Crown Entertainment Complex
8 Whiteman Street
I must confess I adore Cloudy Bay Sauv Blancs, a wine they are renowned for, a love passed onto me by my dad. Needless to say, I was intrigued when I caught wind of the 2012 Cloudy Bay Pinot & Duck Trail, and was quite excited to be invited by Cloudy Bay & Mango PR to join them on a preview ahead of their July launch.
The 2012 Cloudy Bay Pinot & Duck Trail will take place in Melbourne, Brisbane & Sydney for the entire month of July. In Melbourne, Cloudy Bay have teamed up with the Duchess of Spotswood, Flower Drum, Il Bacaro, Number 8, Taxi Dining Room & The Smith - each restaurant serving its signature duck dish, carefully crafted to showcase the 2010 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir.
As part of the preview, we had the pleasure of dining at the latter three restaurants. I’m pleased to say I absolutely adored the experience, and I’m glad you will have the opportunity to affirm my thoughts.
We started off at Number 8 in Crown.
Cloudy Bay winemaker Nick Blampied-Lane had flown in for the previews in Melbourne & Sydney, and it was an experience to hear his thoughts on how the duck dishes paired with the pinot. They had great weather over the harvest, with 2010 being a good year for Pinots.
2010 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir Tasting Notes
Deep garnet in colour with warm rosy hues, offering layers of dark berries & cherry, cinnamon, sweet leather, fresh herbs & soft tobacco. The palate is plush and round on entry. Ample red and black fruit, including rhubarb, bramble fruit & Cranberry is balanced with notes of fresh mushroom, white pepper and savoury spice. A delicate and lacy tannin structure, lifted by its lively acidity for a lingering finish.
On its own, it’s a fairly dark colour for a pinot noir. Onto the nose, we get smoked plums with a floral component of dried roses. Earthy notes with flowery ethereal qualities. It has a beautiful finish, a good eight to ten seconds.
Spiced Duckling Breast, Confit Beetroot, Roasted Hazelnut & Blood Orange Salad served with Jus Gras
Number 8 presented us with a beautiful Milawa free range duck breast, a duck with an interesting lineage - having crossed three different ducks to produce this duck. Gorgeously pink within and quite juicy with a fragrant jus, with earthy confit beets and roasted hazelnut crumbs. Cool textures of blood orange segments from Murray River and the blood orange fluid gel were sweet and tangy.
The duck skin was slightly crisp with a lovely fatty layer beneath, lifted by the lightness of the pinot. There are meaty earthy elements with high notes in the dish, matching the characteristics of the pinot. This dish brought out the smoky plums in the wine.
Cloudy Bay pinots are best paired with game birds, lamb, cheese. Picture chicken stews, coq au vin, seasoned partridges, quail. It’s all about the birds, which is why duck & pinot noir makes for such a classic pairing.
It’s fascinating to see how each glass of pinot took on such a different fragrance, flavour and sensation when paired with each duck dish, all quite distinct both in the breed and the style of cooking. To follow, Taxi Dining Room and The Smith.
For more information on the Pinot & Duck Trail in July 2012, check out Cloudy Bay’s Facebook page.