“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 July 2017


McPherson Wine Co. Laneway Series Central Victoria Chardonnay 2016 ($19; 14% alcohol; screw cap)  

Unpacking this, I thought jeez Whitey wine labels these days are starting to look like laneway walls. Which, given a magnifying glass, I discovered this is. Hosier Lane, in fact, in Melbourne's CBD. 

I can't understand why people bother to put written details on wine labels in typeface so friggin tiny it looks like a printer's smudge, nor why if you did take the risk of using a face so miniscule - it's about 1ml high and a micron thick - you'd put it sideways so the reader tips the bottle over to study the friggin text, forgets the lid's off and pours the wine cold on the wedding tackle, which does the old snail eye trick. 

Before the drink gets there, it's supposed to have been properly warmed by one's inner filters. 

While the glass I did manage to tip inside of me is warming safely within I am delighted to report a really cool Goulburn Valley Chardonnay with an aroma of more style and allure than I'd expect at such a similarly cool spend. 

It's all pear and persimmon, even juicy loquat, and nothing like the sort of bland watered peach one usually encounters below $20. It also has the sort of subtle oak - like only one or two planks in the tank - that one rarely sees in this price bracket. Which led me to check more readable details on the cobweb, where it says " A rich and textual wine displaying lovely aromas of tropical fruits with a hint of apple and spice." 

Textual, see. Them flyspots up the edge of the wall spray is text: all part of some brilliant graphic artist's design plan. 

I check the winery details while I'm in digiland and find relief to learn that winemaker Jo Nash is married to another winemaker and they have four kids who make wine at home with their little tiny feet. Which could be another indicator that the winery dog lover generation has grown up and procreated so we may start seeing photos and books of winemakers' tishy sprogs soon, where once were hounds. 

Times change, old boy, times change. 

The flavours are really cool, too: gentle and fruitsalady, wrapped in an unctuous viscosity that brings the texture of pear juice to mind. Ah! They musta meant textural. Tch, tch. Never mind. We all make mistakes at the keyboard. We'll park that fluff too in the graphic artist's lap. 

Just between you and me, saying a wine is textural is roughly equal to calling it wet. 

On the other hand, Jo hasn't made any fluffs making this lovely. She's managed to almost keep the usual white grape petiol aroma of the region under control. Petiols are leaf stalks: harvesting machines pick them. She reports the 'sixteen year turned the heat up fast and vintage was rushed as the sugars erupted but it seems to have worked out neat and lush and lovely. 

It's not saying much, but this is probably the best value Chardonnay I've encountered so far this year. 

As for graphics? Looks like a really cool Melbourne laneway, no doubt about it. I do like a label that tells me the sort of details I eventually found on the internet for those two lines up the top of this review. Like the wine's name, region, variety and vintage. I don't want to turn my eyes to any damn telephone thing when I'm sharing a bottle of wine; nor should I need to.  While I may have to accustom myself to carrying a pair of dry strides when I'm drinking, I draw the line at carrying a mini camera/computer you can make phone calls on and/or a magnifying glass. 

Mussel soup, please, lotsa crusty Aldinga bread and Paris Creek butter. 

McPherson Wine Co. Laneway Series Central Victoria Shiraz 2015 ($19; 14.5% alcohol; screw cap) 

"Every moment of your life is a picture you've never seen," the sideways flyspecks advise. 

I'd been wondering about that. 

The sort of Shiraz-without-barrels Stephen Hickinbotham explored in the Goulburn in the 'eighties is alive and well here: the smithy has mulberries plopping onto its hot galvo roof, adding that lovely black jam to the dense, dark acridity of the coke glowing on its forge and the blackberries growing round the well. 

It's like a really hearty hot year Beaujolais in a way: deep and sharp but deadly easy to tip. There's not much tannin: the curt bits of the finish are more due to acid, without it overwhelming. It doesn't taste hot, but simply so ripe and clean and bone dry you could have it happily with soda on ice and a slice. Try that, and add a splash of cold black espresso while your beard grows. 

Interested to see what the graphic artist has to tell us about food accompaniments I went home again to check the cobweb where the section headed "Food Recommendations" advised "This wine is made with food in mind. Served in forward trending bars and cafes, this is a versatile, medium bodied wine that is perfect with modern street food, rich rustic pasta, ribs and burgers." 

I like the ribs bit. Pork ribs in a Dixie Coca Cola sauce blackened on the flames of the oak staves out of this tank would do it just ewie. 

Knowing the make cost of a wine like this, however, I reckon the graphic people's invoice musta been so high they've had to charge a bit more for the actual drink. Which I quite like. Given the amount of Shiraz South Australia often can't be bothered picking, I wonder why winemakers here don't try a bit more stuff like this. I'm sure we could do it for a few bucks less. Maybe it all gets lost in the bags. 

Pictures we've never seen, see?

drinking without phones: John Percival 1948: Christ Dining In Young & Jackson's

No comments: