Cult amphora wine dinner at Virginia Plain

by FringeFood on October 9, 2012

Glenn James from Ducks in a Row with T’Gallant’s Kevin McCarthy and the vessel used to make Pandora’s Amphora.

What: Amphora Wine Dinner at Virginia Plain
When: Tuesday 13 November 2012 7pm
Where: Virginia Plain, 31 Flinders Lane (next to Cumulus Inc)
How much: $110.00 (plus 30c booking fee)
How to book: Booking only through Trybooking here.

Okay, so what are these crazy amphora wines about then? Sometimes referred to as orange wines when oxidised they are made with the same traditional methods used thousands of years ago in what is thought by historians to be the birthplace of wine in Georgia.

It’s made with minimal intervention. much like natural wines, by simply dumping grapes in a large clay amphora. Typically, there is no intervention in terms of adding yeast, sugar, acid or oak to the wine. Although a little sulphur is sometimes used to aid preservation.

The grapes are left in the amphora for up to a month or two and nature is left to do its job.

If you’ve ever read Russian literature and heard them talk about Georgian wine, this is the style of wine, sometimes fermented in amphora that are thousands of years old.

It’s the same wine that Latin scholars may have read about in Roman literature. (You can view a video about Georgian amphora wines here on the Virginia Plain website.)

This is the sort of wine that is the antithesis of your typical big Barossa Shiraz or sweet fruity New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. It is a step back from the cultural imperialism of the French apellation system, wines matured in oak barrels and carbon copy new world wines made in stainless steel.

For me Amphora (and natural) wines are savoury making them a perfect match for food. I find that they stop me in my tracks and make me want to savour them rather than quaff a couple of bottles, which is is a good thing.

We are holding this dinner at the latest glamorous addition to Flinders Lane Virginia Plain where kitchen team, headed by Andy Harmer, will be cooking up a four course menu to match the individual wines for the night and we will post details soon.

Glenn James, former head winemaker at Fosters, from Ducks in a Row will be there on the night to talk about his story and how he made Pandora’s Amphora.

As wine writer Huon Hook, a self- confessed natural wine skeptic said in the Sydney Morning Herald:

“Now, readers of this column know I am a little sceptical about ”natural” wines, but here is one made by a seriously competent and experienced winemaker, and it is a quality wine – but also one made with the least manipulation imaginable. And it tastes terrific.
The colour is lightly cloudy mid-yellow, without any brown tints. Its bouquet is delightfully floral and spicy, with the muscaty fragrance of the moscato giallo dominant, although it is a small percentage of the blend. In the mouth, it’s full-bodied and flavoursome, and texture is a highlight, with a fleshiness and density that makes it satisfying but at the same time smooth and harmonious, without sharp edges. The acidity, while not deficient, is barely noticeable and it’s properly dry – no residual sugar. The most surprising feature is that skin tannins, while present, are in no way assertive. The texture is velvety, slightly viscous and very agreeable.”

On arrival
NV, Costadila Prosecco 450slm
Veneto, Italy

1st Course
2009 Pheasant Tears
Raksiteli, Kakheti, Georgia

2nd Course – 2011 Ducks in a Row Pandora’s Amphora
Vermentino, Fiano Moscato, Giallo (45,45,10)

Between courses
2011 Quealy Friulano ‘Amphora’
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

3rd Course
2005 Gravner Ribolla Gialla

4th Course
2010 Cos ‘Pithos’ Rosso, Sicily, Italy
(Nero d’Avola-Frappato)

Remember you can only book throughTrybooking here. Book early to not miss out on what will be a very special night.

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