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    2010 Archive

    November Luncheon

    The day commenced with the 22nd Annual General Meeting of the MCC Long Room Wine and Food Society with a report on the past 12 months’ activities, our financial position and election of office bearers for the following year. At the committee meeting in the previous week Stuart Stockdale had been re-elected president of the Society and all other office bearers were elected unopposed.

    Due to unforeseen circumstances the USA Wines planned for the day did not arrive at the MCG despite assurances that they were “on the dock”. However, after some quick work with Epicure we were able to substitute some very good alternatives from our cellar. These wines were matched with the food presented and were of exceptional quality.

    At the conclusion of the AGM, canapés and sparkling wine were served in the Percy Beames Bar. Reports indicated they were a first-class selection of oyster Rockefeller freshly shucked with spinach gratin, a New England clam chowder shooter, crisp corn cakes with tomato, avocado and chive salsa and buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce and crisp green celery hearts. These delicious canapés were a great combination with the Yarra Burn Vintage Blanc de Blanc 2004.

    Lunch was then served in the dining room with 223 members and guests in attendance. The entrée consisted of blue crab and yabby terrine with petite cucumber and a herb and red pepper salad. The wines accompanying were a 2007 Penny’s Hill Red Dot Pinot Grigio from McLaren Vale and a 2007 Mount Riley Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough in New Zealand.

    The main course was complimented by many present who appreciated the quality of the vanilla-roasted Western District pork with hash potatoes and bourbon-infused sauce. The dish was matched with a 2005 Devil’s Lair Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot from Margaret River and a 2003 Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon from South Eastern Australia.

    The cheese was a very enjoyable Cabot Clothbound Cheddar served with new season’s Yarra Valley strawberries and oat biscuits. The cheese was paired with an excellent wine - the 2001 Penfolds RWT Shiraz from Barossa Valley.

    Another beautifully presented dish was pecan pie with apple sorbet and apple crisp. It was matched with a magnificent Baileys of Glenrowan Founder Series Liqueur Muscat NV.

    During the day George Samios from Treasury Wines spoke brilliantly about a wide range of facts and figures concerning the US wine regions and how these were positioned within the world market. George’s speeches were both entertaining and educational and we thank him for his great talent in being able to adapt to the change of wines for the lunch.

    It was a pleasure to have as our guest Mr Michael Thurston, the US Consul General, and it was most unfortunate we were unable to serve him the planned US wines. Also during the lunch we were privileged to have the company of MCC chief Stephen Gough who was able to provide his annual information on the changes and upgrades which were planned for the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

    The last formal item for the day was to introduce Peter Haycroft, who is now executive chef at the MCG. Peter and his team had presented us with this fabulous lunch which was the highest-rated of the year.

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    October Luncheon

    A trip to Tahbilk at Nagambie was the chosen venue for our off-site lunch this year. A day with a variable forecast turned into a very pleasant sunny day and was better out of the cool breeze. Apart from some mild irritation from road work, the bus trip to and fro was both comfortable and easy to enjoy in discussion with fellow travellers. Otherwise it was a good time to catch up with reading.

    After arriving safely at Tahbilk, we were pleased to receive a short welcome and introduction from John Purbrick. We then split into smaller groups for a tour of the historic cellars on the banks of the Goulburn River. These cellars are very old and much of their wine is still made in the traditional ways. However, we saw evidence of where these have been updated with modern equipment and facilities while the very old buildings were still maintained in good working order.

    After our tour of the cellars it was a short walk to the Wetlands Café for a very good lunch. Because the weather was fine the doors were wide open so we could have pre-lunch drinks and canapés on the veranda overlooking the river spur and the wetlands. The Sparkling Marsanne, crème fraiche pin wheel and zucchini fritter were all very tasty and most welcome after our tour of the winery.

    We then sat down at tables for an entree of warm cauliflower and blue cheese quiche, dill pistou and a petite walnut salad. To compliment the food we received two varieties of their famous Tahbilk Marsanne from 2003 and 2010, allowing us to compare a recent vintage with one with a little age. Both these wines combined well with the dish.

    Main course also featured local produce – a roasted rack of lamb with a russet potato gallette, sautéed beans and a red wine jus. Accompanying was the chef’s garden salad, house-baked bread and Tatura butter. This went beautifully with the 1998 and 2007 Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon. All were most enjoyable and presented interesting examples of their new and older wines.

    Cheese was a combination of Alwyn hard goats’ cheese and Jensen’s red washed rind accompanied by fresh fruit, nuts, chutney and crisp bread. Some fine Shiraz from 1999 and 2007, again comparing a recent vintage with an older wine, was great with the cheeses.

    To finish we were offered Toby’s Estate tea and coffee, a shortbread and a glass of 2002 LBVP, a nice Port to complete a delicious lunch.

    During the day John Irvine was an amiable and efficient host and we heard from Hayley Purbrick about Tahbilk marketing and from senior winemaker Alan George. Chef Luke Watson also “faced the music” and enjoyed high praise for his offerings. We thank all the staff who helped to make our day a great success and help celebrate Tahbilk’s 150-year celebrations.

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    September Luncheon

    As in previous years, our September luncheon was brought forward a week to be part of the excitement surrounding the AFL Grand Final. But of course this year the week didn’t conclude on the Saturday with a draw forcing a replay in October.

    This is only of passing interest because a very fine lunch indeed was presented by guest chefs Caleb Osterman and Daniel Swain. The weather on the day was good and the loud grand final rehearsals had been completed the day before so we could enjoy a delicious meal and drink some terrific wines from our cellar. Attendance was again strong, with 188 members and guests keen to be part of the festivities.

    Pre-lunch drinks were served in the Percy Beames Bar in the atrium where a sparkling 1998 Blue Pyrenees Vintage Brut was drinking very well. Accompanying this excellent wine was a range of canapés comprising salty cod, caramelized leek and a blood orange sorbet en croute, a seared scallop on pistachio cream and chorizo crumbs, a spiced green gazpacho and oyster shot and “Spanish brunch” – shaved Jamon on scrambled eggs with red pepper relish.

    We repaired to the Long Room for the entrée, a tapas plate featuring three tastes of Spain – a crispy red snapper fillet on a kingfish salpicon with crispy shrimps and saffron dressing, breast of poussin on braised white beans and dried ham and char-grilled octopus marinated in sherry with chorizo and tomato herb salsa. A shot of Sangria then cleansed the palate.

    While we were savouring this brilliant dish we drank a 2006 Snobs Creek Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and a 2006 Lost Valley Sauvignon Blanc, both of which complemented the food nicely. Tables had been set with bowls of Manzanilla olives, breads and Spanish olive oil to reinforce the theme of the dishes presented.

    Our main course was a Spanish-style duck plate containing sherry-braised duck leg on saffron, tomato chickpea crush with sherry reduction and a duck and date empanada on pea and green pepper puree. This fine dish was combined with a 2003 Snobs Creek Pinot Noir and a 2001 Five Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon. Following the main course we were challenged to identify a mystery red wine which turned out to be a 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot from Mount Langi Ghiran. After several questions the prize was finally won by members of table 11 who were very pleased to claim their prize of a dozen bottles of wine.

    A Spanish Cheese – Valdehierro Manchego with fig paste and watercrackers – continued the food theme of the day. The cheese was accompanied by a highlight of the luncheon and a real treat, a 1998 Wolf Blass Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine lived up to expectations and showed us why it was a Jimmy Watson winner in the past.

    Dessert was a caramelised apple flan with almondcino and spiced cinnamon ice cream, a light and delicious dish served with a 2006 Hollick sweetie, The Nectar, and both were enjoyed by all.

    This year we decided not to have a guest speaker, relying again on the excellent research and knowledge of vice-president David Fyffe to expand on the wines presented. We were also lucky to have committeeman Alex Gillon on hand to comment with authority on his Snobs Creek Wines that were shown on the day.

    To wind proceedings up, our guest chefs spoke informatively and entertainingly about the superb dishes they had prepared. Both Caleb and Daniel were keen to thank the kitchen staff for their efforts in preparing and serving one of the best meals of the year.

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    August Luncheon

    The schedule decreed that it was time we returned to the Yarra Valley again, on this occasion sampling the wines from De Bortoli which were matched with delicious food from Epicure’s Shandelle Moore and Shane Freer.

    Canapés were served in the Percy Beames Bar in the Pavilion atrium and even though it was a very cold day the temperature warmed as the food and wine was served. The canapés consisted of confit duck Waldorf salad in a crisp witlof cup, a Kilpatrick-style Hervey Bay scallop wrapped in crisp pancetta and twice-baked Milawa Blue soufflé with shaved fennel and petite herbs.

    Accompanying the nibbles were two sparklings – De Bortoli Rococo Yarra Valley Blanc de Blanc NV and De Bortoli Rococo Yarra Valley Rose NV, which gave us some interesting contrasts when matched with the food.

    Moving to a much-warmer Long Room for the entree, many were extremely complimentary of the tomato consommé with a poached Port Lincoln kingfish and ocean trout roulade, crème fraiche and caviar. The matching wines were a 2008 De Bortoli Yarra Valley Sauvignon and a 2008 De Bortoli Yarra Valley Chardonnay.

    Main course was a roasted Northern Rivers veal fillet with braised veal shoulder tortellini, pea puree and baby carrots. An enjoyable dish and nicely complemented by the 2007 De Bortoli Melba Lucia Yarra Valley, a Cabernet Sauvignon with seven per cent Sangiovese, and a 2008 De Bortoli Yarra Valley Syrah.

    An apple cider sorbet was an excellent palate-cleanser before the cheese, a Milawa Goat’s Camembert with muscatels, walnut loaf and plum paste. The cheese course was matched with a 2008 De Bortoli Yarra Valley Pinot Noir. Dessert comprised an individual mandarin bombe Alaska with burnt mandarin compote. Complementing the dish was the highly regarded 2007 DeBortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon and very positive feedback was received about this extremely tasty dessert and how well it combined with the wine.

    During lunch it was a pleasure to have as our guest Steve Webber, senior winemaker from DeBortoli. Steve is a very talented winemaker and also a member of the family which owns the organisation, so he had no trouble outlining the history of the company and its operations in various vineyards around the country.

    After lunch our guest chefs discussed how they and their staff had worked very hard over long periods to prepare the delicious food we enjoyed. Thank you, Shandelle and Shane.

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    July Dinner

    The society held two July dinners again this year – the normal function for members on Wednesday the 28th followed next evening by a dinner for waiting list candidates and their guests. Both dinners featured wines from the Constellation group per medium of Tintara, which was part of the Hardy range before Constellation bought out the family’s interests.

    The wine offering was somewhat different. All were red with the exception of the sparkling served on arrival in the Long Room, a 2004 Sir James Pinot Chardonnay which worked well with a tasty array of canapés comprising Tom Yum-infused prawn toast with nam jim dipping sauce, crunchy pork noodle dumplings with a warm cider and horseradish sauce and Pumpernickel bread topped with whipped goat’s cheese and fresh pear.

    Dinner was then served in the Members Dining Room, commencing with a delicious entrée of
    open red wine-braised rabbit pithivier served with a carrot and saffron reduction and micro herb salad.
    It was accompanied by a 2006 McLaren Vale Shiraz and a 2007 McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon with comments from the floor praising the standard of the dish and the matching of the wines.

