Fix St. James Wine Dinner

A Wine Dinner last night was organized by www.winewithoutbs.com.au/ , at Fix St. James Restaurant/Wine bar (111 Elizabeth St, Sydney http://www.fixstjames.com.au/) – lovely restaurant, not large in scale but definitely sleek with good ambience, good food, and fantastic service and knowledge from the staff there (but not overly imposing). About 24 winos/foodos gathered for this dinner. For $69 a head, everyone I spoke to felt it was great value – Food Stuffed the Stomachs with some left over, and Plenty of Wine, which even somehow wasn’t quite finished (after more than full glasses of each “tasting”, it does get a little hard).
Also present was Brendan Hilferty, who provides great value wines in “cleanskins”, choosing wines that reflect their terroir most so, eg. Shiraz from McLaren Vale, straight Grenache from Barossa etc. Winewithoutbs led the blind tastings, and by the end the wines (except the final Muscat) were revealed to be Brendan Hilferty’s “TheWinePoint” wine range – all above-average cleanskin wines at a fantastic price http://www.thewinepoint.com.au/ Brendan’s wine store is located in Birkenhead Point – The Wine Point gets straight to the Point with personalised service and wine specialists.

There were the White Hunter Semillon and Yarra Valley Premier Brut Chardonnay/ Pinot Noir wines to start with, and the rest were Red Wines followed by a Seppeltsfield Grand Muscat (provided by Fix St. James’ Stuart Knox) with dessert. Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the “Coal River Valley” Pinot Noir (from Tasmania, 2009), “Dry Grown” Tempranillo (McLaren Vale, 2006), and a straight Grenache (Barossa) which many people hadn’t tried before. The Shiraz (Barossa) was a little too much for some, but it was a big boy and I just thought it needed a little more age before drinking – I found it was good, just a wee little young and suitable for ageing at least 3 more years. In fact, I think all the wines on the tasting can age well. The final Muscat was beautiful deep colour and everyone enjoys a sticky! My personal favourite was the Tempranillo – on the nose, had berry beautiful fruity notes but very earthy at the same time, and based on cool climate oaky tones. On the palate, beautiful balanced flavour and neat structure, with a touch of black pepper cool-climate spice and some other warmer spices. Strongly recommended as a big bold flavour, smooth wine. And it’s $12 a bot!!

Now for food! First of two things that came out were Pork Belly Salad – was great, not a big fan of salads but the Pork belly and crisp thin shreds of salad made it everything, and a Thinly Sliced Radish Salad – refreshing, cleansed the palate excellently with the red wines coming out (Pinot Noir and Tempranillo, as well as the white wine starter).
There also came out was a dish of Marinated Capsicum (Peppers), Tomato, Red Onion, Buffalo Mozzarella drizzled with something based on olive oil – a little too oily, but the vegies were marinated.
Ocean Trout Tartare in some sort of Dill based marinade w lemon – Loved it!
Beef Carpaccio w Pickled Radish – Beautiful and Tender.
Whole Rainbow Trout w Fennel and Egg Salad – soft cooked egg yolk went well with the Trout. It wouldn’t have gone well with a white-fleshed fish.
Cape Grim Scotch Fillet Tagliata – covered in salad leaves with crisp potatoes accompanying. Cooked Medium rare, which is good.
For dessert we all got chocolates from the WineWithoutBullShit Bunny, as well as the restaurant’s Macchiato Granita w Hazelnut accompanied by Seppeltsfield Muscat – really deep honey tone with stunning orange blossom flavour. Mmm Mm!
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