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Domaine Lafon Monthelie-Les Duresses 2007

Date: Tue, Apr 16, 2013 Wine Tasting

The foil has tamper evident silver prooftag attached with the code WOOPOOA123572. Lift the tag and it leaves a checkerboard pattern on the bottle, demonstrating that the tag has been manhandled. Which would seem to make it a better security measure than laser etching bottles with a name, code and vintage.

Another two quotes from Underworld.

You didn't see the thing because don't know how to look. And you don't know how to look because you don't know the names. . .

Everyday things represent the most overlooked knowledge. These names are vital to your progress. Quotidian things. If they weren't important, we wouldn't use such a gorgeous Latinate word.

Tasting note: Bigger and more forward than I had expected. It reminds me most of the Littorai Cerise. Savoury with strawberries and earth. It's sturdy rather than delicate and in the background - hide and small goods. Fleshy and round, supple and frontal. Dangerous curves but with a long tail. The finish is stalk, pip and skin; it feels unforced and natural, even if the first, and incorrect, impression is of something pumped and augmented.

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Cherubino Riesling 2012

Date: Mon, Apr 15, 2013 Wine Tasting

Nights end and I find I'm sniffing at the bottle, trying to remember. . .

40% Porongurup and the remainder from the Frankland. The bottle smells of passionfruit and boiled sweets, but hours ago I seem to remember this as being more talc and lime, certainly a green spark. . . The sugar dial on the back is just above empty, only enough to give a sense of playfulness. . . the liquid itself was finished within minutes of opening, helping to wash down this Thai salmon and roe salad.

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Date: Sat, Apr 13, 2013 Wine Tasting

Much as I enjoy the lingering saltiness and soft but definite resistance of an Ortiz anchovy they are rarely on my list of provisions. I make do with something cheaper and less reputable and repeatable; I'm not fool enough to think that my sauces and cooking will suffer from the omission.

After years of grocery shopping and stocking a pantry there are things I buy weekly (milk etc), monthly (olive oil etc) and some things I buy maybe once in lifetime (Asafoetida). I rarely buy processed food, preferring to concoct things from scratch. This is an evolving habit, becoming more developed since the arrival of children. Curiously I tend to buy pine nuts and feta and semolina regardless of need and the stockpile of these ingredients is a constant source of familial bemusement.

When it comes to wine it's bought on a whim rather than from requirement and there is nothing that I would buy weekly or even monthly. The notion of drinking the same wine repeatedly for weeks or months is something I am unable to subscribe too. As a drinker rather than collector,I think I want an endless variety. Though in reality I do find myself drinking from the same varietal and stylistic playbook. . . Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Riesling. . . I'll drink every vintage from a particular producer for a few years and once I know I find I grow fickle and drift away. Unfortunately the disinterest often occurs only after the stockpile, leaving my cellar dotted with unloved bottles. It's the danger of familiarity. . .

As brilliant as the new releases of Penfolds may or may not be I have no more curiosity or good will. . . At one hundred dollars plus I don't feel compelled to try the latest release from Cullen (though I concede I was quick to buy a bottle on special for $86). . . after drinking every riesling from Grosset for more than a decade I feel no more urge to collect. Presumably a prolonged vinous pause would remove much of this weariness. . .

Related 1. Related 2.
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A Jean-Paul Brun pair

Date: Fri, Apr 12, 2013 Wine Tasting

Apologies for the refashioning and elongation of this post. The day one note was the truncated original. I've added a tasting note for a sibling and a quote from the book I'm still plodding through.

Day 1:Moulin A Vent 2010.Fine and soft, slightly savoury, spiced, exotic and Eastern. An amalgam of incense and meat. Slightly above average in quality and appeal though at $A38 the value is less than compelling.

he was dragging but also amped up, jangled by caffeine and the freeway traffic and what ever else he has inhaling in the way of controlled substances. . . and there was a space between his weariness and his sparky nerve ends. . . (Delillo. Underworld).

Day 2: Fleurie 2010. Equal in weight and price (12%) but quite different in emphasis. Frontal and more tadpole like, rounded and seemingly with more extract but less tail and tannin. The nose is more rose petal and gun metal and for a fleeting moment there is a whiff of lavender and then lemon thyme. Of the pair, this would be my second choice.

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Kale chips

Date: Wed, Apr 10, 2013 Wine Tasting

If it is not already apparent - my latest food obsession is kale (1, 2, 3).

Toss 100g of torn kale leaves with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper and quarter a teaspoon each of paprika and chilli flakes. Then spread evenly onto a large baking tray and bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes. At this point remove from the oven and scatter with grated lemon zest and parmesan. Return to the oven for a few more minutes then serve.

