The Secret Wine Cellar dinner was shrouded by more secrecy than MI6’s latest Bond-related scandal, with guests entering through a top-secret laneway entrance to reach the Wine Society’s cellar.
The cellar had been converted into a one-night-only restaurant, a pop-up event in which all parties have been sworn to secrecy of the highest order. Ex-Masterchef Verne Smith was cooking for the occasion, and while his menu was stored in a locked box in an undisclosed location, we were granted special access to it just for the night.
Smith’s masterpiece of a feast kicked off with a travelling canapé of Citrus Dressed Oysters, matched with a 2010 Society Directors’ Selection Late Disgorged Rose.
The first entrée was a sumptuous Country Terrine, paired with a glass of the 2012 Society Directors’ Selection Reserve Pinot Noir.
The second entrée (because keeping secrets makes everyone hungry, and sometimes one entrée isn’t enough) was a beautiful and colourful Beetroot Cured Salmon, complemented by a 2012 Tomich Hill Reserve Chardonnay.
The main course, whilst being a sight to behold, was also talked about for hours and even days afterwards; the Duck Confit with Winter Salad was so delightful that it needed two partnering wines instead of one. Either or both of the Society Directors’ Selection Very Special Old Vines Shiraz and the Society Premium Selection Barton & Guestier Cotes du Rhône, both from 2012 helped make the main course something very special.
With the meal coming to a close, they had to be sure that everyone kept the Secret Wine Cellar dinner a secret, so bribery came in the form of Smith’s special dessert cake. It’s been reported by an undisclosed source that the cake was so good that everyone immediately promised to keep the secret of the Wine Society. A Society Premium Selection Margan Botrytis Semillon sealed the deal, and the meal stayed a secret forever.