“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 January 2017



All white at Casa Blanca 

A favourite example of a smart new wine biz enterprise is the Jericho family story. A graphic designer, an accountant, two winemakers and a very knowing wine game mum sit at that table.

Their annual release is among those I anticipate keenly. I always want to see what they've done.

Over the break, I didn't feel at all inclined to drink red wine, so cleared the deck of the pre-Exmess glut of whites. Apart from a few stalwart favourites reviewed last year, it was largely boooring. Depressing, in fact. I get to the point where I think there's something wrong with me, scouring their ranks for exception.

Until I hit these. I have left the Jericho reds there lying on their backs, glowering at me for a later date, knowing this lovely brace of dry white wines is all I want this week. 

Jericho Adelaide Hills Fumé Blanc 2016 
$25; 13.3% alcohol; screw cap 

She be smoky-voiced, husky, sultry this wine. If you were alive back in the Cambrian, you'd recall an actor called Laren Bacall. She was married to Humphrey Bogart. Their old black-and-white movies were full of smoke.

Cut to Technicolour. It's also got a fresh beach reek about it, with citrus blossom in with all manner of dunal blooms. Bogie and Bacall drinking gin and smoking Chesterfields on the beach. Shootin the breeze. How come Bogie never gets sand in his hair oil?

Drink. Ewie, that's not Savvy-B! That's unctuous and viscous and comforting that Fumé Blanc there in your glass. There's butter and honeydew and bits of the sweeter side of her demeanour. Then the feline bit stalks back in taughtly and sure, it reminds you of a Sauvignon blanc you can't remember. Because while you wish you did, you probly never had it.

This could be it. You won't forget this one.

While it lingers, it leaves you puckery and starving, and finishes real tight and crunchy. See if they've got cockles on at The Salopian and get them all over your front with this stuff. It's on the list. 

Jericho Adelaide Hills Fiano 2016 
$25; 13.5% alcohol; screw cap 

Heady and swoony and some melon I can't place, citrus rind and verbena with a whiff of cordite ... a dusty, baking summer day in old Oz ... then after that waft of slighty threatening desert it brings you dangling from the enamel blue back into the comfort of those first cool heady fruits ... man, it's a ride. Suddenly there's lots of pink musky silk and satin.

Like the Fumé, this beauty has a reassuring viscosity. It feels like a gentle red. Then it tapers out and strings you on so clean and long with its acid authority ... this is the best Australian Fiano I can recall from recent years. In these lower Austral parts, this variety can get very oily quickly when it ripens fast in a hot summer: it gets close to over-ripe Frontignac. Which sorta misses the point. This is a cool year, picked later and finer.

Speaking movies, it's grainy. Casablanca.

Pink saltimbocca with lemon juice and capers. Bouillabaisse.

The Jericho family after dinner at  Mum and Dad's: Andrew (left) and Kim, standing; Neil, Kaye, Steve and Sally, seated ... photos Philip White

No comments: