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    2013 Archive

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    Wine and Food Cocktail Annual Cocktail Party - Wednesday December 11, 2013

    It would be difficult to better this year’s Long Room Wine and Food Society Christmas party. The move to the Members Dining Room was a definite winner, as was the extensive list of canapés and grazing dishes, not forgetting the traditional stations featuring Sydney Rock, Tasmanian and South Australia’s Coffin Bay oysters.
    It has been a great year for oysters and, having tried all the above, the conclusion was that the quality and freshness of all was very evident. The discussion then was simply about which you preferred. The chefs were kept busy opening the oysters to keep up with the demand, so no wonder they were fresh!

    Next decision making required was which sparkling should go with the oysters. Wine and food master Paul Kinross made available 126 bottles of sparkling wine, 272 bottles of white and 192 reds – a total of 590 wines, all from the society’s cellar.

    There were three wine stations where members and guests could make their choice and talk about their particular preferences to anyone who cared to listen. The number of choices also bought back memories of past lunches and dinners when we had enjoyed the various wines.

    So with the oysters did you have the Seppelt Salinger Vintage Cuvee 2009 or the Yellowglen Perle 2006, which surprised us all at the August 2013 luncheon? Or perhaps the Seppelt Original Sparking Shiraz 2010, or any one of the other five sparklings.

    The function was listed to run for three hours as against last year’s two hours, so there was plenty of time to enjoy both the food and the wines. There was also plenty of room to move around to enjoy the company of so many members and friends.

    The menu for the Cocktail Party was comprehensive. Cold canapés on offer were white balsamic-cured Port Lincoln kingfish, organic honey and cinnamon-glazed Wimmera duck breast and a Meredith goat’s cheese filo.
    Hot offerings were crispy tiger prawns and sweet potato cakes, a seared Harvey Bay scallop, char-grilled chorizo sausage, lamb and rosemary pies and a crisp garden pea and mint croquette.

    Also served was a grazing dish of parmesan-crumbed Riverina lamb fillet, while the three oyster stations operated all night.

    With the canapés there was a selection of 34 white wines brought out at staggered intervals. You could choose from Chardonnay, Viognier, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Marsanne, Pinot Gris, Riesling or Chenin Blanc from such prominent makers as Cullen, Brokenwood, Tamar Ridge, De Bortoli, Yering Farm and many more.

    The 192 bottles of red came from 17 different vineyards offering Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Durif and a couple of blends. Some moved in quickly for the 2008 St Peters Shiraz but there were many other excellent reds to enjoy.

    This was the best cocktail party that the society has organised. The Epicure folk went to great lengths in preparing the menu and where else in Melbourne could you go to a function featuring three different types of oysters, nine hot and cold canapés and wines from 50 different labels.

    Congratulations to Paul Kinross and cellar master Ian Maguire as well as all the Epicure staff who always go out of their way to provide a happy environment. Thanks also to the MCC for making the Members Dining Room available. It was a real winner, with additional seating installed for those in need during a three-hour function.

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    MCC Long Room Wine and Food Society - December 2013 newsletter

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    MCC Long Room Wine and Food Society - November 2013

    The French flag should have been flying on top of the scoreboard as the function was the society’s International Day and this year featured French food and French wines.

    Guest chef was Marco Doganiere, who has an Italian background, but the lunch proved he is a master of French cuisine. Marco is currently sous chef for members’ dining at the MCG.

    The wines were presented by Iain Cameron who is in charge of the wine store at the Botanicial in South Yarra. Iain’s excellent presentation of the French wines demonstrated his depth of knowledge of imported wines, having been in Melbourne retailing for 18 years.

    We commenced in the Long Room for the canapés which comprised French onion soup in a shot glass (very tasty), moules marinieres and steak tartare – an interesting combination before we repaired to the Members Dining Room for the remainder of the meal.

    The wine on arrival was naturally a French champagne, the Gosset Champagne Brut Grande Reserve NV (alc.12%). This wine has been described as a true expression of the Gosset style and we noticed the difference to Australian sparklings.

    It was a pleasant wine with good balance and subtle flavours of apples and lemons. The Grand Reserve is 46% Chardonnay, 39% Pinot Noir and 13% Pinot Meunier, with the addition of 12% reserve wine.

    For entree we enjoyed a charcuteric tasting plate of pork terrine, apple chutney, baby onions and crispbread, all beautifully presented on the plate. Accompanying were two whites that went well with this interesting dish.

    The 2010 Andre Kientzler Riesling (Alsace, alc. 13%) comes from a small family-run estate of 12 hectares. It showed classic lime and citrus zest aromas backed by minerality and was well balanced. The 2008 Denis Pommier Chablis Premier Cru “Beauroy” (alc.12.5%), also from a small estate in the village of Poinchy, just west of Chablis, was outstanding.

    The main course was Beef Bourguignon with smoky parsnip puree, shallots and bacon, wild greens and jus. The beef was tender with lots of flavour and well thought-out accompaniments really made the dish. The whole deal, plus the later red wines, made us feel we were actually at a fine French restaurant.

    Yet another small vineyard was responsible for the 2009 Domaine Collotte Gervrey-Chambertin (alc.14%). From 40-year-old vines, it featured a deep ruby red colour and aromas of cherry compote and strawberry jam.

    Its partner was a 2010 Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010 (alc.14.5%) from the historic town in France’s southern Rhone Valley famous for its full-bodied spicy red wines, dominated by the Grenache grape. Mont- Redon maintains a standard blend of 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 5% Mourvedre and 5% Counoise Muscardin-Vaccarese.

    Next came the cheese – Comte Charles Arnaud and Agour Ossau Etorki served with crispbread, quince paste and a port wine reduction. We really appreciated the cheese with the “Wine of the Day”, a 2011 David Reynaud Crozes Hermitage Domaine Les Bruyeres (alc.13%) from the northern Rhone.
    The vineyard went 100% biodynamic in 2000. The domaine is 14.5 hectares and an additional 5.5 hectares from the local villages was added more recently. The vines are 20–50 years old and 87% are Syrah grapes. This was the outstanding red of the function.

    The dessert was a real winner, an apple tart tatin with Calvados ice cream and brandy drizzle accompanied by a 2011 Chateau Bouscasse Les Larmes Celestes Pacherene du Vic Bilh (alc.13%), more than a mouthful but a delicious drop from the south-west of the country.

    What an experience this function proved to be. Seven different wines from different locations within France gave us a travel tour without leaving the dining room. It sure beats waiting at airports.

    Congratulations to Marco for presenting a menu that complemented the French experience. As always, we thank the kitchen staff, the waiters and Epicure management, but not forgetting the Melbourne Cricket Club who make all of this possible.

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    MCC Long Room Wine and Food Society - October 2013

    October brought us together in the Percy Beames Bar for another fine food and wine experience to which we are so accustomed. The chef of the day, Blair Humphrey, is well known to society members having previously won the “Chef of the Year” award. He has cooked on seven occasions for our monthly functions. At the MCG he is the chef de cuisine of the ground’s 115 corporate suites.

