The venue, Eight Gourmet Gala, sounded promising, although it was located in Sunway, (brrr, driving all the way there gives me jetlag... fortunately I managed to hitch a ride to and fro, and with the amount of booze imbibed, it turned out a wise choice). Familiar faces greeted us, and scares me to realise I've known these people for at least 3-4 years now, in the blink of an eye.
The wines featured for the day were the Chandon Brut, Domaine Chandon Chardonnay, Domain Chandon Pinot Noir, Domaine Chandon Shiraz and Chandon Rose. A nice corner of the restaurant, with plenty of sunlight, was cordoned off for the event, and Dan Buckle, Senior Winemaker from Chandon Estates, Victoria, was our "host" for the afternoon.
His meticulous approach to wine making has seen him rise to become one of Victoria and Australia's most prominent winemakers. With a degree in Bachelor of Applied Science (Wine) and a family history of owning a vineyard, it's no surprise that he is an expert, with vast experiences ranging from Coldstream Hills, Yering Station and Mount Langhi Ghiran. He looks quite young, actually, for someone with so many feathers under his cap, or vine leaves under his belt.
The first dish was a seafood platter... Well, that's exactly what it says on the menu. Definitely a dearth of description there, but if I had to describe it, it comprised a plump oyster, which glided down the throat effortlessly with the Bubbly Chandon Brut. There's something about oysters and sparkling, undoubtedly, and the crisp bouquet of citrus blossom etc in my opinion made that the best pairing for my oyster. The Rose went particularly well with the raw prawn, as the fruitiness of the berries combatted the raw marine flavour of the prawn. The sashimi fish, with the tinge of wasabi also seemed to pair better with the Rose, although to be honest, the fish itself wasn't particularly impressive, so fortunately the sterling wines masked whatever shortcomings.
Grilled Salmon With Mint Sauce, I guess was meant to be paired with the Chardonnay, or the Domaine Chandon Chardonnay 2013. The overcooked salmon frankly spoiled the entire experience, as the meat was way dry, and even the best of wines could only marginally salvage the dish. However, with some stretch of the imagination, I would pair this the Rose, with the same reasoning as I paired the raw prawn sashimi. Also the fattiness of the salmon seemed diluted with the crisp sparkling rose. The saving grace of this dish was the lovely salmon skin.
The Chardonnay has a pale straw appearance with green hues, and aromas of lemon, pear, citrus, not as oaky as your usual chardonnays, which is a plus point to me.
To end a lovely afternoon, we went even higher... literally.... to the upstairs of the restaurant, for another phase. STAY TUNED for PHASE 2.