    Main course was a duo of Onkaparinga venison – oven-roasted gourmet eye fillet and slow-cooked venison shank in chocolate sauce presented with a parsnip puree and wild mushroom fricassee and baby winter vegetables. A big meat dish by any measure, it was very enjoyable despite the richness. Accompanying were two single-vineyard reds, Tintara’s premier wines. They were a 2004 Upper Tintara Shiraz and a 2004 McLaren Flat Shiraz. To assist guests and staff, tables were restricted to eight with table mats featuring the names of the wines in the order they were served.

    The third single-vineyard Shiraz – a 2004 Blewett Springs Shiraz – was served with the cheese, a twice-baked goat’s cheese soufflé with a reduced red pepper essence. It was an unusual way of serving cheese but the dish paired well with the Shiraz. All the single-vineyard wines had been decanted before dinner to ensure they were at their best.

    Dessert was a rich coffee and caramel crème brulee served with a drunken Black Forest pear. The dish was accompanied by a glass of Chateau Reynella 16-year-old Tawny which, as Tintara chief winemaker Paul Lapsley explained, was a blend of wine components from many vintages with an average age of 16 years.

    Throughout both evenings Paul spoke entertainingly about the fine wines we had tasted and with great knowledge of the history of the company as one of the oldest wineries in Australia. He covered his subjects very well because there was hardly a question asked on either night. It was a similar situation with guest chef Ian Pickersgill who had prepared a top-flight meal for about 400 guests over both nights. Service was excellent and we extend our thanks to all the Epicure staff who helped to make both functions a success.

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    June Luncheon

    The June luncheon was scheduled for the Long Room but first we enjoyed drinks and canapés in the Percy Beames Bar where there was sufficient sunshine peeping through to make the space nice and warm.

    The Sir James Sparkling Shiraz was very enjoyable with a delicious array of canapés – a ragout of wild rabbit with thyme cream sauce in a pastry cup, a demitasse of forest mushroom fricassee topped with truffle foam and chicken pate with cranberry sauce on crisp sour dough. The excellent match of food and wine was enhanced by having a plentiful supply of both.

    Lunch was then presented in the Long Room as we sat down to some introductory comments from president Stuart Stockdale. Entrée was a very tasty dish of sauteed Hervey Bay sea scallops on pan-fried chorizo, smokey baba ghanoush with romesco sauce and crisp pancetta.

    The Rutherglen area is not so well known for its white wines but the Campbells offerings were very drinkable, and the 2009 Trebbiano and 2008 Viognier went extremely well with the beautiful scallops dish.

    The main course was titled Best of Victorian Beef and consisted of Wagyu beef cheek tortellini tossed in parsley butter and served on celeriac puree, a beef and Guinness sausage served on creamy mash with caramelised onions and some Gippsland eye fillet with sautéed spinach and house-made tomato relish.

    Accompanying were a couple of the more traditional Rutherglen red wines – a 2008 Campbells Bobbie Burns Shiraz and a 2006 Campbells The Brothers Shiraz. Another fine red wine in the 1998 The Barkly Durif was served with the cheese, a combination of King Island Dairy Stormy Washed Rind and Black Label Cloth Mature Cheddar with fig paste, muscatels, fruit loaf and crackers.

    A delicious Bacchus Marsh pear and rhubarb strudel with brandy anglaise, vanilla bean ice-cream and caramel snap followed for dessert. This was matched with a beautiful Campbells Classic Rutherglen Muscat which is a wine most know from the area.

    Guest of honour Colin Campbell, a fourth generation winemaker from his family, spoke of the Campbell family’s history on the land at Rutherglen and commented on the wines being served.

    The company is celebrating 140 years in the industry and Campbells has recently formed an association with other family-owned winemakers in Australia which they believe will help with their efforts to maintain the standard of wine and increase sales. They recently embarked on a successful trip to the UK to help expand their export markets.

    As expected, Colin’s in-depth knowledge of the wines was exceptional and delivered in a concise and interesting format. A series of questions followed and were answered in detail.

    Guest chefs Stephen Moloney and Marco Doganiere were also concise and informative about the brilliant food they had prepared and answered several questions from members and guests and an inquisitive president!

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    May Luncheon

    I’m pleased to report another strong attendance for our May luncheon when numbers were similar to last year and 180 members and guests enjoyed drinks in the Percy Beames Bar before adjourning to the Long Room.

    An excellent menu had been prepared by guest chefs Jeremy Woods and Greg McClure and the dishes combined beautifully with the wines from Dominique Portet in the Yarra Valley. The winery was represented by Dominique and his marketing agents Natasha and Peter Johns from Deja vu Wines.

    Dominique spoke interestingly about his wines and the colourful trail from France to Taltarni in the Pyrenees region and his experiences with other wineries before establishing his own winery in the Yarra Valley.

    While canapés were served in the Beames Bar we enjoyed intermittent sunshine and the last glimmers of a Melbourne autumn as we experienced a small amount of sun. On offer were crisp artichoke and crepe with fresh rosemary, locally caught salt and pepper calamari, Wagyu bresaola with porcini mushroom cream and red cabbage sprouts and a roasted pepper and Yarra Valley Persian feta tart. All went beautifully with the Dominique Portet sparkling – a NV Brut Rose Pinot Noir Chardonnay.

    Entrée served in the Long Room was an Autumn-inspired seafood plate which contained a gratinated Smokey Bay oyster with sautéed spinach, a Spencer Gulf prawn with buttery bisque sauce and kingfish wrapped in pancetta on a pine mushroom ragout.

    With this delicious starter we sampled two fine whites from the 2009 vintage – the Dominique Portet Fontaine Sauvignon Blanc and the Dominique Portet Yarra Valley Sauvignon Blanc. While wines from the same grape, they came from different areas and were subtly different on both nose and palate. Dominique discussed these nuances with aplomb.

    Main course was one for the meat eaters – Victorian lamb presented three ways. There was a slow-cooked lamb shank with sticky sauce, a pink-roasted cutlet on braised lentils and a baby lamb wellington with baby carrots. Accompaning the meats were a 2008 Dominique Portet Fontaine Cabernet Merlot Shiraz and a 2007 Dominique Portet Yarra Valley Shiraz.

    Cheese was a combination of Yarra Valley Black Savourine and Meredith Dairy Sheep’s Milk Blue with fresh pear and crusty bread. The wine served was a 2006 Dominique Portet Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Dessert was a slowly baked apple with date and walnut stuffing, rum and raisin ice cream and vanilla bean crème. It was a delicious combination of tastes and served with a 2003 Dominique Portet Tasmanian Curvee for those who could still stick to their task. To finish the day there was a choice of Genovese Fair Trade plunger coffee and a selection of Tea Drop teas with chocolate Baileys shots.

    During the cheese course, Dominique spoke of the red wines presented and expounded on his early days in Australia and developing his winemaking skills. He talked about the different types of grapes and how conditions in different areas produced different tasting wines.

    Near the end of lunch it was the chefs’ turn to enlighten guests about how they prepared the various dishes. They didn’t give away too many secrets and it never ceases to amaze how the kitchen team and wait staff manage to prepare and serve such fine food for such a large group.

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    April Dinner

    Our annual dinner on the last Wednesday in April was again well supported with 294 members and guests enjoying the excellent setting of the Members Dining Room.

    Guest chefs for the evening were Shaun Crosling and Jon Bussell who prepared a degustation menu of eight courses together with cheese, a palate cleanser and dessert. It was an evening of fine food, good wine and excellent speakers.

    We started in the Long Room with French champagne and canapés, the first three courses of the degustation – Asian braised sticky pork belly with grated apple, a watermelon, tomato and basil kebab and grilled crab and coconut rice cake with chilli jam.

    The canapés combined beautifully with the 1996 Lanson gold Label Champagne. Because the Society has grown considerably, our cellar stocks needed supplementing and Lanson’s 1998 vintage was purchased to top up requirements.