    The wines were from McLaren Vale winery Chapel Hill, which has an interesting background with its historic ironstone chapel being built in 1865. The church closed in 1965 and fell into disrepair until its restoration by Adelaide professor Tom Nelson, who established a winery and the Chapel Hill brand in 1973. The winery is now in the hands of the Swiss-based family of Thomas Schmidheiny, who also owns wineries in California, Switzerland and Argentina.

    Blair had prepared a wonderful mixture of canapés, with the chermoula-roasted Spencer Gulf prawns and green harissa aioli voted best by many. However, we also enjoyed the zucchini and haloumi fritters with whipped herb feta, olive tapenade and sumac dust, as we did the third canape, a grilled chicken, corn and avocado quesadilla.

    The canapés went well with the 2013 Chapel Hill Sangiovese Rose (alc 13%). Sangiovese was purposefully selected for the Rose due to its varietal charm and savoury tannins.

    As there was 234 attendees including 113 guests we moved on to the Members Dining Room for the entrée of new season asparagus ,watercress Meredith goat’s cheese tart with Sangiovese jelly, aged balsamic glaze and spring micro shoots. The entrée brought out two chardonnays, both from the same year and with the same alcohol content.

    The first was a 2012 Chapel Hill Chardonnay (alc 13%). Chapel Hill was one of the first wineries to produce non-oaked chardonnay and while this wine has a smidgeon of oak it is well hidden. It shows succulent peach and fruit salad characters, has a lightish medium body and easy texture with a dry finish. The grapes were sourced from McLarenVale and the Adelaide Hills.

    The 2012 Chosen Gorge Block Chardonnay (alc 13%) is widely regarded as McLaren Vale’s best chardonnay vineyard, benefitting from the district’s cooler maritime climate. This was the preferred chardonnay.
    The grapes were hand picked, gently pressed and then only the delicate and aromatic free run juice fraction is utilised for this wine. Perhaps both chardonnays would be even better with a little more age.

    It was then on to the main course entitled by Blair as “Pork twice is nice” which featured seared high country tenderloin and braised cheek croquette served with spiced Mount Zero lentils, golden baby beets and calvados essence. The loin of pork was tender and juicy with the complements effectively adding to the flavours. We enjoyed the reds for which Chapel Hill and McLaren Vale are renowned.

    First was a 2011 Chapel Hill Shiraz (alc 14.5%) of dark colour with a densely packed bouquet of black fruits ,bitter chocolate, fruit cake and blackberry all in balance. The Cabernet Sauvignon from the same year (alc 14.5%) benefitted from the vintage’s above-average rainfall and cooler temperatures which were conducive to structured and full-flavoured wines.

    Tradition was now reversed which resulted in the dessert being served prior to the cheese. Many members thought this was a good idea.

    The chefs at the MCG produce outstanding desserts and this dish was no exception. It was a macerated
    morello cherry with chocolate brownie, cremeux soil and mousse. On the quality of this dish it is no wonder that Blair won both the Victorian and national finals when representing the MCC in the Shared Table Culinary Competition.

    Chapel Hill presented the wine of the day with its 2009 The Vicar Shiraz (alc 14.5%).The Vicar is the flagship wine and receives the annual selection of Chapel Hill’s most outstanding parcels of McLaren Vale shiraz. To say that the fruit makes the wine, then this shiraz is the prime example. James Halliday rated it 93 points and described the wine as “dense crimson-purple, stacked to the rafters with layers of blackberry, dark chocolate, oak and ripe tannins”.

    The chees was a Berry Creek Tarwin Blue served with burnt fig jam, Riesling-poached pear and rosemary and sea salt wafer. It was served with Chapel Hill’s The Devil Tawny Port which displayed a bouquet of roasted almonds, boiled fruit cake and aged spices.

    During the luncheon, president Alex Gillon mentioned that David and Christine Fyffe had been inducted as “Legends of the Yarra Valley” in recognition of their contribution to the wine industry in the region and having established the well-known Yarra Burn winery there. David was for several years the wine and food master of the and a long-serving committeeman. Congratulations to both Christine and David on this prestigious award.

    In conclusion, many thanks to Chapel Hill, Epicure (in particular Blair Humphrey) and the Melbourne Cricket Club for combining to make this a most enjoyable luncheon.

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    MCC Long Room Wine and Food Society - September 2013

    This function was yet another another “class act”, an occasion to which most of our 214 members and guests have become accustomed. Held during grand final week, we all appreciate the MCC ensuring that both the Long Room and the Members Dining Room were available for us leading up to “that one day in September”.

    This function was yet another another “class act”, an occasion to which most of our 214 members and guests have become accustomed. Held during grand final week, we all appreciate the MCC ensuring that both the Long Room and the Members Dining Room were available for us leading up to “that one day in September”.

    What a fine duo we had working for us – chef Shaun Crosling and Leeuwin Estate – and perhaps this combination could be recorded as the “Fairest and Best” at the end-of-season luncheon which is always a very popular event.

    Shaun Crosling has been with Epicure since 2001 and this was the ninth time that he has cooked for the society. He was adjudged Chef of the Year in 2008 and 2012 and his outstanding offering in September was rated another vote-winning performance.

    The Leeuwin Estate wines from Margaret River were presented by Simone Furlong, joint chief executive of this prestigious winery. World-acclaimed critic Robert Parker has said that Leeuwin Estate “makes one of Australia’s great Bordeaux-style cabernets.” The late Len Evans went further: “The great Chateaux of France have taken hundreds of years to do what you achieved in twenty-five years.”

    Gathering in the Long Room for pre-lunch nibbles, we enjoyed a top line-up of canapés – a steamed scallop and ginger dumping with sweet soy drizzle, green eggs and ham, fried capsicum polenta and black olive mayonnaise and, last but not least, a potato, fennel and oyster soup shot. Very nice!

    All this went appropriately with the 2012 Leeuwin Estate Siblings Sauvignon Blanc Semillon (alc.13%). The Siblings label represents wines intended for fresh early drinking and celebrates the role of the second generation of the Horgan family in the ongoing development of Leewin Estate. The tropical and citrus flavours came across with great intensity and an excellent line of acid that results in a refreshing finish.

    Moving into the Members Dining Room, we enjoyed for Shaun’s entrée of mild prawn Madras accompanied by traditional garnishes and khichdi kabab. These prawns were huge, beautifully presented and sure went down well with the two whites.

    First was the 2012 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Reisling (alc.12%), pale in colour with ripe lemons evident on the bouquet. The palate displayed a fine minerally edge with a light citrus tones. The second wine was the 2011 Leeuwin Estate Prelude Vineyards Chardonnay (alc.14%) from a warm vintage that showed concentrated lemon, grapefruit and white peach flavours with finely structured acid and a lengthy finish.

    The main course featured sixteen-hour braised ox cheek with sweet potato puree, provincial crumbs and roast beef fillet with horseradish foam, but the dominating roast beef fillet was what the members appreciated to go with the two outstanding reds. Both reds were excellent. The 2010 Leewin Estate Art Series Shiraz (alc.14%) was rated 94 points by James Halliday and was a very good cool climate Shiraz. The 2008 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon (alc.13%) was the top-of-the-line red from the Margaret River icon and fully deserves Halliday’s rating of 95 points.

