30 May 2023 Paul Ferman
Food review by James Hill and wine review by Stephen O'Halloran
Paul Ferman was in the kitchen today cooking for our monthly wine tasting. We welcomed member Bruce Tyrrell today, making the trek from the Hunter for our lunch.
Canapés were bountiful today and enjoyed with the canapé wines.
Warmed king oyster mushrooms on spoons with polenta cooked with chicken stock/butter/ parmesan, a umami hit..they were full of flavour and great texture.
Home pickled sardines on GF seeded bread, another flavour hit with the taste not overly dominated by the sardine.
Terrine of pork and veal with a layer of wild rabbit ..one of Paul’s signature canapés, it’s a favourite of mine and didn’t disappoint today.
Paul’s theme today was quality, simplicity and ingredients.
He promised "a couple of plump legs of the 4-legged type, slow cooked on a bed of halved potatoes and quarters of onion, lots of oregano, an insinuation of garlic, in a Greekish manner, accompanied by a Frenchish composed set of blow-torched greens with a dust of far-left Labour salt and ultra-right pepper, oh and Dutton mushrooms".
It was marinated goat, slow-cooked over Dutch cream potatoes with onions and lemon. Goat is notoriously difficult to cook and keep the moisture and favour balance, Paul succeeded today.
Great flavour and texture, wonderful mouthfeel and a long lingering aftertaste.
It was accompanied by a Salad Composé mustard and olive oil dressing over autumn vegetables of zucchini, beans, lettuce and Spanish onion.
Well done, Paul, a lunch of plenty.
Bruce closed lunch today by discussing the wines on taste and an overview of winemaking terroir, tradition and innovation.
Our Cheesemaster Mark Bradford, in theme, presented two types of goat cheese.
- Holy Goat La Luna Ring 1.35kg
Category: White Mould
Milk Type: Goat’s Milk
This award-winning, surface-ripened goat’s milk cheese is handmade at Sutton Grange Organic Farm near Castlemaine using ancient cheese-making techniques that were refined in the Loire Valley over a millennium.
Lactic acid fermentation slowly sets the curd over 24 hours before it is gently hand-ladled into moulds, as to preserve its delicate structure. After draining, the young cheeses are moved to the maturation room where they are turned daily for seven days, then matured for another two weeks to allow the wrinkly Geotrichum candidum rind to fully develop. As it ripens, the chalky centre softens to a soft, fudgy texture. Delicate citrus notes accentuate lactic sweetness and herbaceous flavours from the goat’s milk.
- Fromager D’Affinois Florette 1kg
A hexagonal-shaped cheese that has the d’Affinois silky consistency that we all know and love and a delicate goat’s milk flavour.
Category: White Mould
Milk Type: Goat’s Milk
Soft, surface ripened pure goats’ cheese made near Lyons, France.
This new cheese uses special microfiltration techniques that concentrate the rich solids in the goat’s milk ensuring a very smooth texture and delicious rounded creamy flavour.
Fromagerie Guilloteau are leaders in a modern process called “ultra filtration”. Ultra filtration is a technique co-created by Jean-Claude Guilloteau and occurs before the cheese making process. Pasteurised milk is forced through a series of membranes, extracting protein and removing water; concentrating all other desirable components. This results in the production of consistent, nutritionally rich cheeses that have a silkier mouth feel and creamy subtle flavour.
A very full house for today’s gathering which is excellent for our bottom line in revenue terms. We started the day with a Guigal Cote du Rhone white blend 2018, probably a blend of Roussanne and Viognier 14%. We have had this wine before on several occasions and it gets no better by repetition. Hope our Winemaster is doing a cellar clearout. Bit harsh perhaps, but I am sure we can do better. Enjoyable enough for a glass of wine at a bar with a female friend, but neither would you want to take home.
On a brighter note, the next wine was a truly excellent Tyrrells Semillon 2008, 11.3%. Bruce Tyrrell who was with us for lunch commented that this vintage along with 1971 was the most difficult in his memory. Whatever happened in the winery is unclear, but the finished product was wonderful. A 15 yo Semillon, defying age was fresh, clean, and balanced with no sign of adverse ageing. A wonderful example of a true Australian icon, hard to see how this wine would not go on for another 10 or more years.
Next on the table, we were presented with three wines from the legendary Brian Croser, namely three 2022 Tapanappa Chardonnay from his Piccadilly Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills region. Our Winemaster asked us to conduct a serious assessment of all three wines. Given the fact that all the wines were barely a year old, this was I suspect a bridge too far for most of our members, or at least for me.
Crozer has always made his top Chardys very tight, restrained and disciplined. No excessive oak, acid or fruit. At one year old these wines had little to offer for a tasting, very young and tight. The Tiers 1.5 M Vineyard showed some more fruit than the other two, and some real promise, but how they will develop is a bit like picking the Melbourne Cup winner at the 500 M mark. Would love to be around when we hopefully taste these wines again, when they develop in say 5 years.
The final bracket was a fabulous collection of Tyrrells 2014 Shiraz from the best vintage in the Hunter since 59 or 65 some say. My wine assessment skills are not sufficient to evaluate clinically each of the gems, suffice to say that I think I preferred the 4 Acres to the Vat 9 and the Old Hut in that order. At 9 yo these wines on their current presentation show no sign of adverse ageing and should present well again in 15 years from now. Hope I am around then to taste. We are indeed fortunate to be members of the WFS on occasions such as today.
23 May 2023 Hal Epstein
Food review by James Hill and Wine review by Stephen O'Halloran
Hal Epstein was in the kitchen today preparing a Thai-themed meal.
Tod Man Pla
Fried fish cakes made within fish fillets, capsicum, chilli, garlic, lemongrass, fish sauce, coconut milk, eggs, and snake beans, with sweet chilli sauce…good texture and fish flavour.
Ma Ho (Galloping horses)
This is a Charmaine Solomon recipe. Finely cut pork cooked with garlic coriander, peanuts, fish sauce, pepper, sugar, and chilli cooked down till dry. This was topped onto mandarin segments.
A favourite today with a good balance of citrus and pork.
I like it when Hal cooks. He challenges himself and us when preparing his lunch themes, Hal promised Thai street food nothing more nothing less.
As Hal pointed out street and market food changes from hour to hour as vendors add to the pots during the day. What started in the morning will change by the evening.
We sat down to some Tom Yum Goong. This is hot and spicy, sour and aromatic all the same time. Many people around the world who love Thai food say this is a measure of the quality of the chef and people swear by the soup to clear their heads when they have a cold.
The basis of the soup is lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime, chilli, mushrooms, prawn lemon juice, fish sauce and coriander.
