“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 September 2014


Hahndorf Hill Winery Adelaide Hills GRU Gruner Veltliner 2014
$28; 12.09% alcohol; screw cap; 94 points 

There are few wineries that have earned such a regular date in my  tasting calendar as the annual HHW GRU und Blau release: this unlikely couple have carved out their annual notch. It's become something I look forward to every spring. They're always at the James Halliday end of my points scale. Out of many dozens of wannabees and if onlys. 

Given the nomenclature, it's completely fitting that these two remarkable wines come from Hahndorf. 

This is perhaps the most outrageously aromatic GRU yet from this pioneering outfit. As my ancient Shetlander granny would say, "Och, it's gruesome. And now look it's grew some more." But there's nothing gruesome about this heavenly tincture: it simply grows, spilling its aromas across the table with such authority: musk and the very first flowers of jasmine; pear and lime; ginger root; nectarine ... like a great vintage of Brian Barry Riesling on speed ... like Jaco Pastorius leaping across his feedbacking bass in that single strobe flash in the Adelaide Festival Theatre. Boom. Its palate is mild of texture, almost ethereal in the way it seems to waft off, leaving that gentlest sensation of bosc pear sitting on the tongue. Its firm natural acidity seems lost in its gentle flesh; its general fleeting atmosphere gives it an illusion of something much less forceful and directed. But there's nothing accidental about it. This wine is designed to make you hungry. Salt'n'pepper eggplant at Wah Hing. Or just about anything else that enters your pretty head. Stunning. 

Hahndorf Hill Winery Adelaide Hills Blaufrankisch 2012 
$40; 14% alcohol; screw cap; 94++ points

Wow. It's two years older than the GRU, and its aromas have a very different colour: like BLUE, but this wine has more than a fleeting kinship with the Gruner Veltliner. Its aroma has that same quiet authority: it sweeps across the table as you fill the glasses. Baby beetroot, borscht with yoghurt, blueberries, fresh marshmallow, black peppercorns: many unlikely components sit together in blissful harmony. 

Like the fragrance of its pretty sister, the pure cuteness of this aroma hides the determined nature of the wine beneath: This is a dainty but driven thing. It seems to dance across the stage of the sensories without once touching the floor. Lightning strikes the Pinot, leaving this delightful spark of concentrate. It makes me yearn for cold-smoked pork belly or tea-smoked duck. Gotta take a bottle round to visit Cheong. And that very elegance and fleeting delight will have us raving straight through an entire blissful dish. If Cheong's in China or somewhere that appreciates him more than this petty burg does, a kassler from Max Noske's splendid Hahndorf butchery, spread thin with Paech's chilli mustard will do perfectly, thankyou. In the car, right out the front of Max's, with a slice of crunchy bread. On the other hand, the Menakao organic Madagascar chocolates the HHW lads sent to my death bed would work just as well. Holy shit.     

I can't easily recall any Australian winery which has researched, trialled, planted and made such radically new varieties into wine of such finesse and beauty with such deliberation and clarity. Larry and Marc, you rock. Thankyou.  

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