Oakdene News & Events
Our very own revered Chef Marty, from Marty at Oakdene has shared with us two mouth watering recipes to make your Christmas Turkey a little bit fancy.
Complete with all the trimmings, slow cooked escalope with bacon and chestnuts or Malaysian style turkey breast with aromatic spices and saffron potatoes. Sounds delicious right?
Turkey is the perfect match for Oakdene Peta’s Pinot Noir and our Bellarine Pinot Noir. This lighter style of red wine pairs beautifully with it's subtle oak spices and would also be well enjoyed with roast chicken.
FATHER’S DAY RED WINE & CHOCOLATE PACK
Father’s Day is only around the corner and we have put together a special 'Oakdene RED Wine & Cuvee Chocolate Pack’ which sure to make Dads day.
Spoil him with our special pack which includes one bottle of Oakdene 2015 Bernard’s Cabernet, matched with Cuvee Chocolate, 70gm - Amphora (65% Cocoa) and one bottle of Oakdene 2016 Bellarine Peninsula Shiraz matched with Cuvee Chocolate, 70gm - Grand Cru (75% Cocoa), all packed in a gift box.
For only $80,this delicious treat is available from our Cellar Door and website right through until the big day,* don’t let Dad miss out!
*Please allow time for shipping if purchasing online
In the Feb/March edition of Haliday Magazine, Casey Warrener has written a lovely article about Geelong wine and its surrounding wine regions. She had a little bit to say about Oakdene throughout the acticle but this is a little snipet she wrote about us called 'Broad Appeal.'
Featuring accomodation, a fine dining restaurant, an unfussy cafe and a quirky orchard, there is something for everyone at Oakdene. Oakdene's wine is crushed and produced at what wine director Steven Paul affectionately calls 'Scotcho's.' Steve manned the cellar door at Scotchmans Hill for a number of years. "Scotcho's have always made crazy wines. They're looked apon as quite mainstream because they are the largest producer in the region, but as long as I've known them they have played around with new styles."
Experimental winemaking has worked in Oakdene's favour. Their Jessica's Sauvignon, modelled on an age-worthy style produced under Scotchman's Cornelius label, is a best seller at the cellar door and has been well received by industry. "We started selling our barrel-fermented style into Melbourne and sommeliers said it is a Sauvignon Blanc they actually wanted to drink," says Steve.
Like Robin, Steve is of the opinion that shiraz is on the march in Geelong. "Bellarine shiraz is spice and pepper, sinilar to a Rhone style. It's differnet from your traditional Australian styles. Our shiraz is a clone from the Best's vineyard's 1860s plantings, which gives it a generosity of red fruit," says Steve. "The 14 William Shiraz has been in 4 shows and already taken out 3 gold medals."
Since this has been written the 2014 William Shiraz now has 4 gold medals from Ballarat, National, Royal Melbourne and Victorian wine shows. For more information about our wines just visit oakdene.com.au.
At Oakdene we pickle anything that moves, from vegetables through to certain cuts of meat and sometimes depending on the variety, fish. It’s a great way of taking advantage of the abundance of local seasonal produce and preserving them for menus later in the year.
There's nothing more satisfying than hearing the seal "pop" on a new jar of pickles. Typically, that's when friends and family have gathered on a summer day, burgers and bangers are sizzling on the BBQ and the beer and wine is chilling. A jar of supermarket gherkins might do, but don't deny yourself the pleasure of a super fresh, homespun flavour—of making your own.
If using home-grown cucumbers, pick them first thing in the morning to get the best flavour. Select cucumbers that are free of mould, insect damage, blemishes, and soft spots. If you’re using seasonal produce form the local grocer or supermarket, pick the firmer more consistent size veggies as they will cook and pickle more evenly. Plan to make the pickles in advance and store them well for future family gatherings or dinner parties.
Thoroughly wash the cucumbers and assemble the spices. Have fun with the process, trying new flavours with each new batch of pickles. To add a little kick, toss in a clove of fresh garlic, a pinch of crushed red pepper, or a few chopped jalapeños.