Hal made the soup the night before to allow flavour infusion. Most soups just add prawn heads and fish bones for flavouring ..Hal added fresh prawns, squid and some flathead.
It was a great soup, full of flavour, aromatic and not too much heat.
This was a simple green curry with perfectly cooked perfumed Thai rice and green papaya salad ‘Som Tum’. This salad was a David Thompson recipe.
This dish is one of the most loved in the Thai repertoire. Originally a marketplace, snack, or lunchtime dish from the northeast, it proved so irresistible, it is now eaten throughout Thailand and has become a signature dish. Shredded green papaya is mixed with a paste of garlic, chillies, roasted peanuts, dried shrimp cherry tomatoes, snake beans, palm sugar, lime juice, tamarind water and fish sauce.
Mostly favourable comments with one member voicing a contrarian view, some suggesting there could have been more heat if not in the dish than as an alternative suggestion to serve some chillis in a bowl on the table.
The afternoon was perfectly summed by member Julian Parmegiani quoting the Latin “De gustibus non est disputandum” (or, “in matters of taste, there can be no disputes”).
Our Cheesemaster Mark Bradford selected an Italian-washed rind cheese to go with the food today. It came to the table in perfect condition with many comments of the quality and taste of this cheese. It was “Mauri Taleggio DOP” Italian washed rind, cow's milk.
The microclimate in the natural caves where these cheeses are matured, high in the Alps, encourages the development of a unique flora on the outer rind. Washed and brushed several times over a month, the cheese develops a thin bloom flecked with blue penicillium moulds.
Beneath the rind, the ivory chalky texture of the cheese begins to change slowly as it ripens, becoming buttery and soft. The creamy texture, when balanced with the delicious yeasty taste provided by the rind, is one of Italy’s best kept secrets.
Mauri Taleggio is considered one of the finest DOP cheeses.
We started the day with a Craggy Range Riesling from NZ, 2011, 12.5% We do not see a lot of Riesling coming out of NZ, the Kiwi’s seem to prefer making Chardonnay, Sav Blanc and Pinot Gris. I really generally enjoy these wines save for the dreaded SB, which I studiously avoid. It always strikes me how a NZ SB is totally different from SB grown in the Loire, you would swear they were different grapes.
Anyhow getting back to the Riesling, what struck me was how much it resembled on first tasting a dry German Riesling, perhaps a restrained Kabinett. Enjoyable with good basic structures drinking well for a 12 yo. Pronounced floral overtones, with a dash of residual sugar. Nothing wrong with the wine, but just not my cup of tea for a Riesling.
The second wine for the pass-arounds was a delightful Toolangi Chardonnay from the Northern Yarra Valley region. The vineyard was planted in 1995 and since then has achieved many glowing reports for its Chardonnays. I can see why. This wine was from the 2018 vintage, 13%, the year rated 7/10
The wine was balanced and elegant, with no overpowering constituent features. Acid/fruit/oak all combined seamlessly. A winner! More please.
Wine No 3 was the Scorpo Bestia, a Pinot Grigio 2017, from MP in Vic. A highly regarded vineyard. I had in fact reviewed this wine very favourably in my report on Oct 22. I recorded “well balanced, good flavours, enjoyable, more please“. Something happened from Oct 22 to May 23 with this wine, maybe a dud bottle, or just me. I found this bottle to have a distinctly medicinal flavour, most unappealing. I am sure that if you were feeling unwell, a few glasses of this would make you feel better for a while, but that is not really the test.
What did attract my attention was the black label, depicting an ape-like creature holding a languid alabaster-skinned, large-breasted female in his arms. Then I saw the connection! Bestia is Spanish for Beast! Now I get it, however, my mind was immediately taken to the notion that this was an attempt to replicate, within the bounds of copyright, some 16th and 17th-century artists, who painted images of the Incubus. Google Fuseli 1781 the “Nightmare“. You will then understand.
This horrid squat man/beast from hell would sit on a woman’s chest during her sleep and squeeze the breath out of her and occasionally have sex with her. Nice type. In more recent times an Incubus has become the villain in so-called exorcism rituals.
Anyhow here’s the tip, if you find yourself having the good fortune of being on top of a woman and she yells “get off me you incubus“, just accept that the magic moment has passed and the relationship is doomed! I guess it is just as well that most women are unfamiliar with the term thereby saving us men from incurable self-image trauma and depression!
Now where was I? Moving onto wine 4 the Massolino Barbera D’ Alba 2016. 14.5% a delightful wine. The Italians have perfected their skills at making wines that are harmonious with food, not assertive, just gently matching the food. What more can you say?
Wine 5 was the Andrew Thomas Hunter Shiraz from the Sweetwater vineyard, 2016 at 14.5%. Thomas is a fine winemaker who deserves his high reputation. 2016 was only a 7/10 year in the Hunter but he has done well to get this wine to the very enjoyable stage. I thought the wine was a good example of Hunter fruit, balanced and without any wine making faults, went well with the cheese.
The final offering for the day was the Rosemount Balmoral McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010, 14.5 %. Now this was a no holds barred old fashion OZ Shiraz from the old school of SA Shiraz. Huge fruit, but balanced by superb integration of tannin/oak. Now 13 yo, still lively and drinking so well it is hard to see it not lasting for another 5/10 years, given its current presentation. This style of wine may not be to everyone's taste nowadays given the trend towards lighter styles, but to me, it was a beautiful drink!
16 May 2023 Steve Sparkes
Food review by James Hill and wine review by Stephen O'Halloran
Our Food Master, Steve Sparkes, was in the kitchen with an “Australiana” themed lunch. Word has got around that if Steve is cooking turn up and we did with Society stalwarts Ted Davis and Terry Stapleton welcomed and acknowledged by our President Bill Alexiou.
- Parmesan custard tart with a native Dukkah which included macadamia, wattleseed, lemon myrtle, desert lime, bunya nut and topped with a sliver of bush tomato.
- Kangaroo Kofta. A mixture of minced Kangaroo Rump and Spec spiced with cumin, coriander, ground wattleseed, ground Tasmanian pepperberry and garlic. Served with a Kewpie Mayonnaise infused with Lemon Pepper and Lemon Myrtle.
- Apple, macadamia and blue cheese tart topped with toasted macadamia.
Loin of Kangaroo served with a potato, carrot and wattleseed mash with warrigal greens and saltbush, roast onion and riberries which had been confited and then pickled. The greens were blanched, (a must for warrigal greens), then pan-fried with garlic and butter and dressed with sesame oil.
The gravy was a base of intense chicken stock infused with Riberry puree, pepperberry and lemon myrtle. The kangaroo loin was cooked sous vide for 4 hours @55C, flashed in a hot pan with butter and then rolled in a sesame, wattleseed and Tasmanian pepperberry 'crust' prior to service. It was sourced from Sutton Forrest Meats.
The jus…so good I saw a member, who will remain nameless, drinking left over from his coffee cup.
Great comments on the canapés and main today highlighting presentation, texture and flavours. We tried to guess the many ingredients in the food presented today and mostly failed.
Ted Davis, kitchen legend, summed it up ..it was the best meal he’s had in all his years of being a Society member.
This cheese has long been on the wish list by Steve and it was sourced by our Cheesemaster Mark Bradford who had to trek to Balgowlah on the weekend to attend the market where it was being sold.
It was a superb Bay of Fires cheddar from the East Coast of Tasmania served with a simple green salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic, accompanied by a date, prune, fig and macadamia nut roll and a Riberry Relish, both homemade.
The roll did need a seed content warning and the relish perfect with the cheese.
Technically, cheddar cow's milk from St Helens, Tasmania
A traditional cloth-bound cheddar from St Helens in Tasmania, made by 13th generation cheese makers hailing from England. This farmhouse cheddar is aged for a minimum of 1 year on Tasmanian oak boards, which gives the cheese its unique characteristics.
The result is an intensely earthy cheese reminiscent of a damp cave, with an authentic crumbly texture.
The bread was a light sourdough baguette from Bourke St bakery.
I arrived a little late due to funeral obligations and as a result, I missed out on most of the pass-arounds, which I am sure were delicious. Anyhow getting my hands on something I could taste the first white I encountered was the Pewesy Vale Riesling 2013. This wine has been always a great wine, going back for as long as I have been a member, for 22 years. 2013 vintage, 12.5%, this example of the great winemaker Louise Rose is a classic Australian Riesling. Perfect balance, at 10 yo, not a sign of ageing. A true delight.
Wine no 2 was as a Seppelts Jaluka Chardonnay 2013 at 2013%. I have always had high regard for Seppelts, who have a fabulous array of great wines. Their original vineyard at Great Western was purchased by Bruno Seppelt from the Best family back in the in the late 1800s. The vineyards are literally on opposite sides of the road. Anyhow, we had one of their commercial Chardys, a reasonable wine, with no obvious wine-making faults, quite acceptable as a good Journeyman Chardy, holding on well for a 10 yo.
We then marched onto Wine no 3 the Protero Merlot 2007, 14.5%. A Steve Pannell wine from McLaren Vale. I am so pleased to see some of the “second row“ wines like Merlot are appearing on our luncheon wine lists. There is a treasure trove of exotic flavours that await our taste buds with the likes of this wine, Grenache, Tempranillo, Australian Nebbilio, Barbera and so on. Anyhow, this was an excellent Merlot, from a master winemaker, now 16 yo, with big plummy fruit overtones, great condition for a 16 yo, nice balance of tannin and oak. Delightful.
Wine no 4 was the Taturry Vineyard Syrah from 2013. 13.6%. A very good wine from a reputable winemaker from Mornington. Always consistent quality from this producer. More please. A 10 yo shiraz, big fruit, but balanced, restrained tannin, with a lingering finish. I really enjoyed it.
Next wine was the Isole e Olena Chianti Classico 2019. 14.5% This excellent wine came from a very reputable producer within the official Chianti Zone. Most likely either a straight Sangovise or a blend with a few other bits and pieces making up the lesser components. An enjoyable food wine as Italian wines always are. Not reaching any great heights, but that was how it was made to be, playing second fiddle to the food.
Wine no 6 was the Blue Pyrenees Estate Cabernet 2009 vintage 14%. A great wine to go with the Cheddar served. Considerable tannin upon first tasting, but the huge fruit held it together with good oak overtones, showing no signs of age and finishing with great flavour. By no means an elegant wine, but I guess it was never intended to be!
The final wine for the day was a masked fortified wine from parts unknown, provided by our Chef du Jour Steve Sparkes. I have shied away from the likes of Port in recent years as a result of drinking my body weight in Hardys 1947 Show Port during the 1970s. The killer
hangovers are still fresh in my memories! For what it is worth, I picked it as a Morris Liqueur Port, but it was in fact the same style from Stanton and Killen. Beautiful way to finish up!
The lunch was terrific, and Steve Sparkes's main was exceptional!
9 May 2023 Amosh from REX
Food review by Mark Bradford and wine review by Stephen O'Halloran
Members and guests were met on a cool and cloudy day with a Nepali treat provided by the REX sous-chef, Amosh.
We started off with Aloo Chop Nepal style, aka potato croquette. Boiled potatoes were mixed with Nepali spices, coated in flour and fried, and served with tomato chutney. A good match with the German resiling. Second, Amosh presented Pakauda, a flavoursome snack of onions and potatoes mixed with cottage cheese and spices and deep fried. The Pakauda was accompanied by a sesame tomato sauce. Finally, we were given Masyaura soup; a spicy soup served in a cup containing sun-dried lentils. The lentils had many of the members baffled, some thinking it was bacon. The floor was happy with the vegetarian starters on offer.
Amosh presented Khasi Ko Masu – a Nepali lamb curry – served on Ghiu Bhat; Basmati rice sauteed in ghee and cooked in chicken stock. A lovely selection of Nepali spices and not too hot. Some members mentioned that a side of chillies may have been appropriate for those who needed more heat, but Amosh told us that what he presented was typical of Nepal cuisine. Amosh spoke passionately to the floor about his meal and provided information on the ingredients in great detail.
The cheese was selected by Head Chef Rob Doll. It had everybody guessing but the consensus was – correctly – that it was Australian. It was a cheese new to the society I would expect; a Coolamon Cheese Co. soft blue. Coolamon is in the heart of the Riverina between Temora and Narrandera. The three-month matured artisan cheese from local cow’s milk has a blue vein style; the soft and creamy interior being enhanced by the tang of the blue mould. Overall, it was well-received.
We kicked off with an Andrew Thomas Semillon, the Braemore vineyard, 2017. An excellent vintage in the Hunter and made by a talented winemaker. Quite frankly I was a little underwhelmed. I think I was expecting too much given the wine’s pedigree, which can often happen. The wine was quite sound, but to me, it just did not deliver in terms of flavour. Was however quite acceptable with the delicious pass-arounds.
Wine No 2 was a German Riesling a Kestener Herrenberg from 2011. The label was impenetrable so I could not ascertain any more information. My pick was that it was a Kabinett. An enjoyable wine, good with the food. Good balance of fruit/acid, not too much residual sugar. Holding together very well for a 12 year old, with no sign of adverse ageing.
