5.39pm, Wednesday 18th May, 24 hour internet cafe around the corner from Parkers Steakhouse, Geelong, Victoria
Here we are in Cats Country folks. Geelong Cats Country. We have a trade tasting tonight at Parkers Steakhouse, then back up to Melbourne. So let me wind back and catch up another event:
TUESDAY 17th MAY — THE BUSINESSMMEN’S LUNCH AT THE KEILOR HOTEL out in the western suburbs of Melbourne.
Now we need to take a quick historical deep breath here, because our event was in the wine cellar underneath the Keilor Hotel, which was built 162 years ago – and is exactly the same age as we are at Yalumba. During the Victorian goldrush, Keilor was about one day’s travel toward the goldfields of Ballarat and Bendigo from Melbourne, so it has always been a really busy pub. Those days, seeing as the cellar at the hotel was the coldest place in town, it also meant that it was used on a pretty regular basis by the police for the storage of bodies and for conducting the autopsies. According to the publican – Ray Dodd – if they took the body they got paid 5 shillings, and if they refused, they got fined 2 pounds! So really a bit of a no win situation either way!
Any rate – this is definitely the first time that we’ve had a wine event in an autopsy suite – even if it is 100 years after the event! Right now, the shelves on two walls are stacked solid with bottles bearing the great names and old vintage years of the Australian wine industry: Penfolds, Hardys, Seaview, Lindemans and yes, Yalumba as well. In fact, Ray pulled out a bottle of 1968 Yalumba ‘Selected Claret Barossa Shiraz’ for us to try after lunch. A lovely man right from the get go!
The wine level was just below the neck, but when opened and decanted, the wine didn’t show any gross oxidation and still had reasonable aromatics. It was all secondary savoury flavours, no primary fruit and finished a bit short. But as a time capsule it was an interesting peek at what an everyday wine looked like at the end of the 1960s.
I have to take my hat off to the staff – who successfully ran plates of food down to the cellar without once running into the ceiling – and nice things from the kitchen too. The highlights? A carpaccio of salmon with a pink peppercorn crust that was spot on with the FDW [7c] – which is another gentle juggernaut folks – just rolling out at every event and wowing ’em!
The main course was a combination of venison and waygu beef belly – with the Signature and FDR1A both working a treat with both meats. There was a ginger sorbet in there somewhere, and two blue cheeses that were stunning with the Octavius – and I promptly forgot to get their names. Sorry! I was flat out answering 20 wine questions from the boys once they got started – everything from stelvin closures to Italian varietals.
So thanks to Junior for a lovely day out in the wild wild west, and it looks like we’re going to move the whole show upstairs and into the 60-seat barrel room to do it all again for more of the locals. That will be a date to mark on the calendar folks. I’m definitely free and wouldn’t miss it for quids!