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Thanks to James Hill for his review of the lunch

Josef Condrau was in the kitchen today for our fourth Chef of the Year cook-off.

Canapés. Joseph provided us with three canapés today. The first was blinis topped with salmon roe and creme fraiche. Then followed two different terrines on a baguette the first a pork, duck and cranberry terrine topped with gherkin and the second Iberico pate (Iberico is the famous Spanish black pig) made from pork belly and pork liver with sherry.

All the canapés were tasty and popular and were a good match for the aperitif wine.

Aperitif wine. The aperitif wine today was the Tyrrell's Vat 4 Stevens Semillon 2007. This wine under screwcap was in excellent condition green and gold in colour with fresh citrus and floral characters. The palate showed citrus with great length and acid finish. It showed how well wine can keep under Stelvin.

Members welcomed back a more approachable Sherry, Valdespino Inocente Fino.

Main Course. The day was coolish and a perfect day for a rack of lamb that had been frenched and then baked with garlic, fresh mint and Dijon mustard. The lamb was tenderly cooked just beyond the rare stage. The meat was tender, succulent and a joy. It was served with baked cherry tomatoes with basil, green beans with bacon and fried polenta sticks (the polenta was done with parmesan and then reheated in the oven). Presentation was colourful red yellow and green, the tomatoes and beans crunchy and good. Some thought that perhaps a jus to accompany the meat was needed but the depth of flavour and perfect cooking of the lamb showed it wasn't required. It was one of the most perfect serves of lamb the room has seen and tasted. The lamb was sourced from Vic’s meat and they advised it is obtained from Tasmania.

Well done Josef.

The Wines.

Main course

Alva Castro Dao from Portugal 2009 cork 13% alcohol a blend of Alfrocheiro, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz. A smart wine with sweet fruit character and acid to match the dish.

 Trapio Yecla (Spanish) the is 100% Monastrell grapes from 2008 under cork with 15% alcohol. 

This Monastrell is from free-standing vineyards over 50 years old. Intense cherry red colour, with complex aromas of leather, liquorice, tobacco and minerals, with a wide mouth and a long and intense roasted end. It was well made with great flavour.

While Cabernet is normally the wine we associate and prefer with lamb these wines showed up very well.


We were fortunate today to be able to try both a white and red wine from Priorat in Spain.

Clos Figueras 2016 a Priorat blend of white grapes of Viognier, white Grenache and Chenin Blanc under cork 15% A great textured mouthfeel and acid finish.

Marco Abella Liodana Priorat 2013 under cork 2013 blend of Garnacha and Carignan 14.5% showed red and black fruit flavours and delicate spice notes. Elegant and balanced.

Both wines complemented the cheese.


James Healey presented a Le Gruyere Swiss gruyere unpasteurised (raw) cow's milk.

It came to the table in perfect condition. The pate is slightly grainy with the wonderful complexity of flavours at first fruity then revealing earthy, nutty and sweet characteristics that linger on the palate. Josef served some ripe pear and dates with the cheese.


Spencer showed us decaf Columbian coffee that had some Swiss magic in the process that kept the coffee strongly flavoured and full bodied.