This story is especially for all my fabulous lady readers.
I have been very spoiled recently, last week I spent an evening with Grant Burge enjoying wines he had hand picked from his Barossa Valley Estate. Tonight I am sharing the evening with Judy Schild from Schild Estate, and lots of gorgeous ladies from the Fabulous Ladies Wine Society.
So what happens when you pair amazing wine, with five delicious courses courtesy of Macualeys Restaurant in Coffs Harbour? It’s a chance to frock up and grab a group of your best girlfriends for a Fabulous Ladies Wine Soiree!
The Fabulous Ladies Wine Society holds soirees all over Australia for wine lovers to sample and review wines. The aim of these evenings is to have a fun night out with the girls enjoying the finer things in life, whilst learning a little more about the complexity of wines and gaining an appreciation for the art of winemaking.
Our evening commenced with a glass of 2012 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc as we mingled and met all the fabulous ladies enjoying Coffs Harbour’s first “Fabulous Ladies Wine Society” event.
The wine had a lovely floral bouquet and a crisp, fresh, fruit flavour. I loved the passionfruit flavours and the zesty liveliness of the wine. It seemed to be a very popular choice with the ladies.
All the wines for the evening were being provided by Schild Estate, one of Australia’s premier Barossa Valley family wineries. Schild Estates is the largest private grower in the Barossa Valley and has 7 vineyards. The family moved to the area in 1952 with the intention to retire but the passion for winemaking hit. The Schild family have now seen three generations join the family winemaking business. Speaking with Judy you get the feeling that her heart is planted in the vineyard as firmly as the rootstock itself! There is so much pride showing as she recounts her family’s history in the Barossa.
Her aim was to provide women with a more formal framework to develop their interest in wine. She formed an online women’s wine club, and commenced a “virtual” monthly wine tasting club. Each month two wines are chosen and tasting notes are provided on the website. Ladies can get together and sample the wines and learn the subtle characteristics of each wine.
We are served a Tom Yum Soup w pork dumplings. The matching wine is a 2012 Riesling, a wine variety which I have noticed is seeing a return to favour. The fruit is again from the Adelaide hills and the colour is bright straw. The aroma is lemony and the flavour is citrus and floral. It’s certainly a far cry from the Rieslings of old. I enjoyed the crisp clean flavour and the long finish.
I found the Riesling to be a great match to the Tod Yum Soup as it complimented the spicy broth nicely.
The next course is a marinated char grilled octopus salad with cherry tomatoes, goats feta, mixed lettuce and a lemon oregano vinaigrette. The octopus is cooked beautifully, so tender and smokey octopus and complimented well by the tartness of the lemon and the creamy feta.
We are poured a 2012 Unwooded Chardonnay and a 2011 Alma Chardonnay, the exercise here being to compare the difference that “oaking” makes on a grape variety to the finish wine.
I found that I am partial both of these wines although the flavour experience of each is vastly different. The unwooded is fresh and floral with ginger and citrus notes, whilst the wooded is more buttery and nutty with peach flavours.
At this point in the evening we’re told it was time to see which lucky lady would have the opportunity to take home an Audi of their choice for the weekend.
We all agreed this is a pretty sexy car! …somehow I didn’t manage to win the prize so I guess I will have to keep dreaming.
I had missed out on the Audi but I still had the opportunity to win a beautiful jewellery prize from Parry’s Jewellers. At the start of the evening I had admired the beautiful items on display.
Once again lady luck was not on my side, but nevermind, I was enjoying the food wine and company, and the next course was being served.
This was my favourite course of the evening! Confit duck Marylands with carrot puree, roasted baby beets and buttered beans, drizzled with a shiraz jus. The duck was melt in the mouth delicious, so meaty, gamey and rich. I love the jus and the crisp beans whilst the beets gave the dish that wintery feel.
The dish was the perfect pairing for the wines, a 2011 GMS “Old Bush Vine” and a 2010 Shiraz. Again, both wines were very different, and I thoroughly enjoyed each. The GSM was lighter in colour and style, it had a delicious sweet berry flavour, was fruity and playful, but with a lovely long finish. The GSM was made from the fruit of 125 year old vines.
The shiraz was my favourite of the two reds, the colour, flavour and aroma was deep and full. I loved the rich berry and plum taste combined with the peppery spices. This would be a wine I would choose again and again.
Dessert was a creamy chocolate creme brulee with a crisp almond biscotti. The Chocolate Brulee was quite light which was lovely after such a filling meal. I enjoyed using the biscotti to scoop the sweet soft custard into my mouth.
Served with dessert was the 2009 Sparkling Shiraz. Whilst the grapes were the same used in the previously served 2009 Shiraz, this wine had undergone a different wine making process.The result was a lovely light sparkling red with slightly more sugar and delicious tiny soft bubbles. Perfect to accompany desserts or starters.
All the wines we were enjoying from Schild Estate were priced between $15 and $35 which I feel is very good value. The whites were all $15 and $20 whilst my favourite 2009 Shiraz is available from the vineyard for $35.
The perfect finish to the evening was the 2012 Lorraine Schild Late Harvest Semillon. This pure gold liquid was poured and the aroma was deliciously sweet and maramaladey. It was a full mouth experience with sweet and tart, fruit and spice all melding together to form one luscious experience.
Judy recounted the events of the day as that particular vintage was picked. She was is was such a joyful experience to have family and staff out in the vines hand picking these grapes as they had in years gone by. It reminded her of her childhood when all the grapes were hand picked, and every family member had a job to do!
Where there is a Late Harvest Semillon there should also be a sharing a platter of local and imported cheeses. Our platter was quite divine featuring a delicious blue, a rich creamy brie and a smokey cheddar. I couldn’t resist the quince paste and I had to remind myself that this platter was for sharing, and others may also like to sample the blue cheese.
This was a great opportunity to sample wines from an old family vineyard in an elegant environment with other like minded “fabulous ladies.”
Would you like to join “The Fabulous Ladies Wine Society”? Events such as the Ladies Wine Soirees are open to member and non-members. You simply need to be a wine-loving women to attend. Members do get a special discount ticket price though! Oh and it’s FREE!!
If I have excited you palate and you too would like to sample some wines from the Schild Estate follow the link to make your selection.
What do you think of this idea! Would you like to get together with a group of fabulous girlfriends to discuss wine? Would you consider holding your own Fabulous Ladies Wine Soiree?