Wine No 3. The Deep Woods Margaret River Cab/Malbec 2020 14%. No doubt our Winemaster had a plan for this wine in light of the menu, and it sat comfortably with the spicey main, but it was so clearly drinking before its time. A somewhat curious blend with the Malbec in there and would be interested to see the wine again in 5 years. All the right structures were there, not sure of the % break up between the two. Keen to see in future if the muscular Malbec overpowers the Cab.
Wine 4 the Mader Gewurztraminer 2018. 13.5% Wow what a wine! The word Gewurz translates into English as spicey, and boy did it fit that description. Upon initial tasting, it nearly blew my head off with its overpowering, perfumed fruit aroma. On the palate, it was exotic, opulent and mouth-filling, where will it go to from here? To continue drinking this little number you really have the tiger by the tail. Anyhow pressing on, the wine was intensely fruit driven, yet without excessive residual sugar. After a while, I became adjusted to its style and soon thereafter I came to the view that it was in fact a very impressive wine, drinking beautifully with the spicy main. Quite an experience, thank you Winemaster.
Wine No 5 was the Tunkalilla Oregan Riesling by Brian Croser, vintage 2011 13%. A well made wine. We had this wine recently and I enjoyed it then as I did today. Quite delightful. Now a 15yo, but no loss of fruit or acid. Again, a good choice with the spicy food menu.
The final wine on the list was one of my favourites the St Hallets Old Block Shiraz 2002. 14.5%. Excluding the likes of Grange et al, this wine along with Stonewall Shiraz and Elderton Command Shiraz and Grant Burge Meshach Shiraz, are my favourite Barossa Reds. I really enjoyed this wine. Massive fruit and high alcohol, but to me not unbalanced, although some on my table thought the wine was showing hints of unripe fruit, a tad green as they say. Nonetheless, it was in my opinion a classic old-style Barossa Shiraz, drinking beautifully at 21yo. Still time to go. Thank you Winemaster.
A late entrant for the afternoon was a French St Emilion 2014, via the generosity of Tony Scott. If you like right bank Bordeaux merlot blends, this was your wine. The wine came out late in the day as I was just about to depart and I overlooked recording the name of this wine. A thousand Pardons. I did however taste a reasonable amount and what stood out was the rich plummy, jammy flavours of the Merlot. From glancing at the label it is my recollection that the Merlot was the predominate grape. Thank you very much Tony for your very kind gesture.
Edit: The final wine above from Tony Scott was Chateau De Barbe Blanche 2014 (Libournais, Lussac St-Emilion, Grand Vin De Bordeaux)
This Years Lunches
|2nd May||COTD||Nick Reynolds||Lamb Shoulder|
|9th May||COTD||Amoush - REX||Nepalese|
|16th May||COTD||Steve Sparkes||Kangaroo with native spices|
|23rd May||COTD||Hal Epstein||Thai Street food, Tom Yum, Green Curry|
|30th May||Wine Lunch||Paul Ferman||TBC|
|6th June||COTD||Jon North memorial||Poached cotechino with porcini mash and slow cooked lentil sofrito with picada|
|13th June||Mixed Lunch||James Hill||Chicken, Smoked Cheese and Bacon Rotolo|
|20th June||COTD||REX, Rob||TBC|
|27th June||Wine Lunch||Roger Straiton||TBC|
|4th July||COTD||Scott Witt||American theme|
|11th July||COTD||Matt Holmes||TBC|
|18th July||COTD||Nigel Burton||Miso-Marinated Black Cod|
|18th August||COTY Dinner||Nick/Steve etc|
|3rd November||Presidents Dinner||proposed|
|14th November||Memorial Lunch||Steve Liebeskind|
|13th June||Mixed Lunch||James Hill|
|15th August||Mixed Lunch||TBC|
|10th October||Mixed Lunch||Bill Alexiou|
|21st November||Mixed Lunch||Steve Sparkes|
2 May 2023 Nick Reynolds
Food review by James Hill and wine review by Stephen O'Halloran
A full house today for a Greek-themed lunch prepared by our Chef of the Day and Cellarmaster Nick Reynolds.
Filetto di Maiale Tonnato
Pork tenderloin with tuna sauce was garnished with deep-fried salted capers. This was a superb dish and rather than use traditional veal Nick substituted pork tenderloin. It was tender and topped with the flavourful tonnato.
Then came hummus tartlets garnished with fried chickpea.
Bill Alexiou provided some white tarama with home-cured olive dice on toasts.
Plentiful and great flavours to kick off our lunch.
Nick cooked Janni Kyritsis’ slow-cooked lamb shoulder cured in a coating of salt, fennel and oregano, cooked with garlic, lemon and green olives. Served on Japanese eggplant, zucchini, and pearl couscous and garnished with gremolata and cooking juices.
Nick had slow-cooked the lamb in an oven and had prepped the lamb by vacuum sealing it for reheating it sous vide, thus retaining its unctuous moistness. When it came to finishing off in the REX kitchen, it overloaded the powerboard. Some were finished in the oven and some sous vide.
This led to some plate variation with comments on the moistness of the lamb with the suggestion more jus may have been considered.
A lot of preparation was evident in the dish today within good robust flavours with vegetables and pearl couscous perfectly complementing the dish.
Cheese today was Kefalotyri a hard salty white cheese made from sheep and goat from Greece.
Aphrodite Kefalotyri is hand-made especially in the small, fertile town of Epirus, located in northwestern Greece, using a traditional recipe combining ewe’s and goat’s milk. Fresh milk is collected on a seasonal basis from shepherds’ milking animals that freely forage on the natural vegetation growing on the steep, rugged mountain slopes of the region.
After pressing and brine salting, the cheese is ripened for 3 to 4 months until the hard, slightly irregular texture has developed a mild, distinctively herbaceous tang. Traditional Kefalotyri is considered to be the authentic cheese used for Saganaki in Greece. When pan-fried in thick slices, the combination of non-bovine milks produces a dish with a delicious brown crust, rich moist texture and lingering savoury finish.
It was served in two ways:
Raw and as Saganaki fried both sides with honey, fresh oregano and sesame seeds, with some dried figs and apricots accompanying both versions.
Quote of the day
"A fine wine may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure." - Czech Proverb
A nearly full house was present for our lunch today, and it was indeed a good one. We had some excellent pass-arounds prepared by our chef de jour Nick Reynolds and the first wine was a Gundog Estate Hunter Semillon 2019. 11% with 2019 being rated a 9/10 year. This is a well-regarded winery near Pokolbin. Now 4 years old and beginning to show typical Hunter Semillon flavours. I would like to see it again in a few years when it has built up some more complexity. At the moment an enjoyable wine, quite acceptable and even dare I say “nice“. I am aware that this word inspires an instant hostile reaction from some of our luminaries who regard the use of the word in describing a wine as blasphemy, with appropriate looks of strong censure, and implied threats of a Jihad being imposed upon the heathen uttering this word.
