“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)





11 February 2012

DIARY - 120211

The doors are open, and the air is cool and breezy. 

It’s been damp, with a big blast off the Great Southern Ocean sousing everything last week.  

There’s been little of the February wet some expected, having digested the long-range forecasts of some of the top La Niña skydoctors, who said we’d get it from the tropical north.  

In fact it’s been really politely cool, with strands of gentle downpours wafting across the sunny countryside.  Friggin Constable skies.  Cold nights.  Like get the duvet out.  This afternoon feels like late spring in Gippsland, which not quite what you’d expect in McLaren Vale in February. But next week there’s sunny heat.  That will see the better-managed vineyards round the Vales - which haven’t been overwatered - put on some calm sugar and be ready to squash with perfect numbers soon.
Around here, it’s had the boss viticulturer looking stern and calm and picking up twigs and fidgeting while he talks to you.  Measured confidence.  Which means everything’s cool but the warm to hot dry stuff coming next week will be even cooler in his money.  Bring it on, says Michael Lane. 

The vintage really does show great promise.  So far, it’s been a near-perfect lead-up and settle.  Especially after the last few horrors.

The bunches and berries are small across the Vales, and those who were judicious in managing the desired dappling of shade afforded the fruit by leaf-plucking or other cunning canopy managements will be pleased that these shifting breezes are getting plenty of fresh air through there.  There's been some hail damage and split berries in unlucky or badly-managed patches, but overall, it has me humming.

Every good vineyard whose bunches I’ve munched has shown an unusually pulpy viscosity, which is comforting, but the red pips are still green. I can say that.  I’m colourblind.  The seeds taste like green walnuts. It looks like a year where the grape gardeners will proudly deliver their very best, in polite and appropriate volumes, and the winemakers will have a special opportunity to show how sensitive, clever, bold, enlightened, respectful – whatever. 

I expect bright majesties.

But for the grower, it is a time of walking tall and taut, with the stoic set of jaw more commonly spotted amongst Barossa Lutherans.  Every pair of fingers is crossed.  And the toes. We want some cool to hot dry sunshine, just like in the olden days.

It’s about to bust open festival bigtime anyway.  David Wynn helped set the timing of the Adelaide Festival of the Arts in the ’sixties, based on his vintage weather research.  So whatter we got next month?  Ford vs. GM V8 street racing (fair dinkum), Adelaide Fringe, Adelaide Arts Festival, WomAdelaide, and the Grumpy Cup.   It never rains on the Festival. Well, very rarely.

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