Each dinner features a different set of wines and the food is always matched to dishes created and matched by the chefs at Esposito.
On this occasion it was all about the Champagne. There were six courses and seven wines, one for each course and a cheeky extra to start. As a serious fan of champagne and a lover of great food…this was pretty much heaven for me!
We were served the wines blind which added interest, and a little fun competition among the diners.
Upon arrival we happily sipped away on a glass of Serge Matieu. This Champagne is 100% Pinot Noir and was a nice introduction to the evening.
Our first course was a Seared Scallop with avocado cream and preserved lemon dressing. This was served with Champagne from Lanson.
This wine had such an intense bready smell we were all blown away. The taste however was much more subtle and complimented the dish beautifully. The scallop was cooked perfectly and the citrus in the dressing cut through the richness nicely and brought out the flavours in the Champagne.
Next up was the Slow cooked octopus with whipped smoked eel, potato and pickled cucumber salad. This was served with Champagne from Pol Roger, which I have been told was a favourite of Winston Churchill. I have to say this was the evening stand out for me. It was delicate, balanced and refined.
The slow cooked octopus was tender and the potato was a really nice match.
The third course was Rock Flathead fillets with blue swimmer crab, pea, broad bean and wasabi leaf. This course was served with a 2006 Janz…an Australian Sparkling among a Champagne dinner…scandal? As a fan of Janz I wasn’t complaining and it was nice to be able to compare an Australian wine in the mix. The Janz had less of a yeasty flavour and was sutble and lovely.
This dish was also delicious, the flathead was crisp on the outside and tender on the inside and the simple salad added freshness and lightness.
The fourth course saw the first meat of the evening. It was Duck breast pastrami with white balsamic soaked fig and sorrel. This was served with Champagne from Philipponnat. This was another lovely wine, which was slightly heavier than the Janz we had with the previous course.
This food and wine combination was fantastic, the dish cut through the wine beautifully and together they really complimented each other.
The final mains course was a Quail saltimbocca, pear tartin, radicchio with Vincotto dressing. I have to say this pear tartin was incredible…I would have eaten these on their own!
This dish was served with Champagne from Louis Roederer. Having had this wine many times before, it was interesting to see that it had much less impact than the other wines we had tried on the evening.
The final course of the evening was a delicious cheese course, a Brilliant Savant – Soft French sheep’s cheese served with quince paste and house baked fruit bread. This was served with Champagne from Perrier Jouet.
The smell of this wine was astounding; it had that feeling of being caught in your throat, almost making you cough. Yet again smell was not indicative of the flavour. It was another lovely drop and went very nicely with the rich creamy cheese.
All in all I felt very spoilt being part of this dinner. We were able to try seven great wines that I know I would not be able to afford if I were to buy them myself. This is one of the great things about the dinners that Matthew Hansen from Fine Wine Appreciation puts together. For less than $200 you can try seven expensive wines and be treated to Esposito cooking while you do it.
For more information:
Fine Wine Appreciation
162 Elgin Street Calton VIC
(03) 9347 9838