“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)





23 March 2015


Blue Poles Margaret River Teroldego 2012
$30; 14% alcohol; screw cap; 93+++ points

Having worried this bottle for three days, I think I am beginning to listen to it.

Until vigneron/geologist Mark Gifford shyly sent it with a lovely hand-written letter, I had never heard of the variety. Upon opening, it was a tightwad Presbyterian spinster of a thing, exuding not much more than parsimony, sanctimony and piety. Not white and laced and powdered, but black and tanned. What rendered that confusion worse, perversely, was the fact that over those few short days, the Prezzies have gone to the Devil and approved open marriages and the wine seems to have followed them in.

Praised be his precious and healing name!

After three days it's got the sort of smell that makes one's nostril's twitch, as if coming home to one's wife to detect that wicked fleeting whiff of Zorro having just escaped through the casement. The curtains are still moving; the lass is sitting at the hearth, a little flushed. Patting the dress down.

Fanning herself.

It's all black satin and grosgrain and boots of Spanish leather. Moustache wax. Black cigar; licorice. Gun blue. Essence of olive leaf. What was that bastard doing in here? Thrashing the missus with a kalamata branch?

Reminding myself that it's a drink more than than the paranoid dream of the cuckold, I tip some in there. It's a rapacious, slender, wicked sort of thing, intense and slinky, with the sheen of a black panther, the cat not the cats, with tannin like the lick of its big pink tongue. Never had anything like it.

Teroldego, of course, comes from the Tyrol. The Alto Adige, Trentino part of alpine north-eastern Italy, where one can smell the Austrians over the hill. In fact, it smells a little like their Bläufrankisch red wine, with its beetroot and borscht replaced by that rakish whiff of friggin' Zorro.

The extent of these mexing of my mitaphors is a good enough indicator of how the damn thing leaves me twitching, wondering whether to say anything or not.

I would drink it with grilled cacciatore sausage made from the Tyrolean bear larded with the sparse fat of the wild alpine boar. And then I would get down on my knees and grovel to her. I don't want to smell of that. I want to smell like Zorro.

All this confusion comes leavened by the thought that Blue Poles is geologically and vino-spiritually as close as Australia gets to Pomerol and St. Emilion, where I'm sure one can be cuckolded, but I've never smelt Zorro there, yearned for sizzling bear sausage there, or even had the faintest hint of a dream of a drink like this. 

Blue Poles makes Merlot and Cabernet franc and stuff. Probably the best examples in Australia. This red makes them blue-bi-polar. North pole or south? Where's Jackson Pollock when you need him? Oh, of course. He's screaming up and down the Springs-Fireplace Road in the Olds full of liquor with the top down and a coupla lasses. But look at this fine mess he's left us. Right. Yeah. Nah.

Does that help?

These images are from my 1972 diary. Let them both be a lesson to you. 'Keep a clean nose, carry a fire hose; you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.'

PS: Next day: This is the fourth day I've had this bottle open. The wine is finally settling to a sinuous, lissom, bone dry, wickedly tannic beauty that's beginning to smell like wine. It's a marvellous thing indeed. I'd recommend you flirt with your first bottle for a similar period of time, then stack a six-pack away, and try one each year until you devour the last in 2021, when I'm certain it will blow your cotton pickin socks clean off your feet. I stand by my initial food recommendation. It's a great wine to discuss - keep me informed of your reactions, eh?


Dr Rankine said...

The Wine Research Institute should be very interested in that organoleptic assessment Mr White.

@ReganDrew said...

Nailed it.

the shotgun rider said...

you're a crazy nutter whitey like seriously bloody mad but shit its good

via collins said...

Ridiculous Whitey.

Ridiculously good writing, I don't know that you've ever quite inhabited a wine, or been inhabited by one, like that before. I need a drink.

Was surprised the teroldego had passed you by until now. Seems it's your kind of thing - all that funk and acid and agitation. I recall when Mark first unveiled a sample of this at a BP tasting in Melbourne one blustery night a few years back now. We tasted through the regular BP wines, and then he wanted everyone to have a go at the 09 Teroldego blind. The memory has never left me - I knew I loved it, for all the descriptors you list above, but I was buggered if I could pick what it was. He was delighted of course, and we all grinned happily knowing that he had something very good going on. And you are spot on that a brief cellaring brings loads of new characters in, shifts a few of the older ones to other angles.

In short, opening a BP Teroldego is always an adventure.

Anonymous said...

ibogaine or peyote or both