2011 Simple Dinner Series 5 :: Mr. P’s Birthday (20110401)

What a sinful day! After a fabulous lunch, I headed to The Moomba (Aussie Restaurant) @ 52 Circular road with a theme – Benchmark Aussies 10-Years and Older. This is our first ever full Aussie theme since the Simple Dinner Series started and this is a perfect marriage to the Australia Cuisine by The Moomba.

I have heard so much about this Restaurant and thanks to Mr. P who held his birthday dinner here, I got the opportunity to try out this restaurant with some really good Aussie wines together with a bunch of great friend. There is also a wine shop at 2nd floor, which mainly focus on some great Aussie producer as well as some selection from other countries.

I have been really looking forward to the 500days grain-fed Ribeye however this was kinda disappointed as although the steak is well handler at medium rare, it is dry and rough. The Kurobuta Pork Belly was amazing, a must try dish if you dine in Moomba (a bit fat… of course)….

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  1. Freshly Baked Homemade Breads
  2. Kurobuta Pork Belly – Braised pork belly on wild mushroom and chestnut risotto
  3. Grilled Lamb Chops – with kobucha puree and tomato relish
  4. Grilled 500Days Grain-fed Ribeye – served with roasted new potatoes, sautéed sugar peas, vine-ripen tomatoes, caramelized onion, roasted garlic oil and red wine jus

I still can remember that my very first wine purchased locally was from a supermarket, a wine called Belmont, Merlot based from Australia and wasn’t really like it. Thanks to the Uncle who worked there who kindly share with me his knowledge and recommended some other wines to me based on my preference (well, just like all the wine beginner, my request was -> I wan’t a wine that is SMOOTH and I have no idea what is Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz etc etc….) and that’s how I started my wine journey, perhaps like all / most of the wine beginner, everything began from Australia.

p/s: If you’re new to wine and not sure what suit you the best, do not hesitate to ask the staff who worked in a wine shop or even in supermarket and tell them your budget and personal preference of flavors / style, you may get very good feedback and info.

Line Up!

The line up today was pretty impressive with all the top gun in Australia such as Leeuwin Estate Art Series ChardonnayParker Coonawarra Estate Terra Rossa First Growth, Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Limited Release John Riddoch, Wolf Blass Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon Black Label, Penfolds Shiraz RWT and many more! What a night, I’m proud of myself that I was still sober after such a huge line up (generally Australian’s wines are higher in alcohol content compared to the French / Old world).

My picked for white wine of the night was the 2002 Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay as it is clearly a much superior wine than the 2003 in term of balance, elegance and depth. The red white of the night fall on the 1998 Yarra Yering Dry Red No.2, it was such a nice wine with all the sweet pure fruits, rich and concentrated with plenty of dry extract that show stunning balance which buffered off the relatively high level of alcohol content with good depth and complexity.

The Chardonnay:

Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay Duo

1998 Bannockburn Chardonnay – Australia, Victoria, Port Phillip, Geelong

  • Alcohol :: 14%
    Dark yellow, oaky, slight oxidative character with honey and lightly caramelize yellow fruits. Heavy dose of oak, then superseded by the fresh honey, roasted herb with slightly alcoholic finish with mineral. This wine has oxidized, off bottle. (FLAWED)

2002 Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay Art Series – Australia, Western Australia, South West Australia, Margaret River

-> Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay often regarded as the benchmark Chardonnay of Australia which I’ve no doubt it is but there are many producer started to produce some really good Chardonnay that give it a good fight. Those producer such as Pierro / Woodlands from Margaret River, Stonier from Mornington Peninsular and so on….

  • Alcohol 14.5%
    Heavier dose of oak influenced yellow fruits with vanilla, lemon and fresh mineral. Sweet entry with pretty balance of oak, acid and ripe yellow fruits that accompany by the lemon custard, fresh herb with good cut and precision to it with creamy mouth feel that linger with mineral long finish. Quite elegance. My WOTN.

2003 Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay Art Series – Australia, Western Australia, South West Australia, Margaret River

  • Alcohol :: 14%
    Heaviest dose of oak amongs three, earthy, ash and ripe yellow fruits too with almost smoky herb aromas. Fullest body amongst three with plenty of dry extract and strong acid spine, better depth and concentration of fruits compared to the 2002, very powerful finish, quite heavy that seems a little off balance. Toward the end of dinner, this wine is fading while the 2002 still alive.

‘First Growth’ Trio

-> Here we started our red with three ‘First Growth’! I was expected the 1998 to be the best of the flight but hey, it was the 2000 that stole the show! The 1998 is some what leaner that I expected but it is a better wine to the 2001 which was kinda disjointed with alcohol heat while the 2000 was not doubt the best of this flight for everyone for its sheer balance and harmonious.

1998 Parker Coonawarra Estate Terra Rossa First Growth – Australia, South Australia, Limestone Coast, Coonawarra

  •  Alcohol :: 13.5%
    Complex nose of tobacco, cigar box, roasted herb laced on a bed of sweet dark fruits, plum and currant. This too is quite sweet on the palate but well underpinned by the acid backbone for not being flabby and remained fresh, just doesn’t possess the same level of substance as the 2000 with slight short finish.

