Bellbird Spring wines are by and large designed to be consumed with food, and we enjoy any opportunities that come our way to showcase the portfolio alongside great cooking. Therefore we were delighted to make the trip up to Auckland for a Winemaker’s Dinner at the award-winning Eight.Two restaurant in Birkenhead, Auckland.
The fabulous menu was cooked by Des Harris, Executive Chef at Eight.Two and Head Chef at the renowned Clooney’s Restaurant.
The menu and the wine list, were as follows
Salmon lavosh, finger lime (canapé, above) – Home Block White
Yellow tail kingfish, comb, oyster – Block Eight Sauvignon Blanc
Confit hapuka, sweetcorn, macadamia (above) – Dry Pinot Gris
Pork Belly, quince, celery, hazelnut (above) – Sous Voile
Venison, mushroom, garlic, boudin noir – River Terrace Pinot Noir
Peach almond crumble – Block Eight Pinot Gris
For non-Kiwis or the slightly less fanatical foodies amongst you, a few definitions: lavosh is a soft thin flatbread popular in Iran, Turkey and nearby countries; the Finger Lime is a thorny shrub or small tree from Aussie subtropical and dry rainforest areas in Queensland and New South Wales; its fruit are a recently developed commercial crop. “Kingis” are reef fish caught mostly around the North island, can weigh up to 100 lbs and have a strong distinct flavour. Hapuku are large wreck fish which can near six feet in length and can weigh over 200 lbs..
As you might expect from glancing at the above photos, the evenings were storming successes and the food-wine pairings worked a treat. Block Eight Pinot Gris is a medium wine, by no means a dessert sticky, but as long as your pudding is not way more sugary it can work very well at the end of a meal.
And what of the Sous Voile? Well this new development is incredibly exciting and has gained rave reviews at recent tastings as well as at these two dinners. It’s a nutty dry white (Pinot Gris) aged in old oak barrels under a veil of flor (yeast) which gives it flavours reminiscent of the wines of Jura and sherry. We will devote a blog post to this wine in due course: but for now you might like to read a recent post by wine blogger Rebecca Gibb.