Following Nick Spencer’s journey from Eden Road Wines, to his own eponymous label, Nick Spencer Wines, led me to Canberra earlier in the month. Joining a long table of oenophiles at Eighty Six Restaurant Braddon in Braddon, we worked our way though Nick’s soon-to-be-bottled new releases against a well-executed feast ($130/head).
Brook trout roe served on potato scallops with creme fraiche gave the juicy 2021 Petillant Naturel ($28) something to work off, though it’s hard to imagine a food that wouldn’t work with this natural style wine. Beef carpaccio with white anchovy aioli and watercress came with the quaffable 2021 Rose ($28). The wine is salmon pink and very dry, making it quite the summery quaffer, while the carpaccio was so delicious I just wanted more of it. Sensibly though the kitchen was helping us save space for cauliflower and Pyengana gratin with the flagship 2019 Tumbarumba Chardonnay ($40): a cracking match with a standout wine.
Moving through barramundi and an even better lamb shoulder that pulled from the bones cleanly, my wine of the night was the 2019 Medium Dry Red ($35) from Gundagai. Made using Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Portuguese Touriga Nacional, this surprising medium bodied red would be a good compromise for a couple where one likes fighting reds and the other is a Pinot Noir drinker. Eighty Six excels in simple food, like a buerre bosc pear tarte tatin, which leaves the chef nowhere to hide without perfect execution. Luckily the kitchen had that well in hand… See less
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