Upon reflection, I do not think such a Fatwa upon the use of the word “nice“ is called for. After all, it is a word in the English language that is clearly understood, meaning “giving pleasure, satisfaction, agreeable, delightful“. Why should a wine if meeting that description, not be referred to as such? I am puzzled. I do not wish to antagonise our esteemed and respected senior members by repeated use of the word, but no doubt it will appear occasionally when appropriate. I have made my Will and my affairs are in order. Fire at will!
There were two other wines served, a French Rose and a Tyrrells Semillon and a sherry, both of which I did not get to taste. The Rose was from Provence, very typical of the style. Bone dry, but a good food wine.
Moving along to the lunch wines, we kicked off with a Dolcetto d’Alba 2020 from Luigi Pira. This sweet little number as it is known, was quite sound, very dry with noticeable tannin influence. Restrained flavour, light texture. Mixed opinions around the room.
Red wine no 2 was a Grenache from the highly respected winemaker Steve Pannell. This chap has an impeccable pedigree, being the son of the famous Bill Pannell of Moss Wood.
The wine was straight Grenache from McLaren Vale. 14%, rated a 8/10 year. Great fruit, medium texture, typical grenache overtones. Would like to see the wine in 2/3 years. I am delighted to see this grape variety working its way into our cellar, either as a straight varietal or as a GSM blend. Bring them on!
Red no 3 was the Wynns Coonawarra Shiraz 2009. 13.5% with 09 rated a 8/9 year. This El Cheapo was a surprise package. Enjoyable for an inexpensive Shiraz now 13yo. Was never going to hit great heights, but excellent value for money.
Wine no 4 was my firm favourite of the day, the John Duval Entity Shiraz from 2008. An excellent year in the Barossa, 14.5%, a big wine, but superbly balanced. Wonderful fruit with voluptuous texture and flavour. This was a truly great wine from a master winemaker. Lovely soft tannins and a lingering finish. How lucky were we?
Next cab off the rank was a Glandore Estate Hunter Tempranillo from 2011. 13.9% A year rated highly in the Hunter, I really liked this wine, being a fan of Tempranillo. A very flavoursome wine with, nice integration of tannin, oak and fruit. Good food wine and it went very well with the lamb main. Good prospects for future development.
A wine that was not an official starter was the Rosemont Mountain Blue from Mudgee 1999. A Cabernet Shiraz blend . Despite it now being a 24 yo wine, I was really impressed. I could only enjoy a small amount, but what I tasted was excellent. Beautiful intense stewed fruit flavours, with a powerful finish. All key components still hanging together to produce a fine wine, better than nice!
18 April 2023 CoTD Merv Peacock
Food review by James Hill and wine review by Stephen O'Halloran
As Anzac falls on a Tuesday this year it was decided to hold our monthly wine tasting a week early.
In the kitchen was Merv Peacock as CoTD in the last ‘cook-off’ for Chef of the Year 2022. What could be better than some duck cassoulet and a brace of Bordeaux on an autumn day!
We were served mini chicken pies made by Merv’s wife, Kerry. They were delightful with chicken, mushrooms, leeks and sweetcorn. Who doesn’t love a pie and these were exceptional. A lot of time and effort here with us being rewarded with the finished product.
Next to appear were crunchy toasts loaded with sliced rare fillet steak and horseradish, along with Merv’s own homemade spicy chutney.
They were both very tasty and abundant.
Our main course was duck Maryland with cassoulet. There are many varieties and these alter from region to region and in Merv’s interpretation saw him adding tomatoes. The perfectly cooked duck Marylands were served resting on the cassoulet, the ducks spent 24 hours in a dry marinade and were then confit over the weekend for 6 hours, remaining in fat until Tuesday morning. The cassoulet was prepared from beans, tomatoes, pork spec, and onions and the sausages were a mix of Cumbrian and Italian. Croutons were added at the end.
A lot of preparation was evident and the result was full flavoured, textural and perfect with wines today. Much praise for the course today.
Merv wore an apron with the logo “Maddo the chemist from Paddo” in memory of Peter Madden. Peter had enlisted his aid in cooking 56 wagyu beef tongues for a society lunch in Lower Fort Street. Not only were they cooked but my memory is they had to be peeled as well. Peter went on to win the Chef of the Year award in 2007 for the dish.
Peter is well remembered.
Thank you, Merv.
Our Cheesemaster Mark Bradford, in theme, presented Fromagerie St Mamet Cantal Entre Deux.
This is one of the oldest cheeses still made in France. When mature this cheese has a crumbly texture and buttery flavour with a little bite.
Category: Cheddar & Territorials
Milk Type: Cow’s Milk
This natural rind cheese is one of the oldest cheeses still made in France. It has been traced back at least 2000 years when cheese from Gaul was popular as far away as Rome. Being a large cheese, the flavour is mild unless it is matured over a long period, although smaller versions known as Cantalet mature more quickly.
The cheese was at least 14 months old when they have developed a moist and crumbly texture and buttery flavour with a little bite.
Accompanying the cheese was some red grapes and walnut crunch (honey-glazed walnuts) made by Mark. The walnut crunch was not overly sweet with tannin evident coming from cinnamon. They went well with cheese.
The theme for today’s lunch was a Bordeaux affair, more often please! What a great food and wine event it turned out to be. Merv Peacock’s Cassoulet was accompanied by some terrific wines from the Left and Right Bank of the Gironde River from a variety of years.
We got the ball rolling with a white from the Graves region to the south of Bordeaux, a region famous for the First Growth red, Ch Haut Brion and the legendary Ch d’Yquem, a sauterne. We enjoyed a bottle of Ch Boyrein 2016. A blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc 12.5%. A 7/9 vintage year for that district. A fine dry flavoursome wine, very different to the same blend made locally. By way of comparison, we also enjoyed a 2008 Tyrrells Stevens Semillon. Now 15 yo but not showing any signs of adverse ageing. A most enjoyable wine, but the first was my choice. A perfect way to start with the pass-arounds.
With great expectations, we embraced the awesome collection of reds our Wine Master had in store for us. First was the 2014 La Gravette de Certan. I really liked this wine. A 6/8 vintage in Pomerol, drinking @14%. Plummy merlot flavours, good balance of tannin and oak. I think, going back into the deep recesses of my mind, Len Evans had something to do with this vineyard in the early 1980s, but only for a short time. Perhaps I am mistaken. Does anyone out there have any recollection?
