19 July 2016

19 july 16 COTD 19071619 july 16 Canapes 19 july 16 Tapenade 19 july19 july 16 main 19 july19 july 16 cheese 19 july19 july 16 salad 19 july

During this lunch delivered by James Hill we were reminded that his week marks 100 years since the World War I battles of Fromelles and Pozieres, two of the deadliest and most gruesome in Australimilitary history. Saly media gave it little attention despite the estimate that there were some 5,500 Australian casualties on the first day. Our most senior member, Wal Edwards, provided a stirring ode to one of the darkest days of Australia’s history.

Canapés. James and his trusty aides, James Healey and Paul Ferman, treated us to three choices.  All three were served on the fine bread of Iggy’s of Bronte, the star of Sydney’s bread. Firstly, hot smoked trout with a garlic aioli sauce. This was followed by a red pepper (pimento) mousse of a most startling red/pink colour and (with for those lucky enough to be right place) some chorizo. Finally, an olive tapenade with tuna and anchovy. We were fortunate to have such a fine range of choice and ingredients to start this lunch.

Aperitif wine. As an accompaniment to the canapes we enjoyed a Peter Lehmann Eden Valley Riesling 2008. Under screwcap the 8 yo Riesling was in wonderful condition. Little aging was evident by sight and a lively citrus nose was complemented by a spritely acid mouth feel. Years to go.

Main course.  James presented a meal to appeal to the senses with a range of ingredients on the serving plate. The Poulet Basquaise was a presented using a Maryland cut involving piment d’espelette (a chilli variety from Basque), Bayonne ham (baked and laid over the meal, yummy), chorizo, red peppers and much more. It was served with tiny tomatoes, brown rice and rapini, a green cruciferous vegetable pretty well unknown to most of us. A complex dish well delivered.

The main was an outstanding success measured by the frantic sales of leftover portions.

The wines.

  • Chateau Moulin Haut Villars (Fronsac, Bordeaux) 2010 (cork, 14%)
  • Anne Gros/Jean-Paul Tollot LA 50/50 2012 (Languedoc-Roussillon) (cork, 14%)
  • Macquariedale Estate Reserve Shiraz (Hunter) 2006 (cork, 13.5%)
  • Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (cork, 14%)

Surprisingly the first set were not, with food, not a million miles apart. The Fronsac was predominately Merlot but still had the Bordeaux dusty tannins softened with the grape’s attributes. The Languedoc-Roussillon wine was as the name suggest approximately 50/50 Syrah and Carignan. A spicy, textured, grapey wine which one member described as “pretty”. A style of wine that some will find at odds with the traditional wines kept by the Society. A beauty for our meal.

The Macquariedale was somewhat of a throwback in style and one informed member summed it up with “interesting”. Enough said. The Black Label was, well, a Wynns Black Label. True to style a full flavoured Coonawarra Cabernet with much time left. At 10 years of age very likeable.

Cheese and coffee. Dr Healey served us a Le Marquis Chevre du Pelussin goats’ milk fromage from the Rhone Alps. Almost fully aged it had a wonderful runny perimeter with a creamy texture. A fine cheese served with a fennel, artichoke, parsley and lemon salad.

Spencer Ferrier presented a New Guinea Pearl (or peaberry) coffee. Look at last week’s notes to understand peaberry. A medium bodied style and part of our ongoing education.

12 July 2016

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In history 12 July 1962 marks The Rolling Stones first ever live performance at the Marquee Club, London. The day before they came up with the name The Rollin’ Stones lifted from a Muddy Waters song. They played songs by their heroes Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. The rest is history.

On this occasion Martin McMurray on vocals and his lead guitarist Peter Kelso provided a great meal topped off with lamb rack.

Canapés. We were served two. Firstly, served on bread, smoked salmon with crème fraîche and mayonnaise topped with salmon roe of excellent quality. Then followed a curious spicy cheese based biscuit with Martin’s secret ingredient, Rice Bubbles courtesy of Kellogg's. Interesting.