    Following the main course, society president Alex Gillon invited our special guest, MCC president Paul Sheahan, to unveil our new honour board that will be located just outside the Hans Ebeling Room. The honour board features the names of our presidents and secretaries since foundation in 1987.

    Next on the menu was creamed Meredith goat’s cheese with sticky beetroot relish. We wonder how many chefs would go to the trouble of providing the beetroot relish that went so well with the cheese. The Meredith dairy milks all year round and is the largest on-farm producer of sheep and goat’s milk in Australia and their cheese and yoghurts are sold worldwide.

    With the cheese we were treated to the 2009 Leewin Estate Prelude Vineyards Cabernet Merlot (alc.13%), a much softer red wine than the previous pair but nevertheless a good choice to go with the cheese.

    The dessert was just what grandma used to make – apple, oat and brown sugar crumble accompanied by cream Chantilly. This was good stuff and brought back memories of what desserts used to be like!
    Accompanying the sweet was a 2009 Leeuwin Estate Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut (alc.12.5%), a good sparkling but many of us would have preferred to sample it earlier in the menu.

    So during the luncheon the conversation wasn’t so much about Hawthorn and Fremantle but rather about the quality of the food and wine. It was once again a joy to appreciate great food and wine and excellent company and this is what our society is all about.

    Thanks to Epicure, the MCC, Shaun Crosling and Leeuwin Estate’s Simone Furlong from the day’s 214 attendees who all promise to be back for more!

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    MCC Long Room Wine and Food Society - August 2013

    We have previously suggested that, as in high jumping, that the bar is continuously being raised by the chefs at the society’s functions.

    Now, however, we might talk about pole vaulting rather than high jumping, such was the quality of the meal presented by Shane Freer in August when members commented on an outstanding menu and presentation and asked how much better can these luncheons get.

    Congratulations, Shane. You said in your summary that you had been thinking of this menu for
    12 months. Well, the result was WOW. Thank you.

    The wines were provided by the society’s own cellar and were a compliment to wine and food master Paul Kinross and his predecessor, David Fyffe, who had selected most of the wines featured at this function. They were from seven different wineries.

    The luncheon attracted 184 members and guests (an even 87-87 split, as usual) who gathered in the Percy Beames Bar to enjoy a mixture of canapés comprising a honey and ginger-lacquered Bendigo quail breast with jackfruit sambal, slow-braised Victorian lamb rib with eggplant miso and baby cabbage and finally a caprese salad of tomato, goat’s cheese and fresh basil.

    The canapés went well with the sparkling on arrival, a 2006 Yellowglen Perle (12.5% alc.). This was a pleasant surprise as some don’t rate Yellowglen highly, but this “pearl in the jewel box” from the Yellowglen stable had previously won a silver medal at the Royal Sydney Easter Show and was marked on 94 points by James Halliday.

    Then it was on to the Long Room and one of the best entrées we can recall titled “Under the Sea” – a piece of crimson snapper, scallops and a crayfish bisque with ice plant and samphire gremolata and a pickled vegetable salad. This dish was truly outstanding. We weren’t so much under the sea as over the moon! Top marks.

    Two whites accompanied the entrée. The first was a 2005 Ciavarella Oxley Estate Chardonnay
    (13.5% alc.) from the lower reaches of the King Valley where the winery was established by the Ciavarella family in 1978. A modern-style crisp Chardonnay with aromas of melon, peach and tropical fruit, the wine won a bronze medal at the Australian Small Winemakers Show in 2007.

    Its partner, a 2001 Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon (11.0 % alc.) was a classic Hunter Valley Semillon showing brilliant gold colour and featuring flavours of honey and citrus. However, it was showing its age and perhaps was a little over the top.

    Proceeding onto the main course, titled “Paddock to Plate”, we enjoyed carved slow-roasted
    Gippsland sirloin accompanied by chickpeas, baby winter vegetables, pumpkin and ancient grains with a seeded mustard jus. The waiting staff offered us either mustard or horseradish if desired and when knife and sirloin met the meat virtually fell apart it was so tender.

    Two reds complemented the main course. First was a 2004 Silver Wings Vincenzo O.V. Mourvedre Shiraz (13.5% alc.) from the Conte vineyards in Shepparton, the first release under the Silver Wings label from fruit sourced from the late Vincenzo Conte’s old block. A wine that has won numerous medals, the blend was 60% Mourvedre and 40% Shiraz and it showed rich berry fruit with broad earthy characters and hints of mocha.

    The 2004 Charles Cimicky Shiraz (14.5% alc.) was a beauty. This winery is sometimes referred as the best kept secret in the Barossa. The 2004 Shiraz won the Rod Schubert Trophy for the most outstanding red wine at the Barossa Wine Show in 2007, showing ripe plum and cassis with liquorice notes with elegant, savoury features on a medium to full-bodied palate.

    The cheese came under the title of “From the Dairy”. From Northern Tasmania Exton Farm we enjoyed gruyere and tilsit emmental with cornichon, pickled onion and prune and walnut terrine with gourmet crackers. The cheese went extremely well with possibly the best wine of the day, a trophy and gold medal winner in the 2005 Lindeman’s Pyrus Cabernet Merlot Franc (13.5% alc.).

    The grapes came from the Coonwarra region and comprised 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc and 13% Merlot. The nose showed blueberry and plum fruit providing medium-bodied, sweet berry flavours with excellent intensity and a long finish.

    The dessert was “From the Garden” and it was another Shane Freer masterpiece. Described as a winter wonderland of snails, mushrooms, rich soil, sticks, stones and gems, you could not possibly guess what was in store. Shane is not only a chef but also a master of surprises with words.

    The dessert comprised winter berries, meringue, honeycomb, chocolate and flavoured ice-cream. It was so good, no wonder his words couldn’t describe it, but fabulous would be our description.

    Finally, we savoured a 2008 McWilliam’s Morning Light Botrytis Semillon (10.0% alc.). What a finish to a great lunch! It’s the winner of four individual trophies and six gold medals, the intense, rich palate providing beautiful layers of fruit and a great acid structure providing excellent balance.

    This lunch might have outshone August’s “best of the best” dinner for MCC members. Once again we extend congratulations to Shane Freer and to Paul Kinross, our wine and food master.

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    MCC Long Room Wine and Food Society - Special function for MCC members
    August 2013

    This function was a double feature in part to celebrate the 175 years of our wonderful Melbourne Cricket Club and to recognise the 150-year contribution that Grampians wineries have made to the establishment of the Australian wine industry.

    A stockbroker would have called it an IPO (initial public offering!), as this was the first time that the society had staged a dinner open to all MCC members, and because the July luncheon is followed the day after by a dinner for waiting list candidates this meant we would be holding four functions within a month.

    The special menu of the evening comprised the highest rated dishes of the past 12 months as voted by committee members of the society, so we saw two of Epicure’s top chefs – Shane Freer and Christophe Serre – combine to present a memorable dinner in the Members Dining Room.

    The members appreciated the opportunity to experience wines from seven different wineries from the Grampians district, including a Jimmy Watson winner. We were delighted to have a guest speaker of the calibre of Ian McKenzie, one of Australia’s most senior and highly regarded wine judges with over 45 years in the industry.

    Bruce Tyrell’s assessment said it all: “Ian has been chief winemaker of three award-winning wineries and is a director of TWS. If it’s about wine, Ian is the man. He has undoubtedly got the finest palate in Australia.”

    It was appropriate that the evening commenced in the Long Room with the canapés, which were all of a high class and the waiting staff did a great job getting around the diners. The offerings comprised a Jerusalem artichoke soup shot (excellent) and Szechuan-crusted high country pork belly with chilli caramel, but top of the selection was the soy-lacquered duck parcel (outstanding).

    The canapés went well with the Montana Lili St Cyr 2009 (alc.12.5%). A four-star winery in the Ararat District, Montana’s fruit came from the Victorian high country to produce a style with balance between crisp acidity and richer yeast and bottle age-derived flavours.

    The sparkling and the canapés set the scene for a great night as we ventured into the main dining room where the entrée was produced by Christophe Serre. This dish was well remembered from the November 2012 lunch – an outstanding seafood ravioli of vanilla-poached yabbies with a tarragon cream emulsion.

    The ravioli was possibly the best dish over the past 12 months, so well done, Christophe. This is what the Long Room Wine and Food Society is all about, the opportunity to appreciate the skills that create such entrees.

    There were two whites to complement the entrée. First was a 2003 Kimbarra Riesling (alc.13.3%). Ian Mc Kenzie spoke highly of this 10-year wine. The fruit came from the Great Western area and James Halliday had awarded it 92 points. Opinions varied, but as the wine opened up in the glass the potent apple revealed an intense palate.

    The other white was a 2011 Clarnette & Ludvigsen Ampersand Chardonnay (alc.12.5%). This vineyard is hidden in a secret valley at the foot of the Grampians looking out to Dunkeld in the south with Mount Abrupt and Mount Sturgeon sitting on the far edge of the view, so it was very much about cool climate grapes. It was made in somewhat of a Chablis style with distinct minerality and clean flavours of melons with fresh acidity.

    The main course, which came from the June 2012 luncheon, was again rated outstanding. Prepared by Shane Freer, we enjoyed slow-braised lamb shanks with pearl barley, Brussels sprouts and a thyme jus.

    In question time, Shane gave us a fascinating summary of how he removed the bone from the meat without disturbing the shape and character of the shanks. One could say meat fell off the bone, but there wasn’t any bone. The amateur cooks were gobsmacked by the detailed preparation of the dish. Well done, Shane.

    The Grampians winemakers put on three top reds to complement the main course and the cheese. The 2011 Best’s Great Western Bin 1 Shiraz (alc.14%) was the Jimmy Watson 2012 trophy winner from the well-acclaimed vineyard from Stawell that was established in 1868 covers five generations of the Thomson family.

    From a year when Bin 0 and the Thomson Family Shariz weren’t produced, Bin 1 is a classic cool climate, aromatic Shiraz made in the style that is floral, spicy and peppery yet retains generous fruit flavours and intensity. It is a well-balanced wine where alcohol does not dominate.

    The 2010 Mount Langi Ghiran Cliff Edge Shiraz (alc.13.5%) was rated 94 by James Halliday. It’s another outstanding cool climate, peppery Shiraz showing terrific intensity with complex spice and balanced tannins.

    The cheese was a Pyengana Clothbound Cheddar with burnt jam and oat biscuits. The cheddar is produced in Tasmania by John Healey using methods established by his great-grandfather at the turn of the century. Pyengana cheddar is one of Australia’s oldest specialist cheeses.

    With the cheese we fell in love with the 2010 St Peters Shiraz (alc.14%) made by Seppelt of Great Western. St Peters is an historic wine sometimes described as Victoria’s answer to Grange. It is the signature Grampians Shiraz from the “House of Seppelt”, crafted from mature vines hand picked off four sites. It is an exceptional wine with a long finish.

    The dessert was the winner from the April 2012 luncheon, a Java mousse and lavender honey cremeux with grapefruit soil and tarragon-infused orange sorbet. It was beautiful and served with a 2010 Grampians Estate Rutherford Sparkling Shiraz (alc.14.3% and rated 94 points).

    We must conclude this very special dinner report by thanking and complimenting the Epicure chefs, the kitchen staff, the ever-helpful waiting staff and the vignerons from the Grampians for not only suggesting we display their 150-year feature wines for this function but to simply enjoy them.

    In conclusion, the Long Room Wine and Food Society committee members were delighted to have this opportunity to invite all MCC members to this special occasion in the 175th year of the club and we thank the MCC Committee and CEO Stephen Gough for their continued support of the society.

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    MCC Long Room Wine and Food Society - July 2013

    It is to the great benefit of society members that the MCG’s Epicure chefs continue to challenge us with new dishes and different combinations and flavours that we don’t get anywhere else in Melbourne. This lunch was just that.

    Our chef in July was Christophe Serre who graduated at the Tecomah Culinary Academy in Versailles while working at Laperouse Restaurant in Paris, then moving on to top hotels in Britain before joining the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne in the late ‘90s. Such a diversity of experience certainly showed up in his menu.

    The wines came from Seppelt, now owned by Treasury Wine Estates, but the “House of Seppelt” was established in 1851 when Joseph Seppelt built Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley. In 1918 Beno Seppelt took ownership of today’s Great Western winery and put it on the map with magnificent sparkling and exceptional table wines, particularly shiraz.

    We were fortunate to have senior winemaker Adam Carnaby as our guest to introduce the excellent range of wines from Seppelt, which were offered at attractive prices to our members.

    Something new is always happening at our luncheons and on this occasion we were able to have both the canapés and the following courses in the Long Room. The canapés were excellent.

    We enjoyed a bird’s nest of smoked yellowfin tuna, the five-spiced quail breast with pomegrante molasses dressing and finally Angasi oyster served three ways – with finger lime, salmon roe pearls and chives, with Japanese dressing, yuzu jelly and seaweed salad or au natural with baby cress. “Just leave the oysters with me!”

    What would be better than the2009 Seppelt Salinger Vintage Cuvee (alc.12%), the pinnacle white sparkling from Seppelt and sourced from the best fruit from the cool climate regions of Australia. It is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, an elegant and refined wine that also includes up to five per cent reserve wine for added complexity.

    Upon being seated we were greeted by what many thought was the dish of the day, an entrée of black curry barramundi on liquid coconut risotto and lemongrass. The presentation and the different flavours added up to overall excellence

    Two Chardonnays, both from the Drumborg vineyard at Henty in Western Victoria, complemented the entrée. We savoured the 2012 Seppelt Jaluka Chardonnay (alc.12.5%) and the 2011 Seppelt Drumborg Chardonnay (alc.13%).

