Offcuts: dinner and three wines


Chris’s partner, Dan, is in town. It’s been over a year since I last saw Dan and, aside from a little more grey, he is happily the same as ever. Last night, we decided to have dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant called Libertine. It’s in the newish Barracks complex in town; one of those upmarket developments with a cinema, wine shop, gourmet ice creamery and several restaurants. All of life’s inner city essentials in one handy location. 
The restaurant itself has an attractive ambience, with glowing chandelier-laden décor. Food-wise, it was consistent on the night, a pumpkin curry the unlikely highlight of the meal. The wine list is well-selected and diverse, and we chose three different wines to accompany our leisurely dinner. Prices are from the list via my memory. 
Domaine Pichot Coteau de la Biche 2005 ($A62, restaurant list)
A sec Vouvray, this went very well with our entrées of chicken paté, kingfish sashimi and scallops. Quite full aromas of stewed apple and pear, tending towards the odd, sweet prickliness of fairy floss that I seem to find a bit in Vouvray. In the mouth, generous and fresh, with more smashed apples and an edge of pineapple giving way to a lightly textural after palate and soft finish. Great acidity that is the primary contributor to its food-friendliness. This is drinking well but could happily sit in a cellar for years to come.
Eldridge Estate Gamay 2008 ($A50, restaurant list)
This makes a compelling case for Mornington Peninsula Gamay; perhaps fortunate as it may well be the only one made. Simple to start, flavours presenting similarly to the dreaded dry red Pinot style. It really took off about half an hour in, with attractive spiced complexity overlaying detailed, balanced red cherry fruit. Expressive on both nose and palate, there’s real vitality to this wine’s flavour profile, and it shows sophistication without sacrificing an ounce of deliciousness. Weight and texture are both well-judged; again, a good food style and one that went with both curry and full-flavoured pork belly. A great house red for the well-heeled.
Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling 2009 ($A12/glass, restaurant list)
We were quite lucky on the food and wine matching front; this went well with pear tarte tatin. Pure indulgence; ultra-clean flavours of preserved citrus, ripe tropical fruits and flowers, elegant in the mouth, with brilliantly balanced acidity. It’s sweet yet fresh, opulent yet shapely. Finally, a dessert wine with manners — an exercise in vinous propriety.

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