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Wendouree Cabernet Malbec 1994

Date: Tue, Apr 9, 2013 Wine Tasting

I'm slowly working my way through my small stash of wines from Wendouree. I'm pleased I'm almost at the end. . . they are idiosyncratic and laden with hard tannins, brimming with character and a certain take it or leave it gruffness. They also seem to live forever, growing ever more beaten without bending or breaking.

My nose is now partially working, enough to know that this is clean and free of taint. It's mature and I get the image of a well worn saddle rubbed with eucalyptus oil. It smells of it's type and place. Still bright in the mouth - a suggestion of sweetness, but mostly meat and dried herbs. Enveloping tannins - chewy and meaty, fine and firm. The finish is savoury and invitational. I feel my patience has been mostly rewarded.

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Way back Wino sapien

Date: Mon, Apr 8, 2013 Wine Tasting

In many ways the internet is like a young persons brain. It is the new that takes precedence. The old gets pushed back and away, to be buried and forgotten.Equally it is the connections that matter. The memory that creates impact and is repeated will create more synapses and connections. It is more resistant to time and fade. The internet post with more links and tweets has a higher currency and greater visibility. Though mostly too this is temporary.

Since starting 7 years ago there have been shifts in style and appearance, mostly small, but some bigger steps along the way. The changes have been buried by the new. As with human memory if you want to resist the march of experience you need pen, paper, brush, photo or some other permanent record which is less fragile than a synapse which can be pruned and modified. Pleasing then to discover
aninternet archive of wino sapien, all the way back to the beginning in 2006, capturing and freezing most of the changes that have occurred.


Post script: On the subject of memory and forgetting. One of Australia's great independent wine stores - the Ultimo Wine store is to finish. It has been purchased by Coles and will presumably be converted into a Vintage Cellars. A related post from the vaultand another one here.

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Who's counting

Date: Mon, Apr 8, 2013 Wine Tasting

I changed over to the current site format in April 2012. Bigger pictures and a more discrete separation of individual posts. Mostly positives I think. Sadly my stat counter would no longer count and for the first time since starting out in 2006 I lost track of my audience. The Blogger statistics included in the upgrade could give an over view but not the granularity.

I discovered tonight that the code and hence counter is once again compatible with my site. So after a 12 month hiatus I can once again blog with my 'eyes open'.
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Fanny Sabre Bourgogne 2011

Date: Sun, Apr 7, 2013 Wine Tasting

I've temporarily lost the use of my nose which makes the shopping list tasting note even harder to write. I'm in two minds about the merits of such ingredient based descriptions. I've become programmed to look for things and indeed it's one of my pleasures. To stop and sniff and remember.

The contrary argument is of course strong. Tasting notes are contrived and the animal/mineral/vegetable descriptors inconsistent between tasters. They are not worthy or necessarily 'true'.

The front of my nose is faulty and presumably the next time I open a bottle of this same wine, I will be drinking something different. Though I'd hope and expect the difference to be slight and more positive. Cork willing. . .

It is a cliché, but this does taste alive. It's not wriggling or struggling, but it has a freshness and vitality not unlike a Jean Foillard Beaujolais. A lightness of touch, a child's hand, fine but with baby flesh. It's not particularly complicated, but of course that is the appeal - brightness, a suggestion of stem and delicate natural curves.

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Gordon Street Garage

Date: Sat, Apr 6, 2013 Wine Tasting

After my first visit to this wonderful space and idea, I find I'm nursing a sore neck and a rather bloated tummy. . . There are so many interesting things (coffee paraphernalia, pictures, tools, pot plants, cakes, chains, exposed beams, masks) and people to observe. I found I spent much of my first few minutes turning and tilting my head, trying in vain to soak in the energy and controlled commotion. People, like me, new and surprised, smiling, pointing mostly appreciative and occasionally bemused.

No bookings are taken so expect a wait if you arrive at the wrong time. Presenting shortly after nine on a Saturday morning we were seated and watered within a minute. Presumably the menu will change frequently, for what it's worth - the pulled ham with beans and haloumi was very good - and not over salted and dry like the salmon royale with poached eggs and hollandaise. The cakes, such as the pretty Guggenheim like spiral of raspberry and lemon sponge are particularly good - precise, intense and with a pleasing lightness.

As a coincidental aside about food bloggers - the Weekend Australian's food critic - John Lethlean had this to say in today's paper:

Where are the mongrels of the blogging community? The dissenting voices? The anarchists? Why do so few use the liberty of self-publishing for serious, witty criticism?

