“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)





29 June 2016


photo©Milton Wordley
Best's Great Western Concongella Vineyard F.H.T. Shiraz 1999 (14.5% alcohol; cork; from the owner's cellar)

I'd look really stupid if I didn't say this is the best west Victoria Shiraz I can recall in recent decades. Some real old Colin Preece wines come to mind. It's like shivers right royalty of that rare sort which triggers rumours of low yields making better and therefore more expensive red wines. And vice-versa. 

But Blossoms, let me guarantee you can have buggered old low-yield vines from here to the horizon and not get within a lap of this glory.

In structure, it reminds me very much of that other great house with joyous and hopeful Federation label art, Wendouree. Nothing coincidental in that. I don't get to say anything like that in many decades, either. But I know enough of both to be so bold. In flavour, form and optimism - humble but confident, well-historied optimism - both wines are as graphical as their labels.

It delivered an evil gunblue glint during decanting. And then come those amazing olfactory folds of silks and velvets. Mattes and sheens. Black and purple brocades and satins.

Ink for pens.

After frost and drought most of the Best's 1999 Shiraz worth a sniff ended up in one barrel. You probly can't get much lower yielding than that. Viv Thomson labelled it after his father FHT.

Milton brought a bottle back from Viv. We had it decanted at Elbow Room and drank nearly all of it. The last two glasses were tipped back into the bottle and left without a cork all night. Next day I breathed them from my glass for an hour or two and sent them on down. The mob belowdecks go nuts. They do like a packers' Archibald prize with true blue shit like this.

The old CNS went so AC/DC zappo I nearly lost the hold of my glass and dropped it. Instead I'm still sitting here, reveling with what I've dropped within.

Limonene, linalool and the pinenes are some of its most prominent dream triggers, with the caramels of Shiraz in the sun. The deep soft greens and the gooeys. Grrrr.

A true rarity; a luxurious marvel; a holiday in swoon.

With it, I toast Mick Morris. And Viv, a survivor. Thankyou good friend.

The feeling such mighty wines evoke is written of in my obituary for Ian MacDonald. And here in a 1991 visit to Morris of Rutherglen, just closed by Pernod Ricard, the French owners of Jacobs Creek. Here's Milton Wordley's interview with Viv: People of Wine: Ten Questions.

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