A boutique Mornington Peninsula vineyard, Morning Sun, was the star of Nosh @ Newport's third wine dinner. The award-winning cool climate wines are produced from two vineyards, located 1km apart, at Main Ridge. The vines are planted on elevated slopes facing the morning sun, which creates a long and even ripening period each day with no direct exposure to harsh afternoon sunlight. The main varieties produced are pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot grigio.
At the age of 70, Mario Toniolo fulfilled a childhood fantasy when he began the winery in 1995 and he can still be found pottering around the vineyard most days.
The wine dinner began with a wild mushroom soup shot with sherry and goat's cheese croute, paired with a 2009 semillon. The intensely flavoured soup, full of wild forest fungal notes, was nicely balanced by the crisp floral and citrus bouquet of the wine.
It was followed by another dish packed full of flavours: crab with celeriac and asparagus remoulade on potato spring onion pancake with hazelnut oil. The 2008 chardonnay matched to this dish was robust enough to stand up to these strong flavours and not be overwhelmed by them.
The next dish was a blend of sweet and savoury: a confit duck leg with red quinoa salad, cranberry, brazil nuts and onion jam. The salad was light and fresh but packed full of flavour, aided by fresh parsley and coriander, with the nuts adding a delightful crunch. The matched wine was, naturally, a pinot noir; a classic pairing.
Palates were given a break with a sharp and cleansing green tea, vodka and lime granita, before moving onto another main course: beef cheek bourguignon with cauliflower puree and celery watercress salad. The beef cheeks were so tender they flaked at the touch of a fork. A rich, robust shiraz, made with grapes sourced from Heathcote, was a match made in heaven.
A farmhouse clothbound cheddar from West Country England was paired with the same shiraz, which worked equally well.
The final dish was an unusual, and not entirely successful, dessert of caramel pumpkin pannacotta with ginger and chilli. It paired well with a botrytis from Plunkett but the strong ginger and chilli notes meant this dish would work better as a finale to an Asian-inspired meal.
Morning Sun is one of the lesser-known Mornington Peninsula vineyards but it is well worth seeking out to try some of its impressive wines.
For more information about Nosh's wine dinners, contact Nosh on 9391 6404.