2 July 2019 - CoTD Peter Kelso


Thanks to James Hill for the food review

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


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.


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.


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


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.


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)


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.


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.



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.

11 June Chefs of TD- Bill Alexiou-Hucker and Voula Price


The society was in mixed lunch format today and in line with that principle, Bill Alexiou-Hucker and Voula Price (a friend of Bill’s) were our joint chefs of the day. Over 40 attended lunch.

Canapes. Bill started the day off well by leaving one of the prepared canapés in his home fridge. However, it is very “freezeable” and we will say see it later in the year. First off was hummus topped with crispy chicken skin on a crisp bread. The chicken skin really set off the flavour of this starter. Next up was a simple but tasty fallback of grated Parmesan on bread pieces tasted in the oven. An excellent compromise

Soup. But wait, there’s more. Before our main was served. We were presented with a vegetable soup with crushed chicken skin on top. There were many guesses around the room as to the vegetables, but this tasty liquid was actually choko, a much-disliked vegetable by many as it brought back unpleasant memories of childhood food. In this case, the soup was beautifully tasty.

Main course. The main was Voula’s recipe where we each had an individual spatchcock that had been stuffed with a range of herbs and rice. A substantial plate of food. The stuffing set off this dish and it was a great success. The chickens have been poached in stock and wine, and then basted with butter and herbs to give the skin of the chicken a beautiful brown toasted appearance. This was served with carrots and broccoli with a sauce of the reduced stock.

Cheese. James Healey was back from his overseas travels and presented a Taleggio which hails from the Lombardi region in Italy. This sticky, runny cheese with a smell that goes into the next room was in excellent condition with all the flavour you would expect of an aged example. The cheese was served with honeyed mandarins and ouzo infused Turkish delights.

Coffee. Today was coffee, coffee and tea. Specifically, the plunger coffee was Brazilian AA, always good but Spencer had a special treat hand making small cups of Turkish coffee (think strong and thick) for those interested. Finishing up was a plunger of English Breakfast tea for those who avoid coffee. A great mix.

Wines. Graham Gardener selected and presented the wines today.


An unusual start to the meal, in terms of wine with a Prosecco. Not your everyday Prosecco this Ca’ dei Zago Col Fondo was a slightly sparkling example made mainly from the Glera grape and was bottled under cork. Certainly not a budget wine and was not particularly well liked. It was very dry and lacked any fruit overtones. It may work with certain types of food on a warm day, but most did not like this wine.

Shaw & Smith M3 Chardonnay 2014

Showing classic peach overtone with good acidity, a very good Australian Chardonnay from Lenswood.

Curly Flat Pinot Noir 2015

The most striking initial feature of this wine was its very light colour but with just a touch of brown on the meniscus. Not for those who like their Pinots heavier, but it was very elegant and I thought a good Australian example.

Tyrrells Steven Shiraz 2009

This Hunter Valley Shiraz was a typical example of high-quality Shiraz and a classic Hunter. It had a little bit of spiciness and was very refined. It was the wine of the day for some.

Wynns Black Label 2009

Another 2009 Australian wine which bore no resemblance to the Tyrrells Steven. Still, a substantial wine at 10 years although drinking comfortably and confirms yet again what Wynns do well with their Black Labels year after year. It was still packing a bit of tannin and will last for years.

Having Greeks cooking for us we, of course, finished with Mastiha liqueur.

A splendid lunch.

4 June 2019 - CoTD David Madson


David Madson was cooking for us today assisted by Peter Fitzpatrick and James Tinslay.

Canapes. Three canapés have become somewhat normal in the past few months and today that trend continued. First off was a mushroom dish, including three types of mushrooms which had been pan-fried with shallots and garlic and finished off with Saki and cream. This was served in pastry shells and was wonderfully smooth, light with this Saki lifting the mouthfeel. Next was crab meat served in pastry shells with lime, chilli, coriander and mint. Spicy with lime sharpness. Finally, lamb and pork meatballs made with pistachio nuts and rocket.

Main course. David Madson is known for his quirky take on food and today was no different. A traditional Bolognese sauce but not served on pasta but rather with shredded zucchini and squash. Included were some roasted hazelnuts to add some crunch which set off this dish. David had intended the sauce to be a little less liquid, but this did not affect the taste or the mouthfeel of the crunchy vegetables (which cooked slightly on the plate with the heat of the Bolognese sauce). A different approach to a classic Italian dish and was much discussed.

Cheese. Gary Linnane served the Gippsland Shadows of Blue Tarago. With some age, this cheese started to crumble. It was beautifully creamy and clearly not good for one’s heart condition.

Coffee. Spencer Ferrier today served a Lavazza, commercial blend which he described as one of the top styles in its genre. Medium bodied and very approachable.

Wines. Richard Gibson selected and presented the wines today.


Back to the homestyle today with a Leo Buring Leonay Riesling 2014. It did not disappoint and was true to style. Lean acid, clean and long.

Chateau Lanessan 2010

The wines from this Bordeaux Château are well known to regular lunch attendees. A Left Bank, a predominantly Cabernet blend, the wine had a meniscus of medium brown that followed through on the palate with a rich but drying finish. At its peak.

Antinori Chianti Classico 2010

Another 2010 but from a neighbouring country. A wonderful Chianti Classico with sweeter Sangiovese fruit with cherry overtones. A great example of the style.

Craggy Range Shiraz (NZ) 2008

The only wine today under screwcap, it was certainly in a larger fruit style with different views expressed from the floor. I found it a little bit extracted although certainly clean. Many loved the style, it could have been mistaken for Australian wine.

Pira Chiara Boschis Cannubi Barolo 2011

This wine was donated by our Winemaster of the day, Richard Gibson. 2011 was a wonderful year in Barolo and even ignoring the transformation/lowering of the Barolo drinking window, the 2011 is a more approachable style. The rusty tank water meniscus of Barolo can be misleading for the uninitiated, as it leads to substantial wine with significant tannin to match the dominant Nebbiolo fruit characters. Whilst an early drinking year, it was in great balance but will last for a decade at least. My wine of the day.

However, a generous diversity of wine styles today.

Thank you to Richard for his generous donation of Barolo.

28 May 2019 - CoTD Roger Straiton


Thanks to James Hill for the reviews on food and wine.

In the kitchen today was Roger Straiton cooking for our monthly wine tasting.

Canapes. Roger served seafood for our canapés first up was pastry parcels with smoked cod pate with baby scallops on top. Delicious

Then we saw prawns and baby scallops both perfectly cooked with garlic served on spoons.

It was great to see something different and this was in the form of the baby scallops. Most members hadn't seen them before, and Roger advised that you only able to buy them at Coles Chatswood. Canapés were great match for our aperitif wine which was Seppelts Jaluka Chardonnay 2012 from Henty, Victoria. A rich elegant style of Chardonnay with some comment made that it was showing some sulphur.

Main course. Roger decided to tackle some standing rib roast, 17 kilos in fact!

It came to the table perfectly cooked a little grey on the outside and pink in the middle. Tender and flavoursome it was served with potato mash with cream butter and Dijon mustard. Also, on the plate some crunchy beans, a red wine jus and a condiment of creme fraiche and horseradish. A perfect dish for our wine tasting.

Roger advised that the beef came from Woolworths and at a very good price. Goldy commented that Woolworths are regular buyers at the Royal Easter show and are known for their good quality of beef.

Cheese. Gary Linnane presented an aged Comte cheese, an unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese from France. Comte has a concentrated nutty texture, elegant caramel sweetness and lingering flavour. Todays was a perfect example. Roger served a Spanish log of walnut and date to accompany the cheese.

Coffee. Spencer chose an Indonesian blue coffee grown in the style of Jamaican blue mountain soft on the palate with good flavour.


Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (under stelvin)

Good structure and tannin quite integrated still drinking young.

Chateau Cantemerle 2009 Haut Medoc 2009 (under cork)

A Bordeaux blend predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon. A ripe year showing some bret but good tannin structure and well-integrated.

Chateau Haut Bages liberal 2002 (under cork)

A Bordeaux blend predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon. Developed elegant and balanced with good fruit length.

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2002 (under cork)

Big rich fruit dominant wine with a good balance of tannin and acids.

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 1998 (under cork)

Jammy, well developed and balanced.

Alex Corton Burgundy Premier Cru 2005 (under cork)

Our cheese wine some commented and wine of the day. A great year, elegant and complex.

