75th Anniversary Dinner 19 July 2014
Photos from left to right Present and past presidents, Food masters, Cellar masters,Cheese master, Life members, Ray Healey Life member, past president and cellarmaster.
For a wine and food society to endure for 75 years is pretty amazing, let alone to do so in flourishing order and condition. So there was plenty to celebrate at the Dinner held to commemorate our Society's third quartile.
It took place at the Pullman Quay Grand Hotel at the bottom end of Macquarie Street, and a cheerful but nostalgic crowd of 82 members, former members and guests were present. They included the President, Greg Chugg, and 10 former Presidents (see below), a terrific rollup which is a good indication of the Society's strength.
It was an evening to remember, not so much for the wine and food, which were excellent but not outstanding, but for the number present, the atmosphere in the room and the short but sweet tributes to the Society from luminaries such as Ray Healey, Ted Davis and Mick Dunne and an appropriate toast to the Society by Terry Stapleton, not to mention a bonus effort from Pat Healey representing the "Society widows". There was much moving between tables and cheerful (at times, deafening) interchange of memories and views.
The evening got under way with the 2002 Pol Roger and canapes of little sausage pieces wrapped in prosciutto and a creamy mushroom foam in plastic cups. Sitting down we were regaled with:
A poached quail egg with a mildly spicy crème fraiche, a flavoursome slightly bitter duck tea jelly and a (minute) bit of osietra caviar. Beautifully matched with a slightly sweet but incisive Egon Muller " Schartzhofberger" Riesling; a 2005 Tyrrells Vat 1 semillon was good in its own right but not as sympathetic to the food
Seared Canadian scallops, imberico jamon ham and truffle infused sea urchin butter. The dish was well balanced ,with the scallops a touch overdone; and surprisingly well suited to a 1996 Marc Bredif Vouvray sec, with nice toasted apple notes and still strong acidity.
A grapefruit Campari sorbet refresher, in which the Campari predominated.
20-hour cooked Wagyu beef, topped with specks of bone marrow with porcini mushrooms, cauliflower puree and a bordelaise jus. Terrific flavour and texture in the beef, obviously slow cooked sous vide and seared, with an interesting bracket of big reds; a 2006 Vall Llach "Embruix" Priorat from Spain weighing in at 15.5 % alcohol and our own Penfolds St Henri shiraz, 2002 vintage and no shy flower at 14.5%. The Spanish was a blend with grenache dominant, and was a bit dirty in the mouth, while the St Henri showed full ripe fruit but needing still more time for the tannins to integrate.
A bouche d'affinois surface-ripened cheese from France, with kumara paste, walnut log and lavosh. The accompanying wines were a little disappointing: 1999 Yeringberg Cabernets was mature but with a slight degree of volatility; and the 2000 Ch d'Enclos Pomerol was a solid example of the region without exciting.
A velvet citrus tart, which lived up to its description, with a pineapple wafer and a refreshing lemon curd ice cream. A little numbing for the 2008 Ch Filhot Sauternes served with it, though the wine drunk separately was fine and restrained, still a long way to go.
Tea and coffee with a 1980 Lindemans RF1 vintage port, sweet but some good aged rancio characters coming through; and a Ornellaia grappa, about which "true to style" is the best description.
The former presidents in attendance were ,in descending periods in office: Terry Stapleton (1987-88 and 2004-05); Ted Davis (1989-90); John Edwards (1991-92); John Banks (1995-96); Ray Healey (1997-98); John Rourke (2002-03); Josef Condrau (2006-07); Marcus Bleasel (2008-09); James Hill (2010-11); and Steve Liebeskind (2012-13).