Food review by Robert Wiggins and wine review by Richard Gibson

Wethering Heights revisited

Try as he might, Steve was not able to turn back time or source the lamb that he desperately desired, and therefore had to turn or mimic wethers and hogget into baby lambs.

Baby lambs, like 20+ year-old virgins, just don’t seem to exist anymore, except as a cruel catfishing hoax, or possibly for one of them, in a religious establishment... I’ll let you work out which is which.

It was all mutton dressed up as lamb, but extremely well done; as most gentlemen would not have noticed the difference, except on the extra mastication required to devour Steve’s magnificent creation.

This is not a negative comment on Steve, but a sign of the current times, on being able to source anything from computer chips to baby lamb.  What we took for granted pre covid and Xi, have now proven not to last the test of time.

However, back to the real narrative; the meal.

One outstanding aspect of this meal was the colour.  Steve’s servings were all a mixture of very vibrant, vivid colours creating a very pleasant presentation to the eye. They say you eat with your eyes and this was a feast for the peepers.


Steve opened the affair with 3 tasty canapes:

  • Gravlax on bread rounds topped with dill sauce
  • Goats cheese in pastry shells topped with beetroot chutney
  • Fennel puree on pastry rounds topped with salmon

The two salmon dishes had one on a biscuit and the other on a small slice of bread.

To the untrained eye, the two of them resembled each other, however, in the final analysis by Steve, he was disappointed that the second salmon tidbit was actually a fennel puree, topped with gravlax.  We are very sorry we didn’t pick that up, as we were too busy downing these tasty little devils, which went very well with both the Burings and KC.

The tart with chopped beetroot floating on a bed of goats cheese gave some wonderful additional colour.

The competition for this year’s Chef of the Year should watch out, as Steve has already started sharpening that massive implement he received as his trophy for his win last year in a highly contested field.

The Mains

Now there was a bit of plate envy around the room, with some punters complaining that their neighbours looked better than theirs. There were even allegations of bits of the meat being repurposed for someone else’s plate. Now, this always happens and is especially noticeable when the meal is so good.

Now the main meal consisted of a couple of pieces of rolled loin of lamb, which had been brined, cold smoked and cooked. Steve had used a gun to cold smoke the lamb and the brine was his version of the fountain of youth, trying to turn back time and wethers into a baby lamb.  It was an admirable feat and worked a treat, other than the extra mastication required to consume the lamb.  It was topped with gremolata and a parsnip puree.  One of the standouts of the dish was Steve’s Caponata, which was a very complementary addition to the lamb. There was debate on our table as to whether there was any heat in the Caponata.  Turns out Steve did throw a few chillies into the mix.


Now this one had everyone stumped.  There were many who were determined and certain that it was an Australian goat’s cheese. Turns out the only goat in the room was them.

When James did his big reveal, it took most by surprise, not only due to the French nature (which a few determined, even getting the D’affinois correct, but everyone missed the animal which due to the tone of the meal should have been obvious Sheep’s milk!

It was of course one of the family favourites from BREBIS.


It comes in 1kg wheels, is around 6-8 weeks old and according to James, is an extremely well-priced cheese for the quality that is delivered.

This cheese is made by Fromagerie Guilloteau near Pelussin in the Rhone Valley. This cheese utilises ultra-filtration techniques and modern lactic fermentation techniques to boost the protein and calcium levels in the curd. Made with added cream and ripened for three weeks under a thin white mould rind covering the cheese and gradually develops a mild and rich texture that is savoury, building complexity. These modern lactic fermentation techniques boost the protein and calcium levels in the curd.


The salad consisted of mixed lettuces (including baby spinach and rocket). The salad dressing contained orange juice, honey, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Chilli walnuts were scattered throughout the salad.

Now there were a few members who did not like having a slightly sweet and sour salad.. they wanted it saved for future chicken dishes…they’ll possibly be waiting a long time!

Next week it is the imitable Peter Kelso in the kitchen who will set out to prove that the pan is mightier than the pen. Don’t miss it.  Currently, you cannot visit Japan, so Peter has decided to bring a Nippon flavour to the denizens of the Society.

Dōmo arigatōgozaimasu, sayonara.


Leo Buring Clare Valley Riesling 2014

Nose: The nose of both shows intense zesty citrus (lime/lemon) notes and flinty minerality. 

