I’m no wine expert but I know what I like and I’m certainly an enthusiastic learner. After first really discovering Durif on my recent weekend in Rutherglen I jumped at an invitation to expand on my newfound knowledge at a lunch at Estelle Bistro hosted by the Winemakers of Rutherglen focused on all things Durif.
Durif is a specialty of the Rutherglen and almost every winery in the region has its own take on the variety.
In the lovely back courtyard at Estelle Bistro (thankfully covered and heated for wintery Melbourne days) we kicked off lunch with a charcuterie platter and Rutherglen Estate’s Renaissance Durif 2013 and Campbell Wines Barkly Durif 2013. Charcuterie is a great match for these bold reds and to be honest I would have been as happy as can be if this was all there was for lunch, but luckily we were spoilt with more, a lot more.
I certainly wouldn’t have thought of pairing Durif with oysters but the combination just showed how versatile the variety really is. I absolutely loved slurping freshly shucked little beauties alongside the Rutherglen Estates Durif, especially as I was sitting next to winemaker Marc Scalzo. A sparkling Durif would also have been perfect with the oysters.
Chef Scott Pickett had us breaking out in meat sweats after feasting on his milk fed lamb “celebration” of lamb cooked three ways. The fabulous meat straight from Lake Moodemere winery in Rutherglen was really showcased to its best.
The highlights were the sticky lamb ribs for which we abandoned cutlery and gnawed off the bone alongside a lamb jus so delicious it was tempting to just drink it straight. Although there was plenty to drink in the form of Warrabilla Wines Reserve Durif 2014, Andersons Durif 2010 and the beautifully aged Morris Wines Durif 2003.
Our lunch finished with cheese plates and of course more Durif. This time the elegant Scion Durif 2014 and classic All Saints Estate Family Cellar Durif 2012. It was a great way to highlight just how versatile a variety Durif really is. My wine education continues!
Gourmet Chick was a guest of the Winemakers of Rutherglen.
Details: Winemakers of Rutherglen lunch at Estelle Bistro, 243 High St, Northcote (Ph 03 9489 4609)
Damage: Pricey but on this occasion I did not pay.