“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)





16 December 2015


Don Ditter, Penfolds chief  winemaker from 1975 to 1986, died last night in Sydney. He was 89 years of age. That's Don in the white shirt.

An absolute gentleman of the old school, Don took the reins at Grange after Max Schubert's retirement. His wines were perhaps the most staunch and firmly-oaked of the entire Penfolds canon. His Granges from 1977, 1983 and 1986 remain as outstanding examples of his art and craft.

The only time I ever saw Don without a blazer and tie was at Ray Beckwith's 100th birthday lunch at Penfolds Kalimna homestead in the Barossa in February 2012.

The photographer Richard Humphrys, nephew of Thelma Schubert, caught this image of Penfolds men John Bird, Don and Ray with Sandie Coff and her Mum Thelma, Max's widow, on that great historic day.

I am about to draw the appropriate cork. I can hear similar poppings all over the fine wine world. Vale, dear man. Ka-chink!

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