A simpler form of pickle can be made simply by soaking food in an acid liquid, in most cases, a flavoured vinegar mixture; there are heaps at the local providores these days. All that's necessary is to first soften the fruit or vegetable. This can be done either by blanching it briefly in boiling water or by salting it for an hour or two.
Though ordinary, white distilled vinegar can be used for most pickles, you can get a different effect by substituting apple cider, Asian rice vinegar or even a cabernet or chardonnay vinegar. Similarly, don't feel bound to the common pickling spices of mustard, peppercorns & dill, try using cloves, allspice or cinnamon, fresh ginger or dried chillies.
The first couple of times you experiment don't go overboard with the spicing. Give the pickles a day to develop and see how you like them before adjusting the recipe for the next attempt.
Pickled cucumbers recipe
12 Baby Cucumbers, washed and sliced about 1/4" thick
1 tablespoon Garlic Salt
2 teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes
500ml Apple Cider Vinegar
1. In a large resealable container combine cucumbers, garlic salt, and red pepper flakes.
2. Cover cucumbers with apple cider vinegar. Place lid on container.
3. Refrigerate overnight.
4. They will stay crisp in refrigerator for weeks, if they last that long!
The sun is shining, warm winds are gently blowing and it's the time when we finally catch up with all those people we've been meaning to see all year. The entertaining season is upon us, and when it comes to serving up a white wine, we want it to be the right white.
In the same way that chardonnay was out-cooled by sauvignon blanc, now the prevailing sauv blancs are being out-trended in the it-wine stakes by pinot grigio, or is that pinot gris - well, either way, it's fast becoming the new it wine, or is that wines?
Even wine, it seems, can have an identity crisis these days.
When it comes to pinot gris and pinot grigio, it can be hard to tell what you are buying, which is why we gave Steve Paul, resident wine buff at Oakdene, a call to give us the inside line on the Pinot Gs.
You may have heard or been told that the only difference between the two is that gris is French and grigio is Italian; and that's sort of true, but really misses the story of the Pinot G wines.
What is the same about the gris and the grigio is the grape. The greyish-red grape is a mutation of the noble pinot noir grape (or pinot nero grape, as it is called in Italy), and both 'gris' and 'grigio' are translations of grey in reference to the colour. On another translation note, the name 'pinot' is a reference to pine, because pinot grapes grow in a tight cluster that vaguely resembles a pinecone.
Pinot grigio is a style of wine traditionally produced in northern Italy, around Mogliano and Alto Adige. An earlier harvest with higher acidity and lower alcohol, it tends towards crunchy fruit characters like Nashi pear flavours. The lower alcohol comes from the early harvest, as the grapes haven't developed the high sugar levels of later harvests. These wines are made to drink young and are a lovely light style for summer drinking.
Pinot gris is traditionally produced in northern France, around Alsace, close to the German border. The cooler region means grapes are picked later to allow them to ripen, making for a lower acidity, fuller bodied, rich white wines that tend to be higher in alcohol. Traditional pinot gris make good food wines, matching well with the German-influenced food of its native region like spicy sausages and sauerkraut. The higher alcohol content tends not to be as much of an issue in a culture where a small - and we do mean small - single glass of wine with dinner is the usual consumption limit.
"In Australia, we do either, or both," Steve said, adding that there has been a tendency in Australia to label the wine as gris or grigio based on nationality preference - or just the sound of the name - rather than the style being produced, which has added to the general confusion when it comes to the Pinot Gs.
But the truth is, with our warm climate, Australian Pinot Gs tend to be true to neither of the gris or grigio styles, but will fall somewhere across a very broad spectrum in between.
Here in Geelong, pinot gris (or grigio) is now the fourth most planted grape after pinot noir, chardonnay and shiraz.
"Local wine makers are investing in the variety because we have one of the most suited climates for planting it, which you can see from our success with pinot noir," Steve said. "Here at Oakdene we do both a grigio and a gris style of wine, with the grigio a lovely, crisp drinking style while the gris is a fuller style that is better with food. We have one vineyard of 5 acres of pinot gris and 80 per cent of all of our fruit goes to the fruit-driven style pinot grigio.
