As most of you know, Mr. Spittoon and I have been working our wine-drinking-butts off to get our new house painted as quickly as possible which has meant no going out and having fun. After nearly two weeks of painting after work in the evenings and all throughout the weekends we were killing for a break. The invite from the team at Steve’s to attend their wine dinner on Wednesday night couldn’t have come at a better time. I just wish the unclassy wine blogger that I am didn’t fall down the stairs…
Firstly a huge thanks to the team at Steve’s for inviting Mr. Spittoon and I along – it was a great opportunity for us to try more of the Torbreck & Rusden wines alongside mingling with some like-minded wine-lovers and of course enjoying a decadent meal. We did the smart thing and ordered an Uber to Nedlands so both of us could relax and enjoy the wines to the full extent.
There’s no good or bad in a wine, just a drunk in the end” – Craig, Senior Winemaker at Torbreck
The Underground Cellar
I was stoked to find out the dinner was taking place in the downstairs cellar. This cellar is full of some of the world’s best and very expensive wines! On a previously trip to Steve’s I went down and had a good mosey, it took me back to the days of selling Bordeaux’s First Growths and the likes of DRC’s Romanee Conti in Dubai at Le Clos. The cellar was set up with 3 long tables, seating about 10 people per table.
This is the best way to hold a wine dinner in my opinion. It just doesn’t work when you’re seated at a table with your just partner or group of friends. Half the fun is mingling! At our table, funnily enough there was a Kiwi chef who has been living in Perth for nearly 30 years and his partner, we had the WA Sales rep for Torbreck, Scotty and then we also had Glen the General Manager of Steve’s. It was a great bunch!
And you won’t believe it but I yet again lived up to my title of being the most unclassiest wine blogger and I had another bad shoe moment like at the swanky Evans & Tate lunch I went to last year. Yep I completely bailed on the stairs. At the intermission of the dinner, I popped upstairs quickly, on my way back down my super high heel got caught on the edge and I fell down the last 3 steps! Ouch! And I just prayed not too many people saw!! I couldn’t help it and had to laugh, when you’ve been clumsy all your life, and really can’t walk in high heels properly, well it’s to be expected. It’s safe to say I’ll be wearing flats to the next dinner I attend in Steve’s cellar!
The Flow of the Dinner
It was a 6 course meal, 3 starters basically and 2 mains and a dessert. Each course had an accompanying wine and prior to each course we were introduced to the wine by the respective representative. On the night we were lucky enough to hear from and dine with the Senior Winemaker at Torbreck, Craig Isbel as well as of course Scotty the sales rep (who for many years managed the Torbreck cellar door prior to moving to Perth) and representing Rusden was acclaimed sommelier, Daniel Wegener.
After the 3rd course there was about a 20 minute break, for people to go and use the restrooms and stretch their legs. Or fall down the stairs like I did 🙂
I have to admit the timings for each course were perfect. At no point did I feel rushed nor did I feel like we were waiting for ages. Head Chef Naomi Bulner did an absolutely wonderful job, I couldn’t fault the food and the service was impeccable. I really did feel like we were dining at an incredibly classy establishment. Plus I love how Naomi is on Instagram and Twitter so we can have a sneak peek at the life of a chef!
The Wines aka ‘Social Lubricant’
As you know, I try to not get too geeky at these kind of things and put down my phone in order to enjoy the evening and atmosphere, so I didn’t take tasting notes. I only jotted down a couple of points when Craig or Dan were talking. It’s safe to say the wines on both sides were delicious. It was a great opportunity to try some new wines and I also thought it was great how they surprised us with bringing out 2 more wines to try, the 2012 Torbreck Runrig (which is the flagship wine of the Torbreck brand) retailing at $275 and the Rusden Sandscrub Shiraz which retails at a cool $490.
Craig talked with us about the diversity of soils in the Barossa and the impacts these have on the wines coming out of the region as well as Torbreck’s love of Rhone grape varieties and all about Torbreck’s iconic and cult status. Mr. Spittoon and I actually had the pleasure of doing a wine dinner a few years ago in Dubai with the founder, Dave Powell so the night brought back a lot of good memories for us.
I loved hearing Dan speak about the Rusden range, for me it was the first time I was trying their wines and it was a good introduction. I was surprised to hear the comparisons between Chardonnay and Chenin when we dug into our first course – how Chenin is also quite a versatile grape.
Most of the wines were poured side by side so it was really interesting to see for instance both the Torbreck Steading GSM alongside the Rusden Driftsand GSM and likewise with the Torbreck The Factor Shiraz beside the Rusden Black Guts Shiraz. It was interesting to hear a common observation was that the Torbreck wines were more along the fruity side of things while the Rusden range was more savoury and that word ‘black olive tapenade’ kept being used to describe the wines.
I did take a couple of notes when we tried the big dogs, I couldn’t help myself…
The 6-course menu
Check out that menu. Absolutely to die for. That’s the great thing about degustations like this, you tend to eat out of your comfort zone, things you wouldn’t typically order and then when you try then you wonder why you haven’t been eating it all your life! I cannot fault any of the dishes on the night, the portion sizes were perfect, the flavours and presentation amazing and most importantly the elements on the plate matched the elements in the wines seamlessly.
My favourite dish had to be the slow cooked egg with truffle, parsnip, pear and saltbush. I am a sucker for eggs and yolk porn so there was no doubt I’d love the dish and those humongous bits of truffle had me in awe. The quality of the food has definitely put Steve’s firmly on the map for me when considering dining options in the future!
Mmmm.. Wagyu beef, aged cheddar, hazelnut, truffle and apple at last nights Torbreck & Rusden Wine Dinner at @stevesnedlands #invited #perth #perthfood A photo posted by Travelling Corkscrew Wine Blog (@travellingcorkscrew) on
The beautiful Ile flottante with mandarin, hibiscus, caramel & kaffir matched with Torbreck’s The Bothie Muscat Blanc at @stevesnedlands #invited #perth #perthfood #stevesnedlands #citydining #winedinner A photo posted by Travelling Corkscrew Wine Blog (@travellingcorkscrew) on
Tickets to the wine dinner were a cool $195, however in my opinion I would say that’s a decent price. Between the quality of 6 courses of food, the 5 star service by the staff, the decent tasting pours of 8 wines and the one-on-one chats with the likes of Craig, Scotty and Dan – you’re getting your monies worth. Plus all the wines are on special on the night, with some damn irresistible prices which you won’t get anywhere else. It’s a great night out as a couple and it’s a fun environment to learn about the wines in front of you as well as the region they’re from and winemaking techniques. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend attending a wine dinner at Steve’s and I would also recommend to wear flats ladies!