20 August 2019 - CoTD Peter Manners

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Thanks to Nick Reynolds for the food review and Chilly Hargrave for the wine review.

Today we had the pleasure of having Peter Manners as chef, a notable occasion as he is the second oldest member of the Society. He was ably assisted by Peter Squires, on his welcome return to lunches after an absence, and Bill Alexiou-Hucker.

The (mainly French) wines for today’s lunch were all generously provided by our member Tony Scott.

Peter is not called the canapé master without a reason. Today he served three different fish-based treats, all mixed with sour cream, lemon, and cream cheese. The first, which was served in home-made pastry cones, was minced smoked cod; the second was smoked salmon slices served on a seafood biscuit, and the third was sardine served on a pastry base. All were delicious and excellent accompaniments to our pre-lunch wine.

The main course, which was described by Peter as “lovely legs,” comprised extremely well-cooked chicken legs served on a bed of fusilli pasta, a generous helping of peas, and some potato to soak up the delicious sauce, which contained lemon and oranges, marmalade, mustard and stock. The meal was well received by our members and a good match for Tony’s wines.

The cheese, which was extremely rich, was a Délice de Bourgogne, which is a soft-ripened cow’s milk which has extra cream added during the cheese-making process. Peter served dried fruit and cashews as an accompaniment, which went well with both the cheese and the white wines served to complement the fat-rich cheese.

Spencer Ferrier showed us a Guatemalan coffee that had a note of chocolate and orange on the palate.

During the lunch, the announcement was made of Paul Ferman’s resignation as Wine Master. His artwork is receiving well-deserved serious acclaim overseas and, as a result, he will be spending more time travelling. His achievements as Wine Master, including broadening our palates with many wines that were new to many members, were celebrated and he received a resounding three cheers led by the new Wine Master, Charles “Chilly” Hargrave.

Wines.

An exceptionally rare range of Bordeaux was very generously supplied by Tony Scott for this week’s lunch. They were certainly different from the wines we normally see at our lunches and a joy to drink. All from some of the many chateaux that the Lurton family have in the region - the whites generally from Pessac-Leognan and the reds from the Right Bank.

With the aperitifs:

Chateau de Rochemorin 2015 - A 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Pessac-Leognan. This showed lively, fresh gooseberry fruit with a fine acidity. Perhaps drinking at its best, it belied its age of 4 years.

Chateau Couhins-Lurton 2015 - Another 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Pessac-Leognan, it was in a superior category with more layers of fruit and great complexity. It showed obvious oak, but this was in great balance with the weight and flavour on the palate.

Chateau Barbe-Blanche 2014 - A fresh fruit style that went well with Peter’s main course. It had a mix of varietal fruits with some plum Merlot characters supported by leafy, cassis aromas of the two Cabernets. As expected soft tannins with a background of old oak.

Château du Lussac 2010 - A much older and more complex style, it was a traditional Right Bank blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. More new oak was apparent on the nose of this wine with more complexity of fruit development. The palate had more length and balance than the previous red and most likely drinking at its best.

Our Cheese Master continued the French theme with a Délice de Bourgogne - a soft, ripe, triple cream cheese from Burgundy. A cheese like this calls for a white wine with some acidity to cut through the fat.

Chateau La Louvière 2010 - Another Sauvignon Blanc, but this time with a little Sémillon. The wine showed the development that we might expect in 5 years time from the Couhins-Lurton. Probably moving into its third phase, its rich flavours and acidity were a good balance for the cheese.

Montgomery’s Hill Chardonnay 2010 - A wine that we have good supplies of in our cellar, it was still fresh and lively. An excellent balance of wild ferment struck match, barrel ferment, lees and bottle age. Its fruit went well with the cheese but perhaps needed a little more acidity to work with the cheese.

A truly delicious cheese, but I suggest we have a defibrillator on hand the next time it comes to the table.

13 August 2019 - CoTD Steve Liebeskind

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Unfortunately, the nominated Chef of the Day had to withdraw at short notice, but fortunately, his “to be” assistant, Steve Liebeskind, put his hand up to cook in his place. Steve pulled in a favour from Paul Irwin who was his assistant on the day.

