Lunch review by Stephen O'Halloran

Tuesday 10 May delivered to the happy campers of the WFS an excellent afternoon.  Most enjoyable, let’s keep up the good work.

The Food. 

Gary Patterson was our chef today and he along with Peter Karr produced a fine lunch. To begin with, we had some Greek-style pastry envelopes filled with various cheeses, fetta and parmesan. Unfortunately, they were left in the oven too long, resulting in most of them being burnt and dried out.  A pity.  The next pass around was another Greek-inspired creation Spanakopita,  flaky puff pastry filled with Spinach, egg and fetta with a dusting of nutmeg. Delicious.  Very well received.

For the main we enjoyed a pork fillet with a red currant style sauce, cooked to perfection and served with baby spinach, corn and walnut in lime juice, some beautiful florets of cauliflower fried in panko crumbs with egg sitting atop pureed cauliflower and topped off with a sliver of red pepper. Visually excellent and tasted just as good.  The sole negative was the pork being served a little cooler than desirable.  That did not detract at all from the flavour. Scrumptious!

To finish we were treated to an exciting cheese from  Ireland, the famous Cashel Blue from the Tipperary region. A cow's milk cheese three months old.  Just beautiful. Creamy, smooth and most flavoursome. I had it picked as a Gippsland Blue.  They say it is Ireland’s answer to Stilton. For my part, I would prefer it to a Stilton which I often find is a little acrid and too sharp.  A wonderful choice inspired.

The Wines.

We kicked off with a Pewsey Vale Riesling 2006. Glad we did.  A delightful aged Riesling still with plenty of acid and fruit to carry it off the back palate.  Deep straw colour, by no means oxidised, but as a 16-year-old, certainly a drink now proposition.

The second cab off the rank was a  Clyde Park Bannockburn Pinot which I did not enjoy.  Thin, not much flavour a rather sad wine and expensive too!

Speaking personally, I do not like drinking red wine as an aperitif.  We have many wonderful aged  Australian whites, I wish we would stick with them for the pre-lunch drinks.  I do understand that the Cellar Master may have an agenda about making inroads into some stock which needs to be drunk.  I understand the problem if in fact there is one!

 The wines for the main course were terrific. A 2015 Greywacke PN from Marlborough NZ  and a 2014 Shiraz By Farr from Bannockburn. Both excellent. I noted that both wines were almost identical in colour, deep and concreated. The PN illustrated the difference between PN from NZ and the local product. I have always thought that quality PN from the Shaky Isles has a very similar appearance colour-wise to Australian Shiraz.  This wine had great PN taste, clean finish and lots of power to finish off.  13.5 %.

The second main course wine was the Farr 2014 Shiraz, my pick of the wines for today.  Again 13.5%.  Elegant yet powerful, an excellent wine.  With the cheese, we were served a Chardonnay and a  Dolcetto d’Alba. The Chardy was from Scorpo in Mornington 2017 and it was a blockbuster.  Huge oak and fruit flavour, it came storming out of the glass full of buttery overtones, voluptuous in texture, no room here for elegance and balance here.  I really liked it, although it was apparent from several other comments that my view was not universal.  I felt it went very well with the cheese.

The last wine was a Dolcetto 2017 from Paolo Scavino. I understand the word Dolcetto in Italian means” sweet little one.“ There was nothing wrong with the wine, it’s just that I find this grape a little insipid.  It is no doubt the Italian wines are generally food orientated, which is fine, but I felt this wine got lost between the huge Chardy and the very flavoursome cheese.

All in all, a most enjoyable few hours. Looking forward to next week already.