Monday, June 30, 2014

Get to know the Greek: The Progressive Greek wine and food tours

Posted by Kath

I have to admit that when I'm after a nice glass of wine or two as comfort in the middle of winter, Greek wines don't often jump to mind with my preference usually heading towards Australian, French or Italian wines.

However, I'm always keen to expand my palate and was excited to take part in 'The Progressive Greek' event hosted by Greek wine importer, Douglas Lamb Wines.

"Many people don't know that the Greeks have been making wine from about the third century BC and actually took the art to Italians, who then introduced it to the French," says David Lamb, a qualified sommelier and third generation wine importer.

"The Progressive Greek' guided tour by Douglas Lamb Wines starts at Alpha, Castlereagh Street, Sydney
Throughout the month of July 2014 'The Progressive Greek' promotion by Douglas Lamb Wines aims to open minds to the possibilities of matching Greek wines with food that's not necessarily Greek.

Following the three venue, guided progressive dinner we had through the Sydney CBD, I can attest to the eye-opening matches that really highlighted the versatility of the Greek wines we had: the Kir Yianni wine range from the Amyndeon region in the far north west of Greece.

Kir Yianni 'Akakies' Brut Rose at Alpha
Our guided Sydney tour began with a feast for the eyes at the beautifully designed space of modern Greek restaurant Alpha.

The first wine for the night was the Kir Yianni 'Akakies' Brut Rosé which would be a perfect thirst quencher on a hot summer's day. The rosé had a lovely strawberry pink hue and was bubbly with a crisp acidity and a nice hint of sweetness; a great wake-up call for the palate.

Melitzanosalata smoked eggplant dipat Alpha
Although we were dining on a cold winter's night the food pairing with the rosé certainly brought to mind warmer days.

Served to share, we were presented with a moreishly delicious, chunky and smoky eggplant dip with lots of warm, fluffy pita bread.

Pickled octopus, cucumber and sun-dried olivesat Alpha
We also shared beautifully soft, melt-in-the-mouth pickled octopus tentacles, served atop cucumber slices and olives in a zingy salad-like dish.

Ouzo cured ocean trout, fennel, orange, watercress and sumac onions at Alpha
And lastly at Alpha, we had a superb dish of succulent cured ocean trout with the faint taste of anise from the ouzo, sliced thin with a refreshing fennel, orange and watercress salad.

All three dishes were rich in their own right and I found that tartness of the rosé helped cut through them, allowing me to keep going back for more.

Kir Yianni 'Petra' with food at Danjee, Albion Place, Sydney
The next stop on our tour was Danjee Korean Restaurant which was a surprise as wine and Korean food aren't two things I usually associate with each other. I was pleasantly surprised and have to admit that the white wine pairing of Kir Yianni 'Petra' with Korean flavours was my favourite of the night.

The Kir Yianni 'Petra' has a light honey appearance and was dangerously easy to drink, probably due to the fact there was very little acidity and its very smooth finish that didn't leave the palate dry at all.

Banchan side dishes at Danjee
As is customary at Korean restaurants, we were supplied with a variety of sides to get things started, including cabbage kim chi and other cold vegetable side dishes, but the highlights at new-ish Danjee were definitely the mains.

Yukhoe beef tartare at Danjee
To share across the table was a yukhoe beef tartare consisting of thin strips of frozen raw beef dressed with plenty of sesame oil and soy sauce, mixed together at the table with a raw egg yolk, cucumber and pear.

Refreshing in its coldness yet rich in mouthfeel, the yukhoe was surprisingly well matched to the white Kit Yianni 'Petra'.

Hew dup gapsalmon and kingfish sashimi, vegetables and rice at Danjee
Our second main was the delicious hew dup gap, similar to rice-based bimbimbap but with raw, diced salmon and kingfish sashimi in place of beef.

The fresh flavours and chilli hit was a fantastic pairing with the silky Petra white wine, which really complemented the varied flavours well.

Kitchen at Glass Brasserie, Hilton Sydney, George Street, Sydney
What I enjoyed most about the concept of the progressive dinner was the fact we actually got up and walked to our next meal which in turn worked up our appetites.

Kir Yianni 'Paranga' at Glass Brasserie
The third and final destination of the guided tour was Glass Brasserie in Hilton Sydney with the final wine for the evening, the Kir Yianni 'Paranga' which was a medium bodied red, quite spicy with a fairly short finish.

Braised wagyu short rib with Pedro Ximenez, carrot & cumin puree,
horseradish and piquillo peppers at Glass Brasserie
It was a good balance to the decadent wagyu beef short rib, doused in sweet sauce of pedro Ximenez sherry, sitting atop a delectable carrot and cumin puree without any hint of the promised horseradish.

Dessert wasn't on the cards but overall the 'The Progressive Greek' evening was thoroughly enjoyable, thoughtful and well planned with food and Greek wine pairings. We couldn't have had a more knowledgeable and approachable host in David Lamb to explain the origins and history of the Amyndeon region wines, all the while keeping the affair casual, light-hearted and most importantly, delicious.

Amazing food at three Sydney CBD restaurants, some really versatile Greek wines and to share the whole experience with some new friends - it's surely ignited a desire to continue progressing my palate, one Greek wine at a time.

During the month of July, wine and food lovers can book guided tours in Sydney hosted by Douglas Lamb Wines' David Lamb. If you want to take things at your own pace there is also a self-guided option, with participating restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney with meal and Greek wine pairings.

Food, Booze & Shoes attended 'The Progressive Greek' dinner as a guest, with thanks to Douglas Lamb Wines.

Alpha Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Danjee on Urbanspoon

Glass Brasserie on Urbanspoon


Vivian - vxdollface said...

what a great progressive dinner! good restaurant choices too :)

Kath said...

Yes highly recommend the experience!

Felicia @ Next Stop: Food said...

Never thought of pairing yukhoe with red wine! Love the progressive dinner :)

thecasualfoodblogger said...

Really want to try this place now! THanks for the review :)

skyrosgreekmezeau said...

Reserve a table at our Greek Restaurant in Sydney named Skyros Greek Meze. Here you will get every type of tasty Greek food at a minimal price.


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