Canapes

Not to be put off by such short notice, the guys turned on three canapés.

The first was veal and pork terrine served on sourdough, topped with an onion relish. Then a beetroot relish topped with goats’ cheese in a pastry shell. This was followed by chicken liver pate with a Cornish on bread rounds.

The presentation was very exact and the comments from members complimentary.

Aperitif wine

Ignoring a few odd bottles thrown in, the aperitif wine today was the Coldstream Hills Chardonnay 2013. This relatively lightly oaked Chardonnay at 6 years of age was drinking well and unless you are a person who likes to see drying fruit (and there are a few), this wine is drinking at its peak and was quite enjoyable. The fruit was still definable and this wine under screwcap confirmed why the label is always reliable.

Main course

The main today was delightfully simple but as always, the execution was not a simple as it seemed. Steve is one of our Society’s top chefs and reasserted that at this lunch. Look at the image of the main course. The eye fillet at (sourced from three providers) at first glance looked like it had been cooked by sou vide. However, we were told this is not the case. There did not appear to be much variation around my table and the doneness was perfection.

To accompany the beef were orange and purple heirloom carrots, mushrooms with sweet soy and zucchinis lightly roasted with a tarragon sprinkling. The real treat was the jus. Steve roasted about 8 kg of bones then added wine and reduced the stock. It was a show stealer and every bit of bread on every table was used to soak it up.

The wines

Lowe Mudgee Blue Shiraz Cabernet 2011 (screwcap)

Some age evident to the eye. Drinking well with clean Australian style sweeter fruit with some tannin. No need for further ageing

Burton Reserve McLaren Vale Shiraz 2002 (cork)

We have enjoyed this wine over the years, but our bottle was showing its age with significant browning. A soft fruit palate but the fruit is faded. Its time has come.

Shiraz by Farr 2011 (cork)

A lighter style but the 4% Viognier made it sweet and to me, unpleasant. The Shiraz may have been excellent without the need to “Northern Rhone” it.

Nick O’Leary Canberra District Shiraz 2009 (screwcap)

The pick of the bunch to me. Clean and bright, in excellent condition. Not complex but a joy to drink.

Cheese and coffee

James Healey remained in the UK this week with Durras cows’ cheese from Cork. The Durras is a semi-soft washed rind, and some found it a little bland. It did lack some flavour, but opinions differed.

Spencer again served us the “Ferrier Blend” hand-mixed by the man himself. It was 80% Indonesian Blue and 20% New Guinea Pearl. Again, well liked.

6 August 2019 - CoTD Peter Fitzpatrick

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First-time chef, Peter Fitzpatrick, was cooking for us today assisted on canapes by David Madson and James Tinslay. We had over 35 attending, a good number with so many members away.

Canapes

Kicking off with the aperitif wine were bite-sized sausage rolls. These were Middle Eastern-inspired with beef and chicken as the base. Lots of spice (too many to name) and they went down well served with a tomato dipping sauce. Next was shredded duck served on a pastry shell with a hoisin sauce mixed with ginger and topped with spring onion. Very tasty.

Both well-liked.  

Aperitif wine

The main game here was Ca’ dei Zago Valdobbiadene. Valdobbiadene is a high-end sparkling Prosecco from the Province of Veneto. Slightly sparkling with some cloudiness, it was not the favourite wine of many. Very, very dry indeed. I think our Winemaster, Paul Ferman, welcomed all the philistines in the room when discussing this wine! I could have got it wrong as I was assisting with food, but the message was clear. Gotta love diversity.

Main course

Peter chose a very labour-intensive lamb shank main. Not content with serving meat on the bone he slow-cooked the shanks and then stripped and shredded the meat. It was then compressed into trays and weights were used (gym weights and bricks) to produce slabs of lamb. These were then cut into serving size portion for service. Peter achieved a great deal of flavour with the shredded lamb. This was served on potato mash topped with pureed vegetables and jus. Baked Dutch carrots and steamed broccolini completed the meal. Positive comments all round.

It’s winter, lamb, duck and sausage roll. What could possibly go wrong!

