The Dog Point – Logan-Brown Classic Kiwi Picnic is held as a truly New Zealand way of promoting one’s business with flair and fun. The Sutherland and Healy families of Dog Point Vineyards in Marlborough got together with Steve Logan and Shaun Clouston and their team of Wellington’s Logan-Brown Restaurant for the seventh consecutive year to offer their version of a day out in the country, celebrating good food and wine. The date is just a short time before the impending vintage, and it offers a selection of wine including the new Dog Point barrel wines matched with great New Zealand produce, as cooked by the staff of one of this country’s iconic fine-dining establishments. And it’s held on site at the Dog Point Marlborough property next to the vines that provide much of the fruit for the vines.
The picnic is indeed a promotional event for Dog Point and Logan-Brown, one of the few they do, but it is relaxed, fun, classy and a reflection of the high standards of both parties. The Dog Point wine is of extremely high quality and interest, and I consider them at the forefront of the contemporary Marlborough styles. Logan-Brown remains one of the best places for outstanding cuisine. So what’s on offer is special. However, it is all delivered with a sense of easy panache, which no doubt belies the considerable preparation, organisation and attention to detail. The, day, the food and the wine flow effortlessly and all involved in the service have big smiles and reflect Marlborough’s friendliness. I suppose it could be a scenario where it would be easy to put on ‘airs and graces’, but there’s none of that, as all the attendees are out to have a lovely and fun time.
Devilled crab sandwiches
Grilled eggplant, Dogpoint pine nut, rocket and chevre sandwiches
Laurent-Perrier Champagne Bruit NV
Tio Point oysters
Dog Point Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Paua fritters, whitebait fritters
Dog Point ‘Section 94’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Dog Point ‘Section 94’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Wine barrel smoked Ora King salmon with fennel slaw, wasabi cream and caper salsa
Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2013
Spit roasted Dog Point lamb, beetroot relish, gremolata & pinot noir jus, roasted Portobello mushrooms with garlic and thyme, baby potato and bacon salad, green leaves with fragrant herbs, Greek bean and grape tomato salad
Dog Point Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013
Dog Point Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006
Ice cream sandwiches
Greywacke Marlborough Late Harvest Riesling 2011
Cheese Selection: Kaikoura Cheese ‘Harnett; Kaikoura Cheese ‘Tenara’, Cwmglyn single source Jersey cheddar, Whitestone Cheese ‘Windsor Blue’, Crescent Dairy Farm House ‘Sting’ (nettle flavoured white moulded goats cheese)
With pinot noir grapes, fresh figs, breads and orange quince paste
Chocolate truffles, coffee
Here are some personal notes on the menu and drinks. On arrival, a refreshing citrussy, punch was served – not my usual thing, but delicious and a perfect introduction to the lunch. The Laurent-Perrier Champagne was served from jeroboams, which had freshness and excellent effervescence.
The minerally, flinty style of the ‘regular’ Sauvignon Blanc was a match with the oysters. As much as I love whitebait, the paua fritters were sensational. And the extra complexities of the ‘Section 94’ made the wine ideal to serve with them.
Seated at the table, I could appreciate the 2013 ‘Section 94’ and Chardonnay better. The complex reduction character very positive, and the fruit was more than sufficient for the base, and the wines both had lovely refreshing acidity. The 2013s will between the powerful 2011s and more restrained 2012s. The salmon was very subtly smoked and made it easy for the wines to complement it. The 2006 ‘Section 94’ was surprisingly fresh and showed more piquant herb rather than bean or asparagus flavours. A revelation.
The lamb was tender, juices running out, and full of perfect flavour. The youth of the Pinot Noir 2013 made for a robust match for the meat. In fact the wine’s freshness and aromatic primary character was its best feature. The 2006 Pinot Noir had retained fruit sweetness and excellent acidity. The secondary complexities added an integrated layer. It was drinking beautifully, but there’s no hurry if you have some stored away.
What fun the ice cream sandwiches were. Both the raspberry and passionfruit flavours were compatible with the Greywacke LH Riesling, with its musk, talc botrytis. The cheese selection was varied and Kaikoura ‘Harnett’ my pick.
Attending the Picnic
I understand that there were 180 attendees, and this year, the tickets sold out in around 10 minutes. Around half of the people had attended before and the other half were first-timers. There were many wine industry people present, indicating the close nature and friendly relationships the Sutherlands and Healys have with the local wine community. There were also attendees from Wellington, Sydney and the U.K. Tickets cost $185.00 pp, this including return coach transport from Blenheim. I consider it very good value, and realise why the places are in demand. If you wish to attend next year’s event, it is suggested you sign up for the regular Dog Point and Logan-Brown newsletters, which will announce details. www.dogpoint.co.nzwww.loganbrown.co.nz