    The Drumborg vineyard is one of the most southern vineyards in mainland Australia and Chardonnays appreciate the cool climate. The Jaluka carried the characteristics of restrained lime, citrus and green apples, there was length on the palate and it finished with brisk acidity. I suggest this wine would probably improve with a couple of years in the cellar.

    The Drumborg Chardonnay won a gold medal at the 2013 Sydney Royal Show and was recognised by our “good judges” as the preferred of the two chardonnays. This wine was classy on the palate with balanced medium acid, stone fruit flavours and a seasoning of oak that resulted in a long dry finish.

    Tradition was now disregarded as the chef moved us to a second course, the L’Artisan Mountain Man mild washed rind Reblochon-style royal square with toasted Mount Zero hazelnuts and piquillo peppers.

    This heated cheese dish was rather rich and very filling and quite a surprise move away from having the cheese between the main course and dessert. However, our pinot lovers were well pleased with the choice of the 2012 Seppelt Drumborg Pinot Noir (alc.13%) to go with the cheese.

    Once again this wine was sourced from the cool climate at Henty in Western Victoria. The Pinot showed a medium red garnet colour while the nose was of red cherry and cinnamon spices, flowing through to the palate of savoury cherry and plum.

    The main course was seventy-two hour marinated Tasmanian Springfield farm venison with celeriac saffron tagliatelle and Banyule ganache.

    The Springfield deer farm was established by the Vaughans in 1991 and the farm runs 500- 600 deer on pastures that are chemical-free. An abattoir was established in 2001 to supply fresh venison and smallgoods direct to various restaurants and delicatessens.

    While popular with many, once again this dish tested the traditional fare of some members who gave mixed reports, generally thinking that the excellent reds would have been better with a good porterhouse.

    Accompanying the main were the 2010 Seppelt Chalambar Shiraz (alc.14%) and the flagship St Peters Shiraz from the excellent 2008 vintage (alc.14%). The Chalambar grapes were sourced from the Bendigo and Grampians regions.

    Jeremy Oliver rated this wine 96 points. It was a modern Western Victorian shiraz laced with musky, exotic spices with a bouquet of small red and black berries that grows even more compelex through the length of flavour.

    The St Peters was an outstanding shiraz, sourced from the finest and intense estate-grown fruit. The wine is made in small quantities and is a carefully balanced medium-bodied wine that displays complex flavours reflective of the local terroir.

    Next came dessert which was one for the chocolate lovers, a cassis chocolate sphere with blackcurrant mousse, pink peppercorn crumble and hot chocolate sauce. Very rich, it featured outstanding presentation and was another interesting experience.

    Another break from the traditional was out final wine, a 2010 Seppelt Orginal Sparkling Shiraz (alc.13.5%). Very refreshing, it matched well with the chocolate dessert and would be a wonderful wine to start Christmas lunch, so with that thought we will have some for Christmas 2013.

    Our thanks are extended to chef Christophe Serre and his staff who went to great lengths to give us what was truly something different. We also thank Adam Carnaby from Seppelt in providing an excellent selection of wines. Finally, we acknowledge the MCC for the contribution of club staff and for the fabulous facilities that society members enjoy.

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    MCC Long Room Wine and Food Society - June 2013

    Our June function was a Percy Beames Bar-Members Dining Room combination as the MCC had asked us to forego the Long Room to accommodate the very high number of visitors to the ground during the week of the British Lions match against the Wallabies. We didn’t invite them to join us!

    The lunch was capably chaired by vice-president John Campbell, wines came from Kalleske in the Barossa and Sam Calderone was guest chef. Sam started his apprenticeship with Spotless in 1990 and later gained experience at the Regent, Crown Casino, Hayman Island and at the Melbourne Convention Centre before returning to Spotless/Epicure in 2011.

    Kalleske Wines was established in 2002 on the family property at Greenock and although the family had been growing grapes since 1853, it wasn’t until 2004 that they produced wine under their own label. Since then Kalleske has had a rapid rise to fame with winemaker Troy Kalleske being named “Winemaker of the Year” by the Barons of the Barrossa in 2008. Their wines have since won major awards in Australia, London, New Zealand and Shanghai.

    The canapes were very plentiful with four varieties but perhaps the most appreciated was the garden pea and spanner crab arancini served with a lime aioli. The other classy nibbles were slow-cooked Black Angus beef wrapped in rich butter brioche and served with caramelised onion, a tartlet of roast peppers, zucchini and gruyere cheese and finally confit chicken terrine with sautéed leeks and wild mushrooms on polenta croute.

    An awful lot of work by Sam and the kitchen staff had gone into the preparation of these canapés and our members are really thankful for their efforts.

    What a surprise! No sparkling to commence, instead we tried a 2012 Kalleske Rosina Rose (alc.13.0%) made mostly from Grenache vines planted in the 1940s but with some Shiraz and a dash of Viognier for added complexity. There was no doubt that this was a good Rose but members would prefer to go back to a sparkling to open the batting.
    We moved on to the Members Dining Room for the entrée of roasted Eyre Peninsula mulloway fillet with scampi, Yarra Valley roe and creamy veloute sauce. This dish recorded the highest score of the lunch, undoubtedly because the sauce made all the difference as the added flavours complemented the fish.

    The wine with the entrée was the 2012 Kalleske Florentini Chenin Blanc (alc.13.5%). The 2012 vintage was fantastic in the Barossa and the grapes for this wine came from low-yielding vines planted in 1988. French and Hungarian oak was used before bottling after five months. The palate was medium weight with flavours of white fruits and provided a fresh finish with a touch of minerality.

    The main course was a native pepper-crusted lamb loin with ratatouille, heirloom baby carrots, turnip fondant and a basil jus. Also served at the table were roasted chateau potatoes. This was the typical winter meal. The loin of lamb was tender and succulent, cooked to perfection as usual and the servings were extremely generous.

    Two good reds accompanied the lamb. First was the 2011 Kalleske Moppa Shiraz (alc.14%). A trace of Viognier (5%) and Petit Verdot (10%) was added to the Shiraz for added complexity. All batches were fermented in open-top fermenters with hand pump overs twice a day during the process. The colour is red- purple with aromas of roses, cherry and blueberry and a hint of pepper spice.

    The 2010 Kalleske Merchant Cabernet Sauvignon (alc.14%) rated 94 points. Of dark red colour and a nose displaying blackcurrant, ripe dark plum, cedar and spice, the wine was full-bodied with a long aftertaste.

    The cheese was a L’Artisan fermier from Timboon accompanied by fig walnut log, quince paste and fresh grapes. Our members are becoming cheese “experts” and they were not disappointed with this lovely dish.

    A lot of us love a good red together with fresh grapes, and a good red it was! The 2009 Kalleske Eduard Shiraz (alc.14%) was made from grapes from three different vineyard blocks on the Kalleske property that were planted between 1905 and 1960.

    It is named after Karl Heinrich Eduard Kalleske, who worked the vineyards from 1853 until the 1880s. Traditionally pressed matured in new seasoned hogheads for two years prior to bottling unfined and unfiltered, the Eduard is a powerful, full-bodied wine that exhibits dense classic Barossa old vine Shiraz characteristics.