The wines

Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (screwcap)

Another Black Label staying with is famed consistency. Dark red, good body and length. If you want fruit it is drinking well now. If aged fruit is your preference, cellar it for another decade. For me, the fruit wins out.

Bowen Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (cork)

I have noticed much variation with Bowen under cork. This appeared prematurity aged and past its best, but many loved it. Faded fruit.

Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso 2015 (cork)

A Merlot/Cabernet/Cabernet Franc/Syrah (or thereabouts) blend this wine from Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast had black current, plum etc overtones and whilst the tannin was not shy, it was a juicy and smooth wine. An enjoyable wine.

Marco Abella Loidana Priorat 2013 (cork)

Spanish Priorat varies significantly in size and predominant grape but today the main component was Garnacha Tinta (or Grenache to us Aussies) which is more common and all the better for it. A lighter example it had an attractive dried fruit influence and a good food wine. Lovely.

Cheese and coffee

James Healey is round ball football nut/fanatic and I’m not sure which team hails from Cornwell, UK but Cornish Kern was our cheese today. Not inexpensive, it was a real winner and scored a couple goals. Awful pun!

Cow’s milk, it was firm and dense with intense flavour. A popular choice.

Spencer served us the “Ferrier Blend” hand-mixed by the man himself. It was 80% Indonesian Blue with the remainder being peaberry beans. It went down a treat and was very popular.

A great start to Peter Fitzpatrick’s cooking career at our Society. Well done Peter.

30 July 2019 - John Rourke CoTD

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Thanks to Nick Reynolds for the food report and Charles "Chilly" Hargrave for the wine reviews.

Traditionally the food has taken a secondary role at a Wine Tasting. Today, however, it served the role of perfectly complementing the excellent range of wines by being excellent in itself.

With Society favourite John Rourke in the kitchen, ably assisted by John Banks in a welcome return to the kitchen, we were sure to get an outstanding meal.

We also welcomed back former member Jose Pereira to the kitchen presenting a sample of the award-winning range of smallgoods from his factory, Sunshine Meats.

Jose treated us firstly to smoked duck breast and double smoked chili chicken breast, both finely sliced. He followed this with two sausages. The first, which was presented cold, was duck chorizo. The second, presented hot, was Farinheira, which is a smoked Portuguese sausage made from flour, coarse pork mince, wine, garlic, paprika, cumin, and other seasonings. Normally made with wheat flour, Jose’s version was gluten-free.

Both appetisers were welcomed by our meat-loving group and were a perfect accompaniment to the appetiser wines, which are described below.

The main course was a Cassoulet, whose home is in the south-west region of France. There was much discussion amongst the group as to what went into a traditional Cassoulet, including whether it was wet or dry and whether it had tomato and/or bread crumbs. The general agreement was that like most traditional foods, the “correct version” “depends on what your grandmother made or what you were first exposed to and no-one’s going to agree anyway, so let’s just enjoy what we have in front of us.”

And enjoy it we did. Today’s version was a dry Cassoulet with duck confit, rich duck sauce (made predominately from duck necks), Great Northern beans, and three different types of sausage: Cotechino imported from Modena, the rich garlic-laced Toulouse sausage, and the previously described Farinheira from Jose’s Sunshine Meats.

The main course was universally acclaimed as being excellent and a perfect accompaniment for the wines. A number commented on the size of the portions but this was likely a guilty reaction to over-indulgence because virtually all plates went back empty to the kitchen.

James Healey continued the locational theme by serving us a Pyrénées produced 100% sheep cheese from the bottom of Mt. Baigura in the heart of French Basque Country. The Agour Petite Brebis Pimento is an artisan semi-hard sheep milk cheese that has a natural rind which is covered with pimento in the later stages of affinage. The cheese went extremely well with the second three wines. John Rourke accompanied the cheese with a mixed lettuce salad strewn with rehydrated raisins and roasted walnuts.

The coffee, which was provided by Spencer Ferrier, came from Columbia and had a nutty dense flavour that also went well with the cheese and wine.

