There we were, hidden down off George Street, a table of regular attendees, sitting in Mr Wong, one of Sydney’s champion yum cha establishments, when we tried to work out how many of these yummy chummy lunches we had been to.
The occasion was the annual release of the Shaw+Smith Sauvignon Blanc, one of the finest wines from this variety in the country.
Right back in the beginning, some twenty five years ago, Michael Hill Smith, (who became Australia’s first Master of Wine, an exceptional achievement back in 1988. There are still only some 350 MWs in the world today) and his cousin Michael Shaw decided quite rightly that a feast of excellent Chinese nibbles was perfect to launch and accompany their young wine.
Chris Hayes, formerly of Sydney and now eat and drink consultant extraordinaire in Melbourne, thought the first one was at a big space in Chinatown. Kam Fook, he remembers. Back in the early 90s. Long gone now. We think you are right, Chris. Since then we’ve moved around a bit.
But we have been attending Mr Wong for what? Four years? Five years? Six?
Someone says something about yum cha and memory loss.
Must be that. We all insist it can’t be the wine.
Not just the Sauvignon Blanc
Today we do enjoy that honoured wine, generously poured, but we also try three other gorgeous bottles from S+S.
David Le Mire, Global Sales and Marketing Manager and Adam Wadewitz Chief Winemaker take us through the latest offerings from their magnificent vineyards high in the Adelaide Hills at Balhannah and Lenswood.
Here are some notes on the wines
2018 Shaw+Smith Sauvignon Blanc
This is a super white for those whose preferences for sauvignon blanc drift more towards those of the Loire than Marlborough. More depth, subtlety and elegance, although this is not exactly delicate. It is very confident and perfectly balanced, fully floral with a hint a tropical fruits flowing through to a refreshing crisp finish with a backbone of sturdy acids. A wine that surely knows its place. We know too. On a table beside some delicious seafood yum cha.
2016 Shaw+Smith M3 Chardonnay
One of our favourite Aussie chardonnays. Again it presents with such confidence and surety of place. White flowers, nectarines and grapefruit mingle on the nose. Lovely lifted sweetness of intense fruit. Very fine length and breadth of flavours sitting pretty on a riot of nuttiness from perfect oak treatment.
2017 Shaw+Smith Pinot Noir
David tells us it was a late year. Late and cool, with the winemakers hanging about playing backgammon awaiting their moment. Finally picked full and ripe with super aromatics. A lighter style of pure pinot with bright fruit and a soft finish. A brush of tannins carries through to the end. It thinks itself modest but it is a very decent and rewarding mouthful.
2016 Shaw+Smith Shiraz
Dark herb-laced clouds hovering as you sniff, suggesting there may be some serious intensity in the mouth, but it flows gently across the palate as medium bodied, long and elegant. Adam describes it as “spicy with lifted floral touches.” It has some firmness suggesting it could be a wonderful wine to keep a few years.
Now that could prove difficult, if you constantly had food in front of you that matched it so well.
In fact just like the main dish we have moved on to: Angus beef cubes with black pepper.
A mouthwatering, memorable partnership.
All in all we agreed at our table it was another fine season, another fine turn. A perfectly matched day.