“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)





05 May 2017


Provenance the Griesling 2016 
($26; 12.5% alcohol; screw cap) 

Alsace is one French wine region Australians don't seem very aware of, and yet its Riesling/Pinot gris viticulture has had a long-term influence from afar in its subtle, persistent way. Why not grow these varieties near Geelong? Or somewhere. And put them together? Scott Ireland couldn't see why not. I'm with Scott. The result is firstly a tour through pear land. The aromatics are steep with sliced pears of all types, led by a sharp, prickly edge evocative of their peel and the peel of the canteloupe, as if shredded and grilled and presented as a garnish on a cushion of creamy lemon custard. Those pears retreat nicely into a lightly-baked tart of all the above as you ponder the mouthful. It is indeed creamy and gentle, and not particularly much like either of its components. It has a gracious autumnal air about it, a little like some of the best Marsanne. It's dry, but has a polite illusion of sweetness, like Golden Syrup on dumplings. I can imagine taking a tipple of this in some grey old Zurich street, a tiny cream restritto and a sweet dainty on the side. Should I attempt the newspapers in English, Italian, French or German? Dearie me. Is she still watching? 
Provenance Tarrington Pinot Gris 2015 
($26; 12.5% alcohol; screw cap) 

Put that piquant prickle of the pear and canteloupe peel in a dusty burlap sack and you're closing in on this bouquet. It's rustic and again, somehow autumnal. It prickles and tickles. In contrast, its texture is fluffy and comforting. If you drank it from a black glass, you'd probably swear it was a genteel and comfy red. Like a soft and simple morello cherry Pinot noir or Grenache without much tannin. Like the Griesling, it has a spooky kind of spy movie feel about it, leaving me sitting here wondering which side of the Alps we're on. Who polished this brass? Is that Graham Greene? Buttery croissant please, with jambon and melted cheese. Blow the smoke off your .38 and light up a Lucky. Look out the window. Is this Bruges? 

Provenance Golden Plains Chardonnay 2015 
($28;  13.5% alcohol; screw cap) 

We're homing in on Beaune. Or Ballarat. The cooper's been here, with a whole assortment of spicy staves from one tree here; one tree there. Replace the pears with citrus, honeydew - I swear I can smell lilac out there somewhere - but keep that same house style, and we begin to get the mind of south-west Victoria winemakers Scott Ireland and Sam Yogel. We hit serious acid here; a different authority. These are dead honest wines: so barefaced in their sense of source and belonging that they transport you. They'll hang you out over somewhere which is certainly not here. They're mysterious and genteel. Perfect drinks for the season. Get in the movie. I'll keep an eye out for you. And yes, I'll have the baked flounder with bitter melon and mustard please ZuZu. 

Plein air 1890-91 Ramón Casas i Carbó ( Catalan Spanish, 1866-1932)

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