We were sad to hear that a stalwart of our Society and frequent volunteer for door duties, Dr Neil Galbraith, is leaving Sydney to join family in Melbourne. He will be sorely missed. On the eve of his departure, he provided society members with three delicious Australian fortified wines, which was an ideal way to finish an outstanding wine and food tasting.

The wines

Chilly Hargraves was on wines again today and had a fascinating range for us to match the food.

Domaine Cauhope Jurançon 2017

Domaine Oratoire 2016

Clos des Fées Vielles Vignes 2013

La Peira Las Flores 2012

Domaine Sang des Cailloux Vacqueyras 2009

Guigal Château Neuf du Pâpe 2005

Guigal St Joseph 2010

Guigal Côte Rôtie 2010

First off the rank was a Jurançon 2017 white from Domaine Cauhope. A blend of traditional South-West varieties Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng, Camaralet, Lauzet and Courbure Blanc. It had an intense fruit aroma, almost spicey, and a rich palate with an appealing dry finish. The next white was a traditional 2016 Southern Rhône blend from Domaine Oratoire of Clairette, Roussanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc. As expected it was a dense, full-flavoured wine with a layered complexity. Of course, we had sherry. On this occasion the delightfully fresh Lustau Jurana.

The wines to match the main course of cassoulet were a broad selection of Grenache-based reds. An initial pair from Roussillon and Languedoc showed a diversity of interpretation. The Vielles Vignes 2013 from Clos des Fées was dominated by lively Carignan and Grenache raspberry fruits. At 4 years of age, it showed freshness and soft tannins. The Las Flores 2012 from La Peira was more in the New World style with abundant oak that rather dominated the fruit on the palate.

Moving to the Southern Rhône we tasted a Vacqueyras 2009 from Domaine Sang des Cailloux and a Guigal Château Neuf du Pâpe 2005. The first, although from a hot vintage, showed some delightful cherry and spice with soft grainy tannins. The CNdP carried the high oak intensity characteristic of a traditional Guigal. It has moved into a more mature style without obvious fruit but was still energetic with a wonderful richness and complexity from an excellent vintage.

We moved further north for the cheese wines. Again, we continued the Guigal theme with two 2010 Syrah wines from St Joseph and Côte Rôtie. Another great vintage has brought the spicy perfumed fruit of St Joseph to the fore. Unlike the top end Guigal wines it spent only 18 months in second use oak. The Côte Rôtie was undoubtedly the favourite wine for the day. A wine of enormous intensity and complexity. It had the spice and white pepper of a great Rhône Syrah balanced with the apricot, stone fruit aromas of 4% Viognier. Delightful firm, grainy fruit and oak tannins took the wine to a savoury finish.

23 July 2019 - CoTD Milan Thapaliya, Head Chef, Brick Lane

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In the kitchen today was Milan Thapaliya, the head chef of the Brick Lane restaurant, the group who also operate the Royal Exchange. Milan was serving fusion Asian dishes of Indian/Nepalese with a few other influences.

Canapes

Milan served us two canapés to kick off the day. The first was “chicken poppers”, chicken thigh fillets diced and marinated overnight with ginger, garlic, chilli, coriander, cumin, cinnamon and cardamom and then flame-grilled. They were served with sweet cardamom-infused yoghurt. Delicious but sadly only one per head!

Next up was a vegetarian dish, onion bhaji served with tomato chutney. The Indian fritters made with onions were beautifully spicy and crispy.

Aperitif wines

Chilly Hargrave served us two KT Wines, the 2016 Riesling and the 2015 Riesling. KT Wines are located in the Clare Valley and have over the past few years developed an excellent reputation for their Rieslings winning many awards and medals. Both were typical Rieslings reminiscent of their birthplace. The 2015 seemed to have more lively acid to be enjoyable now whilst the 2016 was closed and a little dumb which is probably a reflection of its youth.

Main course

The main today was a goat curry which Milan ensured was all meat, having removed the bones, a gesture I wish all Indian restaurants replicated. The goat was cooked in a rich tomato sauce with garlic, ginger, chilli, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves and cloves and served with a zesty slaw of carrots, cucumber, cabbage, spring onions and coriander. This Indian/Nepalese dish was served with rice and Milan had ensured that it was warm rather than too spicy for many of our constituency.