Wine No 2 was a 2010 Ch Pezat, a Grand Cru from St -Emilion 14%. A 7/10 year in Pomerol. Despite its high pedigree and great vintage, this wine just did not connect with me. No one obvious fault, very dry on the palate, but finished without much lingering flavour. Perhaps it was just me. From some comments around the room, which spoke highly of the wine, perhaps there was some bottle variation here, which can be expected with a cork seal.
Wine 3 was my favourite, the Cantemerle, 2009 from the Macau region in the Medoc. A 7/10 vintage. 13%. This wine just snuck into the 1855 Classification, as a 5th growth, being the last included in that group. In French “Cantemerle” translates into “in the song of the blackbird”, so now you know, in case you get the chance to drop it into the conversation with some Bordeaux lovers. I digress, the wine was in my view excellent, classic Bordeaux flavours we all love when we are lucky to happen upon them. The song of the blackbird was running around in my head for a long time after we parted company. Thank you, Wine Master.
Wine 4 was the Ch Haut Bages Liberal, not to be confused with Lynch Bages a more prestigious wine, with of course a much higher price tag. In any event, this wine was from 2002, a year rated as 6/8 in the Pauillac region, drinking at 12.5%. An excellent wine, lots of Bordeaux flavours, not my pick, but nonetheless a most enjoyable, mainly Cabernet blend.
Wine 5 was the Ch L’Encios From Pomerol 2000, 12%. A well-respected vineyard. My current vintage chart does not go back beyond 2002, so I cannot report on the vintage. This was my least favourite of the group. A dull finish, tired, fruit falling away, at 23 yo, an example of the old saying that nothing lasts forever. Perhaps a mainly Merlot wine such as this just does not have the legs to go 23 years.
Finally, we finished up with a 1995 Ch Pontensac, a non-classified wine 13%, I forgot to make a note of the district from where the wine hailed from. My reference books did not recognise it.
Anyhow the wine was very enjoyable, with persistent lingering flavours, not bad for a wine now 28 yo. A lowly rated wine in comparison to some of the Glitterati preceding it, the wine performed very well, still retaining soft flavours of Bordeaux character.
A memorable afternoon.
11 April 2023 Bill Alexiou-Hucker
Food review by Steve Liebeskind and wine review by Stephen O'Halloran
Our new President Bill Alexiou-Hucker hit the kitchen and pans to begin his reign and to add extra pressure it was a mixed lunch. There were 45 attendees after having 5 people drop out in the last 24 hours before the lunch.
* Feta muffins - beautifully present and morish starter. These were served cold and they looked like they were warm.
* Seared scallops and taramasalata, grated bottarga served on a spoon. The scallops were well cooked and the taramasalata added a soft texture to compliment the scallop. The bottarga (cured fish roe-pouch) gave the nibble a different dimension. There was a strong seafood flavour with the scallop, but the canape was well received.
* BBQ octopus on skordalia and toasted crouton. It's Bill so we had to have octopus and he didn’t disappoint. The seafood was well-cooked and the skordalia (garlic and potato dip) was a great complement to the octopus. Add a little olive oil and we have a winner.
No one went hungry from the canapes
Balsamic glazed chicken with parsley, lemon zest, garlic, kalamata olive and olive oil salad on a bed of tomato orzo (risoni is also known as orzo). This dish came to table with great colour and exciting crispy skin due to the balsamic glaze. We all received a Maryland sitting on the orzo and the chicken had olive and parsley salad sprinkled over it. The flavour was terrific and uncomplicated. There was no rice used or harmed on this dish. There was a challenge for Bill in that with the Easter break leading into the lunch, there were two suppliers of Maryland one was traditional and the other was pterodactyl (prehistoric bird - massive) size. The large leg caused a number of mains to be a bit tough and undercooked but the flavour you expect from Bill was there.
Baked goat's cheese and glazed pear tart with a pecan and cranberry crumb.
This was a success for both Bill and the new Cheese Master (Mark Bradford). We were presented with a goat cheese-inspired dessert. The pastry was puff pastry blind baked and had the pecan and cranberry crumbled as used as the base. The lightly flavoured goat's cheese was broken up and topped with thinly cut pears and then baked and served at a warm temperature. Large individual tarts came to the table and were able to be cut into wedges of 8 per table. The crisp edging added to the rustic charm of the dish. Overall this was a great success.
While there were two reds served with this dish a sneaky little half bottle of muscat was put on the table and this went so well with the dish.
The cheese was a Brabander L'Amuse which is from North Brabant, Netherlands and is an Artisan made cheese. A semi-hard goat's cheese that is light in flavour. The porcelain-white paste of this cheese is a stark contrast to the deep amber colour synonymous with classic Dutch gouda.
The gathering today 11th April was a mixed luncheon, very well attended with a nearly full house. Our Chef du Jour Bill Alexiou provided us with an excellent roast Maryland chicken and some very tasty pass-arounds. The food will be reported upon by others as usual. With regard to the wine, my comments are as follows.
For the pre-lunch wines, we were provided with two excellent wines, an Italian Soave and a rose from Provence. Of the two I much preferred the Soave. A first-rate aperitif style white, fresh and crisp with great fruit/acid balance. Lovely clean fresh flavours, ideal with the pass-arounds. Soave is an ever-popular Italian White wine from the Veneto region of northeast Italy. Made up from mainly Garganega and Trebbiano grapes. 12.5% vintaged in 2020. I really liked it. The rose from St Louis de Provence was an enjoyable wine, dry in the extreme, pale pink in colour, very typical of a rose from that region 12.5 % 2021. A Grenache blend, well-made wine, but in my view, not a great deal of flavour.
Moving on to the wines served with the main course, we had two excellent Australian Chardonnays, one from Curley Flat in the Macedon region of Victoria and the other a Coldstream Hills from the Yarra Valley. The Curley Flat was the older of the two from 2012, and the Coldstream Hills was from 2013. Both wines are now 10+ years old, but both drinking beautifully, with no sign of ageing adversely. The Curley Flat was a big wine 13.8 % deep straw colour, developed with a prominent oak aftertaste. A classic “old style Chardonnay” we talk about.
The Coldstream Hills was my choice of the two. Great integration of fruit/acid with restrained oak. 13 %. A better-balanced wine in my view. There was as you would expect a divergence of opinions around the room on these two fine Chardonnays, which were perfect partners to the delicious chicken. I suppose it comes down to the style of Chardonnay you prefer.
The two red wines for lunch were an Italian Dolcetto d’Alba and a Barbera d’Asti. Dolcetto translates into English as “sweet little one“. The wine was from the well-known producer Paolo Scavino, vintaged in 2017. The Barbera was produced by Mauro Molino in 2015.
