As a follow up to my earlier post, The Hungry Expat played co-host last night at Flights of Redfern at The Fern on Pitt Street. It was an intimate evening of cheese, wine, tapas, and lovely and lively conversation. We had our own private sommelier on hand, and Zigi Ozeri of Zigi’s Wine & Cheese Bar in Chippendale took us through a trio of cheesy goodness, served alongside Zigi’s own freshly baked (and delectably salty) lavosh.
Wanna know what you missed? Here’s a bit about the tasty tastings.
- 2011 Gentil Hugel: This white wine from Alsace is a blend of numerous varieties, including Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Muscat, and Sylvaner. It’s a soft wine with notes of stone fruit (apricot and peach), as well as a hint of spice. It paired nicely with The Fern’s Latin-fusion-inspired tapas.
- 2009 Pirramimma Grenache: Though I haven’t yet succeeded in conquering The Fern’s entire wine list (not for lack of trying), this Grenache is my favourite Fern wine so far. I am not as often a red drinker, but I love this Pirramimma Old Bush Grenache from Australia’s own McLaren Vale region. The grapes come from the winemaker’s “Prisoner of War” vineyard, and after fermentation were aged for three years in American oak. The nose calls forth aromas of cherry, chocolate, and again that hint of spice that quite nicely complemented the oak-smoked cheddar on the cheese side of things (see below).
- 2011 Jed Malbec: Also with cherry and chocolate on the nose, this rich, medium-bodied red comes from Valley de Uco in the Mendoza region of Argentina.
- Jensen’s Red: This washed-rind cow’s milk cheese hails from the Tarago River Cheese Company in Gippsland in Victoria. Tarago River is a family-owned and -operated business founded by the Johnson and Jensen families in 1982. The cheesemaker sources milk from its own herd of 400 Friesian Holstein cows. The Jensen’s Red cheese is named for original cheesemaker Laurie Jensen. This is a soft, creamy, mild cheese, and my take was that it was the favourite on the night.
- Quickes Traditional oak-smoked cheddar: Though some guests found this cheese just a tad too smoky, I love a smoked cheese, and this hard cheese from the UK had just the right degree of smokiness. The cheesemaker naturally smokes the cheese for three to four hours over oak chips from the farm’s own woodlands.
- Marte blue cheese: For those who are a bit shy about blue varieties, this is a great entry-level blue cheese. This Italian cheese is a blend of gorgonzola and Roquefort, and it, too, tasted quite nice alongside the Pirramimma Grenache.
- Fresh olives
- Chorizo skewers with apple and smoked maple syrup (Proprietor Paula Westerman admits to trying a bevy of sausage combinations before finding this winning and delish combination.)
- Corn tostadas with fish, avocado, and chipotle mayo – a very flavoursome bite with just the right amount of kick
Other small plates on The Fern’s menu include:
- Beef empanadas with pico de gallo
- Chilli chicken wings
- Pulled-pork sliders
We hope this will be the first of many such tasting nights at The Fern, so stay tuned. In the meantime, you can regularly find these wines and tapas on The Fern’s menu, and you can sample the cheeses to your heart’s content (or demise!) at Zigi’s. See you there!