“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)





30 March 2017


McLaren Vale: Early this morning, on the hill outside my back door, I found pickers taking a selected parcel of Grenache from the Yangarra High Sands Vineyard. Typical of this vintage, the weather was chilly and damp, but the fruit looked and tasted very fine indeed. Tentatively, local winemakers are suggesting this will be a great Grenache year, in spite of all the wild weather woes of the growing season.

North towards Mount Bold and the Adelaide Hills ... all photos©Philip White 

Below: looking west (roughly) toward the Gulf St Vincent, 15 short kays distant ... Vince is the patron of viticulturers and makers of wine. And vinegar ... this proximity to the ocean gives McLaren Vale what Wirra Wirra founder Greg Trott called "The best Mediterranean climate on Earth." The resultant maritime influence gives a more constant and higher background humidity than most other Australian vignobles, a factor I suspect keeps the tannins softer. More of that in later installations ... plenty of Grenache stuff to come!

My neighbour, Bernard Smart, planted the High Sands Grenache in 1946. Here he is with his wife, Mary, and Peter Fraser, manager and chief winemaker of Yangarra

Even the best hand-picked fruiterer's window grapes like these benefit greatly from a pass through the grape-sorting machine: here they come like caviar, cleaned of stalks, leaf and bugs, ready for the ceramic egg fermenters:

Michael Lane (left) and his assistant Dan Mullins. Michael, chief viticulturer and farm manager of both Yangarra and Hickinbotham Estates,  studied horticulture and then pest management before committing full-time to viticulture. Dan came via The Terraces and Mountadam, before which he spent many years as a master chef for Gay Bilson at Barrenjoey in the Sydney Opera House before a big-time stint in Hong Kong and then London. Together with Peter Fraser these two have converted Yangarra from old-style industrial petrochem management to fully certified biodynamic and organic status.

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