A tasty satisfying dish with a number of my table wishing they had an extra portion.

The wines

Selecting wines for such a meal was not for the fainthearted, but Chilly Hargrave was up to the task.

Tyrrells Steven Semillon 2007

Under screwcap, this Semillon showed a cleanness and balance whilst being a substantially flavoured example of typical Hunter Valley Semillon. Citrus was evident and it will age further, without the worry of cork failure.

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2012

A light typical Australian Pino showing substantial browning on the meniscus. The fruit was fading, and the wine is a definite drink now prospect.

Saltrams Mamre Brook Shiraz 2012

This well-known Barossa Valley Shiraz surprised no one with its rich, though somewhat jammy finish. A commercial wine, it was medium to heavy and one-dimensional. Not my favourite.

Bests Bin No. 1 Shiraz 2012

Bin 1 was introduced by the Thompson family at Bests to provide a cheaper commercial alternative to the scarce Bin No 0. The results have been stunning. At 7 years of age, the wine was showing a very slightly brown meniscus and a typical spiciness from the area. A very good value commercial wine.

Cheese

James Healey bought us back to Australia today with a perennial favourite, the Maffra cloth aged cheddar. In line with the theme of the day, the cheese was served with riata with cucumber, yogurt and turmeric. The Maffra from Gippsland cow’s milk is a very good example of what Australia can produce. Many picked the cheese as being English.

Coffee

Whilst Spencer was absent today he supplied us with Rwanda coffee. Spencer advises "coffee bean growing was encouraged by the Clinton Administration after the civil war. It is better than when presented a year ago but still does not reach the great African or South American coffees" Nonetheless, I thought it a strong performer.


 A very enjoyable lunch from Milan. We were reminded that he will be cooking for us again at the Melbourne Cup lunch as he did in 2018.

16 July - CoTD Leigh Hall

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Thanks to James Hill for the food review.

Leigh Hall was in the kitchen this week after a sojourn in Europe with food inspired in the Basque region of southern France and northern Spain. Denis Redfern assisted in the kitchen and on canapés.

Canapés

Leigh served us four canapés (pintxos) to start the lunch. The first three were served warm in savoury tart shells (some gluten-free). In no particular order, we had sardine and anchovy that had some heat from the cayenne. Leigh informed us that it was a last-minute addition to spice up the canapé. Next was mushroom and chèvre and an olive tapenade. They were all full of flavour and had the authentic taste of the region.

On a recent hunting trip, Leigh had bagged a deer and we treated to his home-made venison salami and pickles.

Main Course

Leigh served 'Pimientos Rellenos' as our main. This was capsicum filled with beef, onions, garlic, parsley, red wine, pimento, cinnamon and pepper. This was topped with the sauce of onions, passata, white wine and garlic. To accompany this, we had corn and green beans that came to the plate with perfect texture and an abundance of flavour. Leigh had debated whether to skin and bake the capsicum, however, chose to serve as is.

It looked good on the plate and had all the colour of Spain and was delicious.

Cheese

Gary Linnane presented a cheese selected by our Cheese Master, James Healey. Most members guessed it as a Manchego by identifying the distinctive markings on the case. Not quite correct as was a Merco Iberico, a pasteurised mixed milk of cow, goat and sheep from central Spain. It came to the table at room temperature. The mixture of cow, goat and sheep milk gives this Spanish cheese a three-dimensional character. Regulations require that it contain not less than 25% and not more than 40% of anyone milk type and the flavour has elements of all three. The creamy texture melted in the mouth gradually releasing a rich full body nuttiness finishing with a fruity tang.

Coffee

Spencer continued his theme of a worldwide tour of coffee-producing countries today presenting a coffee from Guatemala, a smooth good coffee.

It was good to see a former member Roger Carpenter in the room today. He was visiting from Arizona where he is owner/sommelier of two restaurants. He credits his time at the Society with tutelage from the likes of Les Howard-Bath and John Thomas that helped make a career move. He welcomes any member visiting Arizona to make sure they contact him.

9 July 2019 - Chefs Nick Reynolds, James Hill, Steve Liebeskind

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Society member Keith Tulloch provided wines for this lunch and we had the somewhat unique opportunity to have three Chefs of the Day, James Hill, Nick Reynolds, and Steve Liebeskind, all acknowledged and experienced chefs for our Society. Each of these provided a canapé and a small main. This was a very popular event with very large numbers.

Canapes

In no particular order, we were served the following.

  • Nick served filoette tarts filled with puréed hard-boiled eggs and Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise topped with grated winter truffle.
  • Steve served chicken loaf with beetroot chutney on bread round. The chicken was a combination of chicken mince, mustard, onion, paprika, onion and cooked rice. It was topped with homemade beetroot chutney.
  • James served celeriac remoulade with green and black olives on Iggy's bread.

These three guys obviously spoke about this beforehand, but their ideas bounced off each other to present a wonderful diversity of food to start this lunch.

With canapes, we enjoyed a range of wines, red, sparkling and white from our REX wine cooler.

Main courses

Nick - Miso marinated Cape Grim bavette steak cooked for seven hours sous vide at 55 C and then finished over white binchotan charcoal on a Japanese Konro served with charcoal-grilled spring onion and charcoal-grill finished sous vide cooked king oyster mushroom. All this gear was in the REX kitchen.

Steve - Salmon tartare served on a light salad with a spicy Asian dressing topped with deep-fried vermicelli and oven-roasted crispy salmon skin. The salmon was deskinned and cut into small cubes and prior to serving pickled ginger and Asian dressing was added. The salad was lettuce (shredded), fennel and bean sprouts with coriander and large chilli slices added and dressing added just before serving. The Asian dressing included lemons, limes, fish sauce, grated ginger and palm sugar.

James - Duck terrine with home pickled carrots, cucumber and onions with watercress and quince paste.

We could not have asked for more diversity and the effort put in by these three in producing all the food was nothing short of lovely.

The wines

Keith Tulloch was with us today and had joined the Society since his 2018 tasting. All wines were from Keith Tulloch Wines. They were:

Latara Vineyard Semillon 2108

A young but very drinkable Semillon. Once again it destroys the perception that Hunter Valley Semillon needs time to be drinkable. The acid balance was perfect, and the wine has a good future

Field of Mars Semillon 2015

At 3 years of age, this Semillon still very prominent acid, as one would expect, and needs time to develop into a fine example of Hunter River Semillon.

McKelvey Chardonnay 2018

A softer style of Chardonnay with quite evident fruit though avoiding sweetness. Very drinkable at its young age.

Field of Mars Chardonnay 2015

A richer style Chardonnay was adequately balanced by significant acid with a lanolin type nose. Wonderful drinking but will age.

Bainton Vineyard Shiraz 2017

No mucking about with this wine. It had plenty of depth with chocolate and berry with big colour and structure. Good to taste but better to age for many years.

Field of Mars Shiraz 2014

A wonderful wine with depth and colour showing chocolate and coffee overtones. To repeat, good to taste but better to age for many years

Botrytis Semillon 2017

Tropical fruit with a good acid/fruit balance. The wine lacked a little lusciousness but will develop into a fine aged example of Australian dessert wine.

Cheese

A trip to Ireland today with Grubb Cashel Blue presented by James Healey. A very mellow cheese with a beautiful soft interior making it difficult to cut and serve but worth it.

Coffee

Spencer chose Brazilian AA today for us today. Always good with its rich and sweeter style.

2 July 2019 - CoTD Peter Kelso

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Thanks to James Hill for the food review

In the kitchen today was our president Peter Kelso assisted by Martin McMurray.

Aperitif

The team took us back to last century with 'retro' aperitif in the form of dressed or Russian eggs: hard boiled yolk mixed with almond meal, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and topped with caviar. Then followed home-made gravlax topped with a mustard dill emulsion. It sat on lavosh crisp bread. The gravlax was perfect however some comment made on the large serving of the emulsion as it tended to overpower the flavour of the gravlax.

