“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)





01 May 2015


Jericho Selected Vineyards McLaren Vale G.S.M. 2014 
$25;  14.2% alcohol; screw cap; 93+ points 

Imagine Marilyn Monroe playing a Supreme Court judge. The Shiraz robe gives her the austerity and Darth-like authority; the Mourvèdre the shiny wig, which adds some spark and theatrical topping without removing any of the sombre effect of the robe. But inside, it's all Marilyn, capable of displaying more moods and facets of personality, judicial skill and perfume than most of us. Grenache.

Around the silk-smooth, syrupy Morello cherry perfume of this Grenache we have a foundation of darkening Shiraz (15%) adding sombre weight, then a sprinkle of the savoury Mourvèdre (8%) to add some glint and magnify the dark charcuterie tones which we often see in intense Grenache and Shiraz anyway.

And there's a hint of confectioner's musk.

The texture is silky-smooth and shiny and tastes much like the liquor in a jar of pickled Morellos. The Shiraz adds fine satiny basement tannins and darkens the mood; the Mourvèdre brings a little of the savoir and savour of pickled Kalamata juice and takes me to the charcuturie at Tony Marino in Gouger Street.

All these things have been assembled with a parfumier's forensic obsession with harmony. There are no holes in this delicious, langorous tincture.

A couple of short decades back, one would have to find an exceptional blend from the south of France and then paid a helluva lot more to match this.

Food? Provence-style pork belly and beans, just warm, with shallots and artichoke heart in a sublime porky stock; plenty of crusty bread and butter. You could replace the pork with a big free-range chook and add some peas. Keep the stock rich and don't spare the tarragon. 

Jericho Single Vineyard Adelaide Hills Syrah 2013 
$35; 13% alcohol; Diam compound cork; 93+++ 

From a first-class vineyard in the hills behind Willunga, this Syrah always offers a completely different experience to Shiraz from the Willunga Embayment below. That's the official name of the Willunga basin, otherwise known as The Vales. McLaren Vale. I'll never know how those Willunga hills became known as the Adelaide Hills according to wine industry appellation law; they're really the South Mount Lofty Ranges. Correction: I do know how it happened, but can't believe it was allowed to happen. What a mess.

We're a tad bitchy about appellation tonight. Not the winemakers' fault.

As for the Shiraz/Syrah confusion? Don't even think of bringing that up. It's like Pinot gris and Pinot grigio: same grape; different places. But forget this Earthly stuff.

Black roses would smell like this. There's an unearthly sinister glint to the fragrance. Earthlings might find anise and soft fresh blackstrap licorice with blueberries and blackcurrants - even currants; I prefer something from the nether realms of the Dark Matter. Earthlings might liken it to the impeccable Syrah/Shiraz of Castagna or barr-Eden; I'm off diving into the nearest Black Hole.

Sinuous, intense, slippery and sinful as a hatful of space vipers, this drink escapes all recent attempts at naming places and products. It's transcenmental. Oops! Just made another one.

After all the long shiny black stuff, we get a sort of a matte titanium glaze of tannin, all the better to see you slip smoothly through the timelessness. As I just did cheating a peek at my notes of the 2012, which are also full of serpents and hissies about our language of nomenclature. I know that's only one Earth year off, but not many wines make the brain really diss-emm as far as this.

It's truly spacy, beautiful wine of a very rare breed.

And dammit! Look at that label. It's just the coolest, most notable piece of class, and the Jericho family is being dead honest with their naming.

Those who eat would be well advised to drink this with the sort of spicy Tuscan sausages you get at Tony Sanso's Osteria Sanso at Kanmantoo. He calls them Salciccie tartufate con porcini. 

Six thousand light years and closing. Pass me a bag of worm holes, would you Chewie? 

Jericho Single Vineyard McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013 
$35; 14% alcohol; Diam compound cork; 90+ points 

This is very certainly a dead serious McLaren Vale Shiraz. It grew in a south-facing spot at Seaview.

It smells block solid. Blackberries, juniper berries, licorice, cast iron ... a lot more intense and ungiving a wine than the old McLaren Vale reds we called 'the middle palate of Australia.' This is the Chamberlain tractor of Australia. It will never break or fail.

It has some pretties and a severe nose-tickling acridity. It's got hints of old tea tin and then maybe dates. Dried figs. It unfolds.

The palate is much more slender than all that insinuates. It has a lovely syrupy form, with flavours less complex than the bouquet suggested. Slick, polished, irony tannins. It's like a particularly adult after-dinner liqueur chocolate. That's a bit of a trip in itself. The tractor has driven away, and suddenly I'm in Haigh's.

Pink steak in a proper pepper and cream sauce. 

PS: This wine makes much more sense after a couple of hours in a ship's decanter or jug. 

1 comment:

Robyn said...

Just cracked a bottle of the Jericho GSM thanks to your brilliant blog .... Lord have mercy!