Full-flavoured meat aged gracefully.
WHO Neil Prentice grows highly regarded pinot noir at the family farm at Moondarra, overlooking the Latrobe Valley. It's here that he also breeds and pasture-fattens his full-blood wagyu herd. These cattle are normally sent to slaughter at around four years of age, but recently Prentice has been experimenting with bringing the meat of his older breeding animals to market. He calls the meat Furui Ushi, Japanese for "old cow".
HOW Prentice's breeding cows reach a point where they're too old to have calves at around 12 years of age. Instead of sending them off to the cattle yards to be sold for pet food, Prentice nurtures the animals and feeds them on prime pastures and a little extra grain. Their meat is then dry-aged for 30 to 90 days, an essential step to tenderise the meat of older animals.
WHY For those who like full-flavoured beef that offers some resistance to the tooth, this is possibly the best steak in the country. It's got the marbling you'd expect from wagyu, interlacing lovely ruby-red flesh. Make no mistake, it calls for a sharp steak knife, but it's also juicy and deeply, earthily flavoursome. Moondarra sirloin steak cooked on the charcoal grill at MoVida Aqui, rested and simply served with salt, recalls the quality of the steak served at the acclaimed Asador Etxebarri in the Basque Country.