On Thursday 15 October Griff’s wine pub held as special dinner for regulars and members of Brown Brothers winery’s Epicurian club. Present were several members of Brown Brothers staff and a full house of 30 keen diners and wine lovers seated at two communal tables in the rear dining room at Griffs’s. The conversation ranged from the marketing headache caused by the mistaken attribution of albariño of a grape variety increasingly being grown in Australia (it’s actually savagnin) to the future of the Australian wine industry in the context of climate change. The 4 course meal featured 8 matching Brown Brothers wines. It began with glasses of the 2008 Prosecco and fresh oysters.
The succulent ocean trout with fennel and citrus salad entree (below) was matched with 3 whites – the 2008 limited release Pinot Grigio, 2008 limited release Vermentino and the about to be released 2009 limited release Savagnin. All are excellent, but I think the Vermentino was the best match with the fish.
The diners were mostly older and, with very low light and a closely packed communal table, using flash was not going to endear me to my companions. Some photoshopping has resulted in these useable, though not exciting, photos. It’s exciting for me to attend special events like this, and also to be the only reviewer writing about them, but there are times when being the only person in the room photographing my food makes me somewhat selfconscious.
The main course of roasted venison saddle with sauteed mushrooms and vegetables was matched with 3 years of the Patricia Cabernet Sauvignon: 2002, 2003 and 2004. 2002 and 2004 are similar, but 2003 is rather different – the product of a hot year of drought produced a brighter sweeter grape and a distinctive wine. All are delicious, with the 2002 being the best partner to the venison.
After the main meal a mystery wine was poured and we played a guessing game. It turned out to be a 1979 shiraz mondeuse cabernet sauvignon. The dessert, a vanilla pannacotta with caramelised apple and granny smith sorbet, was matched with the 2006 Patricia Noble Riesling.
We completed the meal with cheese and more Patricia Cabernet Sauvignon, and the 2003 vintage was exceptional with the cheese and cherry puree.
Although similar in some ways to the recent goat night at Provenance, it’s difficult to compare the two experiences. Provenance is all about great food at reasonable prices with good drinks to match; the Brown Brothers dinner at Griff’s wine pub focused on wines of high quality and provided very good food to match the wines, rather than the other way around. The dinner further confirmed by opinion that Griff’s is a top dining choice in Fitzroy, and it was a delight to sample some of Brown Brothers best wines without needing to drive to their cellar door in Milawa. At $95 each this meal provided good value and I hope that this partnership between Griff’s and Brown Brothers is repeated.