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Archive for February, 2012
I’m not an overly romantic person, but it would have been silly of me to pass up on an occasion that always promises delicious food and a superb bottle of red.
Tucked away in the heart of Sydney, there is a narrow lane, which, ironically hosts a cute little bar titled ‘The Lane’.
To my delight, there hasn’t been many reviews written on this one yet, given it’s clandestine location and the fact it has only been open for a short time.
Always eager to explore new terrain, I ventured down to The Lane on a typically balmy Valentine’s Day evening.
The interior decor was charming mix of contemporary & carnivalesque – high ceilings with chandeliers & drapes, tall mirrors, a nicely stocked bar, and a delightful black-and-white striped couch.
The staff were excellent – they gave us free beers on arrival and good banter throughout the evening.
‘The Holy Trinity’ – a 2009 Grant Burge GSM (46% Grenache, 31% Shiraz and 23% Mourvèdre).
The most notable thing this beautiful blend from the Barossa, is it’s smoothness. It’s an extremely silky mouthful with very subtle finish. It’s softness allows you to really explore the complex blend of flavours – raspberry, cherry and the like. This fruity drop is a lovely bright red – very befitting on this occasion.
This subtly seductive GSM is one of four ‘Wines of Distinction’ by Grant Burge. It has an impressive tally of award under it’s belt – 4 Gold Medals, 13 Silver and 53 Bronze.
This bottle retails for around $40. It’s not a wine you’d drink casually – save this one for a swanky soiree .
I forked out $69 for this at The Lane, which isn’t too bad considering the general markup on wines is 200% – 300% at most wine bars. Though it’s my quest to seek out good affordable labels, it’s also my firm belief that if the occasion calls for it – splurge and the enjoy the experience!
The Lane dished out 3 phenomenal courses, all very reasonably priced.
Entree: Grilled Yamba Prawns
Main: Ocean Trout with black mussel sauce.
Dessert: Chocolate Mouse with raspberries & gelato
The fabulous combination of food, wine & service made me very glad I stumbled across a write-up of this bar in a recent magazine. Though there weren’t that many people when I visited (on a Tuesday night), I imagine this place would come alive with a full crowd. I’d recommend getting there during happy hour & chatting with the very likeable barman over a half-priced beverage :)
In The Doggy-Bag:
Take a look at the Grant Burge website here. It’s stacked with information and ‘vodcasts’ about the latest releases from the Cellar.
Brownie points for technological enthusiasm.
You can visit The Lane on the corner Curtin Place & Hamilton Street, Sydney, just across from Ryan’s Bar & Australia Square.
It also operates as a cafe during the day, so if you work in Sydney’s CBD it would be well worth swinging by during your lunch break to check it out. If you’re too lazy to do that, take a peek at their website, especially their photo gallery - it paints a more accurate picture of the interior than I’ve managed to describe here.
Better still – just go there after you finish work on a Friday! It wont disappoint!
It’s Saturday night and I’m hungry.
Hungry for a story and a bottle of wine.
My cravings are feed, sure enough, by a guy who works at Vintage Cellars. Raoul is Spanish in origin, has a down-to-earth attitude towards life, and stars as the fairy godmother of wine in this tale.
There’s nothing better than being served at a bottle-o by someone who genuinely loves their trade and knows a hell of a lot about alcohol.
My friend and I had a jolly-old time, tasting a few wines and chatting with Raoul who told us about his long journey through the bountiful vineyards of Chile, South America. A self-confessed lover of Merlot, he nevertheless recognized my lust for Shiraz and recommended a couple of bottles which I bought as a package for $40.
We cracked the first bottle, a 2010 Woodstock Shiraz from McLaren Vale, over some field-baked mushrooms and a beetroot, goats cheese and rocket salad.
The design-snob in me scoffs at the label. It’s clean, but seriously boring. A classic example of something I would never buy, had it not been recommended to me. The label’s only redeeming quality is it’s logo- which is a funky little castle.
The first sip…
That first mouthful is a treat- it’s packed with flavour, and has a sweetness that hints at plums and cherries – or some other kind of red berry i can’t quite place. It’s the kind of wine that makes you crave a piece of chocolate- and by piece I mean large block – which is exactly what I ate after dinner ;)
This wine has a beautiful purple colour and a very subtle finish- it makes for easy drinking over the course of a few hours. I’m very happy to say we did our duty with this one- the last drop was consumed with a sleepy smile around midnight.
Woodstock Shiraz retails, for around $20 – $25 a bottle.
The Woodstock website tells a beautiful story about the vineyard and it’s origins, which stretch all the way back to the 1900′s in England. Funnily enough, Medieval wooden leg stocks, (historically used for public punishment) are what the Woodstock name refers to. Have a read here for more, including information about their wine philosophy, restaurant, and Cellar Door.
A little toast…
Cheers to you, Raoul. You gave me a little castle, some delightful banter, and an evening of contentment.