Review of OMGD at Bimbadgen Estate – “A Taste of Bimbadgen” – Saturday August 30

by John Stedman, Vice-Argentier of the NSW Regional Baillage



The weather gods very much favoured this lunch time function set at Bimbadgen Estate in the glorious Hunter Valley. Rain had fallen all week and that morning but come 11.30AM, sunlight appeared and stayed with us for the rest of the day adding its sparkle to what turned out to be a delightful function for the 24 souls that made the trek to Sydney’s northern wine growing region.

There were a number of early highlights that do require comment and which occurred during the first stage of the event which was a selection of mouth watering canapés  accompanied by Bimbadgen’s stunning 2012 vintage Blanc de Blanc served outside on the terrace overlooking a sweeping panorama of vines.

Leaving aside the enjoyment of the food and beverage offerings for a moment, the first highlight was the formal presentation by Joerg Boeckler (NSW Bailli)  of an elaborate Chaîne Restaurant Plaque to Rebecca Poynter (General Manager of Bimbadgen Wines) to mark the occasion. This was then followed by Joerg demonstrating his commitment to a very worthwhile cause (in this case motor neurone disease) by subjecting himself to an Ice Bucket Challenge gleefully enabled by our own Vice Echanson, Sam Giddings. Fortunately the sun was out and Joerg had appropriately dressed for such an occasion though Sam’s initial glee was tempered by learning that he too was required to subsequently undergo a similar fate.

An entertaining and fund worthy start to the festivities.

Tom Lovelock (assistant wine maker) then took over and introduced us to the workings of the winery followed by some very pleasant examples of the yet to be released 2014 Bimbadgen vintage drawn that morning both from tanks and barrels supported by Tom’s able description of the characteristics of the wines being tasted.

Guests then moved into a private section of Bimbadgen’s highly rated Esca restaurant and sitting at one long table eagerly awaited the commencement of the 6 course degustation lunch developed by Executive Chef Jonathan Heath.

Being an OMGD function and to provide some additional interest each course was paired with two wines and at the course’s conclusion guests were asked to nominate the wine they considered best suited the particular course. Needless to say a lively debate ensued at the conclusion of each course where often no clear preference for the table emerged. All good fun.
The Meal and Wines

Tom Lovelock introduced the particular wines for each course and at appropriate times Jonathan Heath joined Tom from the kitchen to provide an insight into the food elements, their preparation and presentation.

The first course of Bimbadgen Estate 2014 Vermentino and Bimbadgen Signature 2009 Palmers Lane Semillon accompanied a wonderfully light Snapper ceviche-Japanese mentsuyu, sesame rice crisp, avocado, sprout and caviar.

This was followed by  a Bimbadgen Estate 2014 Viognier and a Bimbadgen Members Collection 2012 Sur Lie Chardonnay with a succulent Slow pork – corn pain perdu, peanut, tatsoi, garlic crisp and hoisin.

Next a Bimbadgen MCA Series 2013 Nebbiolo and a Bimbadgen Estate 2013 Shiraz Viognier championed a delicious Pan seared quail – black tahini, ras el hanout, pistachio granola, carrot , cumin and hummus.

Our main course was led by a Bimbadgen Signature 2011 McDonalds Road Shiraz and a Bimbadgen Regions 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon welcoming Spring lamb – aubergine, tomato spelt “ risotto”’ , olive, baby spinach and thyme.

Time for a sorbet palate cleanser and a breather from the onslaught so far on our senses.

Back to “work” with a Bimbadgen Signature 2013 Hunter Valley Shiraz and a Bimbadgen Members Collection 2012 Young Vine Shiraz leading our cheese course of brie brûlée, blue and Bimbadgen Tawny roulade, pistachio and apple.

Finally but certainly not lastly, two wonderful dessert wines being a Bimbadgen Regions 2010 Botrytis Semillon and a Bimbadgen Estate NV Fortified Verdelho heralded Pecan nut pie – apple gel, brown butter ice-cream, cinnamon and caramel.

Our congratulations to all the Team at Bimbadgen for welcoming us so warmly to their establishment and providing a wonderful wine and food experience in such a marvellous setting.

Our special thanks to especially Rebecca, Tom and Jonathan for making it all happen.

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