DiscoverVin recently travelled to Stamps Restaurant in Adelaide at the invitation of the Universal Table wine club. This is a wine club with about 100 members that was started by Michael Hill Smith, who at the time was the first Master of Wine in Australia. It used to meet regularly at his restaurant - The Universal Wine Bar. It was a privilege to be asked along to the Club. It was potentially a tough crowd for a wine distributor - knowledgeable, experienced and potentially world weary as probably there was not much they hadn't experienced in the past. Possibly that was part of the pleasantly unexpected experience - rather than a pedestrian night, there was a real buzz about the food and wine. Adjectives like "outstanding", "exquisite", "revelation" punctuated the conversation.
We had decided to present Bordeaux wines plus a few others and it seemed to hit the mark.
We had 5 courses of fantastic food - seasonal, creative, clearly cooked with care and passion by Brenton. A great front of house team, Matt and Alex led by Anita.
We started with a taste of Domaine de la Croix Irresistable Rosé , Cru Classé in Provence poured from magnums, while people arrived and chatted - a great start to the evening.
First course of seared scallop with cauliflower panna cotta, roquefort scented cream with the delicious Arlaux Grande Cuvée Champagne (a small family producer making wine from premier cru vineyards). Amazing to look at and a taste sensation on the palate. The champagne partnered the sweetness and richness of the dish very well.
Next up was a delicious course of boned roasted rabbit with fennel jam, celeriac puree, sweet and sour quince. Again this was not a simple dish - beautifully cooked and complicated but delicious and integrated flavours. This dish showed of a trio of New Bordeaux from the right bank. The Chateau d'Aiguilhe 2008 (Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux) - on the cover of September edition of Decanter magazine, Chateau Rouget (Pomerol) 2006 and Chateau Dassault (St Émilion) 2006. Three delicious merlot based wines. These wines demonstrated the power and finesse of the wines of the right bank. The D'Aiguilhe in particular drew a lot of attention. This wine epitomises 'New Bordeaux"- ancient vineyards - probably dating back to the time of the Romans, now producing wines using modern techniques and vineyard management to get the most from this fantastic site/terroir. No wonder by this stage the restaurant was buzzing!
Next was a slow cooked beef check with liver and bacon pie, potato and horseradish puree, beetroot and fine herbes. Another delicious dish and a perfect foil to two older cabernet based wines from the left bank. Legende de la Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc) 2004 and Chateau Lanessan (Haut -Médoc) 2004. Both of these wines are starting to develop some aged flavours and integration of the tannins and fruit. Delicious. The Legende de la Tour Carnet is a good example of a second-label. Tour Carnet is a grand cru producer and puts the grapes from parcels of younger vines (usually less than 15 yo) into the second label. This makes a wine more approachable at a younger age and is very good value for money. The Lanessan is one of our best sellers - it is drinking just beautifully at the moment.
Finally, cheese! We believe this is a club tradition or at least a preference to a sweet dessert. We showed off the spectacular Domaine de l'Ancienne Cure Extase 2003. Incredibly luscious botrytised fruit, great balance and length and not cloying on the finish. As good as many fine sauternes but great value for money at this level of quality. Dessert in a glass and went well with the cheeses.
It was a great night and we hope to be back next year to show off some more wines to the Universal Wine Club in Adelaide. We thoroughly recommend Stamps Restaurant to all our followers.