“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)


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24 November 2017

LONGVIEW'S NEBBIOLO TRIFECTA

An affair with the Saturno family's triple take on four clones of Nebbiolo:
by PHILIP WHITE

Long View Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo Rosato 2017 
($25; 13.5% alcohol; screw cap) 

This lively fishy pink alone is good enough reason to wend your way to this picture-book Macclesfield vineyard for a platter of springtime antipasto and a glass or two while your gaze fixes itself into the middle distance and the bothers of life melt into the haze. 

The noble Nebbiolo gives this bouquet a rindy blood-orange and peach allure: it's comforting and fleshy. But there's a neat spicy prickle there as well: a piquant edge that sets the anticipatory savouries gushing. The body of the wine sets up an entertaining see-saw of that homely fruity flesh dancing counterpoint to the sharper edge with its fine tannin and saucy acidity. 

There's nothing simply raspberry or strawberry about this wine. It's not your simple lollypop Grenache, but a drink with its own distinction: an entertaining and delicious new benchmark in the burgeoning school of grown-up ros├ęs for fully growed-up pinksters. 

Any of the home-grown Italianate dainties on the Longview lunch card will suit it swimmingly. 

Drool. 

Longview Fresco Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo  2017 
($36; 13% alcohol; screw cap) 

I can imagine Dorothy Parker toying with a bowl of this while she dashed off a page or two of hot social bitchery for Vanity Fair or The New Yorker in the 'thirties. 

The whole rockin package is uber-cool: off-the-wall use of the Bailey's bottle with jazz age graphics and a ritzy red content that goes perfectly with twenty minutes in the ice bucket while the pithy one-liners bounce about the deck. 

It's spicy and sultry sniffing: Longview director Mark Saturno nails it when he suggests cherry cola. L-O-L-A Lola. Slinkin past with a cigarette holder as long as her gloves. 

It's peppery and bright and zesty to inhale, but this is not built for inhaling, this is a clubby red potion for guzzling. That cherry cola thing runs all the way along the drink: it almost feels slightly petillant in its cheeky prickle. It's not mindless, but it's not going to interrupt you much. Rather, it's there to hold your chin up if you let too much of that rosato through earlier. 

Dry, neat, tidy, trim: this thing's all about attitude. Massage me an olive, Boris. Sigh. 

Longview Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo 2015 
($50; 14% alcohol; Diam cork) 

Longview's four clones of the noble northern Italian Nebbiolo have now had 22 years to own their slice of the stony Macclesfield hills. Every now and then the vintage rings loud enough for the Saturnos to release a riserva, like a king-hell dead serious mutha red. 

First, this regal work hurls up spice, like nutmeg and long pepper. It really tickles the nose. 

Then you get a glimpse into the depths looming below: hawthorn berries, juniper, blackcurrants, figs, dark cherries: imagine a great silver punchbowl brimming with them, soused in lemon juice and kirsch and dusted with musky icing sugar. That's your bouquet. Oh, and I must mention the bunch of roses. 

Take a sip. The texture is the first thing that gets you: polished, authoritative, smooth and glinty as blue-black gunmetal. This is the boss. 

The flavours are real dark and glinty, too. But there's a certain regal elegance about it: it's as much aquiline Wills as wild hairy Harry. 

Like the best of upland Italian Nebbiolo, there's a unique thing about the structure of this drink. While it has all the above morass of the darker fruits in abundance, they're presented in a smooth, almost raspberry-simple and honest form, much in the manner of a more sraightfoward Pinot, like say from Morey-St-Denis. 

Then, like an afterthought, oh dear, is that a fluff of tannin blowing by? And is that some neat natural acidity edging in? Oooh, I see. It's deceptive. How complex and brooding is this thing gonna get? How many decades will it glower and grow? 

This is a bottle of right royal mystery.

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