    The dessert was a traditional sticky date pudding with macadamia dolce ice cream, silky rosemary and caramel sauce. Once again, a winter luncheon favourite although some found the pudding a little dry, notwithstanding it was a good choice for a lunch in June.

    The sticky was a 2011 Kalleske J.M.K. Shiraz VP, a luscious fortified shiraz to which a combination of young and old (up to two years) brandy spirit was used to fortify the wine, ensuring added complexity.

    Thus ended another well attended lunch and our thanks go to all the Epicure staff with special acknowledgement to chef Sam Calderone and winemaker Troy Kalleske from the Barossa.

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    MCC Long Room Wine and Food Society - May 2013

    The society’s May luncheon was held in the traditional venues with canapes served in the Percy Beames Bar and the remainder of the meal in the Long Room with 182 members and guests in attendance.

    Chef of the Day was Renee Guymer who started working with Spotless/ Epicure at the age of 15. After completing her apprenticeship and cooking at a variety of restaurants around town she returned to the MCC in 2004. Renee won the society’s Chef of the Year award in 2006.

    The wines on show were from Mt Avoca which was established in 1970 by stockbroker John Barry, who was in attendance. Mount Avoca has been rated a five-star winery by James Halliday and has been run organically over the past five years.

    Mount Avoca was represented by the current owner Mathew Barry and winemaker William Talbot, who has had extensive experience making wine in New Zealand and in the USA, both in the Napa Valley and in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Back in New Zealand, he worked at the Matua Valley winery for two years before heading across the ditch to Mount Avoca.

    The canapes offered were a tasty treat – shredded tamarind duck with herb salad and crisp pappadums, pancetta-wrapped West Australian scallops with wasabi dipping sauce, cheddar tarts with a hint of clilli and chervil and finally prawn dumplings with soy and ginger sauce. The scallops were the feature of the canapes, considered by all as magnificent.

    Accompanying the nibbles was a Mount Avoca Lisa Marie Blanc de Blanc (Alc.12.5%). This was the second release of this wine which came from the excellent 2010 vintage. It was fresh, superbly balanced and clean and went well with the canapés.

    Then it was on to the Long Room for a slightly different entree – Northern Rivers veal with Port Lincoln tuna mayonnaise, capers, shaved parmesan and lemon. Very thinly sliced with the flavour and tenderness of veal, this was an interesting choice to accompany the whites.

    The Mount Avoca Viognier 2010 (Alc.13.5%I is rated 94 points by James Halliday. Of the seven wines listed for our lunch, six were from the 2010 vintage which in part reflects on one of the best seasons for many years. This Viognier has won five medals and featured a soft, lingering palate with lime and peach freshness.

    There were only 150 cases made of the Mt Avoca Fume Blanc 2010 (Alc.12.5%). Since 2008 Mount Avoca has fermented a small percentage of its Sauvignon Blanc in French and Hungarian oak to build complexity into the blends, which shows on the palate with creamy lime and cumquat.

    After the entrée was served we welcomed three new members to the society – Maureen and George Swinburne and Bernard Upjohn. We hope they think the long wait was worth it!

    The winter conditions didn’t prevent Epicure from sourcing some outstanding racks of Victorian lamb for the main course, which was served with a cauliflower and leek mash and sautéed Brussels sprouts.
    Cooked to perfection, it never ceases to amaze how the chefs are able to prepare this dish just right for 181 and serve it all at once.

    The first of the reds with the main course was a 2010 Mount Avoca Cabernet Sauvignon (Alc.13.0%). Dark blood plum red with a nose of black currant and tobacco leaf, it was a fine example of Pyrenees Cabernet.

    The 2008 Mount Avoca Reserve Shiraz 2008 was selected by the members as the wine of the lunch, with 13 medals and rated 95 points by Halliday. A bouquet of blackberries, blood plums, blueberries and black pepper carried through to a full-flavoured red, the hallmark of a Pyrenees Shiraz.

    The Yarra Valley brie cheese we enjoyed orginated in France and has the nickname of ''The Queen of Cheeses''. So we enjoyed the soft cheese served with freshly dried sultanas, beetroot chips and herbed almonds.

    Matched with the brie was a 2010 Mount Avoca Merlot (Alc.13.0%). It's a hard act to follow an excellent Shiraz with a Merlot, despite the variety excelling in the Pyrenees. The palate was medium-bodied and well-structured leading to a long savoury finish, which suited the cheese.

    We finished with a dessert of Gippsland yoghurt and almond sponge, sous vide apple, vanilla yoghurt ice cream and pistachio crisp. The sweet was accompanied by a 2010 Mount Avoca Cordon Cut Sauvignon Blanc (Alc.10.2%).

    This is an interesting wine as the canes with the fruit called cordons are cut and left to hang on the trellis for about three weeks prior to harvesting. This reduces the grapes to about one- third of their orginal weight, not only concentrating the sugars but also intensifying the flavours. The end result is a classic dessert wine.

    Speaking to the wines, both Matthew Barry and William Talbot were very informative and generated much discussion during the lunch.

    Our chef Renee Guymer was joined by Shaun Crosling in discussing the meal as poor Renee had a sore throat, but there was no way she was not going to appear. Well done, Renee.

    All in all our thanks to all who make us happy for another month.

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    MCC Long Room Wine and Food Society - April 2013

    The annual dinner held in the Members Dining Room on April 23 – a traditional black-tie event – celebrated 26 years since the society was established in 1987 and a good time was had by all.

    The function featured wines from our cellar as selected by wine and food master Paul Kinross who ranged far and wide in presenting tipples from the Yarra Valley, Rutherglen, Napa Valley in USA, Chile and the Wairau Valley in New Zealand.

    Each year the society presents two awards at this dinner – Chef of the Year and Apprentice of the Year.
    The winning chef was Shaun Crosling who has worked for Epicure since 2001. Shaun also won the award in 2008 and has cooked for the society eight times, most recently at last September’s luncheon.

    The Apprentice Chef of the Year was Emily Petrelli who has just completed her first year as an apprentice in the pastry kitchen at the MCG. Emily is proving very talented, having been awarded top prize in the state final of the Nestle Golden Chefs Hat Award. She later represented Victoria in the national final and was awarded a silver medal for her dessert.

    The evening commenced with canapés in the Long Room where we enjoyed venison carpaccio with pine nut gel, a rock lobster dashi and the very moreish spanner crab and ginger cones with potato popcorn.
    All of these offerings went well with the Domaire Chardon Vintage Brut 2006 (alc.12.5%), a lovely combination of freshness, complexity and character blended from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.

    After canapés we moved into the Members Dining Room where we were treated to an entrée of steamed blue eye cod with baked potato consommé. This was quite a different dish but it rated very well with our scoring panel.

    The two whites with the entrée were a Pfeiffer Marsanne 2003 (alc.13%) featured a full-bodied creamy palate with flavours of honeysuckle and citrus, while the Stags Leap Napa Valley Viognier 2008 (alc.13.8%) from one of the pioneers of Californian winemaking showed flavours of grapefruit, fresh apricot and white peach.

    For main course we relished grilled Black Angus beef mignon, braised beef cheek and forest mushrooms ragout with a Shiraz jus. How does the chef get this beef just right for so many diners at the same time? And, boy, we do enjoy a good steak with a good red or two!

    We weren’t let down by this brace of international reds – a Stags Leap Napa Valley Petite Syrah 2005 (alc.13.8%) and a De Martino Single Vineyard Carménere 2006 (alc.14.25%). The Stags Leap had ripe black fruit, black currants and cocoa on the nose and a long, chewy, bitter chocolate finish while the full-bodied Chilean wine showed well-defined flavours of cherries and black chocolate with a silky texture and a long finish.

    The white Savourine goat’s cheese from the Yarra Valley was served with spiced fig compote and fig and ginger crispbread. We do enjoy the cheese that the chefs continue to present and this was no exception.
    With the cheese we matched a Warrabilla Reserve Durif 2005 (alc.15.5%) which has a rating of 94 points from James Halliday, rated by James Halliday 94 pts. Established in 1990 by Andrew Sutherland Smith, this is a five-star winery renowned for producing the best example of Durif the region has to offer.

    Oh, for another serve of the dessert, a Raspberry and Bailey’s mille feuille featuring crunchy hazelnut puff pastry, verjuice jelly and Tanzanie origin chocolate. This dish certainly has the wow factor and received a big accolade from the members.

    It came with a Forrest Botrytised Riesling 2005 from New Zealand’s Wairau Valley and showed lovely citrus fruit, apricot and spice flavours.

    So the annual dinner came to an end and with it went our thanks once again to David Mercer of Epicure and his team. We also are indebted to the MCC’s Greer Dutton for her work in coordinating all the functions of the Long Room Wine and Food Society.

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    MCC Long Room Wine and Food Society - March 2013

    This outstanding, sold out luncheon was a tribute to the talents of Epicure chef Patrice Merdy who was born in Versailles, migrated to Melbourne and returned to France to study and complete his apprenticeship. He later cooked in many prestigious restaurants and at one stage worked alongside renowned chef Robert Castellani.

    The wines came from Brokenwood, established in 1970 in the Hunter Valley and founded by a trio of Sydney-based solicitors – Tony Albert, John Beeston and James Halliday, who paid a then record price of $970 per acre for a 10-acre block that had been planned as a cricket ground for the local community but instead was planted with Cabernet Sauvigion and Shiraz.

    The first vintage was picked in 1973 with the grapes being carried to the winery in buckets in the back seat of Len Evans’s Bentley. Brokenwood has had steady growth ever since, and these days sources grapes from Coonawarra, McLaren Vale, Cowra and the Forest Edge vineyard in Orange and in 1997 the company purchased an interest in the Indigo Vineyard at Beechworth.

    Brokenwood was represented at the luncheon by winemaker Geoff Krieger who has worked in the industry for more than 30 years. Geoff joined Brokenwood wines as general manager in 2004 and now is a partner in the company. Apart from producing the wine, he also is involved in marketing both within Australia and in exporting to 23 countries.

    Canapés were served in the Percy Beames Bar where we were treated to Gateaux Piment – dahl with coriander, chilli, parsley, scallions and aniseed with sweet dipping sauce. Next was a beignet of Sydney Rock Merimbula oysters with chilli and saffron hollandaise foam. Excellent! Finally came the duck liver parfait with port and thyme wine jelly and sourdough ficelle.

    Accompanying was a Brokenwood Cricket Pitch White 2011 (alc. 12%), a blend of Sauvigion Blanc and Semillon from grapes sourced from Cowra, Orange and the King Valley together with Semillon from the Hunter Valley. Fruit from outside the Hunter is processed to the primary juice stage before transport to the winery in the Hunter Valley for fermentation and blending.

    Moving on to the Long Room for luncheon, we were presented with an entrée of Coquilles Saint Jacques – lightly poached WA scallops, white wine and dill veloute sauce served in a large seashell. This dish was absolutely brilliant.

    Two whites complemented the entrée. The Brokenwood Maxwell Semillon 2006 (alc. 11%) came from a gold-winning vintage and was harvested by hand. The fruit was crushed, chilled and pressed immediately. This wine is a good example of why the Hunter is famous for their Semillons, featuring lemon and lime fruit with notes of lemongrass, together with acidity softly integrated.

    The Brokenwood Pinot Gris 2012 (alc. 13.5%) was really appreciated by the members judging by the orders for this wine with classic Alsatian characteristics. A brilliant, very pale straw colour with aromas of ripe pear and tropical fruits, it showed a clean finish with a spice aftertaste.

    As we moved into the main course, diners may well have thought they were in France with the Rabbit Bourguignon which came from a Ballarat rabbit farm and was accompanied by juniper berries, star anise and red wine, duck confit potatoes, carrots and sour cherries.

    The reds accompanying started with a Brokenwood Cricket Pitch Red 2010 (alc. 13.5%), a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Shiraz and the balance of Merlot and Petit Verdot. Very dark purple and with a ripe black cherry bouquet, the flavour profile is a blend of blackberry and plum with a good helping of black pepper mixed in.

    The Brokenwood Pinot Noir 2010 (alc. 14%) was the result of the addition of the Indigo vineyard at Beechworth which has given the company a greater range of quality wines and this Pinot is an excellent example. Light to medium weight, the palate delivers good power with flavours of ripe dark cherries, cedar and spice.

    The cheese was English blue stilton, known as the “king of English cheese”, with red onion and fennel leaves. It takes its name from a village just south of Peterborough which was the coaching stop on the Great North Road. Recent research has revealed that a cheese called “Stilton” was made in the village in the early part of the 18th Century. The cheese was sold from the Bell Inn in the village and its fame spread up and down the Great North Road.

    The Brokenwood Shiraz 2009 (alc. 13%) was selected to go with the cheese. It carried a 96 score from James Halliday who described it as having “every bit of the intensity and structure expected of this wine with a mix of cherry, blackberry, French oak and a lilting finish thanks to spot-on acidity.”

    After all that we still appreciated an appealing dessert. Patrice treated us to Goulburn Valley pears, poached in vanilla bean and saffron Riesling syrup with candied fruit and pistachio cassata with glace biscuit.

    Matched with the dessert was the Brokenwood Sticky-Wicket Semillon (alc. 10%) made from specially selected parcels of Semillon grapes that included some botrytis, or Noble Rot as it is sometimes known, and it was a luscious dessert-style wine.

    We thank chef Patrice for a fantastic French experience and winemaker Geoff Kriegar from Brokenwood for the excellent wines, not forgetting David Mercer and all the Epicure staff. As happens in the Olympics, the bar just keeps going higher and higher!

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    Wine and Food Society Luncheon - February 2013

    A roll call of more than 200 attended the first full function for members and guests for 2013 – the February luncheon in the Percy Beames Bar and the Members Dining Room, the Long Room being reserved for MCC general use as Victoria was playing cricket on the ground.

    We were fortunate to have MCC chief executive Stephen Gough as our guest speaker and he provided an enlightening address on what is happening at the Melbourne Cricket Club.

