300321chef300321starterx300321starter3300321startery300321cheese2\300321peter manners300321main 1

Food review by James Hill and wine review by Chilly Hargrave


Our President Nick Reynolds was in the kitchen for our monthly wine tasting.

The theme ‘all-white wine’ would be a challenge for most chefs however Nick took the challenge and produced a great meal for us today.

Wines tasted today were a vertical tasting Tyrrell’s Vat 1 from 2018 to 1998.

Members commented on how fortunate we were to be able to hold a tasting of this quality, indeed probably unique to Australia.


To match a brace of Pinot aperitif wine Paul Thorne was up first with his signature consommé of duck with orange zest.

The consommé had great flavour, concentration and mouthfeel. Perfect.

Nick followed up with Peking duck pancakes. The duck breast was cooked sous vide in its juices with hoisin, shaoxing wine, five spice powder, ginger and garlic powder. He then seared them on the hot plate. It was pink, moist and full of flavour. Nick sourced some thin pancakes from a local Asian deli as well as an umami bomb of Peking duck sauce and served the duck with cucumber and shallot. It was as good as you’d get at your favourite Chinese. Members were looking for more!

A great lead in to our main course.

Main course.

There was a lot of preparation evident on today’s meal.

Nick had made seafood sausages with salmon, smoked trout, pork back fat, cream, chives, and egg white.

They were rich, moist and flavoursome with good texture and came to the table at the right heat.

Nick served these with a warm potato salad of pickles, red onion and mayonnaise. Nestled nearby was some caramelised onion and a simply-dressed mixed lettuce salad.

It was a great combination and went perfectly with the wines today and many comments on the quality and taste of the meal. Calls were made for inclusion as a Chef of the Year contender this year.


Our Cheesemaster James Healey presented ‘Le Marquis Brie’ for our cheese course today. Origin Ile de France (a region in north-central France surrounding Paris.)

A farmhouse white mould, made with cow’s milk.

In France, it is increasingly hard to find farmhouse cheeses 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, specially selected by Will Studd is a wonderful exception. It is handmade in a modern purpose-built ‘fermier’ that lives in the shade of the Rambouillet deer forest south-west of Paris. Le Marquis is made with fresh pasteurised milk sourced exclusively from a small herd of pampered Friesian cows. The unique combination of moulds, cultures and traditional popular wood box helps ensure the chalky centre of the young cheese slowly breaks down to a soft gooey texture over 3 to 4 weeks of careful ripening. One can tell when Le Marquis Brie is at its optimum because it has a distinctive 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.

With the cheese, Nick served figs drizzled with a special balsamic vinegar that he purchased in Modena.

It was Peter Mannners’ birthday. A lot of us can hope to be cooking for our Society at 97 years of age, Peter provided a Cockburn’s tawny port to go with our coffee and we finished lunch with a rousing rendition the birthday song and a smile.


Today’s wine lunch was an All White affair with a selection of vintages of the iconic Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillon.

Consequently, the aperitif wines were a pair of Pinot Noirs to avoid the Society’s well-known symptoms of tannin withdrawal. A 2013 Seville Estate Pinot Noir was certainly on the money with tannin. Still showing varietal fruit aromas it was losing a little flavour of the palate with a dry finish. Continuing the theme we had a 2010 Tyrrell’s Vat 6 Pinot Noir. After 11 years, the wine had softened significantly with fine tannins and a pleasing texture.

Once we sat down we started on the prepoured Tyrrell’s Semillons. The first was a young 2018 (12.0% alcohol). Still very primary with obvious SO2 aromas. Still, with locked in ferment esters it was perhaps a little on the commercial side. Acids were quite soft with the expected lean palate. The 2014 (11.5% alcohol) was a step up in quality and the preferred wine for many in the room. The aromas were starting to show development although there was still a whiff of sulphur dioxide. A great fruit profile was balanced with structure and acidity. A wine with wonderful purity and length.

To finish the wines from the decade we tasted from the 2012 (10.5% alcohol) vintage. With an alcohol and acidity that we have traditionally seem from the Hunter, it showed some dusty, mulberry, green notes with a lean palate. The 2007 (12.0% alcohol) which followed, was a return to the bigger style. Very much in the toasty, aged Hunter style, it was still bright in the mouth with a fruit richness complemented by a slightly phenolic finish.

The final two wines were starting to show their age. Although the 2004 (10.2% alcohol) was under screw cap it was showing honeyed notes and a suspicion of oak. The flavours had diminished which left an acid finish. The 1998 (10.4% alcohol) was under cork and there was a slight variation between bottles. The best showed aged buttered toast notes and some aldehyde. The palate, however, was still bright with excellent structure and a fine fruit/acid balance.

A truly fantastic experience showcasing Tyrrell’s, Semillon, the Hunter and a spread of 23 vintages. A unique tasting that should have drawn a full house.