The year started with the famous “Old Bottle Day” held in the traditional Long Room. This annual event is restricted to members only, and encourages the self-appointed connoisseurs to bring along a white or red wine to enjoy with other members, together with much discussion.
Once again Jeremy Oliver, well-known wine judge and writer, had the difficult job of appraising all the wines and providing excellent comments on the wine and Australian winemaking.
Jeremy made mention that the global warming is having a definite effect on the various locations of Australian wineries with Tasmania getting the benefit of the change.
He also commented on the change of alcohol content noting that Australian vintages used to be 11-12% but nowadays 13% was considered low in Australia. Jeremy also commented that the standard of wines that the members bring to this function is increasing every year. Perhaps the wines are maturing as members get older!
Jeremy’s selections for the best wines of the day were:
1st Ian Johnson
2001 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay
2nd Bryan Humphris
2002 Tin Shed Eden Valley Riesling
3rd Barry and Maureen Moore
2001 Jasper Hill Semillon (a very rare wine, noted Jeremy)
1st Gordon Spence
1991 Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet
2nd Russ Snibson
1998 Drumborg Seppelts Cabernet Henty Winery
Eq.3rd Greg Thompson
1980 Balgownie Cabernet
2001 Pipers Brook Late Harvest Reisling Cuvee Clark
Congratulations to Gordon Spence on his 1991 Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet being adjudged wine of the day. Jeremy commented on the excellent Cabernets that had come forward this year, noting that Shiraz wines had won the coveted trophy for the previous three years.
The members’ day began with canapés in the Percy Beames Bar together with a “sparkling” provided from the society’s cellar.
The Long Room menu featured an entrée of free range Szechuan Peppered Chicken Thigh with Crisp Vegetables and Sticky Soy. It was followed by the outstanding Char-grilled Limestone Coast Beef with Pommes Anna, Buttered Broccolini, Fennel and Salsa Verde, accompanied by a leaf salad.
We finished with traditional fine Victorian cheeses with Cabernet paste, dried muscatels, fresh strawberries, candied walnuts, lavosh and house-made out biscuits.
So the Long Room Food and Wine Society kicked off the 2012 year with a magnificent function, largely thanks to Jeremy Oliver. Our members greatly appreciate his contribution and we also thank Epicure for a quality meal befitting the occasion.
November 2011 Luncheon
It was the end of Spring and what a good time to have spring lamb with wines from Australia, New Zealand, USA and France featured on the society’s annual International Day. The wines surprised some members with their quality and characteristics given so many of us are “dyed in the wool” drinkers of Australian wine!
Our wine and food master Paul Kinross did a fine job in selecting such interesting wines to complement the menu presented by Sam Calderone, who began his apprenticeship with Spotless Catering in 1990. He later worked at the Hotel Regent, Crown Casino, Hayman Island and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Now back with Epicure, Sam is currently sous chef in the MCG Culinary Centre.
We gathered in the Long Room for bubbles and nibbles before adjourning to the Members Dining Room. Canapes were very good, comprising smoked salmon blinis, chicken and pistachio terrine on brioche with red currant jelly, a small beef and Guinness Pie with a tomato and chilli chutney and finally a capsicum, asparagus and smoked cheddar tart. We didn’t need any more than that!
With the canapés we sampled a Dominique Portet Brut Pinot Noir Chardonnay (alc. 13%) from the Yarra Valley – the Australian representative wine for the day. The Brut Rose was a blend of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay. It was a savoury sparkling wine with fresh strawberries and rose petals on the nose before a fresh, dry, creamy finish.
The adventurous entrée was a duo of vitello tonnato with beetroot-cured ocean trout, burnt lime and crispy chilli salad. This combination was well received for the flavours and not too filling as we were looking forward to the Spring Lamb. We headed off to New Zealand for the whites to go with the entrée.
The Amisfield Pinot Gris 2010 (alc. 13.4%) came from a small specialist producer of Central Otago located at Lake Hayes, which is 15 minutes’ drive from Queenstown. The Pinot Gris yields are kept low to provide concentrated fruit flavour and complexity derived from a range of soils within the vineyard. The grapes were hand-picked and whole-bunch pressed, with 30% French barrel fermented resulting in elegant spice, stone fruit pear and quince.
The Kumeu River Esate Chardonnay 2008 (alc. 13.5%) come from Waimauku, near Auckland, and the vinery is famous for wedding receptions. One of the features is an incredible bell tower, traditionally rung 12 times at weddings to offer well wishes for the first 12 months of married life. Once again the grapes were hand-picked and whole-bunch pressed and barrel fermented using about 20% new French oak. Its pronounced passionfruit, ripe white peach and green mango flavours are encased in a creamy texture and lead to a long finish.
Our main was a Dukkah-spiced Murray Valley lamb rack on eggplant puree with roast potato, pumpkin and cherry tomatoes on the vine. The lamb was full of flavour, tender and cooked to perfection. Spring lamb, Murray Valley and an excellent chef with two surprisingly good wines from the USA ensured our members were happy!
The lamb was accompanied by two wines from California’s Sonoma Valley – a Chateau St Jean Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (alc. 14.2%) and a Chateau St Jean Cinq Cepages Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (alc. 14.4%).
Chateau St Jean was founded in 1973 and has built a reputation for making wines of power and elegance, with the Cabernet Sauvignons having won many awards over the years. The 2005 comprised 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The wine was barreled for 15 months in French oak (2/3rd) and American oak (1/3rd). It was concentrated and structured with sweet, dark berry and elegant, round tannins.
The 2004 Cabernet was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot aged separately for two years in French Oak and then blended to create a rich Bordeaux-style wine. It offered aromas of cedar, tobacco leaf, black currants and cherries, a medium to full-bodied red with soft, silky tannins and a moderately long finish.
The Milawa Capricornia goat cheese with fig and walnut loaf, quince paste and grapes was well received at our table. The Milawa Cheese Factory in north-east Victoria is owned by David and Anne Brown. All the cheeses are hand-made at the historic Milawa Butter Factory by traditional methods, without preservatives and using non-animal rennet.
With the cheese came the Chateau du Cedre Cahors Wine from south-west France (alc. 14%). The first wine from this 27-hectare estate was bottled in 1973. In the early nineties the estate moved to organic farming, banning all herbicides and managing to be free of all chemical spraying agents by 2002.
The 2008 Cahors is a blend of 90% Malbec, 5% Merlot and 5% Tannat. It is described as a classic year for Cahors and continuing the high standards set by previous vintages. It is a big, bold wine with copious qualities of layered fruit. It is almost black in colour with full fruit flavours, firm in structure with fine tannins.
