As in past years, the November lunch followed the Annual Meeting of the Society and was held in the Long Room. It was very special day for our new president Alex Gillon attending his first lunch as president, which was well attended with 209 members and guests in the Long Room. Our special thanks to Ian Johnson for his outstanding efforts over the past seven years. Speaking with members who were seated at tables in the eating section under the lower ceiling, they all reported the position was adequate and could see the speakers and hear the addresses even though at times it was a little noisy. It was certainly a busy day with a large function in the Dinning Room, a one day cricket match between Victoria and New South Wales and a function in our room for dinner.
Our wines were from Voyager Estate in the Margaret River region of Western Australia. The wine served with canapés was a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and was cool and fruity to accompany the beautiful food. Because so many people were present it was difficult for all to receive these beautiful canapés. We then sat down to an excellent start to lunch and were served a smoked salmon terrine held together with caper butter, pickled beetroot and horseradish. A very tasty and excellently presented entrée accompanied by two excellent white wines, a Chenin Blanc and a very tasty Cardonnay.
The main course was a delight with a very tender poached baby beef in an exotic mushroom consommé and polenta. To this dish was added a side plate of Green asparagus and lemon oil. To accompany this dish we were served a Shiraz and a Cabernet Merlot to show us a variety of their styles of red wines produced. The next wine served was a selected vintage Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot and an excellent example of the style of wine from the area with a bit of age. This wine was a very good match with the sample of Woodside Blue Tongue cheese garnished with celery leaf and walnut vinaigrette.
Desert followed and was a yoghurt panna cotta with watermelon sorbet, orange dust and basil syrup. To continue with the theme David Fyffe had selected a Amberley Maragret River Noblesse which was a young but enjoyable sample of this wine style to round off the day. Then came the surprise of the day with a beautifully prepared mud cake from the staff of Spotless/Epicure in the form of a giant wine bottle. I hope all sampled the cake because it was a beautiful accompaniment to coffee.
The day was interspursed with speeches from our news president, Alex Gillon, and included many thanks and presentations to our retiring president Ian Johnson and his wife Jill for all their hard and excellent work. Then we had very informing words from Cliff Royal the head wine maker at Voyager Estate as he spoke about the territory and their ability to produce excellent wine at a competitive price for the world market. Not to be left out was the presentation from our guest chefs Marco Doganieri and Deniz Karca as they explained their presentations and were able to answer questions from those present. I think it is always a pleasure to hear from the chefs about their presentation and how easy they make it all sound.
The October lunch was our sample of international flavours for the year where we explored the food and wines from France. As this lunch is always well attended it was necessary to move to the Members' Dining Room, with drinks served beforehand in the Long Room. It was also necessary to move because the latter was needed for the one day cricket match between Victoria and West Australia. Many members enjoyed this game after our function because it was a bright sunny day and most were in a relaxed state to enjoy the good cricket.
Our day commenced with a sparkling Traditional Vouvray by Mark Bredif which tasted well and combined beautifully with the excellent variety of canapés. The staff had used a variety covering oysters, asparagus and duck as their base and these were combined with a range of sauces. Then followed an excellent entrée where the chef was able to present a stunning combination of salmon and scallop encased by le Champagne beurre blanc and accompanied by an Attitude Sauvignon and a Hugel Gentil Alsace. These wines were most enjoyable and combined perfectly with the stunning food and brilliant presentation.
Next we were served the main course and, for those who enjoy rabbit, were treated to a very delicious Rabbit galantine with spinach and veal bourguignon. This was beautifully presented and combined well with the lighter red wines being a Georges Dubouef Beaujolais and E Guigal Cotes du Rhone. Both were excellent examples of their style of wine and pleasant to drink with the food. It was a change from our heavier red wines and these both combined well with the main course.
As we are accustomed, we followed with cheese and were treated with a combination of Blue cheese with lavosh and a Semi-hard cheese steeped in brandy accompanied by a Rothschild Bordeaux Reserve Speciale. All these choices were delightful and we thank our Guest Chef Michael Zandegu for the special treatment of this dish and the entertaining explanation. We were treated with excellent food and a very interesting and humorous comment about how the lunch had been prepared.
