannin, with power and big fruit burst, as well as elegance across the palate. Paul was able to draw savoury characters in the Pinot Noir and it drinks stunningly as a food friendly wine. Subtle aromas of rhubarb, violets and leather with elegant palate displaying elements of strawberry and peach.
The 2016 Levantine Hill Estate Pinot Noir Pinot was hand-picked over 7 distinct days, all fruit was hand-sorted and de-stemmed to small open vats. stalks were added back to some parcels for extra complexity. A mix of natural fermentation and inoculated yeasts. Cuvaison length ranged from 1 to 3 weeks on skins. The wine was hand-plunged a maximum of once per day.
Duck breast, celeraic puree, salt baked celeraic, raisin jus was a brilliant rustic dish paired perfectly with standout 2016 Levantine Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
Paul gave an intriguing dissertation on the history of Cabernet in the Yarra Valley with the first vines in 1838. By the time of the gold rush (which also featured in this region) Cabernet vineyards were well and truly established. According to Paul a rising middle class of the gold rush saw savvy drinkers turn to Cabernet with a love for European style. The days of the gold rush were about "drawing rooms and Cabernet", said Paul Bridgeman. Cabernet from Yarra Valley caught attention of the world at the 1888 World Fair, where St Huberts claret beat all the wines in the world. After the gold rush many drinkers turned to fortified but in recent times we are seeing Cabernet return to its rightful place (not just Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) in the Yarra Valley and Levantine Hill are leading the charge.
The 2016 Levantine Hill Estate Cabernet is purposefully medium bodied style with loads of complexities, best described as regal not overbearing with nuances of blackberry and blackcurrant as well as chocolate. The middle palate displays earthy complexities.
In terms of winemaking, the 2016 Levantine Hill Estate Cabernet was sourced from two Estate blocks of SA125 clone Cabernet Sauvignon. A small addition of Block 10 D3V14-clone Merlot was added. All fruit was hand-picked, hand-sorted, de-stemmed and crushed to small open vats. Stalks were added back to some parcels for added complexity. A mix of natural fermentation and inoculated varietally-compatible yeasts is evident. Cuvaison length ranges from 1 to 5 weeks on skins. hand-plunged a maximum of once per day.
Personally I've been a long term fan of the Syrah and the 2016 Levantine Hill Estate Syrah hits the high notes. Silky smooth elegant Syrah with old world characteristics that is restrained yet complex, with nuances of mulberry, white pepper and earthy notes in a medium bodied style.
A spectacular dish was the Shorthorn guineas eye fillet, porcini mushroom mousse, cafe de Paris butter, potato scallop, watercress paired with the elegant 2016 Levantine Hill Estate Syrah.
In terms of winemaking the Syrah is sourced from single Estate block of mature PT23 clone Shiraz. All fruit was hand-picked, hand-sorted then de-stemmed or crushed to small open vats. Stalks were added back to some parcels for added complexity. One single small vat of whole bunches was included in the final blend. A mix of natural fermentation and inoculated varietally-compatible yeasts enhanced the process. Cuvaison length ranged from 1 to 3 weeks on skins. Hand-plunged a maximum of once per day.
With the 2016 Estate Syrah’s sell-out predecessor honoured with the Australian Red Wine Trophy at the prestigious International Wine and Spirits Competition in London last year, we were privileged to be one of the first to sample the next chapter.
What a finish. Sticky date pudding, butterscotch sauce, vanilla ice cream paired with fabulous 2017 Levantine Hill Estate Melange Bortrytis.
Owners Elias and Colleen Jreissati have built a legacy in iconic Levantine Hill Estate which boasts top notch restaurant Ezard at Levantine Hill, as well as luxury accomodation, and a fabulous cellar door. It even offers helicopter experiences and luxury packages.
This was a memorable night, thanks to Steve Wang, Paul Bridgeman and Levantine Hill, along with Waterfront restaurant.