“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)





11 June 2015


Cradle Of Hills Wild Child Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2014 
$25; 12.5% alcohol; screw cap; 93++ points 

While the line between the Adelaide Hills and the eastern ridges of McLaren Vale makes little crisp logical sense the further east one goes, this fruit's from Hahndorf, which is quite obviously in the Adelaide sector. Dangle your nose into this glass, however, and you'd think you're in the French bit, which is quite a bit further off. The wine has that comforting grilled cashew, prosciutto and canteloupe bouquet that you'll find in many junior whites from the Côtes of Burgundy. It's a lovely smell, and one which I have never seen in such extent in any Chardonnay from the Vales proper. It's simply not cool enough there. But this is cool in many ways: its wild yeast and lees stirring has rendered a texture slender yet creamy; the finish has little phenolic tannin; the wine has a lovely sensual demeanour and weight. It's not a big Chardonnay, but an elegant, cheeky, lightly-oaked lovely made with a deal more sensitivity to the purpose than is shown in too many posh, presumptuous, and/or overpriced Hills models. Or Burgundies, for that matter. If Burgundy stretches your credulity, let's just say that this seems more like the Chardonnay from the eastern or western shores of Port Phillip Bay; maybe the slopes of Mt Macedon, but it's even cheaper than most of those. Have it with flathead pan-grilled in butter with a sprig of fennel and spread on a lightly-toasted slice of sourdough with a squirt of lemon and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Happy days! 

Cradle of Hills Gi Gi McLaren Vale Grenache Rosé 2014 
$20; 13.5% alcohol; screw cap; 93 points 

You won't find Grenache like this in Burgundy, the Adelaide Hills, or anywhere near Port Phillip Bay: this is the best of McLaren Vale, which increasingly looks like it's capable of making the best Grenache in the world. While this variety can make the simplest sweet bubblegum pinks if cropped too high and made too dumb, this Gi Gi's nothing like those, either. It has the slightest reek of raspberry fruit gels or jujubes, and some crunchy maraschino cocktail cherries, but that teasing naughtiness slides in below the acrid reek of summer dust at the top end, and at the other end, the basement, the creamy complexity of a languid ferment in appropriate French oak with some lees and a dab of that comforting yet elegant texture the Chardonnay shows.  It's more a white wine than a red one. It has a delightfully sensual creaminess, very little tannin, and a firm but unobtrusive acid spine. This is the best rosé I've seen from the Vales in years, and one of the better Grenache wines of any type. Which makes that price look very small indeed. Use the rest of that sourdough, but smothered in smoked salmon with capers and a light horseradish cream; the lemon sliced, not squeezed. Stunning.                

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