“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 October 2015


Provenance Wines Long Night Pinot Noir Rosé 2015 
$25; 13.5% alcohol; screw cap; 92+ points 

Scott Ireland named this Geelong wine after the one long night it spent on skins; his friend Jacqueline Stephens painted the label. Its smells like somebody filled an old burlap onion sack with raspberries, redcurrants and cherries. Pomegranate.

It's dry and slender wine, savoury, like the herb of that name, and tarragon. South of France rather than the Mediterranean isles or Italy. Smoked salmon; bouillabaisse; a lass with husky breath across the table, blowing smoke rings from under her shades while her Maltese fluffball winds its leash around her Manolos.

 It's a movie. Sit your lover down at a boulevard table with a bottle of this, then go and drive up and down past her and see if she notices you. 

Freeman Rondo Rondinella Rosé 2015 
$20; 14% alcohol; screw cap; 94 points 

Prof Brian Freeman planted and proliferated the Italian Rondinella variety at Hilltops, near Young and Wombat in New South Wales. It's the only incidence of this late-ripening (like May) variety in Australia. It makes fabulous deep reds, but if you gently press its juice off skins after a very short spell you'll also get exemplary rosé like this.

This wine simply doesn't have the basket of red and pink berries we expect of a wine of such  burnishing pinkness. It has the dry dusty prickle of the burlap, but its flesh is more Chinese bitter melon to sniff; maybe the smell of canteloupe peel. Quince.

The flavours are quincy, too: comfortingly viscous, but never berry-like. Dry as that sack and as long and langorous in the finish as a full-bore red. A hearty bowl of spaghetti alla vongole, plenty of garlic and Italian parsley will do it. Crunchy bread and butter. Grazie. 

Longline Bimini Twist McLaren Vale Grenache Rosé 2015 
$20; 13% alcohol; screw cap; 91 points 

Grenache can make really simple sweet raspberry gel or icy-pole rosé. They come and go in waves, staining the image of all other pink wines. Because the colour's so obvious in a streetside icebucket or the glass, the hue of rosé can backfire as a status signal when the market's flooded with dumb sweet pink. You can look real blonde in contrast.

But get a great old upland vineyard like this one, and a sharpshooting winemaker like Paul Carpenter, and you can extract a heady, swoony, sensual Rubens of a drink.

It smells of blood orange and pomegranate; maybe chinotto. The hemp sack is there too, but all that heady redness and freckled pulchritude and cushioning curvy flesh brings me an overwhelming wave of calm and total surrender. I'd love this with ice, a splash of soda and few maraschino cherries on a cocktail umbrella ... maybe a leaf of smacked basil.

Smoked Portuguese sardines or smoked kippers with capers and lemon; green olives; pesto; fresh starched sheets ... a bit lower down, please ... ew, that's better ... 

Whistler Dry As A Bone Barossa Valley Mataro Grenache Rosé 2015 
$25; 12% alcohol; screw cap; 90 points 

Josh Pfeiffer grows and makes this organic wine from the family vineyards on the inner circle of great brands now clustering around Marananga.

I love the rustic charcuterie meat Mataro gives this aroma. It smells like many forms of freshly-cured pork, or the mortadella (with lots of donkey) that Sophia Loren naïvely brought from Italy to New York International in Monicelli's brilliant 1971 La Mortadella. By the end of that movie, an enthusiastic aroma perve can conjure the bouquet of Ms Loren's miasma, like total. I love that kind of fluency. Shivers.

Now I'm having red satin dreams, the seams under pressure.

But under the flesh, this sure is bone dry wine: its final gasp of tannins is like somebody ground up your grandma's best bone china tea set and tipped the white dust in here. Otherwise, it's slightly fluffy raspberry with the taste of yourself when you cut your finger and suck the blood.

As Miss Loren's mortadella was devoured forty years ago, this wine would be very cool with the kassler Max Linke makes in his Hahndorf butcher shop, Paech's mustard seed and hot chilli paste all over it. Crunchy white bread and butter. 

Coriole McLaren Vale Sangiovese Rosé 2015 
$16; 13% alcohol; screw cap; 91 points 

Sangiovese brings a different aroma again: the blood orange and the hessian sack are here decked with a brilliant slightly salty flesh, like a sweaty picker in a blue singlet.

Otherwise it's pomegranate and chinotto. And raspberry. And very pretty powdery bathroom fragrances.

It's a fleeting zephyr of a drink: something designed to evaporate fast from the tongue once it's come in and done its delightful scrubbing. That's not so much your actual tannin in the tail, but the feeling of a plate licked clean.

Drinking, not thinking. C'mon, it's spring!

Perfect lunch venue in this spring weather: Coriole proprietor Mark Lloyd with winemaker Alex Sherrah ... top and bottom snaps by Philip White - unfortunately missed the middle job


@paddybts said...

Bloody hell! That should have come with a Sophia warning. :-) #swoon

Matt M said...

The Freeman Rose is amazing - beautiful bruiser of a wine.