    First course in the Members Dining Room was a vichyssoise of oyster, scented with Noilly Prat. Next came baked Kinkawooka prawns on iceberg lettuce, lemon and spiked mayonnaise. The sixth course was a seafood ceviche flavoured with tomato and coriander.

    Accompanying the food were a 2007 Red Dot Pinot Grigio and a 2002 Dalwhinnie Moonambel Chardonnay Again, we needed a reserve wine and chose a 2005 Ciaverella Oxley Estate Chardonnay.

    The next two courses were a salad of crispy duck tossed with watercress, ginger and sesame dressing followed by a char-grilled beef fillet on celeriac remoulade, served with rosemary-roasted potato and prune jam.

    The red wines were a 1998 Elderton Shiraz and a 2002 Mt Avoca Shiraz. Before these courses were consumed we introduced the 2004 Penfolds Bin 389 which originally was planned to accompany the cheese, a Cropwell Bishop Stilton with a salad of macadamias, drunken raisins and port syrup.

    A palate cleanser of Moroccan mint tea preceded dessert, a steamed apple pudding with fig ice cream, Chantilly cream and a spiced syrup. It was most enjoyable dish, served with a Lauriston Show Muscat which was a fine example of this wine style.

    Our first speaker for the evening was former Foster’s Group CEO Trevor O’Hoy, who entertained the audience with an outline of his pursuits in life through many areas of the alcohol industry and the changes in marketing their products during his 30 years’ experience.

    A small presentation and thanks were made by MCC president David Micklejohn who was present at the dinner with wife Wendy. We were fortunate to have as another special guest Tom Hardy, who recalled the early days of the Society and later spoke of the wines presented that evening.

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    March Luncheon

    At the Society’s March luncheon we were treated to a special menu from guest chef Blair Humphrey which had been prepared for the Clubs Victoria Chef’s Table culinary competition, with Blair representing the MCC. The food was served in the Long Room to 209 members and guests on a bright, sunny and warm afternoon and matched with wines from Swings & Roundabouts in West Australia.

    Canapés were served in the Percy Beames Bar in the atrium. The three offerings were gazpachio shooters with salt and pepper shrimp, little filo parcels and blue eye brandade croquettes with saffron aioli. These were accompanied by a Kiss Chasey Premium White, a light and fruity still white wine.

    We moved into the Long Room for the entrée, a local bouillabaisse which contained Victorian red mullet, flathead and mussels in tomato and saffron broth with scallop tortellini and tarragon. The wines were a 2009 Swings & Roundabout Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and a 2009 Swings & Roundabouts Chardonnay.

    The main course was twice-cooked High Country pork belly with pig’s trotter croquette, young pea puree, green papaya salad and star anise glace. The wines matching this dish were a 2008 Swings & Roundabouts Shiraz and a 2004 Swings & Roundabouts Shiraz Viognier.

    Then followed cheese, a Western Australian old vintage black wax cheddar with cabernet paste, dried muscatels, fresh pear, candied walnuts, lavosh and house-made oat biscuits. To complement the dish we enjoyed a 2008 Swings & Roundabouts Cabernet Merlot.

    Dessert was a Yarra Valley chocolate tart comprising a slow-baked Kennedy & Wilson chocolate tart with passionfruit-poached pear. A Swings & Roundabouts “The Sticky” accompanied.

    We extend our thanks to Paul Birch, operations manager for Swings & Roundabouts who is also a member of their winemaking team. His talk was both informative and enlightening about the company and their wines and how they were forging ahead in Margaret River. We were also entertained by Blair Humphrey who was most helpful in describing how some of his dishes were prepared. We wish him well in the Clubs Victoria competition.

    During the day a special presentation was made to MCC committeeman Peter Mitchell upon his retirement from our committee after many years of service since the early days of the Long Room Wine and Food Society.