21 May 2019 - CoTD Leo Rachid (REX Chef)


Today we had the Executive Chef from REX, Leo Rachid, cooking for us.

Canapes. First off was baby snapper ceviche, using Peruvian corn, coriander, red onion, lime and avocado all served on spoons. Very refreshing with the onion, adding a nice bite. Next up were Argentinian themed empanadas filled with spinach, mozzarella, ricotta, onions and nuts and baked with a duck fat topping to really set off this tasty dish.

Main course. Leo hails from Brazil so today we had a traditional Brazilian seafood dish, moqueca. This is apparently often served in a soupy style, but today, as you will see from the photograph, this dish made from prawns and fish was drier and look fabulous. It also tasted fabulous. It was made with coconut milk with the yellow colour coming from palm oil and served with rice. Banana crumbs to set it off. For most of us it was a totally new experience.

Cheese. On cheese today was Gary Linnane. Once again, we were served cheese sourced from the well-known Will Studd selection and in this case a hand ladled traditional Stilton. Quite a crusty rind with a remarkable creamy texture and typical salty finish. The cheese was served with caramelised cashews.

Wines. Chilly Hargraves presenting wines today selected by Paul Ferman

Aperitif. A tricky start to the day for most people, starting off with a Chambers Goulais which was served quite recently at another luncheon. There was strong confirmation that the wine had not improved. The two bottles of Lustau Amontillado that were served were variously described as stale, old and mousey. An inauspicious start.

Framingham Riesling ‘F’ (NZ) 2016

Continuing in the rocky theme many at the lunch reconfirmed that this was not a wine that they prefer to drink. Off-dry at 10 g/L and wild fermented, it was a little funky for some, but the canapés improved the experience for others.

Tellurian Rose (Heathcote) 2013

For dyed in the head rose lovers, like me, this was an enjoyable wine. However, for many, the wine was tired, too old and should have been used years ago. A difference of opinion is a wonderful thing.

Seppelt Chalambar Shiraz 2008

A little closed and dull but quite acceptable. Still quite grippy with evident pepper.

Taylors Jarraman Cabernet 2005

A grand solid Clare red showing a little browning at 14 years. The Society has a marked preference for large wines with a touch of stew, and most people liked it.

A very solid lunch from Leo who gets positive commentary every week from those members who are cooking for his support, advice and encouragement.

14 May 2019 - CoTD Mark Bradford


Thanks to James Hill and Chilly Hargraves for the reviews on food and wine respectively.

Lunch today was by Chef of the Day Prof Mark Bradford with assembly assistance from Garry Linnane

Canapés. We had canapés in abundance today. First up was crostini with a tuna butter made from mascarpone, anchovies and capers with some smoked ocean trout on the crostini. The flavour was excellent. Next up were the very popular corn fritters, still warm, served with either Avocado salsa or a fruit chutney then followed warm mini quiches made with tasty cream butter and bacon.

Great starters. All worked well with our aperitif wine which we kept on serving due to a delay in working an alternative for the mash.

The 2011 Heggies Riesling was the aperitif table wine this week. At 8 years of age, it still showed fresh fruit and had avoided the tendency of many lesser Rieslings to develop kerosene characters. That said, it was very much in the buttered toast mould and was drying out a little on the palate. This is the last of this wine in our cellar and was greatly enjoyed by all (to the tune of 11 bottles). The other aperitif wine was the ever-reliable Lustau Jurana. It impressed with its freshness and depth.

Main course. Mark chose to serve a reminder of veal masala, a meal a lot of members would have had in our formative gourmet years. Unfortunately he left the celeriac puree at home, so necessity being the parent of invention, he chose to serve the meal with toast and it worked so well!

The veal was a perfect thin piece of meat with a crisp exterior and a pink centre. This was served with the usual cream, mushroom and garlic sauce although this time he separated the mushroom and reduced it to a sauce which gave it a rich and strong flavour. The mushroom was served with garlic on the toast. The green was broccolini fresh and textural.

It was a very good meal.

The Wines. One former winemaker described one of the wines as having the characteristic of red wine; colour and tannin.

There were two aged Cabernets served with the veal main course. The first, a 2009 Denmar Cabernet Sauvignon, was sourced from the renowned terra rossa soils of the Hunter Valley. While it still showed some youth with bright colour and tannin, it lacked any real distinctive varietal definition.