Aperitif wine. As a starter we enjoyed Tyrrells Stevens Vat 4 Semillon. Under screwcap and at 12% there was no bottle variation and was in the mould of a classic HV Semillon albeit not as dry as some.

Main course.  In a nutshell we enjoyed rack of lamb with a caramelised onion glace sauce with sweet potato/pistachio mash and fennel. The lamb, sourced from across the ditch, was perfectly cooked with an even pink colour. From comments, this applied across the room and an achievement given the challenges of the kitchen arrangements.

The wines.

$1·         Bowen Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (cork, 14.5%)

$1·         Huntington Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (screwcap, 13.8%)

$1·         Chateau Musar Jeune 2010 (Lebanon) (cork, 14%)

$1·         Tyrrells Vat 47 Chardonnay 2007 (screwcap, 14%)

The first two wines were both a wonderful complement for the sweet lamb. However, there were two clear views. The Bowen was a sweeter Coonawarra style that some preferred but some thought the dusty tannins of the Mudgee wine was the more elegance to suit the lamb and showed less alcohol.

A red and a white were served with the cheese. The Chateau Musar was the second wine of this famous Lebanese producer (established 1930) made from Cinsault (sometimes called Blue Imperial in Australia), Syrah and Cabernet. Some were unfamiliar with the maker and one of the Society’s aims is to educate which is a nice fit in this case. Cinsaut is the fourth most widely planted grape variety in France, and is especially important in Languedoc-Roussillon. Most thought it an easy drinking wine being un-oaked with ripe abundant fruit. Not a touch of the jammy characters we often see.

It’s unusual to have a white wine with our cheese but the nine year old Vat 47 was an inspired match with the cheese. This wine under screwcap was in fine form. Stone fruit and well balanced use of oak indicates some time yet to go.

Cheese and coffee. James presented us a Clarines des Perrin cow’s milk washed rind fromage from Franche Comte region on the Swiss border. New to many of us it had a visually attractive golden rind with a buttery reddish texture. Fully ripe. It was served with grapes and walnuts.

Spencer Ferrier presented Tanzania Peaberry coffee. The beans are half the size of a “normal” bean. Medium bodied, floral with a firm chocolate finish.

Detailed note for those with some time on their hands:

Peaberries (also caracol or caracolillo, “little snail” in Spanish) result when the coffee fruit develops a single oval bean rather than the usual pair of flat-sided beans. A half-hearted, vestigial crevice meanders down one side of the little egg-shaped beans. Botanists observe that peaberries develop when only one of two ovaries in the flower are pollinated or accept pollination, thus producing one seed rather than two – an only child, as it were, in a species in which twins are the norm. Since Arabica coffee is self-pollinating (the same flower can impregnate itself) excessive peaberry production is a sign of general infertility of the plant.

 

5 July - A Danish Rave

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To start at the end gives a good idea of this special “Danish Rave” inspired lunch. There was a standing ovation for Goldy and Paul Kuiper’s. There were even hats with horns. Enough said.

CanapesFirstly, hand cured gravlax was served on top of pickled cabbage resting on dark Danish multi grained bread that had been prepared for over a week beforehand and also lightly toasted. Moist and full of flavour.

Secondly, pickled herring mousse served on handmade rye bread. Dressed with small slivers of fresh apple.

Thirdly warmed Danish sausage was served on top of two thin slowly fried potatoes crisps with a dab of Dijon mustard in-between and then topped with pickled cucumber.

The attention to detail was stunning.

Aperitif wine. We started with a Mitchell Watervale Riesling 2008. Very mixed opinions. It was no doubt a local Riesling under screwcap but it lacked a little character and interest. However it all went so not all were underwhelmed. As usual some sherry and a bottle or two of Denmar Chardonnay 2010 saw us through to seating.

