It was an absolute pleasure to be able to attend Serafino Wines in McLaren Vale for their new Spring Menu Launch. Located in the remarkable Fleurieu Peninsula, the winery and restaurant, with its elegant décor, is the centre of a relaxed and beautiful scenery.
You can tell that Serafino Wines take pride in their new menus selections – which are inspired by each season – due to the quality and taste of the fresh and local supplies and ingredients and the emphasis they have on their wines by perfectly selecting a different type to match and compliment the flavours of each dish.
We began the spring menu tasting with two starters, a Smallgoods Selection consisting of local, imported and house-made smallgoods with grilled bread, and Stracciatella, which contained smoked eggplant, pomegranate and crostini. These dishes were paired with a glass of 2014 Serafino Bellissimo Nebbiolo. The red wine, with undertones of dark cherries, spice and rhubarb was smooth and of a medium weight with a lingering bite to finish. The earthy tones of the berries and spices paired exceptionally with the smoky flavours of the meat and eggplant in the two dishes. The pops of pomegranate and mint in the Stracciatella cheese dish created refreshing and sweet undertones that lightened the whole dish while the smoky meat selections of rich venison, capocollo and prosciutto were fresh and didn’t overpower one another with their intense flavours.
Next we moved on to the small dishes; a Nomad Farm Chicken, Pork and Walnut Terrine with pickled pear and gorgonzola cheese, and Harissa Roasted Baby Carrots with saffron and caraway labne, brik pastry and sticky raisins. With these two dishes, we had the selection of two complimentary white wines to pair. The first, a 2015 Serafino Reserve Chardonnay, with French oak and fruit tones, and the other, an award winning 2016 Serafino Bellissimo Pinot Grigio, a fruit based wine with Nashi pear and green apple for sweetness. This was the wine I chose and it added another level of freshness to the two dishes; lightening the tangy tones of the pear and blue cheese in the Nomad terrine while also adding smoothness and complimentary flavours to the mint and citrus in the roasted carrot dish. The earthy flavours of the mixed meats and the walnuts were complimented with the lightness of the rocket and pickled pair in the terrine while the Harissa roasted baby carrots were full of flavour but were light and fresh while still holding a slight crunch.
The larger dishes consisted of a Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder, with green tomato, almond and spring salad tabouli and buttermilk, and a Pan Seared Duck Breast, confit leg croquette, pistachio nuts, orange and goat’s cheese. We were also served a side salad of Chinese cabbage and anchovies. With the larger dishes, we also had another choice of two red wines to pair. A 2015 Serafino Cabernet Sauvignon, with dark fruit flavours mixed with French and American oak; and my choice, and a staff favourite, the 2015 Serafino Grenache Shiraz Mataro, an earthy toned wine with red berry fruits combined with cherries and spices with an integration of oak flavours. The Shiraz paired well with both the duck and the lamb, adding smooth tones to the dishes, but also not making the dishes seem too heavy with its rich earth notes. The Duck was well complimented by the goat’s cheese and the pistachios, while the added citrus fruit freshened the dish and brought the flavours together. The lamb shoulder was tender and pulled apart easily and the green beans added creaminess to the dish that was complimented by fresh Asian style chilli and greens.
Our final tasting of the new spring menu were the desserts. An impressive round of four dishes to taste; a White Chocolate Parfait with blood orange sorbet and meringue, Chocolate Brownie served with torched banana and salted caramel ice cream, a Spiced Apple Crumble with rhubarb, lemon cream and gingerbread, and lastly a Vanilla Bean Brûlée complemented with poached figs and vanilla and cognac ice cream. All four desserts were paired with a Fortified Wine Tawny, the rich but sweet tones of matured fruit and aged oak, mixed with spices give off a raisin, toffee and walnut palate, with a warm finish. This paired well with the dessert dishes, accompanying the sweet flavours but adding a richness to the overall flavours. All desserts were made fresh as each component of the dishes are created on site, including the ice creams, sorbets and meringue. All dishes contain complimentary flavours, the spices and gingerbread in the apple crumble, the caramelised banana with the chocolate in the Brownie dish, the figs and smooth custard in the brûlée, and the citrus of the blood orange that cuts through the sweetness of the coconut and white chocolate.
Each dish on Serafino’s new spring menu is carefully crafted to bring out the natural flavours of each fresh ingredient and it is clear to see the thought and care that has gone into selecting the perfect accompanying flavours to match each wine selection.
Overall a very light and fresh menu with the perfect selection of complimentary wines, is perfect for the spring time. If you are ever near McLaren Vale and are looking for a place with great food and wine, with lovely hospitality, head to Serafino Wines. They will not disappoint.
Words by Cyndal King
WHERE: 39 Kangarilla Rd, McLaren Vale