“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)





28 September 2014


Jericho Adelaide Hills Fiano 2014
$25; 13% alcohol; screw cap; 342 dozen made; 93 points

Stupidly, I chilled this too hard, but it's interesting to watch different waves of the wine wash in as the glass warms. It shows smoky honey when real cold, and gradually picks up grainy burlap/hemp sack aromas. Then that acrid phosphate-like edge forms up. This inevitably makes me hungry and thirsty. It has a lot more sass than many of your oilier versions of Fiano. But it still smells lush enough to be so viscous as to be slightly oily of texture. Better taste it. Uh-huh. After that lead-in, the wine is surprisingly slender and crunchy, making me come over even more famished. Which means the discerning restaurateurs who've quickly gobbled up the allocations have the business smarts, too. This drink will sell drinks. And food. The thing lingers and twists around the mouth with smug deliberation, drying and teasing the salivaries til they gush. A splendid, clever wine!  Take note Jamie Oliver. 

PS: If this is any indicator, and I know it's only one wine, it verifies my suspicion that in parts like these, the best Fianos by far will come from the cooler uplands. I suspect places like McLaren Vale should carefully trial it on various terroirs before everybody plunges in.

Jericho Adelaide Hills Fumé Blanc 2014
$25; 12.5% alcohol; screw cap; 420 dozen made; 94+ points

In the same vein, but bigger, even more concentrated and sinuous, this is a welcome stranger indeed. Sauvignon blanc would not have the derided name it's got itself amongst the cogniscenti if more makers understood how to do this with it. Old French barrel ferment and a proper time on lees has let a lovely complex cheeky wine emerge. Chilled, this beauty shows the smoky honeyed style of the Jericho Fiano, times two. Plus riper tropical fruits than the standard skinny Kiwi model of Savvy-b. Speaking top Kiwi, it's very much down the line of Kevin Judd's exemplary Greywacke Wild Sauvignon. It also has that old supersack edge of the Fiano, but a little louder. Its palate is green and delicious, long, lithe and bone dry. It reminds me of the flavours of the rare shit-hot vinho verde. Some bright spark behind a counter somewhere told Neil Jericho there was little point in making Sauvignon like this when you can buy Chardonnay, but you can't make frigging Chardonnay like this. On the famishing scale it's the Fiano times 1.5. Like all three new Jerichos, it's in the best Adelaide wine shops. Be quick. 

Jericho Adelaide Hills Tempranillo 2014 
$25; 13.5% alcohol; screw cap; 160 dozen made; 94+ points

Of these three mega-buzz Jerichos, this one seems to have the biggest mega. It's totally like totally. Shivers. Lush and opulent and cosy, it's the smartest joven-style Tempranillo I can recall from these parts.  It's oozing soft chocolate crême, morello cherry and blackcurrant, with that cheeky hessian edge which seems critical to the Jericho style. It's a suave seductor to drink, with perfect viscosity to do the comforting business before that slurpy acid and very fine-grained tannin bring in the thrilling appetiser action. It's very rare that we see a new brand emerge with the brilliance and focus of the Jericho mob. Former winemaker (Brown Brothers; Taylors etc.) Neil Jericho is out of retirement to do the shoe leather and political ekeing-out stuff, as well as putting in his formidable winemaking history; son Andrew is winemaker; daughter Sally is administrator, and son Kim is the graphic artist behind the very cool labels and website. Glass six: better still. Especially with a real sharp cheddar. I'm a goner. Get in the queue for next year.   

PS I've just had the last glass from this bottle, three days later. The wine seems more Spanish.

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