“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)





17 July 2014


Forrester Estate Margaret River Alicante 2010 
$40; 15% alcohol; screw cap; 90+ points 

Like the Caucasus red, Saperavi, the Spanish Alicante bouschet is one of the few red grapes which actually have red juice. While most reds have white juice and take all their colour from their skins in the fermenter, Alicante is all red already, so is usually used to make simple gulping rosé, where the vigneron can get all the desired colour and flavour without pressing or long skin contact, which would see the fruit's significant tannins intrude. But this is a serious alcoholic black red with smooth aromas of plum and prune, even beetroot and borscht, complete with the yoghurt swirl. Somebody's given it a fine dusting of white pepper. There's a hint of the dark beetroot leaf, too. It's simple of flavour, and isn't the sort of red that would make the whole table go quiet - as the label says, it's charming. But if you were sitting there with chorizos, black Spanish ham and warm black olives, watching those poor bulls squashing savage idiots in Pamplona, I could think of nothing more suitable and satisfying. After a glass, the tannins seem to soften. After another, the alcohol seems to decline to harmlessness. Once the bottle's done, which happens fast, you sorta hope some other idiot gets the horn up him as you fumble around for another. Then you discover you're speaking in very short sentences, like Hemingway. 

Longhop Mt Lofty Ranges Rosé 2014
 $18; 13.5% alcohol, screw cap, 94 points

This rosé is pale and gently burnished to that autumnal russet hue of brown onion and pheasant eye. It's made by the dreaded Torzi-Freeland duo of the Barossa tops and the Adelaide Plains.  They've used high country Grenache, but rather than let it ooze out simple raspberry, like most dumb rosés exude, they appear to have given it the business in the shed, with some serious time on wild yeasty lees to let its fatty acids chub up. It has that curdled turn of isovaleric acid, the calming pheromone of mother's milk which will make grown men turn savage and kill each other if they get too much of it ... the frightened bullshit and sweat smell of the Pamplona lanes, or the hairoil in the beret shop where the bullrunning committee meets and Helmut Newton photographed the naked Charlotte Rampling on the ancient oak table in the backroom. Sorry, I'm off the track. This is a very pretty and seductive rosé with elegance, complexity and texture. Without all its blackness, it's more complex and profound than the Alicante above. And a much more grown-up drink than that other famous local lollypop called Alicante. This one's tannic. It has as much oak as that table ... see, dammit there I go again ... like pink Krug is two or three hundred dollars and it's majestically the best with bubbles and here you have one without the little round CO₂ cavities drifting up and it's $18? $18! Santa Maria! Play that bit back will you Sancho? Santa friggin Maria!




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Anonymous said...

Respectfully, it should never be intimated that any wine is as hot as Charlotte Rampling photographed nude on an oak table.