This is the likelier scenario: someone who is into food enough to blog about it gets invited to a restaurant event at which they may, or may not, be fed and watered superbly.

Let's say the food is good and the wine is way beyond what the blogger could usually afford.

A breathless and possibly ungrammatical report of the occasion appears on the a blog.

Suddenly, the blogger is on a list and there are more invitations, more drinks, more introductions to chefs and. . . Shit, this is a great lark.

Gordon St Garage on Urbanspoon

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Luke Lambert Chardonnay 2011

Date: Fri, Apr 5, 2013 Wine Tasting

Yarra. 12.5%. Diam.

A curious and excellent wine. Not filtered or fined. The nose is quiet. Peach, honeydew and flint perhaps, sap, dough and a flash of green. Subtle and refined. In the mouth a spark - Sauvignon in accent while the content is mineral, nectarine and firm flesh. As to archetypes - This is Chablis rather than Meursault.

The unrelated image: Gracetown Western Australia.
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Date: Thu, Apr 4, 2013 Wine Tasting

After a week of heavy consumption, I still find I'm surrounded by people who just want to eat, drink and talk. Needless to say the mound of empty bottles keeps growing, albeit at a slightly slower pace.

Montevecchio Bianco 2011. Heathcote, Victoria. 12.5%. A field blend of Vermentino, Fiano and Moscato. Pollen, musk and muscat grapes. Simple and direct with an emphasis on texture and brightness. Grippy, slightly fatty with a sting of acidity. A food wine, ie slightly jarring and unsatisfactory on its own.

Cullen Cabernet Merlot 1999. Margaret River. 14%. Last tried in 2006, when I was easier to please. . . Dark and slightly dusty, eucalyptus, blackcurrant and panforte. Lush and sweet, mature and a hint of Port and raisin. Firm, really wonderful tannins - meaty, flavoursome, lead pencil tannins. Super. 95+ Drink to 2019 and beyond.

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Date: Mon, Apr 1, 2013 Wine Tasting

I spent the day flat on my back looking at the trees and the evening drinking red wine.

Penfolds 389 2003. There was a time not too long ago when a bottle of this cost as much as a small tank of gas. The RRP is now $A75 and even with a discount you can be expect to pay $A60. It is what it is. Sweetly scented and sweet in the mouth. A Penfolds wine. Predictable and yet somewhat against the flow.

Penfolds Cellar Reserve Sangiovese 2004. There is very little Sangiovese about this. It's all oak and it's made to the standard house specifications. It smells of its maker rather than its grape or place.

Ata Rangi 2003. Fragrant and evocative, though perhaps a little too exaggerated, keen and earnest.

Leoville Poyferre 1995. Has it really been 7 years between bottles? Mature but not yet bowed. Hide and olive, menthol and pencil. Savoury and meaty with dark chocolate grip and persistence.
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Easter bottles

Date: Sun, Mar 31, 2013 Wine Tasting

A gathering of clan and a home cooked meal. The theme was fish and Thailand. The concluding shiraz was mostly consumed after the spice while waiting for cake.

Laurent-Perrier Rosé.NV, and relatively expensive @ $A120. Beautifully packaged, the bottle reminds me of a hut. Salmon pink and prettier than a Billecart, it's red apple and mushroom, finely beaded with a hint of spice; quite good persistence, but the morning after dregs remind me of a mouse.

Grosset Alea Off Dry Riesling 2012.Clare. 11.8%.Like the other Grosset rieslings this one now has a specific place name. Tahitian lime and the seashore. A hint of spritz this is searing and intense, with salt and fleetingly and curiously and perhaps incorrectly - soy. Off dry, but still Australian in emphasis and outlook.

The cork and front label of theLeflaive Rully 1er Cru 2010 says Leflaive and Associes. Something I've not seen on a bottle of Leflaive before.Almond meal, peach skin and nuts. Rich, ripe and complex. Butterscotch, melon and yet another hint of salt and ocean.

Henschke Mount Edelstone 2002.15% alcohol. Cork. The penultimate bottle from my cellar.Big and formidable but not without a sense of flow. Closer to the front row than a ballerina. . .
Blackcurrant, pepper, leather and bay leaf. To my addled mind it smelt more Cabernet than Shiraz. . . Middle aged, but not yet mature and done. Silken and smooth before becoming more savoury and leathery. It gives the impression of Brett, but I'm not 100% certain. Firm, assertive and lingering tannins, though the finish feels slightly compromised.

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