Plate: The palate displays a depth of citrus fruit (lime) and floral/herbal characters and is clean and dry with some developed toasty/brioche characters with a dry minerally finish.

Penfolds Bin 407 2012

Inspired by the 707, 407 offer similar varietal definition and structure at a lower price; sourced from multi regions; aged 14 mths  in new French oak (22%) and American hogsheads  245L (78%)

Colour:  opaque black colour/ deep dark purple-black hue.

Nose:  blackcurrant and black olive, a hint of violet/liquorice, cedary tobacco and spice.

Palate: Medium to full-bodied the palate has a firm backbone and ample acidity. Flavours of ripe blackcurrant overlay black olives with cedar, tobacco-like characters and spice. Balanced with a long, dry finish;  firm grainy tannins. Very good varietal definition showing concentration and liveliness – but requires time for the tannins to integrate more fully.

Alc 14.5%

Wynns Black Label cabernet 2012

The Black Label Cab Sauvignon has a deserved reputation for producing amazingly consistent varietal and regional characteristics.  The wine is produced only from the top 20-25% of Wynns Coonawarra Cabernet fruit.

Nose: the 2012 displays intense, attractive (developed) ripe dark blackberry fruit and cherry aromas with cassis/spice and chocolate notes. 

Palate: the wine is of medium weight and well balanced with soft ripe fruit with cedar/tobacco notes, fine polished integrated tannins, seamless balance and good length – an elegant seamless wine, aging very gracefully and is likely in the peak drinking window now.

It was considered the best current drinking of the 2 cabernets on the day.

Alc 13.5%

Torbreck – The Struie 2004

The Torbreck is made from fruit grown in the Eden (40 yr old vines) and Barossa (60 yr old vines) valleys.  It was aged for 18 months in seasoned French oak (80%) and new French oak (20%).

Colour;  opaque black/purple fruits

Nose: The wine displayed big, brooding, rich raspberry and plum fruit with choc/ coffee and pepper tones. 

Palate: On the palate - full-bodied,  concentrated, rich, ripe and opulent dark plum/blackberry fruit – but lacks elegance at this stage as fruit too jammy and the firm tannins not fully integrated (there is some ‘heat’) and perhaps there is insufficient acidity to retain freshness.

In summary, the 2004 Torbreck was disappointing – although there is fruit intensity and complexity, it is a massive and somewhat chewy wine at this stage needing time to evolve assuming the acidity lasts that long (in contrast to the attractively drinking balanced 2002 Struie that we tasted last year).

Alc 14.5%

David Reynaud Crozes Hermitage 2011

Crozes-Hermitage is a large northern Rhone appellation producing savoury, well balanced Shiraz wines, which are typically more accessible than the more structured wines produced in Hermitage and Cote Rotie.

The Reynaud “Cuvee Georges Renaud” is produced from low yielding vines (average age 25 years) grown in the Reynaud family bio-dynamically certified vineyards. The soil of Renaud’s vineyards consists of clay and alluvial stone topsoil with a chalky limestone sub-soil, with good natural ground drainage.

Made from 100% Shiraz grapes organically grown, hand-picked with fermentation and (up to 32 days) maceration taking place in open cement tanks. The wine is aged for 12 months in both cement (50%) and old large (600Lt) oak barrels (with sulphur added).

[Note: the “Cuvee Georges Renaud” (as served at WFS) should not be confused with the “David Renaud Crozes”.  The Cuvee comes from the older Dom des Bruyeres vineyard – the entry-level Crozes is produced from younger vines and is completely unoaked].

Colour:  Deep ruby colour with purple hues.

Nose:  The nose displays scents of ripe dark raspberry and cherry, a touch of liquorice and subtle peppery spice. Florally (violets/lavender) edges and some smokey notes

Palate: Light to medium weight the palate possesses flavours of savoury raspberry and cherry fruits;  liquorice and spicy earthiness. Dry, smooth, finely ground, chalky tannins;  a long, clean, minerally finish – a more acid-driven Shiraz than tannin driven.

The 2011 Crozes-Hermitage shows is a classy wine showing great balance and finesse – it is perhaps a good sign of where winemaking is going in the northern Rhone.

It was regarded as the superior of the two Shiraz on the day.

Alc 13%