We love our desserts and there was no disappointment in the classic crème brulee with fresh seasonal berries and almond biscotti. To add to the enjoyment we stayed in France for the
Chateau Broustet Sauternes 2005 (alc. 14.0%) from the Bordeaux region. The 39.5-acre vineyard is planted 63% Semillon, 25% Sauvignon Blanc and 12% Muscadelle. The wine was a bright, full yellow with perfumed aromas of peach, orange juice and mirabella. Sweet and dense with ripe acidity finish.
We were privileged to hear Dominique Portet’s commentary on the wines as he took us around the vineyards of the world and thank Sam Calderone for his excellent summary of the dishes. Sam showed his appreciation of the support staff by bringing them out of the kitchen to give us the opportunity to acknowledge a good effort all round.
October 2011 Luncheon
In October we welcomed the wines from Cullens of Margaret River, represented by managing director Vanya Cullen whose wines have been noted for their quality and consistency since the first vineyard of 18 acres was planted in 1971.
Cullens have maintained family ownership throughout and the biodynamically grown grapes are sourced exclusively from their Cullen Estate and Mangan vineyards.
The menu looked enticing and the quality of the dishes was impressive, but even more impressive was that it was all made possible by four Epicure apprentices working at the MCG.
Tony Kulaf, a third-year apprentice, had recently won a competition that allowed him to spend a month in Paris. In his second year he was adjudged “Apprentice of the Year” for Spotless.
Martin Raupach is a mature-age second-year pastry apprentice who won two chocolate showpiece competitions earlier this year, while two first-year apprentices, Rhys Hill and Michael Maloni, completed the kitchen foursome.
Well done boys, you did an excellent job.
The canapés could only be described as very special, and some of our oyster lovers could have easily spent the afternoon in the Percy Beames Bar devouring freshly shucked Coffin Bay oysters with traditional dressings and condiments.
Apart from those delicious oysters, we enjoyed Huon smoked salmon with crème fraiche, salad onions and Yarra Valley salmon roe. Also on offer were Peking duck with hoisin sauce and finally crunch pickled carrots and bean shoots with coriander, mint and chilli with a spicy dressing.
With all that you needed the Cullen Margaret River White 2010 (alc.12%), a blend of Sauvigion Blanc and Semillon with a small amount of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Riesling, which added to the complexity and a touch of richness to the middle palate without changing the basic structure of the wine.
The entrée was ale-braised farmed Gippsland rabbit with herb orecchiette, braised juices and parmesan crisp. It was very well received – a real surprise to those who said they didn’t like rabbit. Matching the rabbit were two whites from different vineyards.
The Cullen Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2010 (alc.12%) was 66/34% Sav Blanc/Semillon, aged for five months in French oak, which is a Cullen specialty. The combination provided a subtle and complex blend of citrus and guava fruit aromas with a background of spicy oak.
The Cullen Mangan Sauvignon Blanc Semillon (alc.13%) was a 62/38% blend. The grapes were hand-picked and the wine was of pale straw colour showing attractive lime aromas and a touch of tropical fruit and minerality.
The two whites provided an excellent opportunity to compare the characteristics of the fruit grown on the gravelly soils of the Mangan vineyard versus the more loamy soils of the Cullen vineyards. Our so-called experts voted in favour of the Mangan vineyard.
Then it was onto the main course with some French inspiration coming through the apprentices who served up a sous vide Northern Rivers veal medallion and some slow-cooked shoulder with dried tomato pomme puree, greens and Mount Zero olive crumbs.
Complementing the main were a 2009 Cullen Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot (alc.13%) and a nice blend – the 2009 Cullen Mangan Malbec Petit Verdot Merlot (alc.12.5%). The first wine comprised 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and a small volume (5%) of Petit Verdot to enhance the characteristics. It showed a bouquet of plum and currant with a palate of ripe cherry and firm but soft tannins, with great length.
The Mangan blend was made up of 65% Malbec, 27% Petit Verlot and 10% Merlot, three varieties well suited to Margaret River. The Malbec was dominant in fruit and colour, with the Petit Verdot providing length and texture while the Merlot gave the wine structure. The palate of mulberry and black cherry was backed by excellent fine tannins. The wine was fermented and aged for 12 months, predominantly in used French oak to retain the fruit freshness.
The Western District cheese – L’artisan Timboon Fermier raclette-style – recalled the “Mountain Man”, a washed rind cheese at an earlier luncheon. It is apparent that the young French cheese maker Matthieu Megard is putting his stamp on the cheese industry, producing cheeses of international standard. We appreciate Epicure introducing us to such products.
With the cheese came the day’s highlight, the Cullen Diana Madeline Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (alc.12.5%). This is an outstanding Cullen wine comprising 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec.
Vanya Cullen referred to 2009 as the Mozart vintage because the quality and vibrancy of the fruit produced in 2009 were so good. Fresh red currant flavours with a touch of plum were in perfect balance with firm tannins, great length and persistent flavours.
The dessert was wild strawberry cheesecake with Aceto Balsamico jelly, lemon basil sorbet, wild strawberry paper and chocolate soil. The members were wild about this dish as their ratings indicated.
The final wine was a Cullen Late Harvest Chenin Blanc 2009 (alc.9.5%). Once again the hand-picked fruit was of exceptional quality, reflecting the vintage, as was evident in the wines throughout the function.
The colour was medium gold, sweet in the mouth and perhaps a touch low in acid. In 2009 Cullen decided to make a concerted effort to produce an exceptional dessert wine from a small block of Chenin Blanc, so this wine is a limited release.
Once again we thank the Epicure apprentices and Vanya Cullen for a memorable luncheon.
Special Kitchen Dinner - October 2011
On October 14 we were guests of Epicure for dinner in the Culinary Centre of the MCG. This was the idea of Epicure’s David Mercer to celebrate his firm’s award by Clubs Victoria as the Best Club Restaurant in Victoria for 2010-11.
Epicure went to great lengths to ensure that members would appreciate a fantastic menu accompanied by a selection of wines from leading wineries. The chefs were well known to Society members – MCG executive chef Peter Haycroft and our Chef of the Year for 2007, Jeremy Woods.
The chefs accompanied us on an inspection of three huge preparation kitchens and David followed up with a fascinating insight into the organisation for grand final day when 90 chefs and more than 2000 staff are involved in preparing and serving about 9000 meals.
On arrival we were greeted with a Yarra Burn Blanc de Blanc 2004 (alc. 12%), an all-chardonnay dry sparkling produced by winemaker Mark O’Callaghan who is well known for his sparklings of elegant structure and complex depth.
The entrée was a gem, a Spencer Gulf prawn layered with Western Australian blue swimmer crab with potato crisps, crayfish oil and dill. This went really well with the two Rieslings.
First was a Saltram Mamre Book Riesling 2005 (alc. 11.5%). The fruit was sourced from the Eden and Barossa valleys. It was harvested at night, pressed and cold settled then transferred into stainless steel tanks to undergo cool ferment. The rich palate displayed citrus and melon characters, clean acidity and elegant length.
The other contrasting wine was an Alkoomi Frankland River Riesling 2008 (alc. 12%). WA’s Great Southern region has climatic conditions similar to Bordeaux. These grapes also were picked at night in France and the wine’s pale straw colour carried powerful aromas of sweet citrus and lime blossom.
We then moved onto the main course of a roasted Limestone Coast fillet of beef, tender and flavoursome and served with beetroot relish, hand-picked green beans and butter-roasted potato with a port wine glaze. Who wouldn’t love beef of this quality cooked to perfection and matched with two excellent red wines. No wonder Epicure won that prestigious award.
The first red was a Tyrell’s Vat 8 Shiraz Cabernet 2004 (alc. 13.5%). Rated 94 by James Halliday, it showed the elegance that Tyrell’s achieved with all its 2004 reds, supple and smooth blalckberry and cassis fruit with minimal oak interference. Tyrell’s was established in 1858 and produces 500,000 cases per year.
The other red was the Yarra Ridge Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 (alc. 14%). Yarra Ridge was the brainchild of lawyer Louis Bialkower who purchased the property in 1982 and produced some outstanding wines before selling to Beringer Blass in 1993. Then in 2005 the former Yarra Ridge was purchased by a partnership headed by Rob “Sticks” Dolan, hence the up-and-coming label “Sticks”.
The Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ‘97 was pressed just prior to the end of fermentation and transferred to new French oak followed by 18 months of barrel fermentation. The colour is medium red purple, with a clean attractive red berry bouquet with nicely integrated oak with a long finish and excellent tannins.
The cheese was Timboon Mountain Man, accompanied by quince paste and oat biscuits. Timboon cheese is under the direction of Mathieu Megard whose family has been making cheese in France for three generations. Three years ago Mr Megard heard that National Foods had closed the Timboon cheese factory down, so he seized the opportunity to re-open one of the region’s biggest tourism attractions.
The cheeses he makes include the extravagant Mountain Man, a triple-cream, light-textured washed rind, which was accompanied by the Wolf Blass Platinum Shiraz 2000 (alc.14%). This was the outstanding wine of the evening, a stunning shiraz with fruit sourced from two cool climate vineyards in the Adelaide Hills. It was black crimson in colour and had a superb nose. No surprise to see it rated 98.
To finish we enjoyed a noir chocolate mousse with a raspberry sorbet, burned orange caramel and a brandy snap. How often do we say that an excellent occasion should finish with a Campbells Muscat (alc.17.5%), of deep amber with tawny hues, rich and fresh raisin fruit aromas with great depth? It showed intense fruit with balance and elegance and a luscious lingering finish.
In conclusion, I quote Epicure’s Food Philosophy:
“Great cooking is about selecting the finest quality produce and using it when it is at its best – in season. Where possible, we source and use quality, local produce that is environmentally sustainable, from a known source and cruelty free.”
Thank you, Epicure, for an excellent evening.
September 2011 Luncheon
There was a buzz at the ’G for this function as it was held on the Wednesday prior to the grand final, but this didn’t prevent Epicure and guest chef Shaun Crosling from presenting another outstanding lunch at the headquarters of Australian football.
Following his apprenticeship at the Regent in Melbourne, Shaun moved to the UK gaining experience with Michelin Star establishments such as The Oak Room in London, Le Talboorth in Essex and Scotland’s Greywalls. Shaun has been at the MCC for 10 years and this is the fourth grand final week luncheon he has created.
We met at the Percy Beames Bar for an excellent variety of canapés – French onion upside down soup, salt and pepper turkey with cranberry yoghurt and bubble and squeak with dill sour cream. Another feature spread around the space were the large bowls of sweet potato crisps with green salt.
The wines were from the Society’s cellar and came from a variety of wineries, some with considerable ageing. We were greeted with a Barossa Valley Estate E & E Sparking Shiraz 2001 (alc. 14.2%), made from 100 per cent shiraz and aged in equal proportions of French and American oak of which 30 per cent was new. It was later blended and aged for an additional 12 months in old French oak prior to bottling. The palate was rich dark fruit, coffee and spice and showed the benefit of 10 years’ cellaring.
The entrée was an intriguing plate of a duck filo cigar and giant couscous salad with Middle Eastern accompaniments. The dish went very well with the two white wines.
Yering Farm’s Run Rabbit Run Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (alc. 12.5%) was from the well-known Yarra Valley winery which was Victoria’s first vineyard, planted in 1838 by the Ryrie brothers and later developed by Paul de Castella who extended the vineyard and cultivated varieties from France.
The Sauvignon Blanc was described as an everyday drinking wine, pale straw colour with a touch of green, delicate tropical characteristic and smooth acid balance. However, we are being flooded with excellent sav blancs from New Zealand which are setting a high standard.
The Trinity Hill Viognier 2005 (alc.14%) was from the Hawkes Bay area, in New Zealand’s North Island, about 200km north of Marlborough. It was hand-picked and gentle pressed and fermented in new and old oak barrels, showing flavours of citrus peel and honey but had little of the grip you expect from viognier.
Next came an excellent main course of roasted veal fillet with horseradish pomme puree, minted peas and beetroot relish. The veal was tender with full flavour and we really enjoyed it. The first red was a Lost Valley Hazy Mountain Merlot 2004 (alc. 14%). The vineyard is situated in the Goulburn River area of Central Victoria on granite soils that drain into the King Parrot Creek. The Merlot was crimson purple with subtle characters of well-ripened fruit and structured oak. The palate was fine with soft tannins.
The second red was a Yering Range Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 (13.5%). The palate showed cool climate fruit and a bouquet of plum with a hint of cedar ageing, resulting in medium fine tannins before a good long finish.
The Victorian produce continued with two fine cheeses – Yambuk Buffalo cheddar and Timboon triple cream served with Mildura drunken figs and Rochester pears. This is another instance of the Epicure chefs sourcing some very special and interesting produce for us. They say the “Buffalo” is Roger Haldane who milks buffaloes on his dairy farm at Yambuk near Portland in Western Victoria.
The Bulgarian and Italian Buffalos were imported by plane from Denmark and it’s taken a long time to build the herd up to the 600-odd it is today. The buffaloes only milk between a third and half of a traditional dairy cow. Their milk is streets ahead in butterfat, going as high as 10 per cent compared to three per cent for dairy cows.
With the cheese was one of the best wines of the day, the Pirramimma Shiraz 2002 (14.5%). Pirramimma was founded by Alexander Johnston in 1892 in McLaren Vale and has been owned and operated by the Johnston family ever since. The vineyard soils vary from sandy on the rise to rich dark loam on the flat. More than 60 per cent of the vineyard is planted to premium red wine varieties. The estate is now 250 hectares of which 180 are planted to grapes.
James Halliday scored the 2002 Shiraz 95 points. Produced from premium grapes and matured for two years in new oak, the wine was a strong red colour with berries and spice bouquet. The palate showed an intense depth of lingering, full-bodied fruit and a clear yet lingering tannin finish.
Finally we enjoyed the dessert of sour cream bavarios, fair trade mocha and chocolate brownie, espresso ice cream and amaretto anglaise. It provided an opportunity to match this fabulous dish with a dessert wine from France, the Chateau du Pavilion Sainte Croix du Mont 2003 13%). This was made from late-picked and often Botrytis-affected grapes due to the unique climate along the banks of the Garonnne River.
The Croix du Mont was produced from a blend from 85% semillion and 15% saugivnon. It had a brilliant golden colour with aromas of peach, apricot and honey. So ended another outstanding meal, although perhaps some of our cellar wines didn’t quite come up to expectations.
August 2011 Luncheon
The Long Room Wine and Food Society’s August luncheon presented to members and guests an interesting and fascinating combination of food and wine, this time a Chef with Scottish experience and wines produced by a Tasmanian icon.
Aaron Duffy is Epicure’s chef de cuisine for members’ dining at the ’G. Previously he worked in most of the five star hotels in Edinburgh before joining the Balmoral Hotel in 1997. He has worked under great chefs such as Nico Ladenis, Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay.
The menu certainly allowed him to display his skills and a willingness to be different while still managing to complement the northern Tasmanian wines from Josef Chromy.
Winemaker Jeremy Dinnen spoke passionately about his company’s founder and owner Josef Chromy. After escaping from Czechoslovakia in 1950, Josef established a number of butcher shops which led to Blue Ribbon Meats, a company that grew to a turnover of $80 million with 560 employees.
The meat company was sold in the mid-1990s and Josef Chromy moved into property development and the wine industry. He bought Rochecombe and Heemskerk vineyards before selling them and establishing Tamar Ridge, which he also sold before purchasing the Old Stornoway Vineyard at a receivership sale in 2003. In 2005 he built a new winery and established a new label. This picturesque location 10 minutes’ drive south of Launceston is well worth a visit.
On arrival we were greeted with a most pleasing Josef Chromy vintage Sparkling 2008 (alc. 12%). With a fresh, rich creamy palate showing green apple fruit and toasty yeast complexity, members agreed this was a good starter.
The chef having decided on two entrée, the only canapés were orange and beetroot reverse jellies, which may have missed the mark. However the entrees of a veloute of Tasmania black sea urchin and scallop and a mosaic of free range chicken with foie gras, sweetbreads, shitake and Tasmanian black truffle mayonnaise certainly created much discussion re their fine quality and presentation.
The Josef Chromy white wines matching these entrees were a 2010 Pinot Gris, 2009 Chardonnay and the ZDAR Chardonnay 2006.
The Pinot Gris 2010 was harvested ripe in order to gain rich flavours and texture and the fermentation was carried out with relatively neutral yeast to show the varietal characters. The palate was generous and nicely balanced (alc. 13.7%). The Chardonnay 2009 (alc. 14%) was pale golden straw after 12 months in French oak. It showed citrus and nectarine flavours and the palate was rich and full.
The ZDAR Chardonnay 2006 was a special wine. ZDAR represents the pinnacle of winemaking at the estate and only exceptional parcels of wine are reserved for this label. This wine won the Gold at the Sydney International Wine Competition. It boasted an elegant bouquet of stone fruit and gentle vanilla spice and great texture throughout the palate with toasty oak and a long, lean finish. James Holliday rated it 94 points (alc.14.7%).
With the luncheon’s Tasmanian flavor, chef Aaron decided on a main course of Wimmera duck tournedo with confit, spiced lentils, roast and puréed celeriac, which allowed members to have some of the Pinots that the island is famous for! The Josef Chromy Pinot Noir 2010 and the J.C. ZDAR Pinot Noir 2008 didn’t disappoint.
Pinot Noir is the noble red grape of Burgundy capable of ripening in a cooler climate, which Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot will not reliably do. It is unpredictable and difficult both to grow and to vinify, but results in some of the finest reds in the world. An enormous amount of pinot goes into sparklings.
The J.C. Pinot Noir 2010 was deep red with cherry plum and light spice characters on both nose and palate (alc. 13.2%). The 2008 ZDAR represents the best of pinots with deep red cherry and raspberry fruits complexed with French oak and spice and mocha notes. Only a very small amount was made to ensure the consistency and quality (alc. 14.5%).
The cheese was creamed Pyengana cheddar with pretzel and Vegemite (unusual for the Long Room!) accompanied by the J.C. Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. This Bordeaux-style red, although fractionally thin on depth of fruit, displayed a nose unmistakably cabernet, floral and leafy with aroma of vanilla and with a fruit profile showing red and black berries.
The dessert was what we definitely don’t get at home – Bourbon vanilla mousse, Victorian almond chiffon cake with cumquat and mandarin chutney and pistachio ice cream, matched with a J.C. Botrytis Riesling (alc.9.8%). The Reisling grapes were picked when the balance between delicate floral and citrus characters and the richer marmalade flavours of Botrytis was optimum.
The winemaker recommended that due to its crisp freshness this wine should be matched with both light and rich desserts from sorbets through to chocolate cake. What a way to finish off another good food, good wine and good company lunch.
July 2011 Luncheon
Function No. 255 held on July 27 kicked off with canapés in the Long Room before moving to the Members Dining Room for a fine luncheon featuring wines from Wynns and a special meal Prepared by Jeremy Woods, who was adjudged Chef of the Year in 2007 for the Long Room Wine and Food Society.
