“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)





13 August 2015


Penfolds Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling 2015
$30; 11.5% alcohol; screw cap; 93+++ points 

You know those big plush petals of the magnolia flower? That's the first thing this lovely drink brought to mind. Texturally confident, but creamy. There's lime blossom and lime pith too, of course, as you'd expect of Eden Riesling.  But this is not as austere, stony and steely as many of those high country austerities. This is almost fragile. It's a total delusion, but the wine has so much of that naive and simple cleavage flesh that you forget to look at the amazing business going on in the engine room.

Which you encounter in the mouth division. Clunk. You hit the real old rocks here. The wine seems a bit short at first. Abrupt. But you give it six or seven hours and the damn thing starts to begin to think about showing its cards. It literally crawls out from beneath its rock, like something serpentine or lizardish after hibernation: real slow and drowsy but very very delibarate and hungry. Blue tongue flicking.

I've been taking flak lately for recommending so many wines that I suggest need some cellaring. I dunno how to deal with this: my stance must seem effete, unreasonable and unattainable. But c'mon cobber, that's the heart of this business. Would you prefer to drink the 1971 Grange or the 2011?

This wine will kick total arse like unforgettable in what? Another generation? A decade? A forgetfulness? 

Penfolds Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz 2013 
$40; 14.5% alcohol; screw cap; 93+ points 

I don't reckon I've ever mentioned the word sexy in a Penfolds review, so get that straight out of your mind. When this first came forth, it seemed another of those Penfolds Coonawarras that are nothing like much else out of that big red cigar apart from maybe Zema. Which made me think it was a matter of venerable vine age, but it's not that simple. 

 I'm trying to be, how you say, transparent.

The Weather Undergound vigilants of deep Penfolds get stuff out of Coonawarra which is somehow pure Penfolds. Not Wynns, not Blass, not anything alse. Not every year or anything like that, but regularly. With the vagaries of the vintages, this stuff comes and goes and goes up and down like the tides. But here you have a classic Penfolds Coonawarra Shiraz.


It's in the great framework of traditional Australian claret, smooth and dignified and elegant with just the right see-saw of yin-yang baby fruit and future.


I need urgently to sit with Peter Gago, David Wynn and Max Schubert to drink this and watch 'em  skite. A spoon of ripe Stilton would be the go. You got a special corner somewhere in there Pete? 

Penfolds The Max Schubert Barossa Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz 2012 
$450; 14% alcohol; screw cap; 95+++ points 

I can imagine a health farm somewhere in the mango/paw-paw tropics where you wash this on your face every morning and go and stand naked in the rain.

This wine somehow rises above drink. I reckon you can inhale something this silky, luxurious and smooth through your pores.

It'd go straight into your genes.

More along the Bin 60A lines than Grange, it's a perfume. Barossa provides the well-dressed saddle, plush and soft; Coonawarra perfume rides the horse. Confectioner's sugar; musk; jellied mint; crystallised violets. Persian pashmak: the original floss candy.


All this insinuates itself onto your tongue where it does a totally disarming Medlar Gel sort of a seduction and you end up sitting there like a dumbstruck zombie, wondering what could possibly happen next.

I don't mean to sound ambiguous.

What happens next is the damn thing does its long dryout tease with those perfect tannins and still leaves a marshmallow waft of blackcurrant/blueberry/red currant/aniseed ring magic sitting in the middle of your head.

Not to mention the perfumed fields of Provence. Bliss out, baby.

Watch everybody come over all quiet.

It will become a very famous and much more expensive wine than this.

Trust Unca Phil.

The remainder of the 2015 premium release will be launched internationally on October 15.

Watch DRINKSTER for previews in late September.

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