Amanda Bowen | 22 October 2015

Amanda Bowen moonlights as Brisbane Foodie and wishes there were more meals in a day.

Lutèce Bistro & Wine Bar is a gorgeous venue for a-la-carte dining with a view, set within the slopes of Bardon from Macgregor Terrace. And with their Winemaker Dinner Series of five-courses and two matched wines per course, there’s guaranteed anticipation for an organic wine-fuelled evening. I was not disappointed either, with the hedonist in me raring to go.

As one of the top five wineries to visit in the world, New Zealand's
Peregrine Wines banded together with Lutèce for this very special dinner. At first, it seems difficult knowing where to channel my excitement. On one side, there’s one of Brisbane’s most loved chefs, Executive Chef and owner of Lutèce, Romain Bapst cooking dinner; and on the other, there’s beautiful drops from Peregrine Wines in New Zealand - all the ingredients for a truly fabulous combination.

Upon arrival, a slice of exquisite French-style pizza was offered: think fine shortcrust that’s buttery but oh-so-crisp, topped with delicious bacon and a herby pistou. I’d experienced this style of dish when dining previously at Lutèce and loved it then too. I’ve also learnt the hard way not to argue with a Frenchman over who invented pizza, and after tasting this delicious morsel, why bother. Paired to the crisp 2014 Pinot Gris, the night was off to a good start.

As host, Alison Vidoni of Peregrine Wines introduced the wines prior to each course, offering the diner context and insight into the selected drops while building anticipation for the food. Located in the Gibbston region near Queenstown, Peregrine Wines' prime focus is sustainably growing and hand-tending premium Pinot Noir and white varieties. Romain had curated the menu to echo the New Zealand heritage of the wines.

First course came as a warm veal, duck and wild boar terrine wrapped in puff pastry. While not usually a fan of veal, I found this dish to be delightful; especially paired to the 2014 Saddleback Pinot Gris and 2010 Riesling. Perhaps I am a bit parochial as I generally expect red meat to be paired with red wine. So it’s always refreshing to have my assumptions challenged, enlightened as I was tasting how the first dish matched the full-bodied white wines.

Next up was New Zealand John Dory with a parsley coulis, paired to a Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Not a conventional Chardonnay drinker, I was pleasantly surprised by Peregrine’s offering. It’s refreshing to enjoy a white wine without quite-so-sharp an edge as the usual dry Sauvignon Blancs crossing my tastebuds over the last decade. I might just be a convert.

The final savoury course delivered a stuffed deboned duck paired to two Pinot Noirs. Peregrine is famed for their Pinots and one sip assured me as to why. I really enjoyed the compare and contrast between the 2010 and 2014 – the two wines had vastly different characteristics and were both most enjoyable. I was also happy to learn Peregrine wines are available for purchase direct from their website, where wines are shipped direct from Peregrine’s Sydney warehouse. Consider Christmas shopping done. With Romain also joining us, we discovered the 2010 Pinot Noir was his favourite wine - and that’s a palate to trust.

Lutece Bistro & Wine Bar Winemaker Dinner Dessert
Sweets came paired to a sticky Reisling and won my heart: a fruit-filled Parisian tartine, a shortbread tuile and a dainty glass of something a bit cheeky. This very special five-course menu curated by Lutèce's Executive Chef Romain Bapst matched to wines from the boutique producer certainly had a distinct New Zealand touch. And finishing with dessert was the perfect end to a sensational evening of food and wine.

Relive this experience when Melbourne Cup comes to Lutece Bistro & Wine Bar for a Melbourne Cup Celebration. Enjoy 
a glass of bubbles and an appetiser on arrival and a three-course sit-down lunch crafted by Executive Chef Romain Bapst. Bookings essential on 07 3161 1858 or email here.

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