The second Cabernet was the 2008 Bowen. From the even more renowned terra rossa soils of Coonawarra, it impressed with its freshness and vibrancy. The regional mint and cassis were still in abundance although the house style big tannins were starting to dominate the finish. Comment was made on the alcohol level of this wine (15.0%) although it didn't express itself with any heat on the finish. A few stories brought to the fore the disappointing loss of artisans throughout the wine and food industry. These small producers, who own significant assets, are to be admired for retaining them and providing us with their individual products.

With the cheese we saw a move to much bigger wines. Both the 2011 Lowe Mudgee Blue Shiraz Cabernet and the 2014 Duval Plexus were Shiraz based and reflected an Australian preference for making this variety in the rich, ripe, tannic style. The Lowe wine was starting to show its age already and drying out and lacked the fruit balance that the 20% Cabernet might have brought. The Duval (52% Shiraz, 30% Grenache and 18% Mataro), on the other hand, was still young, freshness and quite raw. It was dominated by oak and lacked the cherry and raspberry fruit that one expects from this style. It certainly needs some more time in the cellar to soften out.

Cheese and coffee. Gary Linnane treated the room this week to a society favourite Ossau Iraty a six-month-old sheep cheese from the Basque region of France.

Ossau Iraty production is claimed to be the oldest surviving tradition in the world, with records dating back more than 4000 years. AOC controls were introduced in 1980 to protect its future production. Onetik collects milk of the Manech ewes from the shepherds of the high altitude Aldudes valley, an area where dairy production is arduous due to the steep slopes of the mountain pasture.

Ossau Iraty is a lightly pressed cheese with a washed and hand-salted rind that is matured in humid cellars for at least ninety days. The texture of the pâté is supple and oily; its flavour is generous and well-rounded delivering a nutty, fruity and almost olive-like profile. This is how we saw the cheese today.

Mark served it with crostini and black currant jam

Spencer Ferrier continued world tour of coffee this time from Rwanda East Africa. It had  a strong flavour however SF thought it a bit hard with some bitterness.


7 May 2019 - CoTD Paul Thorne

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Paul Thorne was in the kitchen today assisted by Matthew Holmes and Nick Reynolds.

Our three waitresses today from REX were all dressed in black and red in preparation for the REX Spanish night at the conclusion of the Wine and Food Society lunch. A nice touch for the day.

Canapés. Three canapés before the main are becoming somewhat standard and so again today we had three. First were blinis with crème fraiche and Atlantic salmon. This was followed by mini hamburgers with a filling of caramelised onion and rare beef. Possibly a better term is sliders. Finally, a cauliflower soup or consummate made from duck stock with some cardamom overtones.

The contrast between the three welcoming and the favourite of many were the rare beef sliders.

Aperitif wine. Where to start. Our aperitif today was Pittnauer Perfect Day White 2017 from Austria. It did set the cat amongst the pigeons as they say. The wine was unusual, to say the least with some bottles showing a little cloudiness. To be blunt, it was not well liked by the room and opinion differed as to whether it was faulty or whether it was deliberately made to be a little bit in the orange mode. There was a strong preference for the sherries of the day

Main course. Paul served individual chicken Maryland which had been marinated for 24 hours in buttermilk and star anise and then sou vide. This treatment led to them being succulent and tender. Accompanying the chicken was quinoa, pomegranate, sultanas and pistachios and more. There was also an accompanying relish constituted of capsicum, onion, tomato and some orange zest.

Comments were positive with the only downside being a couple of comments about the main being a little cool.

I felt it was good to be back on the chicken trail.

The Wines.

With main course

Roux Père et Fils Rully Clos des Mollepierres 2013

Pittnauer Pannobile 2014 (Austria)

The French Chardonnay at 6 years of age was drinking at its peak and was arguably the wine of the day. There was some oak evident with overtones of peach and honey. The Austrian wine from the same maker as the aperitif was a completely different kettle of fish. This wine was a blend of Blaufrankisch and Zweigelt the latter a cross of the former in the Pinot Noir style. A beautiful juicy, fresh and drinkable wine for early drinking, as we did.

A good pair

With Cheese.

Kalleske Pirathon Shiraz 2007

Nick O'Leary Shiraz 2009

The Kalleske wine suffered from major bottle variation with a couple of bottles being corked. These were replaced with other wines of a similar vintage.