Main course. A glance at the photograph above says it all. Beautifully roasted pork with even cooked crisp cracking to die for. Served with red cabbage, boiled potatoes, parsley sauce, rhubarb compote and cucumber.   Danish butter was on offer. No dissenters as to the quality and enjoyment.  

Dessert. Yes a treat from Paul who made and presented us with a light Danish pastry topped with honey, fruits and slivers of nuts. It was warmed before serving. The honey was a sugar replacement making you wonder why sugar is needed at all. Again, much loved by all.

The wines.

$1·         Jamsheed Garden Gully Great Western Syrah 2011

$1·         Cos Pithos Sicilia Pathos Rosso 2011

$1·         Mount Langi Ghiran Cliff Edge Shiraz 2007

$1·         Rosemount Balmoral Shiraz 2007 (special label)

A range of wines that were across the spectrum of depth and style. The Jamsheed was atypical of Great Western despite being made from vines planted in the 1890s. Medium bodied, spicy and a soft finish. The Cos Pithos from Sicily is made in the ancient method using clay amphoras for storage. A blend but 60% Nero d’Avola. A lighter wine in the European mode. Sour cherries, good balance with length that is well matched with food. There were differing opinions to this.

In between the wine sets Goldy had organised to serve three bottles of Aquavit. "Only" 39% alcohol it was rather good. If you had a doze in the taxi/Uber/bus/train on the way home you know why.

The cheese set were very traditional big Aussie wines. The Mount Langi was the lighter and softer of the two but with rich fruit evident. The Rosemount had everything and the kitchen sink of rich fruit. An older fashioned Australian style loved by many the wine had length and structure if not on the edge of jammy. It is the flagship of Rosemount. Both wines well handled the blue cheese.

Cheese and coffee.Our chefs presented us Danish Blue cheese of course. A tangy older fashioned cheese serve with the wonderful breads, a walnut and a rye. Both handmade for the lunch.

Spencer Ferrier presented a Gold Label Vittoria. Whilst a commercial blend it is at the high end of Arabica beans. A good medium bodied end to a wonderful meal.

The ovation for the chefs was heartfelt.

28 June 2016

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James Hill as chef of the day at our wine luncheon delivered a wonderful meal. His compatriots in crime were Gary Linnane and Mark Bradford.

Canape. The first was smoked Snowy Mountain river trout with horseradish on Iggy’s bread. As usual the Iggy’s was crisp, tasty and just bloody delicious. As was the trout. The other was a baked olive dish. A first for most of us it had coriander, orange peel and other stuff. Simple and delicious.

Aperitif wine. A Game of Vat 47’s. Take your pick from maderised 2000’s Chardonnays to medium brown examples. Those who refused to taste dark examples missed some pretty good wines. We also had a couple of bottles of the Vat 47 1999 vintage complete with a Lower Fort Street covering of dust. Both the 1999 and 2000 were under cork the former being in better condition and more consistent.

Main course. Duck but not as know it. A confit duck reminiscent of pulled pork in style was topped with a potato mash. The duck was slow cooked and just wonderful. A delight to dig down and find the duck meat. James served this with slow cooked courgettes with tarragon. Whilst served as a separate dish it went famously when mixed in with the mash and duck. A very good winter dish which we could all equally enjoy in a January heat wave.

The wines – a wine lunch.

$1·         By Farr Sangreal Pinot Noir 2010

$1·         Remoissenet Gevrey-Chambertin 2009

$1·         Craggy Range Calvert Pinot Noir 2009 (Central Otago)

$1·         Tenuta di Ghizzano Veneroso Toscana IGT 2010 (predominately Sangiovese)

$1·         Yannick Amirault Bourgueil la Petite Cave 2009 (Cabernet Franc)

$1·         Tyrrells 4 Acres Shiraz 2007

A fabulous selection of wines. The three Pinots were a class of contrasts. The By Farr was a stand out for many. The Craggy Range was the sweetest of the group. The Tuscan had wonderful Sangiovese savoury overtones and a little sweetness from the (IGT) Cabernet blend. The Bourgueil had very dusty tannin overtones, a classic 100% Cabernet Franc wine. Finally, the Tyrrells wine is one of their finest labels. Some found it underdeveloped and needing more time. Whatever, great fruit and much in front yet to come.

