Thursday night saw an exciting Pol Roger Dinner take place at our favourite rooftop bar and restaurant 2KW, hosted by none other than Autralia’s leading champagne aficionado Tyson Stelzer. The night comprised of an indulgent five-course degustation dinner, informative commentary by Tyson and, of course, never-ending pours of Pol to pair with each dish.
2KW is an instantly inviting environment; the sophisticated restaurant is complete with warm, dim lighting, a crackling fireplace as the centre-piece, a sleek fitout and friendly, knowledgeable staff. We entered the space on Thursday to a crowd of chatty guests bringing a distinct buzz to the atmosphere. Waiters rotated the room offering glasses of champagne with the intent that nobody was left empty-handed. Sets of long tables were set up for group sharing, creating a community vibe where guests would be comfortable to mix and mingle among one another over fine food and fine wine.
The host Tyson is a recognised author and publisher of thirteen wine books in total, having mastered the act of translating his wine knowledge to a broad audience of readers. As a multi-award winning wine writer, Tyson has presented at wine conferences all around the world including the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. He is well and truly an expert in the industry, so it was incredible to hear him share his commentary and knowledge Pol Roger in person.
The night began with platters of natural Angassi oysters alongside the Pol Roger NV Brut Reserve Non Vintage. This Chardonnay/Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier pour is notably dry yet still rich, perfect for impromptu occasions and celebrations, and works delightfully alongside seafood canapes and starters such as the delicious Angassi oysters.
As we all know champagne pairs so naturally and elegantly with seafood, the second entree also incorporated seafood, combining salted cod, broad bean, egg and smoked trout roe. This complex dish was paired with the Pol Roger Pure NV: another tripartite blend balancing 33% Pinot Noir 34% Chardonnay and 33% Pinot Meunier. Described as an ‘exercise in the House style’, this cuvee offers a rich nose and is a gorgeous gold in colour.
Next came pan fried mulloway, mussels, saffron and sea urchin beurre blanc; hooray for more seafood! Creamy in texture and buttery in flavour thanks to the buerre blanc (which literally translates from French to ‘white butter’), this delicious entree served as the perfect pairing for the Pol Roger 2006 Brut Vintage; a vintage that encompasses a full-bodied depth of flavour and sense of vibrancy, much like that of the dish itself.
Our main was a dense braised rabbit dish, served with marcilla blanc sherry roasted mushroom bacon, chestnut and a cabbage salad to cut through the rich meats. Two Pol Roger pours were chosen to complement this one: the 2004 Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill and 1999 Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill. The Winston Churchill range comprises Pol’s top cuvees, presenting a top secret blend that Pol Roger refuse to reveal. Tyson’s guesses were 60/40, 70/30 with Pinot Noir taking the obvious lead. He also described the texture of the Winston Churchill as notably ‘chalky’: a characteristic that – to him – makes the cuvee so special, evoking memories of chalkboard erasers being clapped together to create a cloud of chalk dust in the classroom.
To finish, we were offered two different cheeses to pair with the Pol Roger 2008 Blanc de Blancs Vintage, and were asked which cheese was the better match. While majority of our table opted for the soft and creamy, white-crusted cow’s milk cheese Brillat-Savarin, the hard-style Comte was Tyson’s choice. As die-hard fans of soft cheeses such as Camembert and Brie, we think we were a tad biased in our vote.