I spent the weekend exploring the north-east of Victoria with my girlfriend. The highlight was our experience at Brown Brothers Winery in Milawa, where the wine, service, food and atmosphere were all exceptional.
The Epicurian Centre offers a variety of dishes, almost main sized, with matching wines. Three savoury choices and one sweet selection are perfect for two people. To begin with, we had the best squid I’ve ever had inland. It was made to be dipped in a delicious sauce made from dark sweet soy, fish sauce, palm sugar and caramelised garlic. The dish and wine combination is the 2006 Dry Muscat ~ Salt & Pepper Squid with Bean Shoots, Coriander and a Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce. We were tasting the sauce in delight and tried to guess the ingredients. The wonderfully friendly waitress came back from the kitchen after consulting the chef and informed us that we were right! She was amazingly helpful.
Then came the 2006 Tarrango ~ Milawa Free Range Chicken Breast with Crushed Pea, Feta, Mint and a Roast Zucchini Yogurt. This was also delicious.
Our final savoury dish was the best – 2005 Tempranillo ~ Slow Roast Rutherglen Lamb with a Barigoule of Artichokes and Fennel. Yes, it is beautiful to look at as well as to eat. The lamb is coated in an anchovy and caper paste. It’s only two and a half hours from Melbourne.
Desert was unusual and enticing. Caramel with salt. Really. 2003 Late Harvest Botrytis Riesling ~ Salted Caramel and White Chocolate Mousse with Caramel Ice Cream. So very very special. Brown Brothers is for me as good as the best wineries in Margaret River, such as Vasse Felix, in terms of wine, food and atmosphere. I can give them no higher complement. Well, I did buy two cases…