Cheese and coffee. James Hill in his acting Cheesemaster role wrapped around being in the kitchen presented Perezin Millefoglie al Marzemino a semi-hard Italian cheese. Much appreciated by all. Nutty, savoury and more. The salad was Treviso lettuce with fennel, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. A great match for the cheese.

Coffee was a “bitsa”. Bit of this and that.

Lunch 21 June 2016

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James Tinslay ably supported by David Madson attempted to convince the gods of weather that it really was winter with a dish so styled. It still reached 20C in Bridge St despite this.

Canape. We had two. Firstly, an olive tapenade with kale, anchovies an other bits topped with goat’s cheese and served on bread pieces. Then, beef meatballs with a spicy tomato based dipping sauce. Numbers at 31 were low but 120 meatballs and 90 of the tapenade dish went missing before the main.

Aperitif wine. The main aperitif wine was Bernard Fouquet Cuvee de Silex Vouvray. Surprisingly on the sweeter style which has a place but not with these canapes. A few individual bottles including a Tyrrells HVD Vat 4 Semillon 2003 were also served. Apparently for the lucky few who saw it, they thought it was fabulous.

Main course. A rich and spicy middle eastern themed lamb casserole made up the main. The lamb was shoulder lamb and had been slow cooked with masses of cumin, coriander, garlic and garam masala. Tomato was also dominant. The REX kitchen may have hints of a middle eastern market for a few days. Served on sweet potato mash with sugar snap peas it was a winter’s day dish but the gods of weather were not playing ball.

The wines.

$1·        Marina Coppi Catellania Colli Tortonesi Barbera (Piedmont) 2009

$1·        Calo Reserva Tempranillo 2007

$1·        Hardys HRB D646 Shiraz 2008 (McLaren and Clare)

$1·        De Bortoli Yarra Shiraz Viognier 2007

The Coppi Barbera, in retrospect, was the wine of the day. Its drying balance combined with some power on the middle palate made it a winner. The Calo was well known to many members and is a very good example of a true Spanish Tempranillo. Savoury and drinking very well.

The wines to match the cheese were of a big sweet Aussie style beloved by many. The Hardy’s needs more time but is a fine wine just too young. The De Bortoli divided opinions. Maybe the Viognier portion, small though it may be, added a sweetness that turned some off. Overall too sweet for many.

Cheese and coffee. James Hill again in his acting Cheesemaster role served a semi hard Venetian cheese, Perenzin Montasio, an unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese. The Montasio was almost crumbly at 15 months of age with a very thick dark rind. It stood up very well to the very big and rich reds of the final bracket.

Ferrier Spencer returned with the AA Kenya beans which he ensured were used correctly in the coffee’s preparation. The result was a medium bodied but rich and smooth. Enjoyable.

Lunch 14 June 2016

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Paul Ferman, smartly dressed in a beret (well not just a beret), provided local colour to his French countryside inspired meal.

Canape. The first was a classy pork terrine followed by a rustic vegetable soup served in cups. The soup was rich, full of flavour and very filling.

Aperitif wine. We enjoyed the Hugel Gewurztraminer 2012 wine with the usual sherry for those of that ilk.

Main course. The main was a French style braised chicken and vegetable dish. The chicken was on the bone and had great flavour imparted by the on-bone approach and the myriad of vegetables.

The wines.

$1·        Chateau de Pizay Morgon (Beaujolais) 2013

$1·        Glaetzer-Dixon Avance Pinot Noir 2012 (Coal River Valley)

$1·        Christmont La Zona Barbera 2010

$1·        Epilison Barossa Shiraz 2006

The first bracket was interesting in that the Pinot was made in the Beaujolais style. The Morgon (a Cru class) was scented, savoury and so silky smooth. Someone used the term tannins like satin. Much enjoyed and the pick of the day for many. The Pinot had a very similar profile and a damned good lighter weight Tasmanian example.

