Wine

Food, Food and drink, lifestyle, review, travel, wine

Hidden Gem


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International Gourmet Food Guide is dedicated to scouring the globe and finding the best places to eat, drink, stay and play. Recently, we have been checking out hidden gems in our quest to share the exquisite experiences and places nominated by readers and our Instagram followers for inclusion in the International Gourmet Food Guide. One such gem that recently knocked our socks off, and left our jaws on the floor, is located in a tiny town of 670 people at the base of a mountain range in a national park some 300km from Melbourne in Australia.

Admittedly, it was a trek to get to, but definitely worth the 4 hour detour South en route to the middle of Australia. The Grampian mountain range and surrounding plains are absolutely stunning and popular with campers, ramblers and all manner of iconic Australian wildlife. Near the base of Mount Sturgeon is the little town of Dunkeld. Like many small towns we had passed through on our journey across Australia, at its heart is the local pub. However, in this instance “pub” or even “hotel” is a massive misnomer because in The Royal Mail Hotel is a sensory experience unlike any other within a 300km radius.

Its humble origins as a local pub with accomodation have been transformed by the loving attention of owner and philanthropist Allen Myers AC, QC. Allen grew up in the town as the son of the local butcher and owns much of the 10,000 hectares of farmland surrounding Dunkeld. International Gourmet Food Guide were given the privilege of touring The Royal Mail’s 1.2 hectare kitchen garden which is Australia’s largest working restaurant kitchen garden. Fresh local produce is the key to their outstanding food and most of the produce showcased on the Royal Mail menus is grown onsite and harvested daily by the kitchen team including the interesting and obscure.

Hatted Restaurant

From garden to table brings us to outstanding gourmet food…….”Wickens” is Royal Mail’s hatted restaurant run by English executive chef Robin Wickens. Local architect Nick Byrne designed the restaurant area as a multi-sensory experience, and the dining space is simply breathtaking. To enter Wickens is to enter a luxurious womb with a view.

Robin’s five or eight course degustation and chef’s table menus are equally breathtaking and balanced with spectacular wines from an award winning cellar. Menus are dictated daily by what’s available from The Royal Mails amazing kitchen garden and from Allen Myer’s livestock in the surrounding fields. Think lamb with nasturtium and carrots/duck with leeks and sour plums/ zucchini with white chocolate and daisy ice cream as an exquisite example. On our visit we found an industrious Robin busy in the kitchen preparing a beetroot mousse to be served with chocolate milk…

 

Award Winning Wine Cellar

Here’s where we come to the Royal Mail’s “pièce de resistance” that really makes it a strong contender as an International Gourmet Food Guide ” Hidden Gem”

Boasting a 28,000 bottle collection, the Royal Mail’s cellar has a range of local and international wines and the largest private collection of Bordeaux and Burgundy in the Southern Hemisphere. Sommelier Matthew Lance proudly showed us around the cellar that features a supply of 1934 Chateau Margaux and Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Grands Echezeaux among other spectacular wines. The good news is that although The Royal Mail Hotel is somewhat off the beaten track, for those unable to actually visit this spectacular cellar, The Royal Mail Hotel has recently launched its unique wine club  where they are offering inaugural members the chance to win a $2,500 bottle of 1982 Château Mouton Rothschild.

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The Royal Mail’s Supply of Chateau Margeux 1934

Finally, the Royal Mail team were, without exception, incredibly welcoming and informative. We wished we could have lingered longer. Unfortunately due to time constraints we didn’t get to sample the Royal Mail’s accommodation, but we will definitely revisit and report back on the entire experience in the near future. In our opinion, this is truly a hidden gem that should not be missed.

This establishment was nominated for inclusion by The Gourmet Guru (@thegourmetguru888) and actual video footage the visit  has been posted on our own Instagram site @gourmetfoodguide

Further information on IGFG award nominations is available here. Voting for The Royal Mail Hotel’s inclusion in the International Gourmet Food Guide Awards 2019 is open to everyone via email 

 

 

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Food, Food and drink, lifestyle, review, travel, wine

Best Wines of the World


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“The discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation. The universe is too full of stars.” Benjamin Franklin

As you may have seen from our Explore page, we’re scouring the globe to check out the best places to eat, drink, stay and play for our Gourmet Food Guide 2019. Lately our focus has turned to wine, and we are inviting you to give your input. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an amateur wine buff, a sommelier, a producer, brand ambassador or a wine connoisseur. We want you to let us know who and what we should check out.

Italian Reds

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Montalcino, Tuscany  the home of Brunello

For example, we adore Italian wines but when looking for nominations of a great Italian red,  it’s so hard to choose between those well known delights like Barolo, Amarone and Brunello di Montalcino; and lets not forget Chianti. Are there other unsung heroes and artisan producers out there that we should know about? And, what exactly is it that makes these particular wines so deliciously special?

Bordeaux vs Burgundy?

For countless generations the world’s most bitter wine war has raged between France’s two most illustrious wine regions, Burgundy and Bordeaux. It’s a battle which divides wine critics, pits wine lovers against each other and leaves most consumers bemused.
So which is the best French wine? At International Gourmet Food Guide we’d really appreciate your thoughts on these legendary rivals and your nominations for who and where we should go check out, film and interview for our 2019 Awards. To get the conversation started, here are some previously published thoughts on this hot topic:

 “Burgundy is for those who want to be intrigued by wine, not offered certainty in a glass” (Jasper Morris in his 2010 book Inside Burgundy).

“For me, the superiority of Bordeaux comes from its naturalness: it is born of my earth, of my sun, and of the attentive love that my people devote to it. The primary virtue of Bordeaux is honesty” (French novelist François Mauriac).

New World Wines

Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon v’s Penfold’s Grange Hermitage? When it comes to new world wines and traditional verses modern methods, the battle also rages.

Wines and the winemakers in the New World embody the entrepreneurial spirit you’d expect from descendants of immigrants that struck out searching for a new and better life in another place. In these regions the winemaking practices vary dramatically, and there is much experimentation. The New World generally places less emphasis on making wine the same way it has been made for centuries, and more emphasis on making wine that takes advantage of modern advances.

Among our own personal new world favourites are Penfold’s Grange which we featured recently on our Instagram page @gourmetfoodguide but then again we’re looking for nominations great South African, New Zealand and South Americans too.

Champagne Anyone?

Krug v’s Dom Perignon, Ruinart v’s Moet and more.

Actually we’re really interested in checking out the claim that a good grower-cooperative (producers who are owned and run jointly by its members, who are growers), can produce outstanding quality Champagne. Although Champagnes made by cooperatives are often believed to be of lesser quality,  such producers can apparently achieve outstanding results, and even make superior cuvées than the famous Grandes Marques.

For those who know the Champagne region well, however, such an outcome may not surprise, with cooperatives being major suppliers of grapes and wine to many well-known names in the region, who own few vineyards themselves.

Not only that, but, unlike grower-Champagnes, who make delicious fizz from just their own holdings, the cooperatives can source from a large area, and tend to select the best grapes and wines for producing their own branded Champagnes. This gives them the chance to blend wines from across vast swathes of Champagne, vital in the strive to create something consistent in style, and complex in character.

Get on Board

The call is out. Nominations for 2019 are open to everyone, so nominate your personal favourites and recommendations for our international wine selection and join us as we film and share the exquisite experiences and places nominated by you for inclusion in the International Gourmet Food Guide Awards 2019.