Sydney-based chef Brendan Cato has brought his farm-to-table pop-up concept to Ngeringa for a special five-course vintage lunch, sourced completely from the Ngeringa farm.
Celebrate vintage with The Farmed Table at Ngeringa
For the last four years, Sydney-based chef Brendan Cato has spent every vintage working on the Ngeringa farm.
The two made fast friends through mutual interests – namely, road cycling and a shared food and wine philosophy.
Brendan was looking to improve his winemaking skills (The Farmed Table’s concept sees him prepare a multi-course dinner in which he has created everything from scratch from locally sourced and foraged ingredients) and he saw Ngeringa as the benchmark he wanted to achieve.
“They’re pretty fantastic wines, and in line with everything that I have ethics about – not using chemicals and making wine in an organic, natural way,” he says.
Brendan has, for several years now, released wine under the name Carto, but still he returns to the Adelaide Hills every year to spend time with Erinn and the Ngeringa team.
At the end of each vintage, Brendan prepares a meal for his hosts from produce from the farm, and this year he and Erinn have decided to open Ngeringa’s gates to the public for the occasion.
“The first year I was down we put on a big dinner for all the winemakers’ friends, so about 50 people, and we’d said we should do a proper thing while I’m down here,” Brendan says.
“Probably a month ago we started talking about it, being as relaxed and casual about things as we both are.”
The Farmed Table’s Ngeringa vintage lunch will see Brendan source every aspect of the five-course from the Ngeringa property, paired with Ngeringa wine, including barrel samplings of the most recent vintage.
“To be honest, there’s too much choice for me. Normally I go onto a farm and there’s five things and I make use of those five things, so to come here is such a luxury,” he says.
“I’ve been having these beautiful heirloom tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so they will encompass a whole dish in one way or another.
“The lamb here, we’re having some whole lamb slaughtered. But the veggie garden, it’s almost like there’s too much choice. I’ll be doing a selection of the best fresh produce on a plate, cooking vegetables, or not cooking them and fermenting them, putting as much as I can on a plate.”
As part of the wine offering, Brendan and Erinn will also debut the inaugural release of their collaborative wine project, Ngarto – a Côte-Rôtie-inspired shiraz/viognier blend.
“As a bit of a fun side project we thought we could do something a little bit different from the normal Ngeringa range,” Brendan says.
“We’ve never really dabbled in a shiraz/viognier. I think just to bring a bit more aromatics to the shiraz – which our shiraz is already quite aromatic anyway – so we upped the ante with a bit of viognier, a bit of whole bunch.
“And we bottled it a little bit earlier than we would normally bottle our shiraz, so it’s super vibrant and fragrant.”
And for anyone looking to get a little closer to the winemaking process, there will be a ferment underway that people can “dip their hands into,” Erinn says.
The Ngeringa property is an idyllic estate; the physical embodiment of the ideals that the natural wine movement espouses, and proof that, with a lot of work, the rhetoric can be realised.
While any visit to the property is bound to leave an impression, experiencing Brendan’s take on the produce and the culture of the farm itself will show Ngeringa in a unique light.
“People always come here and they see us living the dream, being almost self-sufficient. It’s like sharing part of our life,” Erinn says.
“We’re pretty lucky to have what we have here. Every now and then we open our doors and share it, and for Brendan to present the food in such an amazing way is a dream come true.”
“My ethos is support local, buy local produce. Hopefully people can understand more about ways they can do that, and also cook delicious produce quite simply,” Brendan continues.
“When people come here anytime I’m hoping that they understand a bit about seeing all the produce and how everything is done on site – from the olive oil to the vinegar to the meat – and just learn about local food and supporting local growers and buying direct, like the Ngeringa veggie boxes that they have.”
The Farmed Table’s Ngeringa vintage lunch is happening on Sunday, 17 March from 12:30pm. See more information at the link.
To purchase tickets, contact Brendan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0402 627 313, or call Ngeringa on (08) 8398 2867.