Selecting a perfect bottle of wine is no easy task. Especially at The Crafers Hotel where the wine room has more than 2000 bottles, with price tags ranging from $50 to $11,000.
That’s why sommelier Liinaa Berry is launching an intimate, educational dinner series at the Adelaide Hills pub. Unlike previous events, it’s all about the sommelier’s choices, not a guest winemaker’s. It will focus on drops from international wine regions Savoie, Piedmont, Sicily and Languedoc-Roussillon as well as McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills.
“These dinners won’t be about a single winery or region. Instead it’s many different wines and flavours at one sitting," says Berry. "The wines can be intimidating because they come from regions people aren’t familiar with. These wine dinners will be a great way to tackle that.”
Berry will host each evening and share the table with 12 guests. The five-course meal will be prepared by Joey Taylor, former chef at McLaren Vale’s The Currant Shed. It includes linguine puttanesca matched with Sobrero Barbera d’Alba 2013 and crispy skin pork from the French rotisserie matched with Bekkers Grenache 2015.
“The focus is more on how the food will match the wines," Berry says. "For example, one dish will be served with an Italian wine and the other dish with an Austrian wine.”
It’s not just a gathering for wine connoisseurs. “Anyone who likes to drink wine will enjoy it," Berry says. "They do not need to have any knowledge as such, all they need to know is whether they like the wine or not. Simple. They can ask questions and learn.” It’s about culture, education, and chatter.
Berry knows her stuff. The Mauritius-born wine expert was mentored by Serge Dubs (World’s Best Sommelier 1989), Andreas Larsson (World’s Best Sommelier 2007), and Jonathan Bauer-Monneret (Best French Sommelier 2014). She was also one of 50 upcoming sommeliers from around the globe selected to take part in this year’s Somms of the World. The event coincided with the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards held in Melbourne in April.
Diners should expect special drops. “I always have a few surprises on the evening,” Berry says. “I open other bottles, sometimes to compare the same wine but from an older vintage, or compare the same varietal but from a different producer. This can only spark up more conversation as everyone gets to see how taste can vary, and have a deeper understanding of wine as a living thing.”
The dinner series will run every two months. Berry also hosts private sommelier degustation dinners by request for a minimum of eight people.
From Savoie to Sicily is on July 18 and 19 at 7pm at The Crafers Hotel. Tickets are $160 and strictly limited. To book, phone 8339 2050.