“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)





12 February 2013


Bellevue Estate McLaren Vale Shiraz 2011
$18; 14.5% alcohol; screw cap; 93+++ points

STOP PRESS : LATE NEWS : I wrote this review in February. Today (04 SEP 13) this wine has won three trophies at the Australian Boutique Wine Awards ... best Shiraz; best estate-grown and produced wine, and best red wine of the show. 

Don’t ask how winemaker Corey Vandeleur can get this wine on the market at this silly little price.  It has something to do with no sales or marketing staff and a hatred of having wine lying around in the warehouse while he’s off making wine for a living somewhere else.  But he grows and makes this on the family property in McLaren Vale, and a fine example of the region’s mellow fruitfulness it is.  If it had more sappy American oak, I’d liken it to the best of the Wolf Blass Grey Label reds of the ’70s and ’80s.  Because it’s all old oak and a lot of it French, it’s a better wine than those were at their release, and that screwcap will ensure it’s a much better wine upon maturity: Blass reds had notoriously variable corks.  But it IS similar in style to those trophy-bedecked glories of yore.  And it’s $18.  Rich, intense, brooding, and silky-smooth, it’s a perfect example of McLaren Vale Shiraz at its most soulful.  And it’s another grand example of how the most canny and sensitive vignerons made exemplary wines from the tricky 2011 vintage.   It’ll live for decades in the cellar; ideally, I’d attack it in 2020.  I doubt that I’ll find another bargain of this quality before the year’s end. In case you're of the common school which believes I point too high too easily, I should explain that it usually takes many dozens to find a wine that hits my ninety-plus sanctum. And oh yes. We gotta make an adjustment to the geology map.  There's more Blanche Point Formation here than we thought!  www.bellevueestate.com.au

Veritas Winery Rolf Binder’s Bulls Blood Barossa Valley Shiraz Mataro Pressings 2008

$45; 14% alcohol; Diam cork; 93+++ points 

Charging at us from a bygone era, Rolf’s bull has lost none of its momentum.  Rich with plum pudding from the best old vine Shiraz, and pure carbon from the old Mataro, it’s made only from the gentlest pressings and given a good few years to get its blood up before they let it run wild and loose.  While it’s thick and dense and Bible-black, it’s not as jammy, dim or gloopy as many of the super-alcoholic Parkerilla reds of the last fifteen years.  It has much more lithe athleticism in its mighty bovine frame than all that overtly alcoholic jello, and while its bold front makes you expect them, there are no coarse tannins in the follow-up.  Just pour it in a jug, let it sit for an hour or three, and tip it into yourself around the gaps left by the most succulent dribbling haunch of beef with spuds and beets and spinach.    

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