The Dolcetto at 14.5 % was an easy-drinking, typical Italian red wine meant to be drunk with food. Restrained flavour, no intention to dominate the food in this sweet little one. Enjoyable.
The final wine was the Barbera from 2015 14 %. This was my pick of the two, a bit more flavour and substance. Again an excellent wine with the chicken.
Many thanks to our Winemaster for his thoughtful selections of our wines today.
4 April 2023 David Madson
Food review by James Hill and wine review by Stephen O'Halloran
Answering our Food Master’s urgent request for a Chef of The Day after our AGM David Madson arranged his team James Tinslay and Peter Fitzpatrick.
Given that the canapé time was more than usual the team responded with bountiful canapés.
First up was betel leaf filled with fried shallot, spanner crab and grapefruit although some of the crab flavour was lost. David advised that he had been rather too generous in marinating the crab in lemon juice.
Then followed crumbled feta cheese with homegrown chives with portions of fig on top of toasts.
Did I say bountiful?
Blinis topped with crème fraîche dill smoked salmon followed next from Peter Fitzpatrick.
James Tinslay is renowned and heralded for his sausage rolls and variations thereof, and today was no exception, he made curried chicken puffs. Well seasoned and spiced, with great flavour some heat evident, but not to kill the palate.
All canapés were appreciated by members today.
David presented us with some spice-mixed marinated pork belly, pickled kohlrabi with parsley, torched corella pears and an ale brown sugar malt vinegar and mustard seed sauce.
I like it when David cooks he always comes up with something a little different, and in this case, it was the kohlrabi that he marinated in white vinegar and sugar for an hour to pickle. The idea was for the pickled Kohlrabi to cut through the fat of the pork and it worked. No one could guess the vegetable. The pears were sprinkled with caster sugar and a kitchen blowtorch was used to caramelise the pears The texture was quite firm. My crackling was a little underdone however more was served with extra crackling and sauce.
A good hearty meal for autumn and well executed.
Thank you, David.
Mark Bradford presented the cheese today with any picking that it was cow's milk, blue mould cheese, but no one found the correct origin, that of Ireland.
The cheese was J&L Grubb Cashel Irish Blue.
When young, Cashel Blue is firm yet moist, with just a hint of fresh tarragon and white wine. With age, its true character emerges, mellowing to a rounder, spicier style. The interior softens, and then when the cheese is at the peak of perfection it gives up the battle of the bulge and collapses, providing a challenge for the retailer but a treat for the connoisseur.
Cashel Blue is named after the historic “Rock of Cashel,” a medieval castle that was once the seat of the Kings of Munster, and where lore has it St Patrick commenced the conversion of the pagan Irish to Christianity by using a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity, giving birth to one of Ireland’s national symbols.
David accompanied the cheese with a salad of Bartlett pears and rocket.
The AGM for 2023 was the backdrop for today's lunch. There were no surprise Boardroom coups, and the meeting proceeded without bloodshed and ended harmoniously. Many thanks to the outgoing Board and welcome to the new office holders. There are some big shoes to fill.
Moving right along, the aperitif wines were plenty in number with the Wine Master carrying out a required clearout. Accordingly, we were confronted with a potpourri of white wines, I did not get to taste them all. Of those I did taste, I very much liked the rare Craggy Range Riesling 2011 from the Hawkes Bay region. Excellent wine with superb fruit, clean and with a lingering finish. Do we have any more? That was about the pinnacle of the white wines I tasted, the rest ranged from undrinkable to acceptable. In the former category was the Domaine Oratoine St Martin 2016 a Rhone blend of the usual suspects, Roussanne et al. Horrible, hope I never see it again. Moving up the scale a bit was the Guigal Cote du Rhone 2018. Contents were not disclosed on the label, but I suspect it had a similar composition to the other wine. It was however drinkable. I do wish Guigal would stick to red wines. The last of the whites I tasted was the Tunkalilla Riesling from Oregon USA. A wine made by our own Brian Croser in 2008. This wine provoked mixed reactions around the room. I found the wine oily and unctuous, with a cloying finish. Despite having 15 years in the bottle, the fruit was holding up well and the wine was quite sound. Others in the room were very impressed, liking it to a German-style Kabinett. I suppose it comes down to how you like your Rieslings!
The lunch wines were firstly, a Craggy Range Chardonnay from Hawkes Bay vintage 2010 which was delicious. Elegant with balanced fruit, acid and oak all intermingling well. Excellent wine. The first of the reds was a Glandore Estate Hunter Tempranillo 2011 from our own Chef Du Jour, David Madson’s vineyard. An enjoyable wine, with good fruit, but a little thin on the palate and a quickly fading aftertaste. Maybe this is how Australian Tempranillo in the Hunter develops after 12 years. Otherwise a sound wine and good food wine. The next cab off the rank was one of my favourites the Charles Melton Nine Popes blend, Shiraz / Grenache from 2009 14.5 %. Buckets of ripe juicy fruit with firm oak and tannin, just the sort of wine you would want to consume large amounts of before marching into battle! I hope we have more of this wine in our cellar. The final wine I tasted was the Ebenezer Barossa Shiraz from 2005. 14.5 %. Now 18 yo, but in very good shape. An old style big Barossa Shiraz drinking well. Good balance even at the high alcohol level. Another red was served but not at our table, a Craiglee Shiraz. I did not taste it, but from comments around the room, I apparently did not miss much
28 March 2023 Paul Thorne
Food review by James Hill and wine review by Stephen O'Halloran
The room was packed today as we celebrated the last hurrah of our president Paul Thorne and Cellar master Chilly Hargrave.
Paul Thorne was Chef of the Day, assisting with canapés were Gary Linnane and James Tinslay.
First up Gary Linnane made a white bean anchoïade served on a cracker. Gary used the Tarbais beans that Society member Scott Witt had provided.
The beans were puréed with some Parmigiano-Reggiano, cream cheese capers, anchovy, lemon zest and EVOO. Full of flavour, lemony, creamy, thick and rich.
Then came a canapé of crème fraîche with wasabi topped with a Sicilian white anchovy.
Last up was Paul’s signature dish of duck consomme, rafted and infused with juniper berry and star anise. Rich and flavoursome, a crowd pleaser.
Canapés were bountiful with good flavour hit to start our lunch.
Paul served pork neck plated on a base of pea and ham soup. The pork comprised five pieces cooked in the oven for 4.5 hours at 135C. The pork was cooked in trays and sat on a base of onions and duck stock. The pea and ham soup was a combination of many vegetables and legumes/pulses including carrots, peas, beans (2 or 3 types) barley and lentils. The ham hock flavour was infused and then shreds were throughout the soup.
The meal came to the table smartly presented with a late addition of finely chopped herbs. The pork had terrific colour and showed it was cooked perfectly. Pork can be a challenge to get right and, as it rests, it still cooks. The pea and ham soup provided good colour and the broth provided additional flavour and moisture to the pork.
Overall, the flavour was delicate and the seasoning was a personal preference.
The meal complemented the great Grand Cru Burgundy wines selected for lunch today.
Some commented there could have been more sauce on the plate.
The bread was from Haberfield bakery an old favourite of the Society from years gone past.
Our cheese today was selected by our outgoing Cheesemaster James Healey and presented by Gary Linnane in his absence.
It was a white mould, cow's milk, farmhouse cheese ‘Marquis Brie’.
In France, it is increasingly hard to find farmstead cheese made with milk from a single farm. Most examples are produced in very small quantities from raw milk, and these are rarely found outside the area of production.
This soft, surface mould-ripened cheese, is a wonderful exception. It is handmade in a modern, purpose-built ‘fermier’ that lies in the shade of the Rambouillet deer forest, southwest of Paris. The original ‘Fromages de Brye’ made on small farms in the countryside outside the city varied in size depending on the season, and amount of milk available. Following in this tradition Le Marquis Brie de Rambouillet is made in two sizes using fresh pasteurised milk sourced exclusively from a small herd of pampered cows.
The unique combination of moulds, cultures and a traditional poplar wood box helps to ensure that the chalky centre of the young cheese slowly breaks down to a soft gooey texture over 3-4 weeks of careful ripening. One can tell when Le Marquis Brie is at its optimum because it has a distinct fungal aroma and is soft when pressed. The ‘cowy’ barnyard flavours of the mature cheese are a perfect reminder of why ‘fermier’ cheese is so special.
Some comments were made about the ammoniated nature of the cheese however once the ‘crust’ was removed the resulting paste was very pleasant.
Accompanying the cheese was a plate of figs, walnuts, dates and dried figs marinated in 12-year-old Scotch whisky.
Roger Straiton rose to thank Paul and Chilly for their considerable effort and dedication to our Society noting Paul and Chilly’s humour was very appreciated by all as well as Chilly sharing his wealth of knowledge of wine and the wine industry.
In closing Steve Liebeskind spoke about the recent convention of the Federation of Wine and Food Societies of Australia held in Melbourne and that at the convention he was returned as President with Mike Staniland Treasurer.
Today was a significant day for the WFS, our Wine Master Chilly Hargraves’s last lunch and Paul Thorne’s last event as President. As a result, we were in for something special on both food and wine.
We kicked off with two Chardonnays, a Collector Tiger 2017 and a Tilbury from Adelaide Hills from the same year. I must have been a little late in arriving as all of the Collector wine had gone, precluding me from a tasting. From enquiries I made around the room, the wine seemed to have produced some mixed reactions. The general consensus seems to have been that it was an “old style Chardy”, with the usual objections that style attracts. The Tilbury I found quite acceptable, an enjoyable wine to go with the excellent pass-arounds prepared by our Chef du Jour, our President until next week. The Tilbury had good clean structures, 12.5 %, no winemaking faults I could detect, a more modern style and overall a good journeyman Chardonnay. Dammed by faint praise you might say.
The lunch wines. Now we get serious. Chilly’s final raid on our Cellar produced six superb Grand Cru Burgundies, three Echezeaux from Christian Clerget, and three Clos-Saint-Denis from Georges Lignier.
As I keep saying, the WFS is the place to be! All this for under $100. “ We few, we happy few, we band of brothers “, could sum up the mood of the room. A rare treat. Before I report on the wines, a little perspective on the part of the Burgundy district where these wines hail from. The Cote de Nuits area is where these wines call home, the sub-district of Vosnee Romanee to be precise. In this tiny parcel of land, the most expensive wines in the world are grown. La Romanee Conti, Richebourg, Grand Echezeaux, La Tache, to name a few. A few years ago I commented at a function that these wines come from vineyards the size of postage stamps, with prices resembling Tasmanian postcodes! To illustrate the point, the vineyard of the Premier Des Grands Cru La Romanee-Conti consists of 4 acres! Most of the others are also very small, but Echezeaux is much larger at 100 acres, but still small by our standards.
Whilst on the subject of Echezeaux, may I offer a little hint to assist in the pronunciation of this great Burgundy. Back in the 70’s when I first laid eyes on the name, I had no idea and mangled it totally. At or about that time my younger brother returned to Sydney from a few years in the UK, bringing along with him a French Lady, tres chic, you might say. She came to my rescue. After several attempts she had me pronouncing it phonetically, as “Esch-au-show.“ Problem solved. Say it quickly six times and you have it for life. Sadly, some years later my Bro and she parted, she becoming apparently, “a charming little armful, but a dreadful little bedful“ (here’s to Ogden Nash).
Anyhow, getting back to the main story, my thoughts on this wonderful lineup are as follows.
No 1, the Echezeaux En Orveaux Grand Cru. 2015. A terrific combination of a top year and a great winemaker. Totally excellent and a joy to drink. Love to revisit it in 5 years.
No 2, the same wine but from 2014, apparently a patchy vintage, and the wine suffered. Either that or some wine-making faults. Lacked flavour, a tad disappointing.
No 3, the same wine but from 2012. Better year, good fruit, a nice Pinot nose, enjoyable. Now 10 yo but holding up well.
No 4, the Georges Lignier Clos-Saint-Denis Grand Cru 2016. My pick of the bunch. A sound vintage and it showed. Wonderful complex Pinot flavours and aroma. A satin-like finish, superb, lots of time ahead, destined for greatness.
No 5, the same wine from 2012. Another variable vintage weather-wise but I found this wine highly desirable. Velvety finish with beautiful balance. A classic Pinot.
No 6, same wine but from 2009. An excellent year, producing a fine wine. Starting to show some ageing, but still in good fruit/acid balance, elegant, with mouth-filling Pinot flavours, still hanging in there notwithstanding now a 13 yo.
Finally, in closing, I was rummaging around in my wine log books trying to find some wine lists from the Len Evans Burgundy Dinners back in the 70s and 80s I attended with my mate Bayne Kelly. It was at these functions I first tasted any of these great wines. Evans was very generous, we all had a decent glass of the La Tache, the Romanee and so on. The memory lingers on, I had entered a new world! The cost for the dinner on August 22nd 1979 was $55. We thought at the time it was very expensive!!
Thank you Chilly for your work over the last few years, we have loved it. You will be a hard act to follow. You really went out on a high note today, with the party in full swing!