Phil Laffer commented on the quality of the aperitif wines saying it's the first time he's seen Ray Kidd not reach for the sherry!

Main course

Our main today had an Asian influence with pork neck with a caramelised sauce made from the marinade. Accompanying the meat was whole bunches of choy sum and rice almond and parsley. There was some table variation on the tenderness of meat however it had a good robust flavour. The sauce went well with the pork and some commented that they would have preferred more sauce on the dish to eat with the rice and vegetable.

Cheese

James Healey presented a cheese today that had everyone guessing its origin and suggesting it was definitely European. It was from Geelong, L'artisan Fermier a pasteurised organic cow’s milk.

Made in the traditional cheese style of the French Alps it's a semi-hard smear-ripened cheese with an ash layer through its centre. It is pressed for 12 hours in cloth salted by hand and then washed every second day with a brine solution and after six weeks the rind develops a reddish tinge. It has a buttery well-rounded flavour with the slightest nutty finish and develops a stronger earthy character as it matures.

Coffee

Spencer chose Columbian coffee for us today.

He cupped it in the morning, and it had Columbia’s characteristic smooth and widely flavoured style. It is particularly suitable for plunger but also goes well in the Espresso style.

25 June 2019 - CoTD James Hill

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For our June wine lunch, James Hill was back in the kitchen again. Again. He was assisted in the kitchen by Paul Thorne also produced the canapés today.

Canapes. Paul showed up super organised with two canapés. The first was ‘borscht but not borscht’. This was a beetroot (roasted) based soup along with ginger and saffron and was served in small shot glasses. The next were blinis topped with alternatives of salmon and white anchovy with some use of creme fraiche as a topper. Both went down a treat.

Main course. James purchased some fantastic looking organic beef fillets which were served on potato mash (mainly butter and cream and a light touch of potato!!) with silverbeet. These had been simply poached in veal stock, chilli, garlic, star anise, Pernod et cetera et cetera. The pinkness or otherwise of individual servings depended on the position in the fillet that ended up on your plate. Knives were technically redundant as I could quite easily cut mine with a light lean on the fork. Beautiful beef, beautiful flavours.

Cheese. James Healey went local today with a Pecora Dairy Mezza from Robertson in New South Wales. This was a semi-hard cheese made from Friesian sheep and it is aged for 6 to 9 months. Some lunchers thought the cheese a little bland but that is, James explained its style and he fulfilled the Society’s educational objectives with a cheese new to all of us.

This being a James Hill lunch we enjoyed Iggy’s bread. James served organics dried fruit with the cheese. Excellent quality.

Coffee. Coffee today from Spencer Ferrier, in absentia, was a Brazilian AA grade coffee. We were back in South America on our worldwide tour and the coffee quality again confirmed why this of our favourite non-alcoholic beverages.

Wines. Greg Chugg ran the lunch, selected and presented the wines as the Winemaster of the day. The wine theme was three reds from 1996 and three from 1998.

Aperitif.

We started off with a Jim Barry Riesling 2013. This Clare wine was showing some development and was a very good Australian Riesling style. It remains a conundrum, why Riesling remains a hard sell to the broader market busy quaffing Savvy.

Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

This was built in the Black Label style and whilst opinions and taste experience vary, this 1998 was one of the better examples, although a little on the sweeter side.

Katnook Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

It goes without saying that given six wines over 20 years of age, there was bottle variation. Mine was a little oxidised with the fruit past its best. For others, it was a wine of the day. The fun of old wines.

Seppelts Drumborg Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

Although a firm wine with tannins dominant there was a softness and pleasing mouthfeel and finish. Certainly, a different style from the Coonawarra’s that preceded.

Orlando Jacaranda Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 1996

It has been some time since one of these wines has been served at the Society and it was in very good condition. The tannins had softened and there was more than just a little residual fruit to make this very good drinking.

Lindemans Limestone Ridge Shiraz Cabernet 1996

For some, this dominant Shiraz blend from Coonawarra was the wine of the day. It reminds us that the Trio of Lindemans has been a bedrock for wine drinkers. Ray Kidd stood to speak to this wine, one of his ‘children’.

