Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Blocks by Penfolds

The search for great wine, food and art on a windy Friday afternoon led us to The Blocks, a collaboration between Penfolds and renowned London-based designers Studio Toogood.

Located in one of the warehouse spaces on the wharf in Walsh Bay, this pop-up wine bar encourages visitors to explore, learn, and discover their palates through sight, touch and smell.

Gubinge (Kakadu Plum)
While waiting for the rest of our party to arrive, we got to try some Gubinge or Kakadu Plum, native to Western Kimberly, a traditional source of bush tucker, antiseptic and a healing remedy for the Indigenous people. Even though they don't look like much, these stone fruits have been identified as the natural source food with the highest vitamin C content on the planet.

A large part of the warehouse space is taken over by more than 260 bespoke Toogood pieces and art installations by five emerging Australian artists. The Experience is all about exploring the Blocks, five giant wooden totems and corresponding art installations, followed by tasting some of the best wine and food matched by executive Chef Jock Zonfrillo (Magill Estate). Friendly sommeliers are on hand to explain the concept to visitors.

There are 5 groups of wine, each represented by a wooden totem and art installation, while each totem is impregnated with different bespoke scents produced in conjunction with a perfumer for this event; the art installations are local artists' interpretations of the words used to describe the flavours, colours and aromas of each group of wine.

After taking some time wandering through the bespoke Toogood pieces and taking in the art installations, we settle around a table and began our tasting journey. Most of our table opted for a tasting (4x75 ml glass) from one of the five wine brackets and several of the Chef's recommended food pairings.

Wine can also be ordered by the glass or should you fancy, by the bottle. However, Mary Penfolds is the only cocktail on the menu and sorry boys, no beers at this wine bar.

I went for number 4, Regional. Notes for this bracket are: authentic; of the land; organic; real; defined borders; expressive of a sense of place; honest. The wines for tasting in this bracket are:

2010 Penfolds Bin 23 Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir
2010 Penfolds Cellar Reserve McLaren Vale Tempranillo
2007 Penfolds Cellar Reserve Barossa Valley Sangiovese
2010 Penfolds Bin 138 Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz Mouvedre. 

Wagyu, truffle
A very worthy mention is the Wagyu, truffle dish, it was simply divine when matched with the wine. We loved it so much, we had to order a second serving.

If you are a wine lover then you must go and explore this amazing space that houses great wine, delicious food and beautiful art all under one roof.

Make sure you keep an eye on the date as this pop-up venue will only be in Sydney till the 5th of April, then it's off to Melbourne before touring around the world.

Blink and you'll miss it.

The Blocks: Pier 2/3, 13 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay, NSW 2000  Blocks By Penfolds on Urbanspoon

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