Food and wine matching experience at Hungerford Hill, food provided by Muse Restaurant.
From top to bottom, left to right:
1. Lightly cured ocean troutwith smashed citrus and chives
2. Pork and raisin croquette with black garlic aioli
3. Braised lamb topped with whipped ricotta and blackberry
4. Mandagery Creek venison slider with shallots, balsamic jam, juniper aioli and watercress
Being completely hopeless when it comes to wine, we decided to check out the Hunter Valley to learn a little more about it. During some wine tasting at Hungerford Hills we noticed that they offered a food and wine matching experience called Epic Tasting Experience, naturally we figured it would help us appreciate wine a little more and booked it in.
The food was provided by Muse Restaurant which was next door to Hungerford Hill. The day before we did a degustation there and it was awesome (will post the images next week), so we were pretty excited about this.
First up for the matching was a lightly cured ocean trout with smashed citrus and chives, this was matched with a Hunter Valley Semillon 2011. The ocean trout was really nice and fresh, can’t say much about the wine, I’ve learnt that I only like dessert and fortified wines but hopefully will pick up a taste for other wines later on. I did learn the whole match white wines with lighter foods like seafood and chicken, whilst red wines go better with stronger flavours like red meats. I guess it makes sense, light food with light wines and strong foods with strong wines.
Second up was the pork and raisin croquette with black garlic aioli, this was paired with a Tumbarumba Chardonnay 2011, Tumbarumba is a wine region in NSW about 2hrs east of Albury (I didn’t know this, I had to Google it). The croquette was delicious, light and crispy, it went really well with the strong garlicy aioli. The chardonnay was nice, I don’t understand much about wine but every time I had some before getting to Hunter Valley, I found it very bitter. The wines in Hunter Valley were a lot better, they had some bitterish to them but it was always really mild and bearable.
Our first red wine was matched with braised lamb topped with whipped ricotta and blackberry this was coupled with a Hunter Valley Shiraz 2010. The braised lamb was really soft and tender with an amazing flavour, it went really well with the fluffy and creamy ricotta. The wine was nice, I guess. I’m only at sweeter white wines right now, I can barely stand dry whites so this was a massive step up. On a side note, something interesting I learnt about during this trip. Australia is the only country that refers to it as Shiraz, the rest of the world knows it as Syrah.
Our final wine was Hilltops Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, this was paired with a Mandagery Creek venison slider with shallots, balsamic jam, juniper aioli and watercress. The bread was buttery with a slight sweetness to it, reminded me of brioche but not quite as buttery and didn’t fall apart. The meat was firm and slightly dry but the juniper aioli and butteriness of the bread made the slider really nice overall. I can’t say much about the wine, I’m sure it was fantastic but it was waay too strong for me. I’m years away from enjoying cab sauvs! Something I did find interesting about the wine was the region, Hilltops is only 2hrs north west of Canberra. Its strange that I decided to go out to Hunter Valley to learn more about wine when apparently there are heaps of vineyards and cellar doors all around Canberra. Maybe its the hype of being in the Hunter (and the much warmer weather).
The wine and food matching was a great experience, I was probably more interested in the food since I haven’t quite developed my wine pallette yet but still fun. There are a couple of different types of Epic Tasting Experience provided by Hungerford Hill including a basic wine and cheese pairing and three different food and wine matching options. I believe the food stays the same, you just get better wines. The first one includes wines from the cellar door’s tasting menu, the second one includes a couple from the tasting menu and some exclusive ones that you normally can’t taste and the last one includes exclusive wines only.
This was a really fun experience and the service staff were really friendly, helpful and knowledgable about wine. They do promote their club a little but it wasn’t overly annoying or anything. She even offered us some exclusive wines to try but we declined. (I had a little too much already).
Check out some of our other food adventures from the Hunter Valley: