The Date and Time: Thursday, January 23, 2014 5:30PM to 9 PM
The Event: Restaurant Australia celebrates Australia Day, with creations by Chef John Placko and appropriate wines.
The Venue: The 2nd Floor, King Street West.
The Target Audience: wine media/bloggers/opinion makers
The Availability/Catalogue: wines are in the LCBO system
The Quote/Background: Last year, we had a sit down dinner for Oz Day with Oz Chef John Placko, a molecular gastronomy consultant and chef at Humber College. There were only a few wines which nobody talked about, and only 24 people at the dinner. This year, there was similar food, but with more wines (and pourers to talk about them) and more trade (over 100). The drawback was that it was all stand up, noisy, and hard to match wines with other dishes. For awhile, until I brought it up, there were no spit buckets. Indeed, the quote of the day was "This is not a spit bucket event". Nevertheless, it was successful in exposing a lot of wine and a lot of food to a lot of people. As before, it was a joint effort with Tourism Australia, Wine Australia, and Air New Zealand.
The Wines: I may have missed some wines that were not put out until later.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Robert Oatley Tic Tok Pocket Watch Cabernet Sauvignon 2011.......$15.95
-Are You Game Shiraz 2010.....$16.95
-Stone Dwellers Cabernet Sauvignon 2012......$19.95
-Evans & Tate Metricup Road Shiraz 2010 Margaret River - $22.95
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Day Trippers Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2013.....$9.95
-Stonier Pinot Noir 2012 Mornington Peninsula.....$26.95
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Brokenwood Cricket Pitch Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2011.........$18.95
-Sticks Chardonnay 2010 Yarra - $19.95
-Little Yering Pinot Noir 2012......$19.95
-Chapel Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 McLaren Vale....$24.95
-Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2012..... $16.95
The Food: service was a la carte and a la minute, so there were lineups after 6PM when most people arrived. I guess with the younger crowd, everybody is used to lineups and noise. The trade was chatty, checked their email, talked on the cell, took pictures, etc. – while waiting. I read a book.
Menu – from Victoria, there was a white strip lamb served with minted cucumber, four year old cheddar, pickled apple, apricot paste. 7 wines from Victoria joined the food.
From New South Wales, there were lemon myrtle prawns with caramelized onion sponge and roasted macadamia crumbs and a dill fluid gel. With Pocket Watch and Cricket Pitch.
From South Australia, kangaroo and pepperberry sliders, quandong peach relish. Chapel Hill and Y Viognier here.
Things started slowing down with the wines – the barramundi with wilted greens, the butternut squash with goat cheese crumbs (my fave of the evening), and the wattle seed ice cream together got Evans and Tate Shiraz.
At the end, the great Tim Tam Slam!!
The Downside: it was cold outside and after a busy stand up day, I had to stand up some more (there was limited seating).
The Upside: good exposure of food and wine, although no notes or lineups were provided until after the event. Apparently, I was the only one taking notes – maybe that's old style? Maybe I wasn't supposed to?
The Contact Person: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 87.
Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus
Treasurer, Wine Writers' Circle of Canada
Look it up and you'll remember it; screw it up and you'll never forget it.
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com