Cape Mentelle Wines at NEO Tamarind, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Margaret River: blue skies; gum tree forests; pristine beaches and; some of the best wines in Australia. That’s right, this small patch of land only makes around three percent of the total production in Australia, yet commands more than twenty percent of the country’s premium wines. Ideal soil and climate conditions and, some serious wine makers, have led to the delivery of some decidedly delicious drops in this region. One of the better known names is Cape Mentelle, and recently a handful of very fortunate KLites sampled some of their wares during a wine paired dinner in the city.
The sleek, minimalist setting of NEO Tamarind provided the canvas on which the master pairings were presented. Lanterns dangled from tree branches lining the stairway, which led guests from the street to the main entrance. The two elements of water and fire, along with stone and earthy greys combined in the structures to form a cool clean ambience. Dim lighting added a feel of intimacy and intrigue.
Guests were greeted with a benchmark for the region, a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2012, affectionately known by the Aussies as an SSB. Dull straw in colour with a shadow of spring green, this first wine was fresh and citrusy on the nose and, displayed soft melon on the palate. Of the canapés served: black ink risotto with salmon roe; deep fried crisp calamari with Cajun spicy sauce; Angus Beef Tataki with chilli roasted rice and; tomato bruschetta; the risotto and the calamari got repeat orders for this bright fruity drop.
|Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2012|
After a cocktail mingling and welcome, guests moved to white clothed tables adorned with an abundance of fresh floral bouquets. Another well-reputed wine came next, Cape Mentelle’s 2011 Chardonnay. Transparent yellow in hue, and tart citrus in aroma, this young wine was juicy and, rich in lemon on the palate. Drank alone it was a noble drop, but paired up with its fishy partner, Steamed White Cod with Coconut and Herb Reduction, it reached new heights. A curl of lime zest woven across the dish brought the lemon lime flavours of the wine to the forefront, lifting the palate from a mealy base to an elegant blossoming finish.
|Steamed White Cod|
Proceeding to chicken on the plate and red in the glass, the meal began to heavy. Roasted Chicken, served with a garlic bulb, whipped potato, applesauce and chicken jus, was accompanied by the 2010 Cape Mentelle Cabernet Merlot. Gleaming ruby in colour when held to the light and, dark berry on the nose, this lively wine was fruity, close to full bodied and ended with some complexity. I was imaging something from the grill with this wine, but the roast chicken was a pawn well played.
Australia has long been known for its gutsy shiraz, so it’s almost a must in any showcase of product from the country. Cape Mentelle’s 2011 Shiraz came paired with Roasted Duck Breast, Red Cabbage Puree and Mustard Sauce. Deep crimson through the glass with plum and spice on the nose, the red breathed familiarity. Berries, bitter cocoa and a hint of anise were detected on the palate. This lovely drop is good now, but it’s a keeper. Producers reckon it will continue to mature up to near 2031 before reaching its peak.
|Roasted Duck Breast|
The grand finale was Cape Mentelle’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. Getting rave reviews by Australian wine writers and scores of up to 98 points, we were lucky to taste something so good. It’s bright ruby red in the glass with hints of cocoa, tobacco and floral undertones on the nose. Profound and voluptuous, this red gives you something to mull over with a long lasting finish. Grilled Beef Tenderloin served with Eryngi Mushroom, Scallion Oil and Beef Jus was its partner and, while a decent dish in itself, the liquid accomplice to this course is the part that will be remembered.
|Grilled Beef Tenderloin|
Dessert was a simple Green Tea Crème Brulee. Another well executed dish, which got, perhaps unfairly, lost in comparison to the great wine just served.
|Green Tea Crème Brulee|
Keep your eye out for Cape Mentelle wines in the best restaurants throughout Kuala Lumpur.