MCC Wine and Food Society Luncheon Review

Chef Luke Bowden provided a menu featuring a range of native ingredients matched to Ponting Wines

Each month, the MCC Longroom Wine and Food Society meet for lunch and showcase wines from a selected winery. To pair those wines, a chef is selected from the MCG culinary team to curate a signature menu and put themselves on the plate. It’s an opportunity to showcase their own unique flavour, and personality. In August, Luke Bowden paired a menu featured with a range of native ingredients, paired to wines from Ricky Pointing.

Here’s the review by Michael Ellis, Wine and Food Master, MCC Longroom Wine and Food Society.

Cricketing royalty underpinned today’s function in the Member’s Dining Room today as over two hundred and fifty people attended the Ponting Wines function. To the uninitiated, Ricky Ponting is a former Australian Test Cricket player having played fifteen tests on this hallowed ground. After considered negotiations with his wife, Rianna, after whom the Rose is named, Ricky joined with noted wine maker Mr. Ben Riggs to produce a series of wines sourced from many regions around Australia.

Coupled to today’s function as prepared by Chef Luke Bowden, was a menu whose emphasis on native ingredients was exemplary, well beyond tokenistic. Chef Bowden, proudly first nation, welcomed us to Country. In a heartfelt acknowledgment, members and guests were briefed on Luke’s varied and interesting career to date.

Pre luncheon drinks were held in the Long Room and started with canapes of Seared Bass Strait scallops “Coat of Arms”¹ chorizo with native pesto Bush tomato confit crostini; Goat’s cheese with native basil; purple yam croquettes with native thyme, ginger and lime mayo with finger lime pearls Saltbush damper and finally bush tomato butter, green ants and crushed pistachio nuts, cultured butter and lemon myrtle. Delicious and varied in texture they complemented the 2023 Ponting ‘First Session’ Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc.

Once seated in the Member’s Dining Room, the 2022 Ponting Top Order Adelaide Hills Chardonnay and 2021 Ponting ‘Mowbray Boy’ Tasmanian Pinot Noir were served. An entrée of Macadamia milk-poached Wyndham barramundi geraldton wax, lemon gum and anise myrtle yabby, topped with Davidson’s plum crisp with an Australian-flavored salad delighted many on our table with its uniqueness of flavors and ability to transgress the divide of both a red and white served alongside each other.

Ricky then took to the lectern after being introduced by Chair Michael Reidy and provided an overview of the formation of Ponting Wines.  There was no fooling this crowd, and after the toss, the gritty questions about the recent English Test series flowed.

This was to be expected, however, to exceed one’s expectations was the tenderness of the lamb rack (4 points) that followed for main.  Slow cooked, moist and pink in colour, sublime. However, the point of difference being the pepperberry crust. Served with purple yam dauphinoise, native green puree, bush tomato onion rings and bush blackberry sauce. Sides of blackened heritage carrots, harissa, ricotta and native cricket dukkah, lemon myrtle roast potatoes rounded out a hearty offering. Six!  In the opinion of this author, the two wines of the day accompanied main; 2021 Ponting ‘The Pinnacle’ McLaren Vale Shiraz and 2020 Ponting ‘Milestone’ Barossa Shiraz. Barossa by a length for those that punt.  Lovely drinking, without overpowering fruit or jamminess; qualities that can be hallmarks of McLaren Vale & Barossa reds. Frankly, great value for members who decided to take advantage of Saints wines (distributors) discounted offers of the day.

Members and guests of the Society were able to purchase the Ponting 366²,signed by Ricky, well snapped up by the lucky few. 366 the number representing Ricky’s baggy green number.

A cheese double followed consisting of Maffra Cheese Company’s 24-month cloth-aged cheddar with quandong paste and Berry’s Creek Riverine Blue with lemon myrtle-poached pear served with charcoal bark. Served with 2021 Ponting ‘Close of Play’ Cabernet Sauvignon. Balanced, softness and integration hallmarks of a fine wine for those that had any room left!

Dessert was white chocolate cheesecake under Davidson’s plum coulis, toasted wattleseed, macadamia and bunya nut crumble with rosella hibiscus. Rianna Fleurieu Rose to complete a gastronomic affair for the ages. Well done to all those many people that contributed to make the day a success.

“Prepared by Chef Luke Bowden, was a menu whose emphasis on native ingredients was exemplary, well beyond tokenistic..”