Since being awarded the Best Apprentice Chef in South Australia in 1989, Jeremy’s experience prior to joining Epicure in 1996 includes stints at the Adelaide Hyatt Regency, Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich, Brown’s, the Windsor Hotel and the Grant Hyatt. He later was senior chef at Stephanie’s.
Wynns was established by John Riddoch, the “Squire of Penola” who moved to the district in 1890 and subdivided 800 hectares of terra rossa soil from his holding, calling it the “Coonawarra”. The triple-gabled winery and surrounding vineyards were built and planted in 1891.
The emphasis was always on Cabernet Sauvignon on the rich terra rossa soils, and it wasn’t until 1990the Shiraz was first released from the Coonawarra. Sue Hodder was appointed the estate’s senior winemaker in 1998 and in 2010 was Gourmet Traveller’s “Winemaker of the Year”.
The canapés were different and distinctive from other lunches, featuring seafood of seemingly unlimited freshly shucked Coffin Bay oysters, with traditional dressings and Spencer Gulf prawns served on ice with fresh lemons and limes. Also on offer were a St Helens winter crayfish bisque shot and a roasted pepper and Persian feta tartlet.
This combination was consumed together with the Seppelt Salinger Pinot Noir Chardonnay 2006, a blend of 54% pinot noir, 52% Chardonay and 4% Pinot Meunier sourced from the cool climate regions of Henty, Adelaide Hills and Tumbarumba. The wine was matured on lees for three years (alc. 12.5%).
The entrée of Barraumundi braised with star anise and cassia bark with crisp chilli and garlic relish was accompanied by a Wynns Riesling 2010 and Wynns Chardonay 2010. The Reisling (alc. 12.5%) was of riper characters and attractive fruit softness, with a dry and brisk palate, and described as the best Wynns Riesling for some time.
Approximately a third of the Chardonnay (alc. 13.5%) 2010 was matured in seasoned French oak barrels. A bright, pale straw colour and of medium weight, the palate displayed flavours of peach and tropical fruits with a clean, dry finish.
The main course of Limestone Coast beef, slow-cooked osso buco and oven-roasted sirloin with black cabbage and horse radish cream created plenty of discussion at our table as the sirloin was well appreciated by all. However, there was difference of opinion on the osso buco.
No matter, we all appreciated the 53rd vintage of Wynns Estate Cabernet 2008 (alc. 14%), produced using only the top 20-25 per cent of the fruit available and matured for 17 months in a combination of 31% new French oak, 53% seasoned oak, 2% new American Oak and 14% seasoned American Oak. It showed fine-grained, perfectly integrated tannins with a long aftertaste of blackcurrant, spice and cedar.
The Wynns Shiraz 2009 (alc.13% and rated 91) also went nicely with the main course and many thought it punched well above its weight.
The cheese was also from Limestone Coast. A Callendale Vintage Cheddar and Lady Musgrave Double Brie with oat biscuits were beautifully matched with the Wynns Glengyle Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (alc. 14%). This wine, rated by James Halliday at 95 points, was an extremely limited release. It was matured for seven months in 72% new French Oak and the remainder 13% French and 15% American oak barrels
The dessert was a highly regarded praline-coated caramel bavarois with poached pear, pear ice cream and brandy snap. Most of us hadn’t had a brandy snap for years, and with the sweet we welcomed the Baileys of Glenrowan Founders Series Muscat. The Rutherglen district and Muscat is world-renowned so this was a good finale to a most pleasant occasion.
Our thanks are extended to Epicure’s Jeremy Woods,and Sue Hodder of Wynns for another superb luncheon. Members may be interested to know that Wynns is now part of the newly structured Treasury Estates, having formerly been part of the Foster’ Group wine holding.
June 2011 Luncheon - The 24th Birthday of the MCC Long Room Wine and Food Society
A booked-out luncheon in the Long Room started with canapés in the Percy Beames Bar before we were treated to an excellent lunch prepared by chef Renee Guymer that was supported by wines from All Saints Estate of Rutherglen, presented by CEO Lisa Brown.
The lunch could be best summed up by our table’s rating of the dish of the day. One-third voted for the entrée, another third opted for the main course and the remainder favoured dessert. The message was that the entire menu in quality, presentation and flavours was superb.
The canapés were blue swimmer crab, served on a crisp potato with coconut chilli, seared Wimmera duck breast with buttered brioche, pomegranate jelly and candied walnuts, while the final offering was a cauliflower risotto with Milawa Capricornia, chive oil and toasted almonds.
The All Saints Sparkling Shiraz NV (alc. 13.9%) is a cellar door special wine, richly complex, full of cassis with supple tannins and made using traditional sparkling wine methods. The sparkling was appreciated with the canapés.
How good was the entrée of poached Murray River yabby tails and Murray cod ravioli, lemon and chive with burnt butter sauce and crisp fennel? For the yabby fans this was as “good as you get”.
The main course was slow-cooked, Asian-inspired Otway Ranges pork shoulder accompanied by parsnip cream, spiced apple, sautéed Asian greens and light star anise jus. The slow cooking resulted in an excellent texture, while maintaining the Asian flavours.
The cheese continued the theme of ingredients coming from the north-east, in this case the Milawa Gold washed rind cheese with cabernet paste, frosted grapes, sliced walnut sourdough and wafer crisps.
The dessert continued to impress as sweet lovers enjoyed a sticky date pudding with a rich toffee sauce, macadamia dulce ice cream and house-made caramel marshmallow.
Little wonder that our table was impressed because Renee Guymer had put a lot of thought and effort in producing a menu of detail and quality. Renee started working with Spotless/Epicure at 15 and after completing her apprenticeship in various restaurants around Melbourne, returned to the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2004. Well played, Renee.
All Saints Winery is an icon in Victorian winemaking history. Established in the 1880s, its castle-like winery was built by two Scots, George Sutherland-Smith and John Banks, but the vineyard had been established earlier and All Saints Estate won the first gold medal for an Australian wine in 1873 at the London International Exhibition and continues to win trophies and receive rave reviews today.
The wines with the entrée were Alias 1 and the Family Cellar Marsanne. The 2008 All Saints Alias I (12% alc.) draws inspiration from Southern France. It is a complex blend, predominantly of Semillon, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay but with additional input from varieties such as Muscadelle, Viognier and Riesling. Twenty-five per cent of the barrels were new and were made from three-year seasoned oak from France.
The Marsanne 2007 is the top-of-the-range variety from vines grown from cuttings acquired from Chateau Tahbilk in the 1960s. It has a firm structure with pear and quince flavours enhanced by 15% Viognier making it intensely aromatic with characters of apricot and honeysuckle.
The main course brought out the Rutherglen reds, starting with the 2007 All Saints Estate Alias II (alc.14%). Alias means to conceal one’s identity by an assumed name. Hence the vision is to produce something different and interesting and totally out of the ordinary.
A bottling of only 500 cases ensures something different. The Alias II is a blend of 95% Shiraz and 5% Muscadelle, from which Australian Tokay is made. Like the best of the Rhone reds, the grapes of both varieties were picked and fermented together in an open tank, hand plunged and pressed off the wine in an 1873 vintage basket press. The 2007 Alias 11 was rated one of Winestate’s best wines of 2010.
The 2007 All Saints Family Cellar Durif (14.2% alc.) is a Rutherglen classic described as “an iron fist in a velvet glove”. Durif is a cross between Shiraz and the almost unknown Paloursin variety. It was developed by Dr Durif a little over 100 years ago, intended for the warm dry climate of Southern France. Durif has plenty of colour and can be extremely tannic if not handled carefully so it is a winemaker’s challenge.
The wine accompanying the cheese was the 2008 All Saints Estate Limited Pierre (14.4% alc.), named in honour of Peter Brown on what would have been his 60th birthday. The wine comprises Merlot, Cabernet, Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, the varieties fermented separately in the old open concrete tanks at the castle. They were hand plunged then gently pressed out in the old basket press and aged in the best oak prior to blending and bottling.
For dessert we moved on to a real treat with All Saints Estate Rutherglen’s Grand Musket 25 years (18% alc.) and their Rare Tokay 50 years (also 18% alc.). We thank Lisa Brown for giving us the opportunity to sample these real gems of All Saints and Rutherglen, which produces the world’s best in fully fortified wines.
The Grand Musket is a ripper with luscious aromas of ripe raisins, a full-bodied palate and a deeply flavored lingering finish. It is made from Muscat grapes from the Estates Wahgunyah vineyard planted in 1920.
They say the Rare Tokay 50 years old is best enjoyed with blue cheese or desserts such as tiramisu, or with fig pudding covered with butterscotch sauce. I would drink it with anything at the end of a meal!
Thanks to All Saints and Lisa Brown for our enjoyment, and Renee Guymer for an excellent meal.
May 2011 Luncheon
Function No. 253 was held in the Long Room with canapés served in the Percy Beames Bar beforehand. The consensus among guests was that the quality and presentation of the luncheon was excellent and a real credit to the chef, Shane Freer.
Shane has been with Epicure since 2000, heading the kitchen at major events such as the Australian Open in Sydney, the Masters Golf and the Melbourne Grand Prix. Shane has travelled and plied his trade extensively throughout Europe and Australia, working at such restaurants as Le Gavroche with the famous Roux brothers and Fanny’s with Greg Brown.
The wines featured a brace from the Yarra Valley – Giant Steps and Innocent Bystander – the former named for proprietor Phil Sexton’s big move from the Devil’s Lair winery he established in Margaret River to Victoria, the latter after John Coltrane’s first solo album. Steve Flamsteed is the winemaker.
The lunch opened with some tasty canapés – a green apple tarte tatin, quail enoki and shitake mushroom pastry and lamb shank croquettes with lime aioli. The shanks were rated as AAA by all. The starters were presented with an Innocent Bystander 2010, a gentle sparkler that’s a blend of Muscat Cordo Blaco (65%) and Black Muscat (35%). The wine is a mere 5.5% alcohol (like many beers), a pale rose colour with a slight fizz and a bit of sweetness.
The entrée of Galantine of free-range chicken with salad of red quinoa was excellent and the presentation impressive. The chicken was accompanied by an Innocent Bystander Pinot Gris 2010 (crisp and flavoursome, alcohol 13.5%) and a Giant Steps Chardonnay 2009.
The chardonnay grapes had been rescued from the fires, coming from the coolest and lowest slopes of the Sexton Vineyard (alc. 13%), and the wine was interesting and generally well received given the circumstances.
Main course was a carved Limestone Coast beef fillet and a venison pastry (described at one table as a deer sausage roll!) which came with braised red cabbage, parsnip and baby carrots. The tender beef had been marinated for 1½ days with soy and ginger.
Two reds accompanied, the first of which, an Innocent Bystander Sangiovese 2009 (alc. 14.5%), was the highest rated wine of the function. Drawn from the classic Tuscan variety, the wine is 93% Sangiovese (Gateway Vineyard McLaren Vale) 7% Cabernet Sauvignon (Yarra Valley). A relatively warm year in McLaren Vale resulted in excellent tannin ripeness and a good colour from an extremely low crop.
The second red was a Giants Steps Pinot Noir 2008 from the Sexton Vineyard (alc. 13.9%). The Pinot was from a warm year with very little water in the Yarra Valley. Harvested by hand picking before the heat wave in early March, the fruit had intense flavours and soft tannins and was on oak for nine months.
Next was the cheese, which could be classified as brilliant. It was a Devils Foot Appenzeller-style cheese with poached quince, fruit loaf and crackers. Made in a Swiss style, it was adjudged Best Cheese at the 2007 Brisbane Cheese Show. It was simply outstanding! With the cheese came the Giant Steps Harry’s Monster Sexton Vineyard 2006 (alc. 14%), comprising Cabernet (62%), Merlot (27%) and Petit Verdot (11%), the noble Bordeaux blend.
We all enjoyed the dessert, appropriately named Raspberry Eton Mess, which came with new-season almond crumble and fig ice cream. The origins of this dish, chef Shane explained, go back to the 1830s when it was dished up at Winchester College’s annual cricket match.
Accompanying dessert was the Innocent Bystander Cordon Cut Viognier (alc. 8.8%) from the Gateway Vineyard in the McLaren Vale. On the nose you found lychees, while the palate was initially sweet but with a crisp finish, admirably suited to the Eton Mess.
Once again Epicure through Shane Freer, winemaker Steve Flamsteed and the waiting staff are congratulated for an excellent lunch enjoyed by all.
April 2011 - Annual Dinner – Robert Rouch Reports
Function No. 252 was a black-tie event in the Members Dining Room with canapés served in the Long Room. This was a special evening featuring the announcement of the society’s Apprentice Chef of the Year, Blake Rogers, and the Winemaker of the Year, Colin Campbell.
In the annual Spotless apprentice chefs’ competition Blake took his involvement seriously and practiced many times to perfect his menu, noting: “It gives me a sense of joy when I know that I have succeeded in making other people happy with what I have made and presented.”
