Just the word, Leonardo, conjures ideas of genius through images of renowned paintings, visionary inventions and momentous scientific insights. Leonardo’s Dining Room & Wine Loft, in Taman Bandaraya, attempts to carry over this Renaissance feel to their restaurant and bar through stocked book shelves, bare brick walls, lanky burgundy curtains, wooden floors and local artwork hemming the borders. Downstairs the dining room is non-smoking with dressed tables, while upstairs the wine loft has more of an attic feel with its open ceilings, low sofas, high tables and casual ambience. A haven for artistic dialogue, Leonardo’s hosts art exhibits, political talks, book clubs, poetry recitals and anything else proposed by creative minds. One such affair happening the night I blew in, was a wine dinner with De Bortoli wines.
Yarra Valley is the home ground of this family owned (four generations) wine company. The cool climate of this region means that pinot noir and chardonnay are two successful varietals grown at De Bortoli. In the past, when thinking Australian chardonnay, you might have expected full bodied, rich, powerful buttery wines. The trend towards more cool climate production however has seen the rise of chardonnays that are more elegant and pair well with food. Pinot Noir also had unimpressive beginnings in Australia, nonetheless more note worthy examples have recently flourished. Fine models of both pinot noir and chardonnay were featured at the wine dinner. Leonardo’s was an apposite choice for the event as its wide menu presented a broad tasting plate for pairing with these Aussie grapes. Learning that this particular evening was enabled by Albert Wines, I signed up immediately reminiscing fondly about the generous pours I’d previously rejoiced in at other such events.
The menu for Wine & Dine with Yarra Valley’s Finest – De Bortoli Wines, at Leonardo’s Dining Room & Wine Loft, can be viewed in the slide show above and in words below.
Pre Dinner – De Bortoli Sparkling Brut: Attractive crisp fresh and fruity on the nose. A refreshing, easy drinking sparkling wine with fresh fruit flavours, delicate creamy mouthfeel and crisp, clean finish with balanced acidity in the mouth. We happily allowed our glasses to be filled and refilled as we mingled before the meal.
Starter – Zuppa de Mare: a full flavoured tomato and herb based soup with generous portions of seafood. Paired with Gulf Station Sauvignon Blanc: Lifted citrus notes together with grassy characters and background lees aging complexities on the nose. A refreshing palate with subtle barrel influences. The fruit is balanced by a gentle acid backbone that leeds to a crisp and lingering finish. This wine worked well with the soup but would be just as ambrosial on its own or as an afternoon sipper with a cheese platter by the pool.
Entrée – Avocado Crab Meat Salad: half avocado generously loaded with creamy shredded crab meat. Paired with Gulf Station Pinot Noir: Complex dark berry aromas with underlying earth and forest floor characters. The palate is textured with length and balance, medium bodied with intense berry and spice flavours. I imagine this versatile drop would also fit nicely aside any number of meats, creamy sauces and perhaps even some mildly spicy Asian dishes.
Main – Roasted Rack of Lamb: bounteous portions with au jus coulis, rosemary, peppercorns and potato gratin; or Grilled 80 Days Aged Rib Eye: with port wine jus and roasted herb potato wedges. Both came with a colourful crowd of freshly steamed vegetables.
Paired with Gulf Station Shiraz Viognier: fragrant and aromatic with strong graphite and white pepper characteristics. On the palate, rich spicy fruit with dark berries, integrated ripe tannins, structured palate, supple feel and exotic complexity. The pepperiness of this wine went exceptionally well with the lamb and rosemary and peppercorn gravy.
Dessert – Homemade Marinated Poached Red Wine Pear: peeled tender fruit bathing in a malbec coulis dotted with berries. Paired with Noble One Botrytis Semillon; this heavenly nectar has been my favourite dessert wine for nearly 20 years! Enticing aromas of nectarine, bush honey and peach with citrus hints and sweet vanillin oak. A richly opulent palate of dried stone fruits, citrus and honey complexed by oak. A luscious expression of concentrated fruit and oak with balanced acidity and textural length. While both dessert and wine were excellent on their own I’m not sure that the match did either of them justice. I would have liked to have seen the Noble One with a bitter dense chocolate or a smooth gorgonzola cheese and toasted walnuts. Maybe they’ll consult me next time 😉
Reason to Visit: Wine dinners – an excellent opportunity to sample a range of wines and dishes at a value price. (The above menu with generous samplings of wines – RM160++)
Leonardo’s Dining Room & Wine Loft
61 Jalan Bangkung
59100 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2096 2226