SumBar Wine Dinner with Michael Datta and his New Wines

   Michael Datta, winemaker (MDV wines, http://michaeldatta.com/) was keen to crack open some of his new wines with a few of his friends, so I joined in after a meeting w him on a wine dinner last night at SumBar, Randwick, Tapas/Wine bar(http://www.sumbar.com.au/). I hadn’t been to this little gem before – this bar looks neat and narrow at first, with a funky warm friendly feel, but actually has a lot of sections such as a courtyard and an upstairs area with good quality old fashioned furniture. Mark the owner of SumBar was a nice chap, and sources his own wines that the restaurant provides, and aims to find wines that people probably haven’t tried yet, as opposed to just getting commercial wines that are available everywhere. The list still includes a few great Aussie wines that are more well known. I didn’t know many wines on the list but they did look good – good variety of vintages and different wines from many different regions such as Australia/Tasmania, Spain, Italy and France…

Michael prefers to support small wineries and small wine businesses, which is great. He appears to have a good network of people interested in the business side of wine, and especially also always open to new businesses looking for “what’s next”. Mich has just brought NZ wines into his range – Two Sisters Pinot Noir, and an unlabelled Sauv Blanc which was typical Sauv Blanc style that’s popular in Australia. He aims to pack a lot of fruit across all his wines.

MDV Grenache – good spice and plenty of fruit on the nose. On the palate, if the bottle was just opened, the alcohol could definitely be felt going down the throat but as it was left to “air” it changed a lot, over an hour especially. A bit young, but has good cellaring potential, and therefore needed more time. – you could tell on the taste it was all there but just needed age. Could age well, 4-6 years.

Two Sisters Pinot Noir, Central Otago NZ -plenty of fruit on the nose and nice smooth silky tannins, could have done with another year. Oak was good and lasted long after wine left the mouth. Could age well, 5+ years.
MDV Riesling – Upon hearing about this wine beforehand, I was pleased on trying it. Still could do with another year of age, but the refined structure with fruit and acidity was good.
Unlabelled Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough – Typical passionfruit on the nose and stone fruit flavours with crisp acidity on taste.

Now onto Tapas! Stewart from http://www.winewithoutbs.com.au/ basically ordered all the tapas on the menu, and every one of the tapas dishes were really good, at a normal upmarket tapas price from about $9-$13 per dish. Some of what I enjoyed (and recommend) were:

Haloumi Cherry Tomatoes and Red Onion -Delicious! The Haloumi came out really hot but almost crispy on the outside for a cheese, and the cherry tomatoes tasted caramelised, it all mixed very well in the mouth;

Moorish Moroccan Inspired Lamb with mint yoghurt, on crisp baby spinach salad – Lamb cooked nicely, savoury yoghurt and baby spinach with it’s dressing was good and meshed well together. This was my favourite (as pictured);

Chorizo – Thick slices. Was scrumptious;

Tender beef chunks in some creamy sauce and garlic – was lovely and warming, reminded me of a stroganoff. Beef could have been a little more tender but perhaps that’s what it’s meant to be like. It wasn’t any tougher than meat in a stroganoff;
Spanish “Poor Man’s Potatoes” with Aoli. Potato chunks cooked well with crisp skin, Aoli with it was creamy and divine;

Grilled Chicken with Black bean, capsicum etc salsa, and white wine – Chicken was very moist, I just had it by itself and the salsa after, both were good on their own…

Overall dinner was fun, starting from 7pm until quite late. Everyone launched into Mich Datta’s wines to the point of constant laughing. And the good food complemented the oaky wines well. I also remember Mich mixed two of his red wines together in a jug, and by his face I thought it was a joke, but it turned out good! Will return to SumBar for drinks sometime…

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