Then to complete the eating we were presented with a sumptuous dessert of crème brule with honey and almond trulee. This was exciting and enjoyed by all I saw and hopefully all in the room. Lunch concluded with coffee, tea and an interesting assortment of les petitis fours
A strong contingent of 205 members and guests enjoyed their lunch and were well informed about the wines by Stuart Hill from our imported and supplier. Stuart gave an entertaining and informative description about the wines, their source and why they were a good representative sample of the areas in which they were grown. This was to include a general idea as to the climate and terrain in which they were grown and how they reflected the charactics of their area.
The September lunch excelled and was enjoyed as much as any lunch which had been held in many years, as around 150 guests and their members arrived on Grand Final week in the Long Room. With numbers slightly less than recent functions we easily fitted in to our traditional home and allowed the staff to provide a combination of great service with a great selection of food and wine. Joe, David and Ian excelled themselves to help the staff with their choices on such a busy week. They were not let down by our Guest Chefs, Jon Bussell and Shaun Crossling, who, with their staff of talented apprentices, produced an excellent range of food and a more entertaining description which left very little to explain. They were very complimentary to the staff that had helped on such a busy week.
Moving away from the traditional heavier meats the meal was seafood beautifully presented and matched with the wines. An interesting and delightful selection of Canapés accompanied the No1 Cuvee NV from New Zealand which was followed by a selection of Sauvignon Blancs also from New Zealand. These were presented with the Bouillabaisse and the Entrée of lightly poached salmon. It was pleasing to hear the excellent feedback on the Bouillabaisse which was a real hit with those present. The main course was beautifully cooked and presented with a choice of two Cardonnays one from Saltram a Mamre Brook and an older Nobilo. These wines are very much a personal preference but enjoyed by myself and went very well with the fish.
The show piece wines for the day were definitely the Shiraz one from Rosemount Show Reserve and the second a real gift being the Beringer Blass Platinum. Both these heavy reds improved as the day allowed some air to get to the wine as it stood in glasses on the table. An option wine was also presented and being a very drinkable Shiraz from Shadowfax fitted well with those present and the interesting selection of Goats Cheese with black olive oil and pine nuts. The desert then followed and was a delicious selection of Passionfruit curd with rice pudding and shortbread. The day concluded by tea and coffee and a great selection of petit fours, tuiles and macaroons. For those who enjoy a desert wine there was a lovely Dr Loosen Riesling Kabinett.
As usual the afternoon ran smoothly with interesting woods from our President Ian Johnson, knowledgeable presentations about the wines from David Fyffe and good advice from Joe Rotblat the final member of our team who helped with the selection of excellent wines from the cellar.
Around 180 guests and their members arrived on the last Wednesday in July to help celebrate a memorable lunch provided by our Guest Chefs Shandelle Moore and Renee Guymer.
These girls have charmed our taste buds previously winning our best chef award last year. They did not disappoint on this lovely Melbourne day whilst we enjoyed a variety of Asian inspired Canapés and an Ocean Trio of Oyster, Scallop and Prawns to accompany our selection of white wines.
These also were a variety with a Wirra Wirra Riesling to commence and then two very different varieties from Chapel Hill showing us samples of Pinot Grigio and Verdelho.
The main course was more traditional when a beautifully prepared loin of Lamb arrived covered by a light rich Shiraz jus served with tomato, fetta and kalamata olive salad.
Matched with the main were two red wines from Wirra Wirra, one a Shiraz Viognier, and the other a Cabinet Shiraz Merlot both from their 2005 vintage.
Then followed a combination of cheese with King Island triple cream brie and Surprise Bay cheddar offset by the 2004 Chapel Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine also helped to digest a Traditional golden syrup pudding which has always been a favorite of mine.
A Chapel Hill Tawny Port was presented to those who required more and to accompany their coffees and teas which were presented with the beautiful Spanish donuts served with warm chocolate pots.
The girls spoke with great enthusiasm about their excellent lunch providing both help and incite into the preparation and presentation. As usual our president Ian Johnson was expert with setting the scene for the day and introducing our guests from both Chapel Hill and Wirra Wirra.
We were honored with both MD Jim Humphreys and winemaker Samantha Connew who both spoke with great knowledge and enthusiasm about their product and how they see the challenges for the future.
What a great celebration we had to complete twenty years when 320 Members and Guests filled the Dining Room on the last Wednesday night in June. We welcomed Brian & Pam Adams who have enjoyed retiring to the country, building a home and growing olive trees. This appears to have helped Brian with his wonderful way with words as he spoke to us about our history and past events. It was a pleasure to have our author Keith Dunstan and Marie to help us celebrate. Keith was kept busy during the evening signing books as a memento of the evening and a record of the first twenty years of the Long Room Wine & Food Society. We were joined in our celebration by many distinguished guests from the Melbourne Cricket Club and several representing our caters Spotless/Epicure. Many thanks to those concerned for organizing a wonderful dinner and celebration.
As usual an excellent match was achieved between wines and food. Many thanks to David Fyffe and Penfolds for choosing to unlock their cellars for our excellent vintage reds. The sparkling was an interesting combination and enjoyable with the delicious Canapés and again David produced an excellent Sherry to accompany the Appetiser. Then followed an exceptional Entrée of crayfish & sorbet which combined perfectly with the selection of Riesling & Chardonnay from Penfold.
The beautiful veal medallions went perfectly with the 389 Cabernet Shiraz and the Bin 28. Then came the exquisite 707 to accompany the combination of hard and soft cheese which was delivered in perfect mouthwatering condition. For those who could continue with more, a very tasty desert of a small chocolate pudding was served with a GR113 Rare Muscat. Not to be the end because those who enjoy a glass of Port were to receive a Grandfather with their coffee and chocolates.
Again our President Ian Johnson was a master with his presentation and was supported during the evening by Michael Roberts who interviewed our guest winemaker Steve Lienert. Steve spoke with great knowledge and authority about the wines we had drunk for the evening, past vintages and our expectation for the future from his company.
We must thank our Guest Chef Adrian Tobin who very kindly came from the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Perth to work with Jeremy Woods & the dedicated staff at the MCC. Again all were entertained as they heard how the food for the evening had been sourced, prepared and served. This always amazes me how accomplished the chef’s are because it is an area which requires great knowledge and expertise.
On a bright sunny day in Melbourne it was a pleasure to be behind the glass in the atrium at the MCG. This is where we enjoyed drinks and canapés before lunch in May.
The canapés were enjoyable being a selection of vegetables and prawns covered in tempura batter and an assortment of house-made sushi nigiri and nori rolls. Some present were game and tried the Japanese Saki but most preferred the Gewurztraminer from Delatite which was an excellent example.
The day got even better with an exciting selection of Asian-inspired foods covering san choi bow for appetiser, a combination of marinated quail, Morton Bay Bugs, soft shell crab and barbecue goose as a selection for entrée.
Then followed a main course of plum-glazed crispy duck and Peking duck with Asian greens and plain rice. A plate containing Piano Hill Ironstone extra cheese was perfect for the palate and gets everybody ready for the options game with a 2001 Cabernet Merlot from Moss Brothers in Margaret River.
Concluding the eating was a beautiful desert including cool marinated logans with ginger wine sabayon and almond tuille. This was a perfect end for the food and the lunch was a real credit to our Guest Chefs Jeremy Woods, ably helped by Sam Wong.
Jeremy was most explicit about the menu therefore the guests struggled with questions and Laurie had great difficulty finding a negative thought about the food.
Accompanying the food were wines from our cellar and David had selected two white wines and two red wines. The whites were a Pinot Gris from Bay of Fires and a Riesling from Skillogalee in the Clare Valley. Both wines combined perfectly with the food with the later showing more age than its years suggested.
A small amount of the aged 1997 Yarra Burn Pinot Noir was excellent with the main course and contrasted well with the 2006 Carrick Pinot Noir from New Zealand. We thank David for his interesting and knowledgeable words about these wines.
We then sampled a Heathcote Shiraz with our cheese and this provided an excellent example of product from the area. We were privileged to have as our guest Steve Wilkins, the wine maker who spoke with knowledge and enthusiasm about the area and why this was an excellent example which we have chosen as our anniversary wine.
The day concluded with a Moscato from Brown Brothers which was an ideal choice for desert and coffee.