The cheese wines were a very different act. The La Zona Barbera was dark and brooding but as expected from the variety soft with light tannins. Enjoyable in that style but definitely not be confused with the Piedmont original. The Epilison was again deep coloured in the Barossa style.  Some extra tannic grip may have helped to offset the soft rich fruit. Probably at peak.

Cheese and coffee. James Hill in his acting Cheesemaster role presented Taleggio from Lombardy a cow’s milk cheese. Whilst mild and creamy it was a first class fromage.

Ferrier Spencer was on-site at lunch and introduced his Kenya AA coffee which greatly disappointed him. It was strong with a touch of bitterness. He promises to return with the coffee next week and have a closer look at quantities used in the plunger.

Lunch 7 June 2016

We had the very popular duo of John Rourke and Terry McDowell cooking for us this week.

Canape. We were treated to two very moreish starters with a duck liver mousse on bread rounds and a classic terrine de campagne with cornichons. The duck livers were marinated overnight in milk and made with orange liqueur and topped with onion jam. The pork terrine was made using pig’s belly, chicken liver, brandy, spices and a good wack of muscat. Both wonderful and in very good quantities.

Aperitif wine. To accompany these rich starters Paul served Tim Smith Eden Valley Riesling 2011 and Delatite 'Deadman's Hill' Gewürztraminer 2012. The Riesling was well passed its best and unloved by all. The Delatite however was a fruit driven wine with perfume, spice and a crisp acid finish which went well with the food.

Main course. John selected duck à l'orange as our main. The duck breast and leg joint were sou vide for 24 hours in a marinade including salt and herbs. John explained that the salt component should technically be 15% of the weight of the duck. He lowered that somewhat and was happy with the result. The meat was served with creamed spinach and baked potatoes, parsnip and pumpkin and of course the orange sauce. The meat was tender and moist and attracted praise from the floor.

The wines.

$1·         Palliser Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2010

$1·         Port Phillip Estate (Mornington) Pinot Noir 2010

$1·         Yannick Amirault St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil 2010 (100% Cabernet Franc)

$1·         Majella Coonawarra Cabernet 2002

The two Pinots were a real contrast in style. The NZ came in at 14% and was that sweeter style that New Zealand tends to produce. Many find it hard to go beyond one glass. The Mornington was a lighter, more astringent and savoury. Having said that there was a dichotomy on the preference. At one level they both matched the duck albeit in different ways.

St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil is an appellation in Loire which is predominately Cabernet Franc. The Amirault was a very good example. Drinking well at its peak with perfume on the nose following with some austerity on the palate. A wine style that matches many foods and a style that Australia can’t seem to master. The 12.5% alcohol was welcome. It was overshadowed in fruit by the Majella, a “normal” 14% with lovely Coonawarra fruit on nose and palate. Many commented on the “peppermint patty” nose reminiscent of the famous 1963 Mildara Coonawarra Cabernet. To be unkind many see that as a green fruit fault. Probably the best liked wine of the lunch.

Cheese and coffee. James Hill in his acting Cheesemaster role presented Gippsland Tarago Shadows of Blue. Beautifully crumbly it defied the attempts of each table’s cheese cutter to serve it nicely. This is a top world blue cheese made with Roqueforti mould. Wonderful.

Ferrier Spencer was on-site at lunch and introduced his Kenya AA coffee which greatly disappointed him. It was strong with a touch of bitterness. He promises to return with the coffee and have a closer look at quantities used in the plunger.

Society Hunter Valley Tour. James Hill gave an outline of the Hunter tour planned for members and partners over 23 and 24 September this year. Members will receive a notice and will have the opportunity to register an interest on the Society’s web site.