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    February Luncheon

    As in previous years, we decided to hold the February luncheon in the Members Dining Room with drinks beforehand in the Percy Beames Bar. It was a beautiful day with the sun shining through all the windows and the staff out on the oval preparing the ground for the forthcoming football season.

    This is a major undertaking whereby they progressively remove the cricket wickets from the centre and transport them to their winter nursery in Yarra Park, ready to be reinstalled next summer.

    At the luncheon we were pleased to savour wines prepared by students and winemakers at Charles Sturt Winery at Wagga, which is part of the university. The winery was well represented by head winemaker Andrew Drumm, and beautiful food was prepared by our guest chef Adriano Biondi from Epicure.

    It was an interesting match of food and wines because we were presented with some unusual dishes and lesser known varieties of wine.

    Canapés comprised a sweet pea panecotta with apple and walnut salad, parmesan-flavoured gnocchi with tomato fondue and crisp basil and a traditional Vietnamese rice paper roll. A very tasty Charles Strut University Pinot Noir Chardonnay accompanied. The wine was young and fruity and proved successful with the canapés.

    Another interesting dish followed for entrée, a salmon and tarragon terrine with cherry tomato compote and beetroot vinaigrette. This was a terrific mixture of flavors and my tomatoes were sweet and delicious and added real flavour to the dish.

    The entrée wines were a 2009 Charles Stuart University Chardonnay and a 2009 Charles Sturt University Pinot Noir Rose. The Chardonnay was young and fruity and not yet released to the public but had won several awards. The Rose was a little different to the norm. For fans of this style of wine it was an excellent example – not too sweet and therefore matched the food well.

    The main course was a duo of pheasant, a combination of roasted breast of pheasant on white bean cassoulet and a confit of pheasant tortellini on pea puree, fondant potato and roasted shallot. Accompanying wines were a 2004 Charles Stuart University Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot and a 2008 Charles Sturt Shiraz. This was a relatively unusual dish and somewhat difficult to match with the wine, but the combination of the young Shiraz and the more mature Cabernet proved most enjoyable.

    Cheese was Red Hill Portsea Picnic with spiced pear paste and whipped Red Hill Brie with house-made fennel seed lavosh. Matching the cheese was the 2006 Charles Sturt University Sparkling Shiraz, a pleasing choice for those partial to this style of wine.
    The next course was perhaps the pick of the day. Dessert comprised an assiette of stone fruit, an apricot crumble, a peach tart and a mango and chocolate slice with vanilla bean ice cream. Charles Sturt University The College Muscat was a fine match, similar in style to the famous wines from Rutherglen.

    Andrew Drumm demonstrated his skills as both winemaker and educator with a very informative talk about the wines and how students were taught to participate in all aspects of the vineyard, as well as being encouraged to use the range of grapes available to make different styles of wine.
    Questions and answers were again a mine of information and we extend our sincere thanks to Andrew. Chef Adriano also showcased his talent in explaining the dishes prepared for his first opportunity to cook for the society.

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    January Luncheon
    Wednesday January 27, 2010

    The society’s Old Bottle Day on January 27 ushered in new year proceedings with another full-house attendance in the Long Room. Restricted to members only, this function goes to a higher plane each year, attracting superb wines of various vintages, many of which would be out of reach at today’s prices.

    With club wine consultant Jeremy Oliver again taking the reins, Chris Davie’s 1986 McWilliam’s Elizabeth Semillon was adjudged best white. But it’s the reds that are the stars of the day.

    David Studham brought along a 1968 Seaview Cab Sav that probably cost three dollars but was in great shape. Other unlikely bottles also gave joy to their owners.

    Not surprisingly, the top red was Peter Armitage’s 1996 Grange. Jeremy rates the ’96 on a par with the 2004 as the best of all Granges. Peter, 66 and even better preserved than his bottle, has been a society member for four years. Runner-up was Gavin Woodruff’s 1977 St Henri and third was Andrew Home’s 1992 Howard Park Cab Merlot.