Mardo's Gourmet Club in Port Melbourne

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Mardo's in Port Melbourne is launching out with its monthly meeting Gourmet Club. The World Loves Melbourne was invited to Mardo's first matched wine degustation with Kevin O'Brien from Kangarilla Road Wines inspiring the guests, and Head Chef Manuel Villegas serving up stunning food matches.

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Kevin O'Brien is the CEO and Winemaker from Kangarilla Road Wines and is a highly impressive speaker and bon vivant. He spoke about trends in McLaren Vale and in particular the rise of Italian varietals, and blew away my concept of McLaren Vale being just about big reds. Kangarilla Road Wines represent some of the best of iconic wine region McLaren Vale.

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A Paul Louis Blanc de Blancs was a brilliant start... Obviously not from McLaren Vale but from Loire Valley France.

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This was an eclectic and enjoyable group of diners, that were extremely knowledgeable about food and wine. 

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The Paul Louis was matched with a Lobster Bouillabaisse and South Australian Oyster. The bouillabaisse was powerful and matched well with the cremant and its zesy crisp finish.

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Mardos delights with its touches...

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Up for match of the night was the Kangarilla Road Duetto and this Marinade Prawn Carpaccio with Black Truffle. The textures combined brilliantly with the rounded palate of the Duetto with its grapefruit notes, and the delicate carpaccio and woddiness of the black trufles. There were a number of complexities here that resulted in a match of triumph. I love that McLaren Valley wineries are investing in Italian white, not just red, varietals. 

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The Gourmet Club features the acclaimed skills of Head Chef Manuel Villegas and Owner and Food Identity Nick Mardling.

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Crusty Atalntic Salmon with Walnuts and Goats Cheese on fresh Beetroot Relish was a magnificent match with the 2013 Kangarilla Road Adelaide Hills Chardonnay.

White peach, nectarine and lemon zestiness of the chardonnay matched the oiliness of the salmon perfectly.

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Mardo's Gourmet Club meets monthly on the last Wednesday of the month. With a superb chef and Nick being a foodie and educator, diners leave inspired and having learnt more about food and wine.

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This Gazpacho wasn't on the menu but served up by Manuel Villegas to refresh.

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Crispy Pork Belly filled with Brandy Prunes and Rasberry Sauce was a triumph, matching with Kangarilla Road Terzetto. Again I was fascinated that Kangarilla Road are making varietal blends such as this - 45% Sangiovese, 40% Primitivo and 15% Nebiolo. The spicy cherry notes of the wine combined perfectly with the pork belly.

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The value of this degustation was amazing at $99 considering the top quality food and wine...

Lamb Fillet with Red Wine Sauce and Potato Foam was matched with 2011 Kangarilla Road Cabernet Sauvignon.  Again a top notch match with classic cabernet characters of blackberry and blackcurrant pairing against a perfectly cooked fillet of lamb and an amazing 3 day sauce.

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Beef Wellington revisited with Jus and Brussel Sprouts matched with Kangarilla Road 2011 The Devil's Whiskers Shiraz. Thanks Kevin for pulling out this reserve shiraz and it was arguably the match of the night.

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We were interested to see what wine would complete the matching, to pair against the Deep Fry French Triple Cream Brie with Rosemary Onion Jam.

The Kangarilla Road 2011 The Veil was a Sauvignon Blanc with wonderful complexity and length of flavour.

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Mardo's highly impressed with its first Gourmet Club dinner and the diners were enthusiastic and raving about the evening.

Every match was sucessful, with several matches "pushing the envelope." The Beef Wellington revisited paired with the big 2011 The Devil's Whiskers Shiraz was the favourite of several diners, with this match more being on the "safe ground".

The next such dinner is rumoured to feature Spanish truffle dishes and matches with wine. Highly recommended.

Tags: Food