"But, like all wines, the best way to choose the right wine, or in this case the right white, is to try it and see what you like."
These days’ lots of us love to cook, but that doesn't mean we do it all day long. Chefs do, five to six days a week, sometimes up to 14 hours a day.
During that time, chefs aren't just cooking, but shopping, planning, managing, ordering, calculating, cleaning, sweating, running, repairing and, hardest of all, waiting. It's not quite blood, sweat and tears, but it is close.
Being a chef can also be rewarding, and, combined with a healthy dose of passion, it starts to look like a decent way to earn a living especially if you’re prepared to work 70 or 80 hours a week!
Just don't expect any glamour in a schedule like this. After many years, bags appear under the eyes, you get hunched shoulders, dodgy knees, high blood pressure and your diet can be almost non-existent.
Marty Chichester, is one chef who has and lives that life. Marty, 46, has been on the cooking scene for nearly 30 years. But he really made a name for himself with the wildly popular Oakdene Vineyards Restaurant in Wallington.
It hasn’t come without sacrifice Marty explains! Two marriages and a number of relationships later he’s still funnily enough positively passionate about his profession.
Working alongside Owners Bernard & Elizabeth Hooley, HooleyOakdeneOakdene has been transformed into what Marty believes is the premier dining destination on the Bellarine Peninsula. With the food, art, sculptures and the amazing eclectic gardens Oakdene has become a true destination for all visitors to the Bellarine.
Oakdene opened with a bang in 2004, offering a contemporary market-based cuisine at a med-high price, following Marty’s philosophy that "technique-driven cooking made with simple ingredients gives as good a result as food made with luxury ingredients."
Ten years later, The Hooleys along with Marty are planning to open their second restaurant “Mr Grubb@Oakdene” which is aimed at a more casual market. “We will be offering pizza, fish & chips and lots of share plate options, so we hope the local crowd from Ocean Grove and the surrounding areas will come in force” says Marty.
The new restaurant will be located on the vineyard alongside the famous Upside-Down House; and with its modern and trendy food, will have tremendous draw – especially for foodies on a budget. MrGrubb@Oakdene is due to open in December so watch this space.
Marty is constantly on the move. When he's not chopping something, he's planning menus, organizing staff schedules, taking reservations or teaching his latest kitchen hand how to clean a scallop.
If he over-orders, there's waste; if he under-orders, he'll be scrambling. And every one of those moves is based on years of experience. "In a small kitchen like this," he says, "everyone does everything. There are no set jobs. But if the plates go wrong, I have no one to blame but myself."
That pressure is ever-present in a chef's life. "I'd be lying to say I wasn't tired at the end of the week," he says. "And being in 'the Shit,' 'the juice,' or whatever you call it (playing catch-up), is never enjoyable. But I like the flow of the service, seeing the plates coming back empty, the smiles of the customers. If they're enjoying themselves, I've done something right."
Every year, the arrival of racing and event season means sparkling wines are centre stage. But apart from the bubbles, do you really know what goes into that delicious glass of joyous fizz?
Steven Paul from Oakdene says that when we're talking sparklings, it's not all about bubbles.
In Australia, we produce and drink sparkling pinot, sparkling chardonnay, or sparkling pinot chardonnay. Ever wondered about the pinot element in those light-filled golden wines? If you're a novice quaffer - and there are plenty of us - here's why. All grape juice is clear. The colour comes from the press and how much of the skin is allowed to pigment the juice. In fact, well over half of the Champagne grapes grown in Champagne are black grapes.
Sparkling wine can be made in several ways and it is the method that changes the finished product. For all sparklings, the base wine is made of just ripe grapes with low levels of sugar and high acidity.
The quickest and therefore cheapest method is carbonating. This is the SodaStream of the wine world - literally injecting CO2 into the base wine. This simple and aggressive method of producing fizz results in large bubbles that dissipate quickly.
Our better quality sparklings take you into the more traditional production methods. The Charmat Method, also known as the Italian Method (Metodo Italiano) is a traditional method producing lightly sparkling wines.