The contribution to the industry of Winemaker of the Year, Colin Campbell of Campbells in Rutherglen, is well documented. Perhaps the ultimate accolade was the perfect score of 100/100 for Campbells Rare Rutherglen Muscat, the Merchant Prince, the first Australian wine to be awarded a perfect score by the authoritative Wine Spectator magazine. In an optimistic reply to the society’s award, Colin said his philosophy is that every year will be a better year.
A great bonus for our annual dinner was having the esteemed James Halliday as guest speaker. As one of the founders of Brokenwood in the Lower Hunter and thereafter founder of Coldstream Hills in the Yarra Valley, James is the ultimate authority on virtually every aspect of the wine industry. He spoke about its development, pointing out that in 1985 Australia imported more wine that it produced, but by 1987 that had all changed and growth had been dynamic.
However the industry has suffered many ups and downs due to drought, severe and unusual heat waves, bushfires in the Yarra Valley and overproduction. One of Australia’s traditional key markets, the UK, is now being challenged by cheap wine from Chile and South Africa. However, the winners are the consumers and James claimed that a $20 Australian bottle of red would be equal to the best in the world.
The MCG Culinary Centre’s chefs de cuisine were responsible for the evening’s meal and wines came from the society’s cellar except for a well-received pinot noir from Coldstream Hills.
The Long Room canapés included freshly shucked oysters from an oyster station. Also on offer were a lemon and harissa-marinated blue eye brochette with herb aioli, a carmelised shallot and blue cheese tartlet and a spicy chicken and ginger sausage roll with chilli jam.
The canapes were served with a Yarra Burn Blanc de Blanc 2004. Yarra Burn, established 30 years ago by society vice-president David Fyffe, was the first to produce Yarra Valley sparklings. The Blanc de Blanc was crystal clear and an excellent starter with the canapés.
Unusually, there were two entrees – seared Hervey Bay scallops and a Spencer Gulf prawn on lemon risotto followed by a Wimmera duck tasting plate consisting of air-dried breast with confit leg bonbon, smoked mousse, fig gel and toasted brioche.
The first entree was served with a 2010 Mt Avoca Sauvignon Blanc and a 2006 Barossa Valley Semillon. The duck deserved a good pinot and it was accommodated nicely by the 2009 Coldstream Hills, perhaps the outstanding wine of the evening. Ironically, the Halliday-founded winery had to source its grapes from Tasmania, the Mornington Peninsula and western Victoria because of a difficult 2009 vintage in the Yarra Valley.
The main course was a Murray Valley lamb duo – a seven-hour braised shoulder with celeriac puree, onion and thyme marmalade and a roasted rack with white bean cassoulet and burgundy sauce. The rack of lamb was brilliant but there’s a query whether a $45 per kilo cut should be complemented by a $17 per kilo shoulder, especially after two entrees. The wine accompanying the main course was a very good Tintara Shiraz 2004 from the McLaren Vale.
Next was the cheese, a Locheilan Kulindi Cheshire with Maggie Beer quince paste and oat biscuits that was matched with a Houghton Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 (alc. 14.5%), one of the first wines the company produced with grapes from that famous district.
Dessert was a soft-centered mocha truffle flourless chocolate cake with lemon sorbet and salted rosemary caramel sauce. It was accompanied by a De Bortoli Noble One 2007 (alc. 10.0%), a leading dessert wine since 1982 that has racked up 108 trophies and 385 gold medals both nationally and internationally.
To finish we enjoyed a classic Campbells Muscat (alc. 17.5%). James Halliday described Campbells as the “Monarch of the Glen”, having celebrated the company’s 140th birthday at Rutherglen on April 23 this year. The Campbells Muscat has been acknowledged as a hallmark of fortified wine throughout the world, so with Colin receiving our Winemaker of the Year award it was more that fitting that the annual dinner should conclude with one of his finest offerings.
March 2011 Luncheon
It was with much anticipation that the 251st function of the society held on March 30 was featuring Peter Lehmann of the Barossa wines, a brand well known for their overall quality, and the luncheon certainly didn’t disappoint.
Lehmann’s national public relations manager Malcolm Stopp told his audience how pleased his company was to be back in the Long Room to present their wines (their last appearance was in July 2001). The wines presented in March came from vintages ranging from 1999 to 2010.
After combining the wines with an excellent meal created by Epicure chef Adriano Biondi, the 210 members and visitors were full of praise and appreciation. Adriano began his career in Carlton in 1997 at a small restaurant before moving on to hotels such as the Sofitel on Collins, where he became sous chef of the conference and events kitchen. He joined Epicure in 2009 as a sous chef and now works in the Committee Room.
The day commenced in the Percy Beames Bar with canapés of Wimmera duck liver mousse and cranberry jelly tart, roasted and pressed high country pork belly with spiced lentils and a truffled egg and parma ham shard. The accompanying wine, a 2006 Black Queen Sparkling Shiraz, was a cracker and only available for purchase at this lunch and at the Lehmann cellar door.
The wine was fermented on skins for seven to 10 days, pressed, matured in older French hogsheads for 12 months then aged on yeast lees for two years (alcohol 13.5%). Sparkling shiraz is a unique Australian wine style first developed in South Australia in the 1880s and later by Seppelt at Great Western in Victoria, where it became the home of the great sparkling shiraz, or sparkling burgundy as it was commonly known at the time.
The entree and the white wines were an excellent match. The trio of seafood comprised Tasmanian salmon ballantine and avocado puree, Spencer Gulf potato-wrapped prawn and seared, lime-marinated Hervey Bay scallop with tomato and cucumber. The contrasting wines were a 2010 Barossa Semillon and a 2005 Margaret Barossa Semillon, and while the Hunter is known as the home of Semillons, these were worthy competitors.
The 2010 Barossa Semillon was from selected mature Barossa vineyards. The fruit was picked early, crushed, chilled and the juice separated immediately from the skins to enhance delicacy. Following cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine was classified and bottled (alcohol 11%0.
The 2005 Margaret Barossa Semillon was a stand-out, having been named best varietal, best white wine and overall wine of the show at the 2011 Sydney Royal Wine Show. The wine is named after Peter’s wife Margaret, a renowned champion of Barossa Semillon. Released as a five-year-old, the wine is fruit-driven and deliciously dry (alcohol 11.5%).
Now for the main course, and what could go better with very good Barossa reds than slow-roasted King Valley beef, served with roasted fondant potato, buttered spinach, roasted shallots and rosemary-infused baby carrot with a light mushroom jus.
The 2006 Mentor Cabernet Sauvigon, claimed by Barossa winemakers as a classic vintage, is named in honour of the legendary Peter Lehman who believed that the Barossa offered more than just Shiraz. The grapes were selected from the Stonewell, Kabminye and Nuriootpa sub-districts of the Barossa Valley. Fermented and macerated on skins for up to two weeks, the wine was matured in French oak hogsheads for approximately 18 months (alcohol 14.4%).
The 2006 Eight Songs Shiraz is described as an elegant expression of Barossa Shiraz, possessing excellent colour, concentration and style. During the vintage the winemakers walk the vineyards, which typically yield less that 2.5 tonnes per acre, tasting the fruit and seeking the flavours that will create an elegant and distinctly softer style of Barossa Shiraz (alcohol 14.5%).
We appreciated the Pyengana Cheddar with fig textures, especially with figs selling for $27 per kg or $2.75 apiece! The cheese was accompanied by a very special wine, the 2006 Stonewell Barossa Shiraz (about $75 retail). We agree with the descriptor on the bottle – a wine of great style and power.
Sourced from extremely low-yielding, mature vineyards, the wine is matured in 90 per cent French and 10 per cent American oak for approximately 18 months. By this point of the luncheon we understood that 2006 was one of the best years in the Barossa. The Stonewell is generally rated at 96 out of 100, with alcohol 14.5 per cent.
The dessert was an apple tasting plate consisting of apple sorbet, apple jelly, apple and vanilla mousse, apple crisp and apple macaroon. Matching this enjoyable dish was a 2009 Botrytis Semillon. Winemaker Andrew Wigon was inspired to create a noble wine following a trip to France in 1981. The grapes were picked from the Semillon vineyard on the banks of the River Para (alcohol 11.5%).
Served with coffee and chocolates was the 1999 The King Vintage Port, a blend of 55 per cent Shiraz and 45 per cent Touriga Nacional, the great Portuguese variety. Fermented on skins for three to four days and then fortified with brandy spirit, the wine was aged in old barrels for 12 months.
The Hess Group is now the majority shareholder of PLW with over 85 per cent equity. Peter Lehman still retains just over 10 per cent and the remained is held in small parcels by shareholders reluctant to sever their connection with this great company. We congratulate Adriano Biondi and Peter Lehmann Wines for combining to present the society with a first-class function.
February 2011 Luncheon
Recently appointed committeeman Robert Rouch, formerly a man of the land, has taken over from wine and food master Paul Kinross as our luncheon reporter/reviewer. Robert’s first report covers the February luncheon – our 250th function – which featured wines from Angove Family Winemakers.
Guest chefs for our February luncheon were Epicure’s Jerome Muboyan and Amy Uren.
Jerome’s career began in Sheffield, England and after working in boutique hotels he travelled to Australia in 2005. This led to the Sovereign Resort Cooktown and the Sofitel Reef Casino Cairns, then on to Sofitel Melbourne on Collins. He started at the MCG in 2010 and his current role is sous chef.
Amy started an apprenticeship with Spotless in 2003. Amy has worked in a number of Spotless sites and also at a la carte restaurants and the Vibe Savoy Hotel. She is now based at the MCG, working in the Committee Room.
Angove Family Winemakers were represented by Victorian sales manager Craig Healey and Tim Boydell, director sales and marketing. The history of Angove wines date back to 1886 when Dr William Thomas Angove arrived from Cornwall, England and planted vines in the Adelaide Hills. The family vineyards were established in the early 1900s in the northern suburbs of Adelaide.
Members and guests met in the Percy Beames Bar and the canapés were excellent. We enjoyed confit Tasmanian ocean trout on herb blinis with crème fraiche and dill, then a members’ favourite – Peking duck in tofu rice paper rolls with hoi sin sauce – and finally chorizo-dusted scallops on a cauliflower puree.
The Angove Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV was an excellent starter, a full-flavoured sparkling with a creamy, rich complexity showing fresh flavours (alcohol 12%).
The entrée was Nori Tasmanian salmon, blue swimmer crab, fennel and celeriac remoulade, with school prawns drizzled with shellfish reduction and lemon foam.
The first of two wines serves with the entrée was an Angove Sauvignon Blanc 2009 from the Adelaide Hills, grown under cooler conditions and featuring freshly cut grass and a palate with fresh tropical fruit (alcohol 13%).
The second wine, an Angove Riesling 2010 from Clare Valley, was the popular choice of the whites, with the Clare Valley being renowned for Riesling and this wine showing lime and lemon aromas and a crisp, fresh palate (alcohol 13%).
The main course featured a roasted Murray Valley duo of lamb. We were fortunate to have such excellent meat with heavy lambs selling for $240 apiece in the eastern saleyards. The dish came with peas, lentils, boulangere potatoes, rosemary-infused jus and smoked vine tomatoes, accompanied by baby leek, sugar snap pea, green bean and baby carrot.
Wines selected for such a main course were an Angove McLaren Vale Shiraz 2008 and an Angove Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. The Shiraz was produced from grapes sourced from three areas within McLaren Vale. Maturing occurred in small American and French oak for 18 months, resulting in the depth of flavour and silky structure that is the the hallmark of McLaren Vale Shiraz (alcohol 14.5%).
The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were crushed in 70-year-old, four-tonne, concrete open fermenters in the 100-year-old traditional cellars, techniques typically found in Bordeaux. Pressed then matured for 18 months in French Oak barrels, the style was a medium-bodied wine definitive of Coonawarra (alcohol 14%).
What about the cheese! King Island Double Brie and Tarago Strzelecki Blue were superb and came with burnt fig paste, muscatels and fig ginger crisps. The accompanying wine was Angove Nine Vines Shiraz/Viognier 2008, sourced from selected growers in the Riverland and Southern Flinders regions.
The Shiraz and Viognier were crushed together and Angove’s believe the co-fermentation of these two grapes is the key to the success of the wine, which was 94 per cent Shiraz and six per cent Viognier (alcohol 14.5%).
The dessert was a Moscato-poached Corella pear served with pink moscato and sangiovese sorbets on a bed of flaky pastry and caramel cream. What a beautiful mouthful.
The obvious dessert wine was the Angove Nine Vines Moscato 2010, claimed to be one of their best vintages of the past decade. The wine was crisp and fresh and perfect to accompany the dish (alcohol 8%).
An interesting finale was the Angove Premium Vintage Fortified Shiraz 2007. We don’t see much fortified Shiraz in the eastern states but it is very popular in WA. The addition of brandy spirit during fermentation enables the rich fruit character of ripe Shiraz grapes to be retained (alcohol 18.0%).