Winston’s Birthday Celebration

The dinner of dinners at Mountford Estate was for Winston’s Birthday.  Winston, Mountford Estate Winemaker CP Lin’s seeing eye dog, turned 5. Each year on his birthday, CP organizes a large dinner party filled with great wines and food and this evening was no exception, from the guest chef to the food to the wines!

Our chef for the evening was Thomas Hishon from Clooney Restaurant in Auckland. Thomas joined Clooney as Sous Chef 1 1/2 years ago, after training in the UK and Canada, and today at the age of 25 oversees a staff of 12.  Clooney Restaurant is arguably one of the top 5 restaurants in New Zealand and has been a Finalist for both the Cuisine Restaurant of the Year Award and Metro Restaurant of the Year Award from 2007 – 2011.  What a special treat!


This was a truly amazing way to spend my final evening at Mountford Estate.  The food was beyond extraordinary and ALMOST EVERY ingredient (except the wines) came from the Mountford Estate!

We began the evening with a tasting of 4 Champagnes:

  • Nicolas Feuillate NV Brut
  • Champagne H. Lanvin & Fils Cuvee Selection Brut
  • Champagne Boizel Brut Millesime 2002
  • Champagne Duval-Leroy 1996

Toasts were made by Winemaker CP Lin who wished Winston a Happy Birthday and Mountford Estate Owner Kathryn Ryan who congratulated CP on this being his 15th vintage as winemaker at Mountford.


With the Champagnes, we enjoyed the starter – Goose Liver and Juniper Parfait with Ciabatta Crostini and Feigoa Chutney.

First course was the most tender and delictable dish – Milk-fed Veal Loin cooked in milk with fennel bulb puree, fresh fava beans, burre noisette and rosemary flowers. It was so loved by everyone at the table that there was not one single morsel left on any plate!

Next up was the Confit Goose Leg with roasted chestnuts in goosefat, butternut squash puree, camelized quince with prune jus.  Again, every single plate was almost licked clean.

And then dessert…..Dark Chocolate Torte with chantilly creme, fresh and freeze dried raspberries and emulsion chocolate sauce.

As for the wines, the line up was as follows:

  • Gitton Pere & Fils La Vigne du Larrey 2005 Sancerre
  • Jos Cristoffel 2001 Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese, Mosel Saar Ruwar
  • Rupert and Rothschild Baron Edmond 2008 (Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cab Franc), Western Cape, South Africa
  • Chateau Mazeris Bellevue 2005 Canon Fransac Bordeaux
  • Gracia St. Emilion Grand Cru 2008 Bordeaux
  • Chateau Longueville Pauillac-Medoc 1994 Bordeaux
  • Chablis 2009 Domaine Francois Raveneau
  • Chateau Suduirot 2001 Sauternes
  • Chateau Guiraud 2001 Sauternes
  • Souvrano Limoncello, New Zealand


While we, the humans, were the real ones to benefit from the evening, even the birthday dog got his treats – goose liver pate, Champagne Duval-Leroy 1996 and the bone of all bones!


Happy Birthday Winston!  Glad I was in Waipara to celebrate with you!

To see all the photos from the evening, click here.