Guillaume at Bennelong

Last weekend I had dinner with friends at the soon to be closed Guillaume at Bennelong. I hadn’t been to Guillaume previously, so when this dinner came up I was super keen as I probably wouldn’t have another chance at its current location.

Some brief comments on the restaurant – the food was very impressive, it’s in a style that I really enjoy where in one way it is simple as it’s a few high quality ingredients and maybe a sauce, but it is granted complexity through the sheer technique and thought that goes into each dish. My favourite courses were the Truffle Risotto, which had some of the best Australia truffles I’ve ever tasted (from Manjimup in WA I believe) and the Wagyu beef with Paris mash. The general service was actually a bit patchy, there was nothing major but it was also far from perfect and didn’t live up to the expectation for a venue like this. The wine service was much better, though a shortage of glassware throughout the night was surprising.

I would definitely return if the restaurant was open past the end of this year, but I’m hopeful a new location in Sydney is found and that I’ll have the chance to visit.

Here are the photos and tasting notes from the night;

The Food

Squid “tagliatelle”, sea urchin, tapioca “cracker”

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Truffle Risotto

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Partridge, chestnut, broad beans, foie gras, truffle

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Wagyu Beef, parsnip, parsley, garlic, shimeji mushroom, potato galette

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Sweetbreads and Tongue, raisins, almonds, gingerbread

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Tajima Wagyu Beef, chestnut mushrooms, spinach, shallot, merlot sauce

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American Cheddar

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Chocolate Souffle, cherry ripple ice cream

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Petit fours

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The Wines

  • 1992 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon Oenothèque – France, Champagne
    Pale coloured. Lemon zest, toast and mineral aromas initially, with air some more richness starts to come through with a hint at honey. The palate has bright acidity and that mineral element shines through as well. Still in the process of developing and with plenty of room to move upwards. 92/100

  • 2007 Bouchard Père et Fils Bâtard-Montrachet – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru
    Too oxidative, especially on the palate. NR

  • 2010 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru
    Grapefruit, lemon and straw, after time it shows some lightly tropical notes. The palate is restrained and the finesse is impressive. While it has excellent length and it is a superb wine, a little bit more depth and power would have really lifted it a notch. 93/100

  • 2008 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Bonnes Mares – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Bonnes Mares Grand Cru
    Meaty notes, red cherry and rhubarb with a tinge of earth and chestnut, and in the background initially, but lifting continually was a very fragrant perfumed element. The palate shows off focused minerality and fine acidity, with plenty of red fruit showing through. It’s more restrained in nature than muscular, though the tannins are firm and this obviously needs time to flourish. 93/100

  • 1999 Domaine G. Roumier / Christophe Roumier Bonnes Mares – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Bonnes Mares Grand Cru
    Served blind. The nose showed leather, smoky meat, some blood/iron and well woven spice aromas. The palate is weighty and was much more muscular than the previous wine. The tannins and oak are prominent still, but the length is just outrageously good with the acidity dragging the fruit through the structural elements. Great stuff, though it is still very much in its youth. 94/100

  • 2011 Sylvain Cathiard Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
    Beautifully perfumed aromas draw you into this wine with violets, red cherry, strawberry, raspberry, a touch of oak influence and typical vosne spices – I would be entirely happy smelling this wine all evening. Superbly silky and with savoury spice, the fruit is dense but with a brightness to it that matches the nose. Fantastic depth and carry, this is a wine that aspires to brilliance and reaches it! 95/100

  • 1990 Gaja Barolo Sperss – Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Dense nose of tar and graphite with cherry and licorice. The palate is taut but detailed and both the structure and the length are seriously impressive. It’s 23 years old at this point and I’d probably back it to develop for another 10 with ease. 93/100

  • 1995 Château Lafite Rothschild – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Given a long decant. Youthful and intense nose of pencil shavings, kirsch, cassis and some roses. The explosive youthfulness shows on the palate as well but it never feel overbearing as the structure is equally uncompromising. This has barely budged since I last tried it 5 years ago, at that time I said it would develop over the next 20 years and I’d probably still say the same again from now. 95/100

  • 2000 Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana IGT – Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
    A decadent but complex nose – plum, graphite, kirsch, coffee, cocoa and licorice. Clearly very rich and sultry in style, it has stunning depth and purity in the fruit to give it dimension and amplify the interest. Impeccably long, this is truly superb and a clear step up on a very very good 2006 Redigaffi tried a few weeks prior. 96/100

  • 1997 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Masseto Toscana IGT – Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
    Thoughts were that this wasn’t quite in the best condition. Lots of undergrowth/autumnal decay, earthy mushroom and five spice. The palate is similarly very savoury, with some ripe fruit being hinted at. Fading a little bit on the finish, this is probably more developed that it should be if the bottle was in great condition but it was still quite tasty regardless! NR

  • 2004 Penfolds Bin 60A – Australia, South Australia
    Opulent but intoxicating aromas of blackberry, cassis, cinnamon, plum, tobacco and black cherry. It’s incredible how seamless the palate feels, despite the tremendous density and youthful power of the fruit. The tannin structure is really impressive as it is not at all obtrusive while still providing structure to reign in the immense fruit. Delicious but give it time if you can. 95/100

  • 1983 Taylor (Fladgate) Porto Vintage – Portugal, Douro, Porto
    Fresh and quite lifted aromas with olive and caramel, berries and chocolate. Rounded and luscious palate that is balanced out by fresh acidity. Good length. Drinking quite well now. 90/100

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Any word on how common the prem-ox is on the ’07 Bouchard? Got one lurking in the cellar and am now terrified.

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