2001 Parker Coonawarra Estate Terra Rossa First Growth – Australia, South Australia, Limestone Coast, Coonawarra

  •  Alcohol :: 14%
    Very heavy on both nose and palate, the most powerful wine in the flight, tons of oak yet to integrate though the balance is here. The long powerful finish is quite heavy, with alcoholic touch. Lack a bit of refinement and transparency to be really good.

2000 Parker Coonawarra Estate Terra Rossa First Growth – Australia, South Australia, Limestone Coast, Coonawarra

  • Alcohol :: 14%
    Smoky, sweet currant fruits, roasted herb with whiff of alcohol and chocolate. Sweet, but very well balance with acidity that keep the wine fresh, slight dry finish with juicy, sweet dark fruits. Quite elegance but lack of depth.

Cabernet & / Merlot Blend ::

1999 Petaluma Cabernet-Merlot Coonawarra – Australia, South Australia, Limestone Coast, Coonawarra

  • Alcohol :: 13.5%
    This wine is lightly cork at first and become worse with TCA dominant with time, though not entirely undrinkable. (FLAWED)

1994 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Limited Release John Riddoch – Australia, South Australia, Limestone Coast, Coonawarra

-> Wasn’t really like this, I felt this was drying out and tired. My friend who had it again the next day commented the wine was acidic and fade off…..

  • Alcohol :: 13.5%
    I like the nose of this, focus and complex with its eucalyptus aromas, peppery spice and wood. However, the palate is some what simple, and the tannin is dry which resulted in very dry finish that dominated by the secondary flavors of savory meatiness, preserve plum and salted mineral with no evidence of fruits, this wine is drying, drink up.

Shiraz & / Blend ::

1997 Wolf Blass Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon Black Label – Australia, South Australia

  • Alcohol :: 14%
    Dusty, smoky with roasted element dominating the aromas profile. There were no finish for the 1st glass and unyielding. 2nd glass, it is much more expressive with almost multi-dimension on the rich palate with good depth and very fine, persistent long mineral finish that intermixed with dark chocolate, coffee powder after taste. Not bad.

2001 Clonakilla Shiraz – Viognier – Australia, New South Wales, Southern New South Wales, Canberra District

  • Alcohol :: 14%
    Sweet plum, blackcurrant, prune and spices that lifted by aromas of mangoes, chalk, quite expressive and complex with really good focus. The highly concentrated sweet dark fruits continue to explode on the intense palate along with layer of spices, mushroom, earth and some sweet herb with really silky tannin that leads to the long finish that remain fresh despite on the almost over-ripe sweet fruits. Very good. Buy – Yes (if the price is right)

1998 Yarra Yering Shiraz Dry Red #2 – Australia, Victoria, Port Phillip, Yarra Valley

-> My friend who had it the next day commented the sweetness has toned down and showed even better complexity and depth on the palate with really smooth, detail finish.

  • Alcohol :: 14.9%
    Perfume nose with eucalyptus essence oil, mint, sweet cigar box, pepper, roasted herb and meat with underlying sweet dark fruits, deep and complex. I believe this has the sweetest fruits profile in the line up, but the fruits is absolutely pure and bright instead of over-ripe / caramelize which is amazing. Still quite primary with blackcurrant, Ribena like purity and sweetness that’s seems hardly age. The high 14.9% alcohol content was well buried under the concentration of fruits which is amazing, with remarkable freshness to it. The long persistent finish is silky smooth, with sweet dark plum aftertaste. Though still pretty young, this has the balance and depth for the long haul and definitely will benefit from additional bottle age. My red WOTN. Buy – Yes.

1997 Penfolds Shiraz RWT – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley

  • Alcohol :: 14%
    Cooked, stew fruits, prune like aromas with vanilla, this could be a cooked bottle or the berries were hanged on the vines too long. Sweet entry with dusty, powdery tannin that is very heavy on the palate that seems lack of acidity to provide freshness and support, lack of the depth. Quite mineral, with preserve plum at the finish.

2001 d’Arenberg Shiraz The Dead Arm – Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale

  • Alcohol :: 15%
    Sweet cassis, peppery spice with really sweet tones and mineral in the core. The entry and mid palate was pretty ok with flavors of eucalyptus essence, peppery, powdery spice with good balance of acid, sweet fruits with a little bit creamy vanilla toward the alcoholic finish that reflect to the actual 15% alcohol content. The palate seems lean and one-dimensional, quite anonymous.

1996 Peter Lehmann Shiraz Eight Songs – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley

  • Alcohol :: 14.5%
    Up to this point, my palate is pretty tired and can’t really remember this. My notes said caramelize dark fruits that is sweet, very spicy on the palate. My impression was this is quite simple and straight forward, with Aussie sweet dark fruits.

Fortified ::

N.V. Sandalford Sandalera – Australia, Western Australia, South West Australia, Margaret River

  • Alcohol :: 18%
    The nose show very elegance sweet, caramelize aromas of toffee, honey coated dark plum, marzipan and xmas cake with spices. While the nose is pretty similar to the last bottle, the palate was a bit lean, lack of richness and kinda straight forward. On another side, this does show the sense of elegance in a fortified, very sweet toffee, brown sugar like medium length finish.
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