New Rhone Producers Dinner.

Darren Harris, Managing Director and Founder of Grand Millesime Pty Ltd a fabulous haven for all French wines to be purchased and enjoyed hosted a beautiful dinner yesterday. Over the years I have seen Darren speak and present wines with various food and wine clubs and just recently have started to enjoy some of his creative themed dinners. Recently I attended a burgundy dinner at Chancery Lane and yesterday a Rhone dinner at Yagiz, an interesting Turkish restaurant in South Yarra.

For me it isn’t about quantity of food it is quality and the delicious bites of food presented by Yagiz were innovative and charged my memory of my many years living in the Middle East. Whilst part of my heritage is Turkish I have never delved into the cuisine in depth though have tasted both in Turkey and overseas various chefs delights. At Yagiz the spin is modern Turkish cuisine headed up by owner and chef Murat Ovaz. The name is a tribute to his grandfather and the highlight is good honest Turkish food inspired by this homeland.

For Darren’s special Rhone Producers Dinner he had received 18 bottles from the Southern Rhone region to taste. They were from Domaine de Cristina in Chateauneuf-de-Pape, Domaine de l’Espigouette and Les Clos des Cazaux, creating a wonderful experience for myself and the twelve others around the table.

We started with the white bracket and with that the chef created a special menu that would complement each bracket of wines. Initially we had ’Fava’ Fava bean parfait, with raki, sukkah and crispy lavosh. Then we had ‘Midye Dolma’ the stuffed mussel with rice, currants and pine nuts.

The second bracket onwards we hit the reds and with that enjoyed some delicious bites of ‘Kerides’ Jumbo tiger prawn in a spiced butter. ‘Hellim’ Grilled halloumi, honey, hazelnut, croquant, organic powder. ‘Cop sis’ Marinated lamb on shish, on charcoal, cacik. ‘KuL Basti’ Grilled eye fillet, smoked eggplant purée, red onion and parsley salad. To finish we had ‘Baklava’ with Tuca’s Maras ice-cream. I think the stars were definitely the lamb and the beef, both cooked to perfection and the beef cut like butter.

One wine I particularly enjoyed that wasn’t top shelf but was totally amazing for the price at Darren’s special price of fifty seven dollars was from the fourth bracket and was Le Clos des Cazaux Gigondas Cuvée Prestige 2017. This was oaky, chewy and classy. With an elongated process of harvesting, this wine was aged in oak barrels and enameled vats for 18 months. Verified in stainless steel vats for four weeks and then aged in oak barrels. This process is to calm the taste of the powerful tannic wines from the arid soil. This ruby colour with deep purple reflections was expressive and complex opening with notes of liquorice, coffee, cocoa, small wild red fruits and garrique with a hint of black currant.

It is wonderful to sample interesting wines, to gain knowledge about something I love and then write about it. Looking forward to my next journey of wine discovery.

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