6.57am, Thursday 10th June, Platinum Motel, James Street, Toowoomba, QLD, Australia
Cold, cold, cold up here on the Great Divide this morning, and we’ll be off shortly to the Pink Peppercorn – apparently THE local breakfast destination – then we’ll be trekking back to the coast and north to Mooloolaba. So here’s my chance to catch up Wednesday and Thursday.
Last night was our third Yalumba event at The Downs Club, a 120-year-old local gathering place that was the original business and social hub for the district. Our chief Robert Hill Smith was here 10 years ago with a bagful of Signature, and Robert’s father – Mr Wyndham, who looked after Yalumba for 40 years from the Depression years to ‘the modern era’ – sent wine to the Club for their Centenary celebrations . This just happened to be the vintage of Galway Claret from the 1960s that Sir Robert Menzies presented to a group at The Adelaide Stock Exchange Club as ‘the best Australian red I have ever tasted’ – a Cabernet Shiraz blend which became the forerunner of The Signature two years later. So rest assured that we successfully continued the Yalumba-Downs Club tradition last night, with dinner set up for 40 people in the old billiard room – sharing it with a full size table.
Paul – the chef, club manager and cellarmaster – did some great food and put lovely old school rack of lamb with the 2005 Signature and 2004 The Reserve double. That’s him in the pic with my dinner. Check out the neat old Downs Club porcelain plates made locally.
The Downs Club is another beautiful old working relic from Australia’s rich rural heritage – just like The Riverine Club in Wagga Wagga. With its vaulted roof, pressed metal ceilings, and stained glass window features – not to mention the classic old milk glass lights embossed with the Downs Club at the gates – it is a classic. It’s also very much the done thing for the men to wear a tie to dinner here, so I’ve put in a shot of my two accomplices in wine on the night – Steele looks after this part of the world for us, and Darren is Mr Yalumba across Queensland – with their respective ties. As you can see it’s “from the sublime to the ridiculous”. Just in case it’s not clear, those are blue turtles on Darren’s tie!
Thanks for having us, and we’ll be definitely keeping Toowoomba on our circuit for next year – we cannot speak highly enough of the support we have up here.
***PS I’ll be back sooner than I thought! I’m on annual leave in July and will be in Brisbane for the Wallabies-Springboks test, and Phil Coorey has a sports night at The Spotted Cow (est 1892!) on the 28th with Brendon Fevola. Now there’s an invite I cannot knock back! See ya then Toowoomba … when it’s even colder.