“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)





07 April 2017


It was the dance of the Seven Veils outside Casa Blanca yesterday morning, as the Ironheart Vineyard Shiraz brides were unveiled for harvest.

That's one end of the vineyard from my front veranda. The ground here is scanty sand and bits of clay on big slab ironstone. The geology changes at that treeline: beyond on the flat is a Chapel Hill vineyard which produces very different flavours in recent alluvium. 

There's something about the flavour of these Ironheart grapes this year that reminds me of the panforte complexity Michael Waugh and a few others get in low-yielding Shiraz around Greenock and Marananga in the real old outcrops of the north-west Barossa.

But here, without losing complexity or fresh berry acidity those spicy baked nuts and berries flavours are more frothed up and moussey. It's as if they've had the corners knocked off them. 

I'm not talking quality, I'm talking difference. 

There's also a tantalising whisper of nougat, like I saw the other day, redolent in Drew Noon's fermenting Grenache rosé.

This softening I suspect is about relative humidity. 

I reckon you could match the clones, geology and altitude of Shiraz sites in the Clare, Barossa and McLaren Vale vignobles and the one with the highest relative humidity will have the softest tannin. That'd most likely be the one closest to the ocean. Yangarra Ironheart is fifteen kays from the drink. 

I'd love to see somebody science the hell outa that theory.

As a sundial my solid drop-forged chrome moly worm squirming up from the terrazo slab ironstone in my front yard says this was 0730 hrs but I dunno if the sun's been advised to adjust for Daylight Saving. 

First thing this morning: in go the pickers. Give this image a click to look into it. I didn't want to adjust it. Everything felt kinda mediævally sacred in that early light.

2017 Ironheart Shiraz, ready to go to the winery, 8AM - like less than an hour ago. The grape sorting machine will remove all stalks and leaves and wee beasties hiding within the bunches - raisins too, if required - and give the winemakers caviar like this (2012 photo):

... and here they were hitting veraison on 6th February: seems like yesterday ... I'm dyin to see what happens as they ferment ... overall, my favourite growers and most reliable sources, many of whose fruit I've tasted as I start to get around after being crook, say this looks like a stonking Grenache year, and I agree so far, but straight off the vine this Shiraz made me dribble ... I hear they're picking the heart of High Sands tomorrow ... I'll get some snaps if they do ... this is a really trippy/sparky time of year ... I love watching what goes down ... all cool in this neck of the woods ... all photos©Philip White

1 comment:

My Life said...

Beautiful pics. Reminds me of the time I went picking at the Stoneyfell vineyards. Worst job of my life but the most fun of my life.
Foreman would by "goons" of 50c each for lunchtime quaffing. The afternoons were great fun. Wouldn't want to do it ever again though