“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)





28 January 2017


Fox Gordon Sassy Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2016 
$19; 13.9% alcohol; screw cap 

Not Sancerre, but why should it be? A small improvement on most of the thin, battery-water Sauvignons the Adelaide Hills seem content to produce, this lean meany has all the essentials necessary for taking the lipstick off one's teeth before the battered salt'n'pepper cephalopod arrives. It's closer to the Savvys-B of Marlborough, but has a prettier, more floral waft than most of those, especially the ones that hit the handbag before you reach $20. Which makes it pretty good value if you like that sort of thing. Probly goes very well with a menthol cigarette, pre skinny decaf latté. Or, of course, without. 

It's fitting wine for the footpath tables up the top of Unley Road, where the rich dine. Woulda been good on Norwood Parade, but those tables seem to have have moved on a bit.

Fox Gordon Princess Adelaide Hills Fiano 2016
$23; 13.9% alcoholo; screw cap 

Here's a good clean fresh wine with a bouquet that reminds me of the aromatics that would exude from the Watkins and Rawleigh's travelling salesmens' leather display cases when they'd come in their Wolseleys knocking on our lonesome country door to flirt with my beautiful Mum when the Old Man was off preaching in Dixie or Ulster or somewhere. It reminds me of their Brilliantine hair dressing or something: it smells a touch Vaselinish. 

Come to think of it, I can also recall preachers who smelt like this. They were probably chasing Mum, too. They'd come in all perfumed and quiffed right up, KJ Bible under the arm; peppermint chewies on their breath.

None of em took too kindly to me, her eldest, when I'd park myself protectively beside her at the kitchen table, if indeed they got in that far.

It also has a disarming human fleshiness about it which reminds me of my Presbyterian Sunday school teacher when she'd lean over me to ensure my Bible was open at the right page. Jesus, I loved that chance of a glimpse down her shirt. Praise the Lord!

Funny that I can't recall what any of these people smelt like in winter.

So maybe it's all about the mystery and risk of failed seductions in the bush in a prickly summer. Something about that persistence. Urgency.

Drink. Not as oily as that fragrance led me to believe. Not a great challenge. It's fairly amorphous, sound dry white until a rise of  metallic acidity lifts its finish. It's long and lingering schlücking without any actual schnabeling. Which is what young Barassadeutchers did on the back seats of their cars in the parking bay on Trial Hill Road or way up in the witchcraft country on Kaiser Stuhl already.

I dunno what sort of a testimony that is for Fiano. But I suspect, given the hearty rustic nature of that Italian grape, and its tendency to go big and oily and viscous when grown at at a modest yield and let get very ripe, all this indicates the variety is more flexible and forgiving than many of the fad varieties that end in O. Easily the best of this trinity.

Fox Gordon Charlotte's Web Adelaide Hills Pinot Grigio 2016 
$23; 14% alcohol; screw cap 

Like the wines above, this sort of alcohol level is high for a gris/grigio/grey white so shy of challenge, gastonomic provocation or flesh. Which makes me wonder about how high these tonnes were per hectare. I trust Fox Gordon didn't pay obscene prices, as it has all the hallmarks of fruit grown by a vigneron not scared of irrigation. Same acid as the Fiano. Same feeling as the Sauvignon.

Post Script

I made a desktop blend of equal parts of these three wines, with another equal proportion of a sound but tired 2008 Barossa Chardonnay made without wood. The result has the alluring, husky, summer dust-and-stubble edge the Fox Gordon drinks offered - but I didn't notice til now - with a great deal more complexity and true vinosity, without reaching anything like gooey. My blend's a medium-to-light-bodied amorphous dry white which I much prefer to any of its components. It has some reassuring body, it'll still peel those lipstick flecks off your teeth and it'll go real good with the more carefully and intelligently-constructed sort of salt'n'pepper squid that you'll find on the footpath table at Wah Hing in Chinatown.


I dunno, really. Maybe I missed something. But when I read the beautifully-produced Lookbook Edition One that came with these three wines, I can only imagine they've been made to allure people the like of which are portrayed therein.

Whom I'm sure will believe its appraisals a lot quicker than they'll read mine. I hope they all go out and read these books the makers recommend. And the Italian Eko is a fairly resilient beginner's guitar. Like you can fall on one and ski it across the floor and it'll usually handle that well. My first 12-string was an Eko, back when they were called Eston. Laurie Treadrea, the pawnbroker, relieved me of it for half a song in 1971 when I needed the money to run away from home.

I suppose that's a good metaphor for these wines. Tough. Resilient.

But the music? Iggy'll do me thanks. He's been with me since the day I walked out, put my thumb up, and hit the road with my Eston.

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