    Once again the food and wines were excellent. Aaron Duffy, Epicure’s head chef of members’ dining at the MCG, was in charge of the menu and Stuart Blackwell, senior winemaker at St Hallett, presented the products of their Tanunda winery.

    Aaron Duffy is well known and regarded by the society and before his MCG posting had extensive experience overseas. Along with chef de cuisine – pastry Deniz Karaca, he recently defended Epicure and MCC’s title in winning the gold medal at the Clubs Victoria 2012 Chef’s Table Awards.

    Established in 1944, St Hallett commissioned new “state of the art” production facilities under Stuart Blackwell as winery manager in 1988. In recognition of his contribution to St Hallett since 1974, the company named their top red Blackwell Shiraz and repeated the honour with the recent release of the Blackwell Semillon.

    The canapes of steamed sesame prawns, Peking duck pancakes and lobster dashi were outstanding, particularly the prawns. Everyone enjoyed St Hallett’s The Black NV Barossa Sparkling Shiraz (alc.13.5%) to go with the nibbles. St Hallett blend this sparkling red wine from specially selected older wood-aged Shiraz parcels.

    Each year new parcels of wine are chosen during barrel tasting for the Old Block and Blackwell Shiraz. After maturing in oak alongside the existing older material until blending for the next bottling, they deliver a wine of deep intensity, dark ruby purple colour and multi-layered fruit flavours characteristic of Shiraz in the Barossa.
    The entrée was a mosaic of Australian seafood with tomato jelly, fennel pollen and saffron water dressing. The quality and presentation of this dish was really appreciated. We enjoyed two Rieslings with the entrée, which perhaps reflects the increasing popularity of the variety.

    St Hallett’s Eden Valley Riesling 2012 (alc.11.5%) came from a brilliant year in both the Clare and Eden Valleys for Riesling. A brilliant, very pale straw colour, on the nose it showed citrus and steely mineral. The palate supported the flavours of lemon and lime with a clean crisp finish.

    St Hallett’s Eden Valley Riesling 2009 (alc.11.0%) gave us the opportunity to compare the two different years and of course brought about discussion and differences of opinion. James Halliday rated this one 95, showing the additional three years of maturity, similar in style to the other wine with citrus fruit and the hallmark of fine acidity.

    The main course was High Country pork belly with apple preparations, Meredith goat’s cheese, roast Mt Buffalo hazelnuts and crispy-skinned quaver. The pork belly was succulent and tender and not short of flavour, and the dish suited the two reds.

    St Hallett’s Garden of Eden Shiraz 2011 (alc. 13.5%) was bright crimson with remarkable depth and complexity while retaining finesse, elegance and flavour, while the Faith Shiraz 2011 (alc. 14.0%) is one of the winery’s best sellers. It featured dark berries and some subtle oak richness and could be best described as a medium-bodied wine, rich and balanced with good length.

    The cheese that followed was a pleasant education to most of us. It was whole baked Vacherin Le Duc with truffle honey and croutons. A soft-ripened cheese from the Jura region of France, the cheese is wrapped in a strip of spruce bark. It was baked and served as a spread onto biscuits or almond bread.

    Accompanying the cheese was the wine of the day, the St Hallett 2010 Blackwell Shiraz (alc. 14.5%). Each parcel of Shiraz is individually matched to one of a selection of American Oak barrels in which the wine matures for two years, gaining texture and power prior to release. This Shiraz is big and bold with fruit power – an outstanding Barossa red wine.

    Dessert was a delicious Marc de Champagne mousse with almond crunch, raspberry sorbet and basil-scented raspberry coulis. This hit the spot with the St Hallett Anniversary Tawny to finish.

    Our thanks are conveyed not only to chef Aaron Duffy but to all the kitchen and waiting staff of Epicure, together with a special mention of David Mercer and the society’s wine and food master Paul Kinross.
    We also appreciated the information provided by Stuart Blackwell from St Hallett and the opportunity to enjoy some excellent wines.

    We will all be back in March.

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    Wine and Food Society Luncheon - January 2013

    The New Year opened up with the traditional Old Bottle Day held in the Long Room, an event restricted to members only that allows the members to present some of their most precious and priceless possessions.

    Once again Jeremy Oliver, the acclaimed wine judge and author, gave the members the benefit of his expertise and provided a commentary as well as judging the outstanding reds and whites that were enjoyed by attendees.

    Jeremy commented that the whites were outstanding. However, the wines were predominately reds and he made the point that the reds get better year by year. We don’t know if this is a reflection on the education that the members are receiving from the society or that the red wines are maturing better as the members get older!

    This was the first time that the Old Bottle Day has enjoyed the full menu of five courses including the chef’s selection of hot and cold canapés, which were excellent. Thank you, EPICURE.

    The 91 members in attendance were greeted with two wines from the Seppelt stable – a Seppelt Amontillado Sherry and the Salinger Sparkling.

    The Amontillado Sherry DP 116 from the Barossa had won five gold medals but the use of the name Amontillado Sherry was phased out as a permitted term on December 31, 2009. This sherry was a golden/brown colour and presented sweetness on the mid palate, then a long, dry, fresh finish. James Haliday rated it 94 points.

    The Seppelt Salinger was a Pinot Noir Chardonnay and was also rated 94 points by Halliday. The pinnacle sparkling wine from Seppelt, the style has lifted citrus aromas and the mouth feel is long and creamy.

    The members certainly enjoyed the entrée of double-baked cheese soufflé consisting of Heki gruyere, Meredith Dairy chevre, Grand Padano, cured ham and truffle dressing. Wow!

    The main course supported the reds around the table. It was a delicious char-grilled grass-fed beef medallion with Yellingbo confit tigra tomato tatin, dauphinoise potato and pickled ladyfinger eggplant together with a salad of cherry tomato, cos hearts, frisse, rocket, white salad onion and raspberry vinegar dressing.

    It was then on to the fine Victoria cheese served on platters with cabernet paste, dried apricots, candied walnuts, lavosh and crackers.

    Finally came the citrus cheesecake comprising crunchy almond biscuit base, tarragon-infused orange sorbet and burnt orange caramel. The members did get the full treatment.

    Now to the important topic of the day – the winners. As mentioned, Jeremy Oliver spoke in glowing terms of the outstanding wines that were presented and how this made the judge’s job all the more difficult.

    He settled on the following:

    Whites 3rd placing Arras 2004 Sparkling from Tasmania

    2nd placing 1997 Tahbilk Marsanne

    1st placing 2002 Leo Buring Waterdale Riesling
    From Russell Snibson

    Reds 3rd placing Beaume Clos De Mouches
    French red blend 1976
    Courtesy Alicia Simonson

    2nd placing Chateau Montrose 1990 from Barrie Laws

    1st placing 1982 Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz
    Presented by our wine and food master, Paul Kinross.

    The presentation bought to the close a great lunch although discussion on the wines continues. We thank Jeremy Oliver and Epicure’s David Mercer and his team for their splendid contribution to the Old Bottle Day and we look forward to another top year for the Long Room Wine and Food Society in 2013.