Cocos in South Perth was the venue last week for a dinner to promote the wines of Barossa producer Schild Estate– the largest independent grower in the Valley – and was hosted by Judy Schild and her brother, winemaker Michael.
The setting at Cocos is pretty special with views across the river to the City, although on the night we were there the rain was sweeping in – the city lights were somewhat dim, but the rain crashing against the windows was spectacular at times.
The menu was constructed to the complement the wines for tasting – beginning with Sparkling Shiraz, moving through Chardonnay, and to the outstanding reds, Shiraz in particular, for which Schild are justly renowned.
We began our culinary and wine journey with slow braised and spiced pork belly – served on china spoons with apple and chestnut compote – the pork tender, juicy and well-seasoned, and sat very well indeed with 2015 Sparkling Shiraz – rich and smooth, abounding with ripe red fruit, plums, cherries, mulberries, all supported by underlying nots of allspice and pepper.
Moving quickly to our entrée – crispy skinned duck breast with spring vegetables and black cherry jus – the duck succulent and pink, perfectly cooked, with crunchy vegetables – was well paired with 2014 Alma Chardonnay – peaches and tropical fruit aromas; apple and citrus flavours, with a little nuttiness to end.
While we waited for our mains Judy and Michael gave an over view of the history of Schild and their winemaking philosophy – we were at Judy’s table, too, so were able to chat with her during the meal as well –an entertaining and interesting host.
Of course we were all waiting for the pièce de résistance – Schild’s flag ship wine – Moorooroo Shiraz made from 170 year old vines (I reckon the police could use the name as a field sobriety test too – “excuse me sir please say this quickly!” – that should sort a few drinkers out).
So with two vintages to taste test 2006 and 2013 – and then even better Cocos brought from their cellar the 2005, 2007 and 2009 – we struck gold. With the wine a deconstructed beef wellington – tender beef sitting on a puff pastry disc, with wilted spinach, mushrooms and thyme jus – big, bold earthy flavours for big Barossa wines.
The most recent of the wines, the 2013 has a fragrant bouquet of very ripe dark fruit, chocolate and leather – tannins point to a wine that will develop, mature and smooth out over time. This quality to mature and round out the wine was exemplified by the 2006 which was my pick of the five – black cherries and chocolate on the nose, silky smooth tannins and wonderful mouthfeel. Each of the Moorooroo at different stages of development illustrate just what big bold Barossa Shiraz can become if you have the patience to hang onto the bottles.
After this fabulous display of great Barossa Shiraz, a cheese course – served with crackers, dried fruit and paste, accompanied 2013 Schild Estate Prämie Shiraz. – ripe plums, coffee notes, grippy tannins.
Finally, dessert – and another beautifully presented dish – pecan and salted caramel tarts with chocolate shards, double cream and bourbon tuille – served with our final wine of the night – 2014 Edgar Reserve Grenache – vibrant raspberry and earthy aromas, chocolate and smooth tannins, complementing the sweet, sticky tarts, crumbly pastry with chocolate and cream. Mmmm…
This was a first rate wine and food experience – Cocos serves high quality food in very agreeable surrounds, and of course their cellar is rightly famous – the addition of the three older Moorooroo was a pleasant and most welcome surprise. Good food, good wine, good company – good times indeed. Only the rain to brave but Uber was on hand there.