Twitter. I’ve only recently started understanding this social media to use it properly. I’m happy to say that it played an important part in helping me acquire tickets to the Cullen Wine Dinner held at Mosmans Restaurant. A and I have a sincere love of Cullen wines, mainly because they are a purely organic winery that produces some of the tastiest wines we’ve tried. Each style of wine they produce tastes unique and has strong flavours. Late last year, we headed down to the Margaret River region to try a few wineries, including Cullen winery. We had an excellent Indian-influenced meal, as they were having an Indian themed month to raise money for women in India. You can read more about that experience here.
When I heard about the Cullen Wine Dinner at Mosmans Restaurant, I was very excited. A five course dinner with five glasses of matching wines at one of Perth’s iconic restaurants. When we arrived on the night, we were directed to a cosy table directly overlooking the river. At first we were very happy with the location, but soon realised there was a gap in the window and a lot of cold air was blowing directly on us. I ended up sitting during dinner with my heavy coat and scarf on, while my feet froze underneath the table. Unfortunately there wasn’t a heater around our table and it was a cold and wet wintery evening.
The first course on the night was Coffin Bay oysters with cucumber and lime. This dish was matched with a glass of Cullen Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2011. The dish consisted of two very fresh oysters with thin bits of cucumber and lime within the shell. I normally don’t order oysters when I’m out and wouldn’t call myself a fan of them however I really liked these two little starters, thanks to the citrusy flavour of the lime and the quality of the oysters provided. The waitstaff were being very generous and offering topups of the wine throughout the evening (besides the Diana Madeline, as it ranges for over $100 a bottle!).
The second course was Grilled Harissa tiger prawns with a pink grapefruit salad and was matched with a glass of the Cullen Mangan Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2010. This was one of my favourite dishes of the night and I will definitely be using this dish as inspiration in my home cooking adventures! Simplistic in cooking style but flavourwise it was amazing due to the Harissa spice. The two prawns were accompanied with a bitter pink grapefruit salad which also went really well with the Mangan Semillion Sauvignon Blanc.
My favourite dish of the night was the House smoked duck with red onion jam and toasted ciabatta. This dish was matched with Cullen Mangan Red 2010, which is typically my choice of Cullen wine. The duck was delicate and drizzled with the red onion jam. The dish was served cold, with the toasted ciabatta quite crisp but every element and texture went really well together.
The fourth dish of the night was the Cone Bay barramundi with roasted baby beets and pancetta. This was matched with a glass of the 2010 Cullen Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot. Another excellent dish which was a generous sized portion. I really enjoyed the little baby beetroot which was soft but still had texture to it and the crispy skin on the beautifully cooked barramundi.
To finish our evening, the typically sweet dessert dish was replaced with Tallegio cheese, fig and walnut bread and vanilla figs. This was matched with the highly anticipated glass of the 2010 Cullen Diana Madeline. The wine was amazingly beautiful and it was such a pleasure to try a glass of one of the most notorious fine wines made in Australia. This dish was A’s favourite of the night. The tallegio cheese was served at room temperature so it was gooey and soft. The fig and walnut bread was quite dense and the dish perfectly matched the Diana Madeline.
Unfortunately, our evening didn’t end well. Somehow, our table was overlooked when the Macarons and house-made chocolate fudge were being served. We received our coffee (which was surprisingly good) and watched the tables around us eat their macarons while we waited for our turn. When we noticed that the waitstaff had stopped bringing plates out and were beginning to clean up, A went to ask for our petite fours. The waitress apologised and went to the kitchen to retrieve our dish. Unfortunately when the macarons and house-made fudge arrived, they were cold and hard. I mentioned this to the waitress and she said that the chef had to get them out of the freezer, but “they were only in there for five minutes or so”. I then proceeded to try and squeeze a macaron in between my fingers to show her how solid they were, to which she simply walked off. The fudge was also inedible due to it being frozen as well. A disappointing way to end the evening.
It was definitely a memorable evening and I am grateful for the opportunity to hear Vanya Cullen talk about her family’s vineyard and wines. The chefs did an excellent job of matching the food with the wines and the seafood provided on the evening was some of the freshest seafood I’ve tasted in Perth. However there were a few hiccups throughout the evening, including the frozen petite fours, the gap in the wall which made A and I really cold and uncomfortable as well as the dishes being slightly too drawn out over the evening.
Regardless of the hiccups, there were lots of positives, including sampling the Diana Madeline, five excellent courses and the very pretty location.