“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





22 January 2012


Click the above to enlarge Stacey Pothoven's photograph of the author in the Yangarra High Sands Grenache vineyard at Kangarilla in McLaren Vale, South Australia; weed-eating sheep in the background.  

These vines were planted in deep Aeolian Sand by Bernard Smart and his Dad in 1946. The vineyard has never been watered. The author's photo below shows them sweltering in the near 50 degrees Centigrade (in the shade) heat of the horror vintage of 2009

Bernard still lives on the property, and teaches new vineyard workers to train the baby bush vines - Yangarra is very rare in that it has replaced many hectares of modern trellised Cabernet and Merlot vines with new bush vines of the north-west Mediterranean varieties. 

It's a testament to the hardiness of Grenache that in spite of this incredible summer, some -  not many - good wines were made.  Chester Osborn of d'Arenberg, who says things like this most years, bravely boasted it was a "great vintage" for Grenache. (Try to convince these gnarly old strugglers of that!) But it is indeed a testament to the hardiness of the variety that some fruit survived, even in this savage blisterer, which eventually burnt great swathes of Victoria to the ground, killing 173 people.  

To see a very good Spanish documentary about Grenache, click here.  DRINKSTER loves the quote from Federico Fellini, and thanks Mel and Dave Worthington of Cosecha Imports , the Melbourne Spanish wine specialists, for passing the link on. 

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