Pilgrim Bar’s Talk & Taste series has all the ingredients of a perfect night. A cosy room in a bar on the banks of the Yarra. Getting up close and personal with a local winemaker. Perfectly matched canapes. And the perfect price point.
A friend and I ventured down to the row of bars in between Fed Square and the Yarra. The historic vaulted buildings from the 1800s now hold places of merriment instead of warehouse goods. If you’re like me, you’ve probably been to Riverland and Pilgrim on a sunny summer afternoon for a drink overlooking the river. (Or perhaps for their Juniperlooza gin festival last year.) Because of all the great outside seating, I’d never ventured into the vaults until my first Talk & Taste experience.
Half the bar is taken up with a cosy room filled with small tables. A good fifteen people were there on the night we attended, which showcased wines from Arfion and Smokestack Lightning labels. Paper placemats were set out so we could scribble down tasting notes as Yarra Valley winemaker Dave Mackintosh led us through three samples.
A generous pour of the Salo 2014 Chardonnay was paired with lemon chicken on Cos lettuce. Buttery at the start, its zingy and acid finish matched wonderfully with the lemon flavour of the nibbles. Next up was, according to Dave, ‘the epitome of doing whatever I wanted’. The Smokestack Lightning ‘light pinot noir’ isn’t a true rosé, but it sure looked like one. Pinot grigio left on skins produced a lovely pink colour that worked nicely with my favourite canapé of the night: tomato with ricotta. We finished with the 2015 Arfion Pinot Noir, alongside nibbles of duck with plum sauce. Venue manager Michael Thom made sure we had everything we needed, even topping up the canapés for those who got a little ahead of themselves.
Everything about Talk & Taste is delightful: the vaulted arches of the bar; the cosy nature of being at such an intimate event. Being able to converse directly with the winemaker and learn all his winemaking secrets was vastly enjoyable, as was the relaxed nature. Nothing felt rushed, and everyone in the room was incredibly friendly.
I promised to tell you about the price point. Get this: the whole event is only $15. I hope I’ve convinced you to book in to the next Talk & Taste.
Co-founder of The Plus Ones, Theresa will be making regular pilgrimages to Talk & Taste this autumn and winter.
Talk & Taste runs monthly at Pilgrim Bar (Vaults 15-19 Wharf Federation, Federation Dr, Melbourne) until December 2016. Book tickets and sign up for their mailing list to keep abreast of the schedule.