No relation of our satellite TV provider, or the little Japanese boy-robot with the pointy ears. Astrolabe is a boutique winery in the Malborough Region, of New Zealand, yes, where hails the highly rated Cloudy Bay, and other fine fine savignon blancs.
A posh ladida wine tasting at Senses, KL Hilton, with the gliterrati, such as Alison for whom I have to thank for the invite, The Queen, (Awhiff of Lemongrass), The Empress of food bloggers, Masak Masak, and Splashie Boy, to expose the plebs such as I to the wonders of Malborough.
Sipping bubbly at the foyer with canapes floating about....in this case, fresh New Zealand Pacific oysters in a lovely tangy passionfruit sauce. Oh, did I mention the chef for this event is none other than .................
.........our own favourite Lil Chef, Michael Elfwing. Yes, the same one that makes the chicks go gaga at events like MIGF. Lucky Aly....
Rubicon Reserve Wines is the company that distributes the wines, and for the moment apparently the wines are only available in selected outlets, Senses being one of them.
He may not look it here, but in real life, David Coleman, of Rubicon Reserve Wines, looks like Colin Firth. He regales us with in depth knowledge of grape and the nectar of the gods.
Jason Yank, who is actually not a Yank but Aussie, from Astrolabe Wines.
The bubbly Szigeti Gruner Veltliner that accompanied our oysters...and gave us a nice buzz that set the mood for the evening.
Terroir - Escargot, Smoked Duck and Edible Clay....earthy... yeah, definitely, with Astrolabe Pinot Gris 2010. The food, ah, testimony to the creativity of Lil Chef. A burst of flavours and textures, enhanced by the Pinot Gris, which I presume must be the white version of a Pinot Noir? Edible clay, such an interesting concept. The duck was gamey, but yet tender, and the escargot lent a nice chewy texture and flavour. The wine, citrusy and refreshing.
Three different types of Savignon Blancs.Voyager, Awatere and Kekerengue Coast. My personal favourite was the Kekerengue Coast, and apparently there is a great divide between the followers of the Awatere and Kekerengue...and never the twain shall meet. I found the Kekerengue to be familiar, crisp, refreshing savignon blanc that is drinkable all day (if you are on holiday).
And the food, oh my...the Snow Crab is to die for. The gurnard with sea garnish and the little neck clams were nice, but give me the snow crab and lots of it.
The little neck clams were cooked in this super cling film that can withstand furnace heats, therefore preserving all the juices and flavours of the clams, forming a little soup.
Next was the Horopito & Sarawak Pepper spiced NZ king salmon quenelle with sorrel beurre blanc with the Astrolabe Chardonnay 2007. Chardonnays have apparently suffered a bad rap over recent years, and Astrolabe's introduction of it at the tasting was to change our minds ...however, I have to say, hmmm, Chardonnay, still not my favourite. It was alright, but I would happily eat that outstanding salmon with any of the three savignon blancs served before this.
To go with the meat, an Astrolabe Pinot Noir 2010.... a gorgeous light red, that really enhanced the experience of the quail and veal and generous shavings of summer truffle. At this juncture, I should mention that the price tag of RM318++ for this wine tasting is outstanding value. I really must get myself to more of these soirees, especially if Michael is cooking.
David sharing a light moment with us. It was somewhere at this point we noticed he resembled Colin Firth.
Dessert, Poached organic Beurre Bosc pears, brie ice cream & blue cheese puff pastry, Astrolabe Gewurztraminer 2009. An ingenious dessert combination, though I have to honestly say I am not a fan of dessert wines, and feel like I am drinking a syrup. However, the dessert wine fans on the table did enjoy the dessert wine.
I do look forward to the day when we can purchase some of these gorgeous savignon blancs off the counter, and I ALSO look forward to the next wine pairing dinner at Senses, esp if Michael Elfwing is at the helm. Special thanks to Aly for the invite, and to Rubicon & Astrolabe for having me.