Well I made a trip back to the Old Mint, only this time the hallway was transformed into a table for about one hundred people. It was d’Arenberg’s 100 year anniversary. A winery in Australia that has been family owned and operated since 1912.

    They spared no expense on showing those of us invited to the dinner a great experience. Greeted at the door we were given a tasting book to hold our thoughts on the wines we imbibed. I thoroughly enjoyed their motto ‘The art of being different.’

    The first wine we indulged in was the DADD sparkling wine. Using a blend of the same grapes found in Champagne (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) the wine maker Chester Osborn has made a sparkling wine to honor those Dads that had a hand in the 100 years of d’Arenberg’s history.

    The description they give of their wine is accurate if a bit turgescent, but it definitely makes me want another glass:

    The bouquet has touches of granny smith apples and brioche with hints of grilled nuts. It has a fine bead with a creamy and vibrant mousse. The palate is dry, delicate and balanced with fresh oyster shell and lemon like acidity. There is a distinct grapefruit pith character which is long and mineral that rounds out the complex palate. The creamy chardonnay character on the palate adds richness and polish. The taste grows considerably with great minerality and complexity with poise and focus.

    It was quite a feat to serve so many guests at once, but they did a fair job of it. At one point looking around the hallway I noticed a rather humorous painting of what looks like a dog enjoying a canoe ride across a lake.

    Cue photo of dog:

    Now after that delightful segue we return to the food and wine. We were all given a menu with all the pairings.

    The 2006 Hermit Crab Viognier/Marsanne blend that was served with the herbed chevre risotto/Humbolt Fog/crispy prosciutto course.


    The age on this white wine diminished the tropical fruits and floral notes that their more current vintages have, but in its place it left a silky medium bodied white that had great balance and went fabulously with the dish.

    The second course was grilled hangar steak and although excellent I wish to skip to my favorite, the third course.

    Leg of lamb was served with mascarpone polenta and baby rainbow carrots. Accompanying it were three different wines. Two were from the 60’s and the third was a ‘96 Shiraz. All were quite delicious and went well with the lamb. I don’t believe they are available, so I’ll just show you pictures of the bottles.

    For dessert we had cookies and some sweet wines. One of which was spectacular. The Nostalgia Rare is available online for about $40 for a half bottle and is exquisite.

    They describe it as a Tawny Port in style although older and more concentrated that many Portuguese Tawny Ports. There is a huge array of characters in this fortified ranging from walnut, cherry, toffee, molasses, caramel, cumquats and marmalade. Due to the huge evaporation rate of 7% per annum, the wine ends up being quite liquor-like but is not overly sweet because of the huge rancio character (drying mature complex oak character). The flavors of the wine remain with you a long time after consumption.

    The Nostalgia was complex, full and left a smile on your tongue long after you took a sip.

    I quite enjoyed the whole experience. The reason d’Arenberg threw this gala was obviously to get the word out about their wine to increase sales and reputation, but it was so much more than that. They truly were proud to have been a family of wine makers for now over 100 years, and wanted to throw a world wide party to celebrate such an amazing milestone.