The Kalleske was for me not particularly enjoyable, being jammy and extracted. Enough said. The Nick O’Leary Shiraz from Canberra district was a far superior wine. The wine had those cool climate Shiraz overtones of spiciness and freshness. A good drink.

Cheese and coffee. The treat of the day was James Healey blowing the budget and serving us the La Luna Holy Goat Brigid’s Well cheese from Castlemaine. Arguably Australia’s most expensive cheese, it is always top shelf and proved so again today. James was overseas for the next 4 weeks, so he definitely left with a bang.

Coffee. By Spencer Ferrier in absentia was from Malawi (a first?). A cooperative sourced bean, it was quite full bodied with a satisfying chocolate finish.

With Paul’s closing comments on his meal, he thanked Matthew, Nick and all staff in the kitchen including the chef, Leo.

30 April 2019 - CoTD Bill Alexiou-Hucker


Our Foodmaster, Bill Alexiou-Hucker, was in the kitchen today for his now famous Greek Easter feast for our April wine lunch. A Greek Easter feast is nothing without a plenitude of food and this lunch fitted the bill. No pun intended!

Canapés. First up Ouzo (of course) cured salmon, piped with Greek yoghurt and capers on cucumber. Followed by keftedes (Greek meatballs) from pork/beef mince mixed with mint, fresh tomato, cumin, onion and fennel seeds. The final serving was a stylish spinach cheese “circular pie”. See the images.

Aperitif wine. To start off proceedings today we had a wine that not many of us would be familiar with, a Hochkirch Riesling from the Grampians or Western district of Victoria. Not a typical Australian Riesling, it was quite full bodied in the mouth, oh so slightly off-dry and a little Alsatian in style. Another Riesling style that divided the room, but I thought a great style to show off yet another vein of what is possible with Riesling in Australia from the multitude of areas in which it is grown.

Main course. Greek Easter = lamb, stupid. Ah, but not a big lump of protein. The lamb was a seven-hour slow roasted lamb shoulder served with and an eggplant and olive stew, spanokorizo (spinach rice), tiropites (cheese triangles) with feta, cheddar, parmesan and egg filling.

Bill had pressed the lamb overnight with bricks to ensure it could be cut and served in serviceable pieces rather than in the slow-cooked pulled meat style. In any case, very tasty lamb well set with the sides.

The Wines.

  • Charles Melton Cabernet 2008
  • Chateau Villa Bel-Air 2008
  • Chateau La Serre 2009
  • Gaja Sito Moresco Langhe 2009
  • Lindemans St George Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
  • Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 1997

Dealing with the wine in pairs, the Charles Melton was pretty much what you would expect from the wine. 2008 was a good year and was a very rich Cabernet showing much ripeness. The Château Villa Bel-Air from Graves was 50% Merlot and could be described as very Bordeaux. Dry, plush and enjoyable.

The Chateau La Serre from St Emilion experienced significant bottle variation. Mine had some stink with the fruit almost totally stripped out. However, after poking my nose into a glass from another table it was again a typical robust Bordeaux wine from the right bank. Whilst not unanimous around the room, the Gaja Sito Langhe from Piedmont was my favoured wine of the day. Not your usual Langhe, the wine, was approximately equal components of Nebbiolo, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The tannins of the Nebbiolo and the savoury characters were very evident. Drinking beautifully.

The final two wines were Australian classics and the Bin 407 at 22 years of age was looking a little tired (or at least the bottle I tried) but still drinking well. The St George at a similar age was in good condition, although the fruit was starting to recede. It was for many the wine of the day.

With the exception of the Charles Melton all wines today were under cork.

Cheese and coffee. James Healey had selected a Meredith goat curd cheese for today. Quite a delicate cheese, it comes in a container where one can spoon it out for spreading on bread. Not the favourite of many, but certainly an interesting variation to our normal weekly cheese.

Coffee. Spencer today provided us with one of his favourite beans, Kenya AA. It also happens to be the favourite of many in the room and it did not let us down with its medium sweet characteristics.

One can simply not finish a Greek feast without accompaniments. Bill provided us with rose water and almond Greek delights, koolouria (Greek Easter biscuits), dried figs and of course a digestive, Masticha from chios and lime.

The feast was true to name, and a good time was had by all. A great effort Bill.