Which winery can lay claim to being run by five generations for 169 years? Yalumba in Barossa Valley, South Australia, is Australia’s oldest family-owned winery. Yalumba’s first vineyards were planted by Samuel Smith in 1849 and since then his family has built up an impressive wine portfolio, beginning with the varietal wines of the Y Series, which are regarded as fresh and flavoursome. Indeed we fell in love easily with one of them – the Yalumba Y Series Viognier.
The Yalumba wine ranges move up from this Y Series to Samuel Garden line showcasing the Rhone-influenced varietals, then modern wines with sub-regional complexity in the Hand Picked line, culminating with the coveted Yalumba Rare and Fine wines, including Signature and Octavius.
The Yalumba Y Series Voignier paired so well with most of the dishes we were having at Oriental Cravings in 1-Utama recently. I always have problems saying Viognier (it’s Vionay!). Chef Seng believes in flavoursome food, so the Viognier was perfect. I liked the clean, round flavours of the Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2016, with passionfruit on the palate, aromas of citrus, green apple and honeysuckle. It’s fruity with the right balance of acidity.
Hot, sweet, sour and salty flavours popped up as we savoured Three Style Garoupa with black pepper and cheesy fillets, and steamed fish fillets with ginger and wine, Black Vinegar Pork Trotters, Prawns in Two Styles, Fish Maw Balls and Salted Egg Chicken.
Black Vinegar Pork Trotters may be a confinement dish but we love it more. It’s robust, tart, sweet and bursting with ginger aromas. Prawns in Two Styles were well executed. On one side were prawns coated with a sticky sweet sauce, on the other, crispy rich eggy threads hug the prawns, with a fragrant lift from Indian curry leaves.
As for the Three Style Garoupa, I liked the black pepper fillets the most. The Fish Maw Balls, made of fish paste and minced pork had a springy bite to them. Covered with fish maw strips they were deepfried and finished with a lightly tart sauce of Thai sauce, mayonnaise and peanut sauce. They were delicious.
What’s not to like about Salted Egg Chicken? The chicken burst with powdery, eggy, salty flavours. The dishes we had, except for the Black Vinegar Pork Trotters and Salted Egg Chcken, are off menu. An advanced order for the other dishes for dinner (not on a weekend or public holiday) can be done, according to Chef Seng.
Surprisingly despite the masculine-inclined name of the next wine – Yalumba The Strapper 2015 – a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro was subtle and soft, with smooth tannins and aromas of strawberry, fennel and nutmeg. It’s been described as a “well-bred, strapping and savoury wine”. It’s an easy to drink, pleasing wine. It’s recommended with southern fried chicken ribs and jalapeno, so it was a good pairing with the Salted Egg Chicken.
There’s Yalumba The Scribbler 2014 which comes over stronger than the Strapper. It’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, with concentrated red to black fruits and the richness of oak maturation. It’s a young and vibrant wine which can be cellared. It’s the baby to The Signature, the matured version of this. Beef and lamb would go better with The Scribbler than what we had.
The wines are available at Monopole Fine Wines Sdn Bhd, tel +603 7733 8181, www.monopole.com.my.