“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)





18 June 2015


Oakridge Willowlake Vineyard Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2013 
$36; 13.1% alcohol; screw cap; 92 points 

Given its 'traditional' winemaking recipe, with whole berries fermented in open vessels and left on skins for three weeks, it's remarkable that this lovely drink tastes so overwhelmingly of fresh grapes. Fresh, ideally ripe Pinot grapes, however, like these from a good vineyard are another thing again: another step into the mystic. 

These sensual beauties are sodden with the fleshy blueberry and cherry opulence we once thought were the sole property of the Burgundians. While the wine is pale enough to see your fingers through the glass, it certainly has no shortage of that swoony, cuddly, motherly flesh.

It's almost devoid of tannin; its comforting acid almost milky. It's as close as I've got to breast feeding for some time. It even smells like that.

The wine loves air: decant it and drink it from big Rubens balloon glasses. Roast duck or glazed pork belly with shiitake mushrooms will magnify all the above wonder. 

Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger Single Vineyard Eden Valley Shiraz 2013 
$40; screw cap; 14.5% alcohol; 93++ points 

On first opening, this was remarkable for being the first Torzi Matthews I can recall that showed the cedary, gingery tones of fresh oak. It was intense with coffee and mocha, aromas not often associated with Dominic Torzi's earthy regime of older, seasoned, less intrusive barrels.

Let's call it a more modernist offering than the usual.

In the five days I've kept the bottle close, making a regular nudge de rigeur, the pure essence of that upland Shiraz has climbed all over those spicy hints of oak, making a heady, sensual slide of a drink.

A bit like the Pinot above, it has little overt tannin, letting that intense - much darker - flesh do all the work.

While it's a bigger wine, it has similar creamy form, being silky and smooth and comforting, with just the right insinuation of milky acid.

I can think of nothing more pleasurable than taking the main squeeze and a bottle of each of these to Park Lok, T-Chow or Wah Hing, to accompany their various dribbly pork and duck dishes.

Use the decanter in both cases; drink the Pinot first; don't blame me.

Here's a good Park Lok table: lunch well had by experts between Howard Twelftree's funeral and his wake later at the Duke Of Brunswick ... the Howard Twelftree Award 2015  selection has commenced ... and there's Big Bob McLean ... photo Milton Wordley

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