“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 April 2015


Bugalugs by Tim Smith Barossa Valley Shiraz 2013
$20; 14.5% alcohol; screw cap; 91+++ points 

I reckon I've worked out what Tim Smith's worked out. What he's worked out is how to get grapes to surrender really really fine tannins, like grains finer than dust. Some tannin seems the size of gravel, some's like shredded wolfhound. But these are smaller than dust. Softer than velvet. As thin and shiny as silk. Tim must get Shiva or somebody to smash 'em into another realm so tiny that exponentially there's a lot more of 'em but they're so small they're gone. They're smaller than neutrinos. Which is not to say they're about to give up preserving this wine in the fullbore wholesome natural way. I've studied these tannins for eight days in a row. This is a perfectly-balanced cordial essence of Barossa Shiraz without it being concentrated by too much alcohol or gloop but somehow quite naturally it's a concentrate anyway. With hyper-smooth tannins. Somehow the acid's just perfectly through the middle like a malleable wire and it's in the Torzi-Matthews bracket for very best hand-made value. The Barossa's one of the few places on Earth that does red like this at $20. Tim very seriously is a Master. 

Tim Smith Wines Barossa Valley Grenache 2014
$36; 14.5% alcohol; screw cap; 93++ points

When I first let this genie out last Wednesday it spun like a Persian pashmak fairey floss that never crystallised into the brittle hairs they want coming off the spinner but sort of settled into a cosy rosehip jelly with Maraschino cherries and ripe raspberry gels and stuff like you'd get from a carny who trusted you and poured all his best stuff on there specially for you regardless of what you wanted. In these eight days that fruit's let a whiff of ground-up bone-dry rockdirt through its healthy chub. Now it's rakish like a twenty year old kid. You better stand well back. Still real fresh jujube fruit, maybe some cool chamomile tea. The beautiful reek of dressed leather, its sole on the hearth rail. Like the above jester, it makes me want to play Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly, Cramps, Jackie de Shannon ... it's the latest best Barossa Grenache in my book. Let it stroll up the carpet. "Every time that you ... doot doot doot doot ... walk in the room." Drink this wine in five or ten years and you'll be babbling like a fool.

Tim Smith Wines Barossa Shiraz 2013 
$36; 14.5% alcohol; screw cap; 94++ points

Something about this wine reminds me of Gerard Jaboulet on deck in his wetsuit after diving in the Mediterranean for Phoenecian amphorae and he's sitting there laughing with a glass of 1978 Jaboulet Hermitage spilled all over him. We're in the French Navy submariners' lounge somewhere off Marseilles. But then I sniff it afresh, and it's the same dude in leather. With a Gitanes. Took him eight days to change. Now he's the well-dressed cavalier sweating in and out of rides. Silk again. Sagas.  His huge mount with tiny muscles flicking individual flies. It phases and strobes the memory and if I concentrate properly I'll trip. Hang on. Yes. Now it's a woman. Praise Bacchus for that. This is a luxurious hyper Shiraz which transports me as it will you and it'll bloom for a decade in your cellar, and then on and on. It is beautiful wine. These are all beautiful, evocative wines. None of them make me think of food. There's no need.

No comments: