“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 May 2016


Bremerton Mollie & Merle Langhorne Creek Verdelho 2015 ($17; 13% alcohol; screw cap) is like most good Langhorne Creek Verdelho: overlooked by many who should know better. Which is silly. It has a very pleasing honeydew melon/starfruit aroma which manages at once to comfort and refresh, without too much of one over the other. Its texture backs this dainty see-saw of sensation, perhaps changing the gears a little closer to refreshment: the Sauvignon blanc bits of that tropical starfruit sector take over, giving a smooth white texturally, but with a pleasing grassy/verbena edge that would chew into your salt'n'pepper squid, or really slay you if you had it with a serve of Coorong mullett, or the salt'n'pepper egg plant at Wah Hing. Verdelho like this should be regarded as the thinking person's Sauvignon blanc: it offers a slice more richness, flesh and pleasure than your standard Marlborough, but still has enough cutty acid to peel the lipstick off your teeth. Notice: cutty, not catty, see? No battery acid. And a bargain!

Just as Tom Hagger gets more soul and cheeky flesh than most do from the austere Grenache of Clare, so he manages to let the smoochiest bit of this Riesling ooze through: it has the sort of toast-and-marmalade we used to find really alluring in the Clare Rieslings of the Olden Days, before the chill stainless steel stormtroopers took over. His Oak Table Wine Clare Valley Riesling 2015 ($22; 12.6% alcohol; screw cap) has all the lemony acid we expect of good Riesling, but comes wrapped in some of the mellow autumnal tones of orange blossom honey, or lime and ginger marmalade on sourdough toast with too much proper butter, as one prefers it. There's that lovely reliable layer of natural acid in the basement, and then the usual layers of citrus pith and all the lime juice Clare can lay on, and then this lovely adornment of brekky toast on the top. Not too much, just a hint. If you're the type that likes a glass of something a bit golden with your Sunday brekky, this wine will ease you perfectly from kippered herrings on toast with lemon and pepper through to Rose's marmalade on toast to a nice cup of white tea, one sugar please, and a butter shortbread. Watch this quiet, inexpensive after-hours brand. 

Tim Adams Clare Valley Reserve Riesling 2010 ($29; 11% alcohol; screw cap), just for comparison, is an aged version of the very steely, hyper-fresh modern school of the variety. So while it started with none of the toasted breakfast of the Oak Table, it's beginning to grow some, but in a very different manner: this is all the butter and marmalade, but there's no toast. It's pristine, still, limy and rindy, and it's grown cool, almost coincidental flesh on its sinews and that citrus looks like it's just beginning to caramelise in the pan, but your actual toast is not so strong. Flavour-wise, it's an aged rizza for the gluten-intolerant (joke only) or one who prefers their fair entertainment, regardless of its age, to arrive freshly-scrubbed in very fast machinery made from fine German steel. 

I should note that I've tasted these wines over four days. Every one of them was a more comforting proposal at least a day after I'd first snapped their seals. So drink some with your dinner on Saturday, and keep a glass or two in the fridge for breakfast.

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