Lunch 31 May 2016 wine tasting

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Our President Keith Steele was our Chef of the Day for the June wine luncheon assisted on canapes by Gary Patterson. Below is a photo of them in full flight. A fully booked lunch made for a day of great food and wine overseen by our Winemaster Paul Ferman.

As a side line to the main event the President presented the Chef of the Year Runner-Up Award to James Hill. The award was a high end knife to enable James to cook one of his numerous lunches for the Society in 2016.

Canape. We were served two canapes. Firstly pan cooked chicken (hand minced by Keith apparently) and ginger balls accompanied by a chutney sauce. Then came fish cakes comprising smoked rainbow trout, potato and dried herbs lightly covered in breadcrumbs and lightly fried. Both enjoyed with the latter being somewhat of a challenge to remove from the plate in one piece.

Aperitif wine. Paul presented us with aged Tyrrells Vat 1 Semillons from 1991, 1994 and 1997. Whilst the latter was the predominate vintage it was interesting to taste the three vintages. Not everyone had all three and not surprisingly there were poor examples given the 20 year plus age and the cork factor. A worthwhile experience. It raised the question of the results of such a tasting in 10 years when we will have all the Vat 1s under screwcap. Will they develop as well but remove the bottle variation?

Main course. It was a cold, dark and stormy day…. Keith rose the occasion with an appropriate main of lamb forequarter shanks with a sumptuous sauce on potato mash accompanied by beautifully cooked crispy beans. The shanks were initially treated to a spicy rub (a Steele special) and slow cooked. The spicy vegetable sauce included carrots, chickpeas and tomatoes. Very much suited to the day and empty plates were dominant when returned for the kitchen.

The wines.

As a last minute bonus to the wine lunch Ray Healey provided two 2014 Burgundies which we saw at the Burgundy tasting last month in their barrel sample form. Ray now provided the two bottles with pre-bottling treatment.

$1·         Christian Clerget Chambolle-Musigny 2014

$1·         Georges Lignier Chambolle-Musigny 2014

$1·         Prunotto Barolo 2008

$1·         Charles Melton Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

$1·         Houghton Gladstones Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

$1·         Huntington Special Reserve Mudgee Cabernet Sauvignon 2002

$1·         Penfolds Bin 389 2002

The 2014 Burgundies, though decanted, were a little closed but had power with a mouth puckering finish. They both need time of course. Many of those present had little experience with young Burgundy and Ray gave an informative oversight of the wines.

The 2008 Barolo had a somewhat darker rusty tinge in line with expectations and also had already begun to soften. Most enjoyed the savoury character so rare in Australian wines.

The three Cabernets drew differing views. The Melton was surprisingly elegant for a Barossa whilst the Houghton wine was more full bodied and fruity. The Melton was possibly drinking at its peak with the Houghton Gladstones (a high end wine many had not seen before) needing some years to develop in full. The Huntington reportable had some bottle variation but was a medium bodied style and not without elegance and subtly. Three good wines with preference very much personal.

Finally the Bin 389 2002. A member’s favourite it was in wonderful condition just showing what the old Aussie Cabernet Shiraz blend can provide. Blackcurrant, chocolate and sweet fruit and in fine form.

Cheese and coffee. James Healey presented the chef’s favourite, Onetik Ossau Iraty a semi-hard sheep’s milk fromage from the Basque region of France. It is also a favourite of many members with its beautiful supple texture and nutty flavour.

Coffee by Ferrier Spencer via Forsyth Coffee was a Peruvian Andes Santa Martha Estate. It was commented on well and was aromatic, strong and sweet.

CotD 24 May 2016

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This day in 1976 marked the wine tasting event referred to as the Judgement in Paris where French wine judges tasting blind, picked as their top white wine a Californian Chardonnay. Sacré bleu. The French have never been the same since.

Our Food master Nick Reynolds was in the kitchen and managed it pretty well all on his lonesome.

