“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)





25 August 2017


By Jingo Gilbert Grillo Single Vineyard 2015 ($30; 13% alcohol; screw cap

This is an historic wine. 

First, it's seriously fucking gorgeous.

Then, it's the first real Grillo to be made in Australia: John Gilbert imported the variety from west Sicily, where it had impressed him mightily during his formative winemaking times there. 

In spite of some argy-bargy over the cuttings somebody was selling as Grillo - it wasn't the true G-spot - here's the real thing. I understand the other stuff has been destroyed. My people are looking into it. John even made a pretty good wine from that imposter and couldn't quite work out why it seemed awry. I liked it. Even reviewed it. 

But this beauty's the duck's guts: it'll heal trypophobia

It won't take much of a sorso to convince you: there'll be no gulping in your second approach to the glass. It's big enough to slow you right off; pull the handbrake on; wind the windows down and  take a real big breath of it. Put the top down. Vibe right out. 

tired: the winemaker resting at the end of vintage 2014

After John's impassioned winemaking technique, which involves a supernatural gastronomic sensitivity married to a hybrid type of refined procrastination by default, the wine's had a good spell in old French barrels and an appropriate rest in bottle. 

It's goddam glorious.

It smells rich and creamy. It's got fresh slices of white clingstone peach. It's got guava jelly. It's got pavlova and marscapone; vanilla bean and marzipan; nougat and dried apple. It has the rinds of various citrus, from bergamot to blood orange. It's everything that old rogue Len Evans promised us Chardonnay would be, fulfilling triple the promise and none of the bullshit and sales sophistry it took for some poor sucker to drink the bat goozie that flooded Australia as a result of that missionary's preaching. 

In contrast, this Grillo smells hearty and fresh and comforting. And it's made only from grapes in an old wood container. By a master with an uncanny knack of standing back and marvelling at nature's sweet ways. 

In the sorso reparto - sorso's Italian for schlück - this wine is syrupy of texture, against a wall of all the above plus caramel. But somehow it's fine and never cloying, like half Riesling. I've been drinking it with the two majestic Clare Rieslings a couple of stories down this scroll, and there's a lot about it in some mystical way that points me at that incredible Polish Hill. 

It has really good natural acid, after all John's oxidative, softening approach. 

Maybe it's more along the lines of the 2013 O'Leary Walker Drs Cut Riesling, which is about the best mature-ish Riesling I've had from Australia. Of course Grillo's not Riesling, but you get my drift. 

Add all that up, and then consider the site of this vineyard. It's way up in the arid sunbaked flats of the Murray-Darling Basin, where neither Riesling nor Chardonnay ever seem to work. 

Fans of the By Jingo Grüner Veltliner 2014, of which I was foremost, will smooch this lovely unction. John says he might let Larry Jacobs, the Hahndorf Hill wizard who introduced it, keep the title of Grandfather of Grüner while he gets used to the fit of the Godfather of Grillo crown.

This is an historic achievement you can drink. 

Get some quick. But keep some cash in the bucket for the reds this remarkable man will bottle when he gets around to it, there's a dear.

photos by Philip White


Kyle crick said...

Wicked review as always my very good Bredrin.

via collins said...

Thanks Whitey.

Picked one up tonight ads served with the noodles.

Where it was very at home. It's a bit electric isn't it? Like, exciting wine.

Excellent tip.