Last night Bar Barossa played host to 15 Brisbane Food Bloggers for their first Blogger dinner. Bar Barossa is a new bar situated down the very end of Queen Street - near Ecco. As the name suggests Bar Barossa is a wine bar that specialises in wine from the Barossa.. What's that I hear you say?- Wine bar in Brisbane that specialises in something... anything.... Yay!!!
I was so happy to hear that Bar Barossa had opened because it is another indication that Brisbane is starting to attract interesting people thus creating interesting places to go. A wine bar was very much needed.
Kerry from eatdrink and be kerry organised the dinner and upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised to see that 14 other bloggers had also come along. It is fantastic to know that there are at least 15 other Brisbane bloggers out there blogging away all in the name of good food. It was also nice to put names to faces in an age where is it acceptable to f'book and tweet before meeting in person. I never thought I would go on an internet date, but essentially that was exactly what last night was- at the very least it felt like it.
I certainly suffered the pre-date nerves, wondering if the others would like me and hoping I had enough but not too much food knowledge to keep up with the pack. Sound ridiculous? I know! I had even pre-warned my boyfriend that if necessary I would him to call to pick me up early just in case. I was comforted by the fact that my blogger friend Ally from eatdrinkbrisbane was coming but still had some anticipation. I needn't have worried. From the moment we walked in, everyone was friendly and it was great to meet some like minded souls who were willing to talk pasta making, discuss their cooking idols and chat food, food and more food.
The bar is a bit different to a usual winebar and features some great grape chandeliers and a 29 litre hand crafted wine glass to hold the 29 litre, $50,000 bottle of wine.
Darren Davis, the director of Bar Barossa (all this alliteration is making me crazy!) had invited some of his winemaking colleagues to chat to us about wine. Truthfully, prior to going in, I was probably more interested in the food- but the Bar Barossa boys managed to focus some of my attention towards the wine.
I certainly enjoy a glass of wine, but as you all know by now, I am no wine connoisseur, however, I am willing and eager to learn as much as I can about food and any food related things including wine & cocktails.
I think we tasted about 5 wines. Among these was a Wilson 08 series Riesling from a Clare Valley winery. I have always avoided riesling - falsely believing that it would be too sweet but the myth was busted and I found out that Riesling can be some of the driest wine available. I was also happy to hear that because the demand for riesling is not as high, you should be able to get a very good quality bottle of wine for about $20. This particular wine was about 30 years old and was perfect with seafood, which came in handy because my entree was half a dozen oysters with salsa for $18.00.
The oysters were good. I'm usually a natural girl, but the salsa seemed interesting. I liked that the oysters were presented on ice and the oysters were very fresh. I was left wishing that the salsa had a bit more punch, but ultimately was left very happy after these little beauties.
Monkylicious from bellygood.net was seated near me and chose the tart for $18.00. I tossed up and decided to go with the oysters but had a bit of menu envy when her dish arrived. It looked lovely and fresh but we were too busy talking about food to discuss THE food so check out bellygood for her review on the tart.
Next up, Marco Cirillo from Cirillo Estate presented a couple of wines to us. Marco is an 8th generation winemaker from Italy- 1st generation Australian. His family still do things the old way, growing their own goats and chickens and curing all their own meats. I like their style. 2) wine was a semillon that was made from grapes planted in 1850. Apparently we were the first people in Qld to taste this particular vintage and only 200 cases a year. According to Marco, the wine was acid driven towards the finish- had distinct peary and cantaloupe with a lemon and lime zest. I got the pear and the acid but that was about it. That being said- this was my favourite white of the night and seemed very smooth to be- I do however, feel a little unqualified to comment.
3) off the cuff was a European styled 2007 Picary Chardonnay. I can't really explain the flavour but I was not a fan. I am typically not a fan of chardonnay and this one was particularly 'musky' i think. It definitely had a strong smell and I felt that it was too fruity and dry.
The mains arrive and once again a bit of menu envy sets in- Ally ordered the Atlantic Salmon on celeriac mash for $30.00 which was a little overcooked for my liking. The salmon roe was a nice touch and Ally enjoyed the dish.
Monkylicious ordered the home made pasta with scallops, prawns & salmon in saffron salmon cream & pearls. This was a particularly a huge serve given that is was just $18.00 and from the entree menu. The pasta was well cooked and the sauce was good without being overly creamy.
I decided on the Salt & Pepper Quail on shaved cucumber and watercress salad with Barambah yoghurt dressing which was also $18.00 from the entree menu. The shaved cucumber and watercress salad had some heat which I liked. The quail was a little dry in places but overall the depth of flavour was excellent. The salt paired nicely with the yoghurt dressing but I was left wishing my serve was bigger!
We then tasted a couple of other wines but the details of those were not so well documented. One was the St Jakobi 2006 Shiraz from the Barossa Valley but I honestly was too busy thinking about my yummy quail to take too much notice about the shiraz. Darren did get us guessing what region the shiraz came from and for a bunch of food bloggers- we were surprisingly spot on.
Another interesting fact I learnt from Marco is that the dry reds are usually classified dry if there is under 4 grams per litre of sugar in the wine.
They obviously saved the best till last because in my opinion- the 5th wine- a 2006 Cirillo Grenache was the star of the show. This particular wine takes some serious looking after but the end result was well worth it. To get the flavour the Cirillo use natural yeast and allow the grenache 15-30 days for fermentation which is double or three times longer than usual. Old wood is used and I think this was the distinct flavour that came through. I would say the wine was robust (good wine term huh!!) and we were very lucky to taste this wine because it is the oldest grenache in the world.
I would say the night was a raging success. Most of the other bloggers seemed keen to meet up again so I pretty much think that counts as a second date. Perhaps next time we will have to have blogger speed networking so I get to know some of the other bloggers better- we were limited to talking to those who were seated up our end.
Darren and the guys at Bar Barossa did a good job telling us about the wines- it was good to learn something about the wines from the Barossa region. The food was of a high standard- the quail in particular. I also think the all day menu deserves a look in- with pork belly and scallops and wakame on offer I will go back. I'm happy to have learnt more about the wines and suggest that if you are a wine buff or just want a change of scenery- you should get down to Bar Barossa.
Bloggers- Where should our next blogger dinner be held?