“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)





02 December 2014


"I think it’s a matter of watch this space,” Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago said. “It’s no longer the new kid on the block, it’s in a good part of the world.”

Peter was speaking of the Wrattonbully 'Smiths Vineyard' of Rob Mason (above), fruit from which made the 2014 Grange cut. Grapes from this Limestone Coast property have previously made it into St Henri and Bins 707 and 389, but this is the first time Wrattonbully has made Grange.

"This is definitely a career highlight," Rob said at today's Grange Growers' Club Lunch at Penfolds Magill Estate restaurant. “This is a truly amazing wine – it’s a South Australian icon, which features on the State Heritage List, but it is also famous at a global level, so we are absolutely honoured to have made the grade."

While the average price for a tonne of winegrapes slumped to a sickening $414 across Australia in 2014 (see following article), growers who make the Grange cut are often paid over $10,000 per tonne.

“The vineyard was planted in 1995-1996, and we started restructuring it in 2006, changing the pruning regime and general management practises to target high A & B-Grade fruit for the Penfolds range,” Rob said. “While it hasn’t happened overnight, the grapes have been at their optimum for the last four or five years, and we started achieving some really good results from about 2010.”

Peter Gago explained that while Grange "is a South Australian story" whose "engine room is the Barossa," and to a lesser extent, McLaren Vale, "we have cooler areas, we have warmer areas, we have maritime and continental influences ... but in the end, we purely go by what’s in the glass - it doesn’t matter if we work with the grower or their father or grandparents; if it’s not good enough, it doesn’t go in."

Peter lauded "the lovely shallow terra rossa soils at Wrattonbully: as red as what you get in Coonawarra over those limestone ridges ... in the early days, it was all about potential, potential, but some very great wine is now being realised. It’s not a matter of talking people into buying Wrattonbully wine – it is a serious area. I’m spreading the word about Wrattonbully on all of my presentations overseas. The proof is in the pudding."

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