Given Tony's skill in a seafood kitchen, and the fact that he's a very scary competitive boxer, it was a brave Sean Connolly to send seafood to our celebratory table, but no risk: there was general adoration all round. Put very simply, his new Sean's Kitchen restaurant in the Adelaide Casino is a beauty. The staff and repast were exemplary.
Whitey says go. The Boston Bay Riesling will be on the list very soon.
In 1982 I bumped into Graham and another son Billy in the kitchen of the mega-eccentric Clare winemaker Rick Robertson. Graham and Mary had swapped their Pacific salvage diving business for a life dodging white pointer sharks while they collected abalone in those sparkling waters most famous for their high incidence of, er, white pointer sharks. They day we met they were driving their first harvest to Sydney in the most garish Valiant panel van full of dry ice. I think it was lime green with black stripes.
When Fordie told me he'd bought some land right on the edge of Boston Bay, overlooking Boston Island, I vaguely recalled something from the diaries of French Revolutionary Council-sponsored explorers Captain Nicolas Baudin and his midshipman, Citizen Freycinet. The latter, who mapped Spencer Gulf, which Baudin named Golfe Bonaparte, also named Fordie's seaside slope the Côtes du Champagny, and the Bay, Port du Champagny, as it reminded him of the vast rolling plains of Champagne.
Two years later, I met Fordie in The Exeter. "I put that vineyard in," he said. I was dumbstruck by his audacity and trust. Doug Lehmann made the first wines at Basedows, and Premier John Bannon launched the first releases at Jolley's Boathouse in Adelaide. Then David O'Leary and Nick Walker took a liking to the fruit: they've been making the wine ever since. It's hand-picked into refrigerated pantechnicons and arrives in perfect condition at their Clare winery about ten hours later.
Looking north-west toward Eyre Peninsula from Kangaroo Island ... photo Philip White