Earlier in the month, France and Australia met up in the UK for the most interesting game of the season.
The first half saw a slight advantage for France which played a very subtle and clever game. However, Team Australia managed to get back in the game during the second half, playing more defensively and making serious moves.
From the first minutes of the game, the French team decided to use a defensive tactic, putting forward a Light Lobster Bisque infused with Purple Basil, Scallops & Comfit Tomatoes Tortellini while the Australian team chose a more easy-going approach with the McGuigan Earth’s Portrait Riesling 2004.
The intensity and rich flavours of the bisque balanced well with the acidity of the Riesling. However, the wine had quite a strong kerosene nose which crossed over into the lasting taste, which wouldn’t be enjoyable when drunk on its own.
For the next move, the French team leader kept the seafood theme team with a Grilled cut of Wild Sea Bass, Steamed Razor Clams with Sechuan Pepper, lightly spiced Fish Velouté whereas the Australians proposed a more delicate white wine, the McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon 2003.
The sea bass was very well cooked and tasty and the clams and fish velouté gave a nice pulse to the dish. The McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon 2003 was crisp, fresh with a zesty style but once again, the kerosene nose isn’t my favourite.
Later on during the game, the French team introduced their best player, the Milk Fed Lamb rubbed with Thyme, Parmesan & Swiss Chard Gratin, Thyme infused Lamb Jus. With such a strong choice, the Australian team decided pull out all the stops with the McGuigan Shortlist Cabernet Sauvignon 2008.
The lamb was perfectly cooked and the thyme infused Lamb Jus really brought the flavours up. The light McGuigan Shortlist Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 matched very well with the freshness of the lamb. This wine has a lot of potential as the palate will get rounder in the next two years to achieve a stylish and characteristic wine.
At this point, it was time for the teams to take a breather, but after their well-deserved break, the players were back on the field with The Feuilleté of Blue Cheese, Madeira Reduction Jus, Wild Rocket & Red Chard Salad and a McGuigan Handmade Shiraz 2008.
The regret with Feuilletés is that they usually don’t contain enough cheese to properly taste it and, unfortunately, the Bleu d’Auvergne Feuilleté was slightly under filled. The Madeira jus added a nice and sweet touch to balance the flavour of the cheese. The soft and forest fruity McGuigan Handmade Shiraz 2008 was my favourite red wine of the meal but overpowered the dish seeing that a true strong cheese taste was missing from the dish.
Slowly moving into the final moments of the game, the teams seemed to have learnt a lot from each other’s tactics and they came up with the perfect match: Quince & Sultana parfait, Honey & Yoghurt Sorbet paired with McGuigan Personal Reserve Botrytis Semillon 2005. The very refreshing Quince & Yoghurt worked very well with the light sweetness of the refreshing McGuigan Personal Reserve Botrytis Semillon 2005 and the combination of all the flavours created the perfect balance.
It was now time for the referee to blew his whistle. While enjoying a coffee with some petits fours, the spectators agreed that both teams played masterfully and the players left the field under rapturous applause, having offered a fair and well balanced game.A big thank you to Chris and Scott from Cube Communication to have organised such an interesting and passionate game!
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