Yeringberg Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec 1996

This wine was the lowest in alcohol of the day at 12.5%. Yeringberg is a much-admired Yarra Valley producer and it was unfortunate that the bottle that I tasted today was a little past best although wonderfully mellow.

Another classic wine lunch for wine and food with many satisfied punters.

18 June 2019 - CoTD Paul Kuipers and Goldy (WFSNSW 80th Anniversary Lunch)

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Thanks to James Hill for the food review and Hilton Chapman for the wine review

The room was packed today for the lunch to celebrate the 80th anniversary of our Society. Executive chef John Goldsbrough organised Paul Kuipers of Courtney's Brassiere to provide a degustation worthy of the event. We also had an 'artist in residence' in Graeme Biddell drawing charcoal caricatures of members on the day. Wines were chosen by Hilton Chapman with a specific theme of New South Wales' wine from Tyrrell's.

Peter Kelso welcomed members and guests noting that we had nine past presidents in attendance. The toast to the Society was taken by a former president, Ted Davis, who reminded us of our past where the food was served blind and critiques undertaken by members whom often ended up red-faced because they got it wrong.

Ted said the tradition of talking to food on quality, as well as wine matching is the essence our Society and needs to be continued, however, we must also ban the word 'nice' from our lexicon. Response to the toast was taken by centenarian Wal Edwards who recounted tales of the early days of the Society and his involvement in the wine industry. He gave us an account of the first lunch of the society and who was present when he was aged 23.

Food.

Canapés today were smoked eel with olive salsa en croute and black fungus salad then followed roast coffin bay scallop with a basil tomato and lemongrass consommé served in a glass.

Perfectly matched by our aperitif wine Tyrrell HVD Semillon 2014.

We sat for our next courses of:

Celeriac tarte tatin with winter mushrooms and truffle

Glazed chicken liver and sauternes jelly with potato and pear terrine

Slow cooked Mudgee venison leg, ricotta gnocchi, spring onion and textures of Jerusalem artichoke.

Fresh Willowbrae goats curd (set) with baked quince and a honey truffle blue sauce.

Special mention should be made of the bread accompanying our degustation black cockatoo ancient grain bread with Pepe Saya butter.

Presentation was excellent and the food was first class showcasing the quality, flavours and textures that Paul produces.

Spencer Ferrier presented the coffee a 'Forsyth' Blend, a secret recipe.

Spencer acknowledged Rob Forsyth for the help he gives and that an anniversary lunch was the ideal place to do so. He also donated the coffee on the day.

The kitchen and floor staff were kept busy today with food turnaround and plate cleaning and they were up to the task. REX Manager, Ida Noren, was thanked by President Kelso for her team’s professionalism and help not only for today but every Tuesday when we meet.

Our wines today were all Tyrrell's and member Bruce Tyrrell spoke to the wines and some family history of our society when we had 'juniors ' society with his sister, Anne, the President. Not forgetting his father, Murray, who was very active in our Society in the early days. The family continues the association as his son, Chris, is also a member.

A memorable day for our society and one upholding the tradition of good food, good wine and a shared table.

Wine

Aperitif

2014 Tyrrells HVD Semillon. A wine from an outstanding Hunter vintage and great value for money. The wine had perfect balance and was well appreciated by the attendees.

Entrée Courses

2011 Tyrrells Vat 1 Semillon. Beautiful colour and good structure. It has a good future although drinking well today

2007 Tyrrells Vat 47 Chardonnay. A glorious wine with good fruit and oak balance drinking at its peak resulting from a hot year.

Main Course

2010 Tyrrells Vat 9 Shiraz. The “claret” of the bracket. Still with a good future and good balance.

2010 Tyrrells Old Patch Shiraz. The outstanding shiraz on the day with great balance. Beautiful medium-bodied fruit and the “Burgundy” of the bracket.

The Tyrrells wines all benefitted from the stelvin closure and were a very fitting tribute for an 80th anniversary.

Cheese Course

2005 Chateau Rieussec (375ml bottles).  Perfect sweetness matched the goat's curd and a great finish to the lunch.

A day of wines and food worth remembering and fitting for the 80th anniversary.