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Tuesday’s coming together of Cullen’s biodynamic wines from Australia’s
Margaret River and the renowned quality cooking of Cafe Paradiso, looked, on
paper, like a match made in food heaven. You won’t be surprised to learn that
it lived up to that billing.
This multi-course meal, part of the Wine Geese series, was one highlight
after another. I really lapped up the Baby Carrots with the buttermilk yoghurt
and the roast kombu. And then another highlight: grilled asparagus with miso beurre
blanc and nori gomasio, matched with the 2010 “Mangan Vineyard” Margaret River
Sauvignon Blanc – Semillon.
The last of the whites was the superb 2010 “Kevin John” Margaret River
Chardonnay and that went so well with the sublime Toonsbridge buffalo mozzarella
with beetroot, pickled fennel, roast grapes and dukkah.
Emma Cullen, from the Western Australian vineyard family, was with us and she was
proud to say that the Kevin John, named after her grandfather, had sold out in
the UK. It is a complex elegant wine which has spent nine months in new oak. If
you hurry, you might get some (along with more of the Cullen wines in Bradley’s,
North Main Street).
On then to the substantial and delicious Aubergine involtini with a
pistachio-lemon salsa, potato and broad beans, paired with the 2010 Margaret River
Red, “an incredibly popular wine”.
Chocolate and Cherries followed, enjoyed with the 2010 “Mangan Vineyard”
Margaret River Merlot-Petit Verdot-Malbec. “This is a very interesting blend,”
said Emma. “and has a bit of a cult following. Try it with roast duck, it is incredible!
It has not seen oak. It was a terrific vintage and the fruit was so great, it didn’t
need the oak!”
And we finished with that superb Crozier blue cheese (with celery and
dates) and matched with the big red, the 2010 “Dian Madeline” Margaret Rover.
Diana was Emma’s grandmother. This last wine also benefitted from the
incredible vintage of that year. “It is very much a Bordelaise style, the cream
of the crop.”
Cullen Wines, now in its
42nd year is, since 2004, certified A Grade Biodynamic by the BFA of
Australia. “Put simply, biodynamic viticulture is a philosophy combining the
maintenance of sustainable soil fertility and the recognition of the link
between plant growth and the rhythms of the cosmos. It is a method of farming
that treats the vineyard as a living system, which interacts with the
environment to build a healthy living soil that helps to nourish the vines and
Emma is a big fan. “The results have been incredible. All bug related problems
are gone. We have better water retention. The quality of the fruit is
absolutely flawless...and there is an extra life and vibrancy in the wine”.
If you’d like to read more of the fascinating details, including the famous
cow horns filled with cow manure and planted in the fields, then go direct to
the Cullen websitehere