Canape. Nick served a stunning looker (see photo above) of filo pastry cases filled with a mascarpone and feta cheese mix topped with slices of olive and sun-dried tomato. A beautiful mouthful to go with the aperitif wine.

Aperitif wine. After seeing quite a range of post-General Meeting wines Paul served the Richmond Grove Watervale Riesling 2002. Under screwcap it was in excellent condition. Lemony yellow and a complex aromatic nose with polished fruit on the palate. Delicious.

Main course. Nick served slow cooked beef cheeks (8 hours) set on a mash with a powerful and complex dark sauce. The mash, despite many wrong guesses, was from cauliflower with lashings of cream and butter. The sauce was a combination of celery, carrots, onions, PX (of course) and Sangiovese all cooked with the cheeks. This was topped off with slivers of deep fried parsnip. The cheeks were very tender and non-fatty. Comments of “attractive to the eye”, “terrific flavour” and “bloody good” ruled.

The wines.

$1·         Burton Wines McLaren Shiraz 2004

$1·         Schild Estate Barossa Shiraz 2004

$1·         Allegrini La Grola 2010 (Veronese IGT)

$1·         Oliver’s Taranga McLaren Shiraz 2009

The Burton wine was thought soft, elegant, in excellent condition and probably at peak. Some thought it wine of the day. What a contrast to the Schild wine which was extracted and alcoholic. The 14.5% may have a typo for 16.5%.

With the cheese we had another significant comparison. The Veronese wine was predominately Corvina the mainstay grape of Valpolicella. In this case it was an IGT as it had a small proportion of Syrah added. Very soft, mouth filling and with a fruity though dry finish as would be expected. Ideal food wine. The Oliver’s Taranga was thought forward for an 09 and of medium body. It just lacked some middle palate and style.

Cheese and coffee. James Healey presented Grubb Cashel Blue non-pasteurised cows’ milk from Tipperary, Ireland. This cheese was mid-way through its aging process, still firm but starting to soften. It was much enjoyed.

Coffee by Ferrier Spencer via Forsyth Coffee was Kenya Karina Kirinyaga AA. 

CotD 17 May 2016

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After researching famous wine makers and chefs with birthdays on 17 May there was a blank. So Greg Sproule was our Chef of the Day and celebrity of the day.

Canapés. Greg simplified the day with some prosciutto on both crackers and rounds of baguette.

Aperitif wine. A wonderful start with Tyrrells Vat 4 Semillon 2003. Whilst it was under cork there was little bottle variation reported. The quality was high to very good being reflected in the colour.

Main course. Our CoTD served a barely rare lamb neck dish with Tuscan spinach and grilled eggplant accompanied by chimichurri type green sauce. The meat received a mixed reception with many suggesting lamb shoulder and commenting on it tough texture. However, the rich flavour was acknowledged. The recipe was chicory based but as it was not in season the spicy flavour came from radicchio. The green sauce was based on spinach, anchovy, capers, pine nuts, lemon and a touch of red chilli to keep us attentive.

The wines. Paul served a range of richer reds.

$1·         Taylors Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 (Clare)

$1·         Tiefenbrunner Lagrein 2011 (Alto Adige, Trentino-Alto-Adige, Italy)

$1·         Tatachilla Partners McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2001

$1·         Taturry Mosselini Shiraz 2013 (Mornington)

The reds were richer styles to match the lamb. The Lagrein attracted some criticism but was a very northern Italian wine which was incredibly soft and of a fuller style. A first for many members. Great with food. The McLaren Vale red was still drinking well but at its best and fading.

Cheese and coffee. James Healey provided a Berry’s Creek Riverine Blue fromage. A beautiful cheese of quality to match the world’s best. Much loved. A quick hands-up quiz by James left many on the sidelines when the Gippsland buffalo origin was revealed. It was served with a mix of almonds, pomegranate and dates. Lovely.

Coffee from Spencer Ferrier was a Kenya Wanjengi - Muranga AA blend. No one picked it! A very fruity coffee.