Having a Blass with modern Asian CUISINE
Wolf Blass began as a humble tin shed in Barossa Valley in 1966 to become one of the world’s most successful and awarded wine brands. With more than 10,000 awards received at national and international wine shows, Wolf Blass continuously strives to produce wines of quality, character and consistency.
Taking food and wine pairing up a notch, Wolf Blass has partnered with Michelin Guide to get Southeast Asian chefs to craft sauces to match its wines. To start off the wine pairing dinner, Wolf Blass brand ambassador Australian Sam Stephens walked us through the tasting notes of Wolf Blass wines against sauces created by Michelin chefs from Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore.
In conjunction with its ‘Find Your Flavour’ Campaign, Wolf Blass has also gotten chef Gary Anwar of Ember Modern Bistro to pair Wolf Blass Gold and Grey Label wines with an exquisite bespoke six-course menu highlighting locally-sourced Southeast Asian ingredients.
If anyone understands Asian cuisine, it would be cool chef Gary, having spent his early culinary career at various Spanish tapas restaurants and under the tutelage of Michelin starred-chef Jeff Ramsey.
Slowly, but surely making a name for himself as maestro of modern Asian cooking, Gary started the night’s offering with corn chips, smoked yogurt and caviar, Romaine lettuce, pistachio and lemon slices, all sitting on top of a bed of red beans. This was a very interesting combination of textures – something crispy, with touch of brine from the caviar, plus a little tartness coming from the lemon.
The 2017 Chardonnay’s companion was the oh-so-refreshing cold Hamachi, with ponzu, pickled apple and ulam raja (local salad). Such subtle sweetness coming from the apple, balanced by the acidity coming from the ponzu and pickle. With the elegant white, this was to me, a heavenly match which I could feast on all night.
It would appear the Hamachi was the starter to a three main courses, starting with the Steamed Baked local fish (senangin), mushrooms with smoked fish sauce to go with the 2016 shiraz. This appeared to be a surprising match against the complex rich spiciness of the red, but against the savoury fish sauce, the sweeter spice notes and jammy, fruity character came to the fore.
Dry aged duck with kicap manis (sweet soy sauce) tare, pucuk paku and sesame was wonderful against the 2017 cabernet sauvignon. The duck’s crisp skin had a mellow sweetness to it, reminiscent of Chinese char siew (roast pork) while the moist meat was medium rare, on the verge of red, tender without being chewy, juxtaposed against the nice crunch of the local vegetables. Utterly Asian, yet when combined with a Western approach towards the meat, the duck treatment was quite a genius stroke.
Last but not least of all was the striploin with potato puree, sansho butter and four beans paired with the 2016 Grey Label McLaren Vale Shiraz. Frankly, most of us were quite full after the last course already and didn’t do justice to the tender, juicy beef. Compared to the earlier shiraz, this had even more layers of flavours – chocolate, berries and spice, among others, with more balanced; certainly a most lovely red to linger over.
A fitting close, a palate cleanser, a refreshing pick-me-up after a heavy meal – such was the icy elderflower with bunga kantan (Malaysian torched ginger flower). There was no sweet wine to go with this, but the first Chardonnay did just fine by me.
Diners in Malaysia can look forward to this exclusive Wolf Blass wine pairing dinner at Ember Modern Bistro on December 15, 2019 at RM250++/person. Chef Gary Ember will be serving this six-course meal to pair with wines from the Wolf Blass Gold Label series and the Wolf Blass Grey Label McLaren Vale Shiraz.
For the deets, contact Ember Bistro.