Mention Margaret River and people will tell you tales of its dramatic Indian Ocean coastline, towering ancient forests, lush green pastures blooming with wildflowers and not forgetting world-class wineries. As one of Western Australia’s notable food and wine regions, its exceptional growing conditions has granted a conducive environment for the vast number of wineries to produce 20% of the country’s premium wines.
One of the first estates established on the Margaret River since 1970 is Cape Mentelle, a winery responsible for pioneering many of the region’s renowned wine styles. With over 200 hectares of vines across four vineyards, Cape Mentelle’s wine portfolio ranges extensively from merlot, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, shiraz, zinfandel and cabernet franc. However, it is the signature cabernet sauvignon that has outshined the rest, amassing numerous prestigious accolades and putting Margaret River on the international wine map. At the heart of the winemaking company is their sustainable viticulture philosophy, a high standard of environmental practise accredited under the Winemakers Federation of Australia’s Entwine program. Initiatives under the program include utilising natural fertilisers, composting winery waste and prohibited usage of insecticides.
2015 has also proved to be a favourable year for Australian wines given the inexorable rise of its export value and an upsurge in exciting trendsetting wines entering the market. An invitation was extended to Prestige to sample five of Cape Mentelle’s award-winning wines paired with a delicately curated fare prepared by the newly established Stoked Restaurant & Bar. The intimate luncheon was hosted by Cameron Murphy, Cape Mentelle’s estate director who highlighted the unique identities of each wine and shared his undying passion for the industry.
It was only apt that Stoked was the selected venue for the wine pairing luncheon as founder and managing director Wong Yin-How shares a common keen interest in the art of wine. Inspired by the charcoal driven restaurants in Spain, Yin-How set out to introduce the concept in Malaysia by bringing in the Bertha charcoal oven, fired by a combination of charcoal and firewood that infuses a hint of smokiness to their dishes.
The indulgent pairing began with a specially crafted menu designed to complement and enhance the natural aromas of the wine. The first course saw an exquisite uni sashimi with tofu puree and consommé jelly paired with the Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2013. It was a delightful starter to begin with as the saline uni showcased the true potential of the classic white wine, balancing the rich fruity flavours with a creamy texture. Other seafood choices such as oysters are also a spot on match.The second dish proved to be slightly richer, a steamed coral trout with kale and tomato, served with caper beurre blanc sauce. The rich trout required a wine that carries more weight but won’t overpower the freshness of the fish thus, a glass of Cape Mentelle’s Chardonnay 2012 was best suited for the role. A fresh focused acidity from the wine led to a textural yet clean journey on the palate.
The intense flavours from the foie gras and duck pâté en croute calls for an equal wine to match thus, it was time to bust out a stronger variant – Cape Mentelle’s Cabernet Merlot 2012. A medium to full bodied wine, the Cabernet Merlot highlighted the creamy richness from the foie gras, showcasing a great length of structure before finishing off with a slightly tannic aftertaste.
The slow roasted lamb called for not one but two distinctive wines from the estate – the Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 and Cape Mentelle Shiraz 2012. The freedom to experiment and find the perfect match according to our individual preferences was a nice surprise as it was an interesting experience to relish in between the two contrasting wines. The shiraz was plush and rich at first sip, drying down to a long spicy finish while the cabernet sauvignon boasted a complex amalgam of fruit flavours. Both wines brought out the earthiness from the mushrooms and gamy lamb which were the focal point. To end on a sweet note, a white chocolate mousse with mixed berries and crumble with raspberry sauce was served but not before another round of refills began.