Beefsteak & Burgundy – Glimpses No. 5
Flowing from last month’s insights given by David Crosby, winemaker and member of the founding 6, one can note that he was a very keen B&B man having been a member of 4 Clubs. He noted on tasting a masked wine suggested by George Fairbrother [Founding 6], among a number of not too flattering comments, that George thought that all should purchase it none the less. The wine, was a Penfolds 1952 Grange Hermitage. This was in the days when Adelaide’s leading hotel, the South Australian, had 26 sherries listed on its wine list. This list also included Chablis, Hock, Sauternes, Claret and Burgundy. The Grange was listed at 30 shillings and 6 pence [Just over 3 bucks on conversion]. If only….
In a letter penned by Ant Benny, the then Winemaster, for the 2002 AGM, he notes that the Cellar rental was to be increased by 50% and by the tone of the letter received it would seem that it would be best for the club to relocate elsewhere. As a result the cellar moved to the Bailly & Bailly store at Stirling at no cost thanks to the kind auspices of Martin Bailly. There it stayed until a couple of years ago when it was moved to the Cold Stores in the Adelaide hills.
The 2002 cellar had some interesting beverages, sadly now drunk. 1981 Ingoldby Riesling, 1998 Stringy Brae Riesling, 1990 Skillogalee Shiraz, 1993 Penfolds Bin 28, 1995 Wynns Black Label Cabernet all leap off the page. The 1996s, an excellent vintage, are mouth watering. Consider Penfolds 389, Elderton Shiraz, Reynella Basket Press and the Leasingham Cabernet Malbec. Others on the red list include Bremerton “Old Adam” Shiraz, more 389, Penfolds 407, Saltram No1, Wynns Michael and also the John Riddoch. Members could contemplate these lovelies whilst imbibing on the cellar’s Angoves 7 Star Brandy, the Remy Martin Cognac or the 1979 Morris B&B Silver Jubilee [Muscat?]. Also in 2002 John Auld attended 8 dinners, Peter Johnson 9, Martin Keith 9, Paul Kershaw 10, Phil Kleinig 9, Bob Kretschmer 9, Michael Madigan 8, Craig Thornquest 10, Craigh Willson 5, Donald of the same family 8 and his brother Richard also 8 times.
Some of the earliest records show taking grape juice, fermenting it and converting the sugars into alcohol. This pre biblical preoccupation goes back to ancient Persia [now Iran] which was the cradle of science. There alcohol was produced from rose petals and pomegranates. The Egyptians at the time of the Pharaohs distilled various fruit extracts for the use of embalming and perfumes. A waste of resources really. However, this art was mostly lost in the dark ages and only rediscovered by European monks around 600 years ago. The ensuing alcoholic elixirs soon evolved from medicinal to, thankfully, recreational usage thereafter. We Aussies soon picked it up and so a mere 50 years ago the Adelaide B&B Club sat down to dinner on June 25th 1966 at The South Australian Hotel [the one with the $3.00 ’52 Grange] to have their monthly nosh up. What they ate is lost somewhere in the moon mists of time. However, thanks to a timely thought by Resting President, Paul Kershaw, we have two ceramic Cheese containers in the shape of a wedge that were produced for this dinner half a century ago. On lifting the top one finds etched on to the wooden base a list of the wines consumed those 5 decades ago.
This in the year that the Aussie dollar was introduced [$1.00 was about one third of that Grange]. However, the talk on that evening would have been around the fact the leader of the opposition, Arthur Calwell, had been shot after attending a political rally in Mosman, Sydney, 2 days prior. This discussion would have taken place over the Stonyfell Pepita, the Hardy’s Cyrilton Cream* and the 1963 Yalumba Moselle. Further on into the dinner more discussion would have ensued over the Orlando Barossa 1965 Riesling, the Chateau Tahbilk Shiraz and the Hardy’s Cabernet Sauvignon. As the members mellowed over their Orlando Vintage Port they would have salivated getting ready to finish with the Reynella Old Matured Brandy. No doubt by this time forgetting whomever was Arthur Calwell and that they were not imbibing in rose petal nectar. The food is listed as “A la Bull attached”. Oh my gosh the mind boggles, not bovine oysters, but steak perhaps.
So many dinners have ensued since those days many of which are remembered fondly by Michael Madigan. As he is wont to comment, “Is the glass half full or half empty? It depends on whether I am drinking or pouring.”
Written by Bob Bowes, Adelaide Club Committee Member
* The two Sherries intrigued me so I contacted both Stonyfell and Hardy’s. The Stonyfell enquiries were fruit less, however, Bill Hardy sent back the following:
The product was actually called Hardy’s Cyrilton Cream Sherry [I found it difficult to read the inscription – Ed.]. “Cyrilton” was our winery in Waikerie which we established in Waikerie in 1920 and sold in 1988. We named it after third generation Hardy family member Robert Cyril Hardy who lost his life fighting in the Somme with the AIF in 1917. The Cream Sherry was a sweet sherry made out of Muscat Blanco Gordo grapes, so it had a strong muscatel flavour. This wine was first released in the 1960s and had a 20 year product life before being phased out. With our family and company’s strong role in founding and supporting the development of the Beefsteak and Burgundy movement, it is no surprise that our wines appeared often at club functions.