Last night was my first in a two week trip of Australia - an informal dinner with Vasse Felix at a Chinese restaurant in Perth (Grand Palace).
It showed great confidence to choose a restaurant on the basis that it was near my hotel rather than the fact that it prepared food they knew would go with the wines. Chardonnay and Cabernet are not the obvious matches for Chinese food.
I really like the wines, most particularly the crisp, refreshing Semillon-Sauvignon (good with the salt and pepper squid) but it was the sensuously creamy 2009 Heytesbury Chardonnay that really stole the evening. And no wonder because it's picked up all kinds of gongs including the Len Evans award for best wine in show at the National Wine Show in Canberra last year. (And the 2010 vintage won the best young white wine in the Melbourne Wine Show recently.)
I thought it would go with the scallop dish we picked - a selection of scallops with black beans, chilli sauce and garlic and shallots but it was in fact the Western Australia Wagyu beef cooked with ginger, shallots and a touch of sesame oil that was the knockout match of the evening, outperforming even the Vasse Felix Heytesbury Cab.
Of course most people will always prefer a red with steak but an oaky white can do the job just as well.