Offcuts: Brisbane Single Bottle Dinner

All quiet on the blog front of late, mostly due to some travels that have left little time to write. They have, however, provided ample opportunity to drink exceptionally well, and I’ve been enjoying many excellent wines. I will write some up as time allows.

Before I left Brisbane, however, I did attend the first of what I hope will be a regular series of dinners with seven other local wine enthusiasts. We were each asked to bring a bottle to share and our host arranged for the restaurant Two Small Rooms to build a matching menu. So far, so good.

I won’t go through every wine, although each no doubt deserves to be written up in some detail. Suffice to say the group were extraordinarily generous with their chosen bottles, and the food matches were carefully considered.

Although I’m realising that Cabernet-based wines are often a second choice for me, two Bordeaux provided the most intellectual stimulation of the evening. A 1970 Rausan-Ségla was still in fine shape, though not in the least bit fleshy. Instead, a beautiful old red wine, leaking mushrooms, old leather, cedar and tobacco from every pore. The palate showed firm acid and surprising fruit sweetness too. A lovely thing.

By contrast, a 1985 Léoville Barton remained a real brute of a wine, full of oak and dense, spectacularly complex fruit. I especially liked the aroma, which seemed endlessly deep and dark, and I was happy to lose myself in it for quite a while.

A tranche of sweet wines that accompanied our excellent dessert deserve special mention. We pitted a 1970 Château Suduiraut against a 1999 Ballandean Estate Sylvaner, the only Queensland wine of the night. Although I feel the Suduiraut was in all respects the better wine, and I enjoyed it a great deal, I kept coming back to the Sylvaner for its fresh, boisterous liveliness, which felt great with food and was a lot of fun.

To finish off the evening, and I suspect quite a few of us too, we indulged in a Chambers Special Tokay, which I’m positive I could still taste at the conclusion of my taxi ride home.

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