The Charmat Method involves a second fermentation of the base wine in a pressurised tank, which is where the bubbles are made. The wine is then clarified, additional sugar may be added if a sweeter wine is desired, then aged. Wines produced by this method have not spent much time on yeast, and will generally be fresh, fruit driven styles with reasonable persistent bubbles.
The Champagnes produced in France are made under the Classic Method or Methode Champenoise. These wines are characterised by yeast-derived characters and very fine, persistent bubbles.
The most complex method of producing sparkling wine, the Classic Method sees the base wine decanted into bottles for the second fermentation and aged 'on lees', meaning on yeast. The curiously termed 'riddling' is the next step, whereby the bottles are rotated on an angle toward the neck of the bottle. The bubbles are made by the yeast feeding on the sugars, producing carbon dioxide.
During disgorgement, the yeast that has gathered in the neck of the bottle is removed, usually by freezing it into a block using liquid nitrogen, and removed. The wine may or may not then be dosed with extra sugar for sweetness, bottled, corked and aged. When ready, sparklings made by the classic method will have those incredibly fine bubbles that sing on your tongue and last throughout the glass (or the bottle!).
What is the difference between vintage and non-vintage? Vintage means the wine has been produced using grapes from a single year, while non-vintage, often shown as NV on the bottle, will be produced using wine from different years. These complex and savoury sparklings shine with food.
And there you have it, our insider's guide to sparkling wine, so when the conversation at this season's events turn to wine, you can shine.
Steve's suggestion: When buying a quality local sparkling, drink it now while it's fresh and lively. All the ageing and hard work is done in the production for you to enjoy the wine when you buy it.
A foraging day for the kitchen team at Oakdene is the highlight of the week. Executive Chef Marty Chichester says “We love this time of year because lots of our favourite ingredients are in abundance right on our doorstep, from pine mushrooms to sea succulents, and wild watercress to sea lettuce.”
What's even more exciting for the Oakdene chefs is the buzz of heading out to our secret spots around the Bellarine foraging for the wild ingredients and then bringing them back to the Oakdene kitchen to experiment with. This is when the real fun starts!
Like Danish chef Rene Redzepi and New Zealand-born Ben Shewry, of Ripponlea's Attica, Marty and his team are rediscovering the ancient art of foraging; putting wild edibles that many consider weeds and poisonous fungus back on the plate.
But it's not just a chef thing. Marty sees lots of European & Australian families out foraging on the Bellarine. It seems anyone with a passion for food, it’s origin and adventure are all heading out to see what the area has to offer. It's a haven for a great day of discovery.
Marty also says he loves getting customers from his cooking class and his apprentices at Oakdene who would never think of eating a weed to try a few things. As he tells people, they're free, they're abundant, they're nutritious and they're delicious.
A common overlooked wild weed is Pursalane. ''Purslane is crunchy and a little bit lemony. It's fantastic in salads or sandwiches - and is one of highest plant sources of [the fatty acid] omega-3.'' explains Marty.
Purslane is not the only leaf that abounds in the suburban parkland. ''If I want to make a salad, I just go out and see whatever's out there and just pick a small handful without disrupting the plant too much,'' he says.
“We are even picking wild watercress at the moment, at a dam near the side of the road on the highway. These amazing wild ingredients grow in the strangest of places” says Marty.
Marty recommends novices start in their own backyard, or those of friends and neighbours, gathering plants that are easy to identify before heading into the wild.
''Look in the most unkempt- looking places you can. A fairly manicured looking park is the worst place to look because they're probably poisoning it and a lot of dogs are usually being walked there. Get off the beaten track a little.''
Autumn and spring are the best times to forage on the Bellarine but even in winter mushrooms, nettles and dandelions can be found, he says.
Picking edible weeds is safer than gathering wild mushrooms but it's important not to eat anything you can't positively identify, he says.
Be adventurous with wild produce but keep the preparation and dressings simple. You can really appreciate the amazing textures and flavours they add to many dishes.