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Bistro Guillaume

Date: Tue, Jan 15, 2013 Wine Tasting


Ornate and pretty within, it's like a dolls house, feminine and bright with few shadows and certainly no dimly lit corners. Fifty shades of green; asparagus, forest, moss, tree frog, pale lime. . . with Roccoco wall paper and mirrors. The light floods in from the windows which overlook the pool, making this the best lit dining room within the Crown Metropol complex.

The food I sampled ranged from average to very good. The steak tartare ($30) had bite but was drowning in Worcestershire sauce. The onion soup ($18) hearty and flavour packed, but over salted, the charcuterie ($26) was mostly devoured by my carnivorous child, what I sampled seemed acceptable.The confit duck with green peas and speck ($38) was again too salty and the duck seemed dry and tough and the skin lacked crispness and crunch. The pork belly ($38) was generous and my favoured dish. Moist and true the micro herbs and slices of apple providing the tried and tested punch line. The roasted leg of lamb ($80 for two) was also very good - the balance of flavours in the sauce in particular. A trio of deserts; the profiteroles filled with vanilla ice cream ($18), chocolate souffle with pistachio ice cream ($22) and the sorbets ($14 for 3 scoops), were well presented and subtle, but again no exclamation marks.

The wine list is relatively short but looks well constructed, a roughly equal mix for France and Australia. By way of example, two vintages of Leeuwin Art series chardonnay are offered. The 2006 and the 2009. The newer release offered for just under two hundred dollars, while the older just over. Curiously the Hotel offers the wine on the room service list for a more reasonable $160. Other well known bottles include the latest Grosset Polish Hill for $95 (an approximate factor of 2 mark up), Pol Roger NV ($180), Jacquesson 734 ($160) and a 2005 Chateau Montrose for $450.

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René Muré Côte du Rouffach Riesling 2009

Date: Sun, Jan 13, 2013 Wine Tasting


A lonely half bottle. 11.5 percent, cork sealed, sec. Musk, stone and blossom, white pepper, gingerbread and acacia. A hint of sweetness before a sting of acidity, a finger nail on a blackboard, spine tingling and raw, edgy and nervous. Wonderful texture in the mouth, cold slate, bees wax and once again ginger spice, though clearly not all at once.

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Six in the morning

Date: Fri, Jan 11, 2013 Wine Tasting

Windham bridge East Perth

on any given Saturday feels like a middle aged hour, where people mostly over forty try to turn the tide. Cyclists clad in lycra, riding in convoy, whistling, pointing and gesticulating, rushing somewhere. Joggers grimacing and drenched in sweat, the bodies are seemingly bimodal in appearance; tight and tanned or large and bouncing. Hearts monitored and movements tracked, we all make circles around the water.

Image: Though it is far removed, the lines and colours of this bridge make me think of another place.

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Pulled pork sliders

Date: Fri, Jan 11, 2013 Wine Tasting


Though they were eaten with a great deal of noise and haste, they took much of the afternoon to make.

Firstly the pulled pork. I started with a 1.7 kilogram piece of meat, a deboned shoulder. This was seasoned with salt and pepper, rubbed with oil and sealed in a hot pan. 3 minutes per side. I used my red Le Creuset French oven. The next task was to assemble the cooking sauce. In a separate bowl add the following; 60g of brown sugar, 60g of salt, 70g of garlic powder, 3 tablespoons of onion powder, one teaspoon of Keen's mustard powder, one teaspoon of white pepper, 150mls of BBQ sauce (I used the HP brand with added woodsmoke flavour), 200mls of Worcestershire sauce and 1.5L of water. Stir and then tip this into the pot which is holding the pork (the liquid should almost cover the meat). Cover and place in a 150 degree (Celsius) oven (preheated) for 90 minutes. Then turn the meat, and reduce the heat to 110 degrees and cook (still covered) for a final 4 or 5 hours. By then the meat will yield and break with a firm poke. Rest, and then remove the meat and pull apart (using hands or two forks). Moisten with 1-2 cups of the cooking liquid and serve in a bun with guacamole and tomatoes.

I made 10 small buns using 250ml of water, 1 sachet of dried yeast, a pinch of salt, 30mls of olive oil, 200g of spelt and 300g of bakers flour (00). Once the dough was ready and shaped, it was baked at 200 degrees C for 20-25 minutes (while the meat was resting).

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Recommended

Date: Thu, Jan 10, 2013 Wine Tasting


Perhaps not quite as beautiful as Nakamura, but the flavours are as varied and pure. From the top left going clockwise; orange and tonka bean, ginger and cardamon, rum and coconut, Madagascar, Champagne and salted caramel.

Thank you M.
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Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2003

Date: Thu, Jan 10, 2013 Wine Tasting


Tasting note 1300.

The cork is coated with a fine layer of tartrate crystals, but sadly no larger stones. The wine itself is superb. I had wondered how well it would age, would it's prettiness seem caricatured and ungainly with time. . . Spiced and sharp, peppers - white andszechuan, meat, sap, hide, rose petals and perfume. Mostly though it's a pepper steak. . . Intense and gripping in the mouth, black olives and tobacco. The concentration is wonderful and the wine is still knotted and hard with no signs of fatigue. A+.

Before.

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Guidebooks

Date: Wed, Jan 9, 2013 Wine Tasting


I suspect it is not entirely sensible to use Auster's odd and somewhat unsatisfactory trilogy as any form of guide to travel. It does however give a sense of place and has rekindled an urge to visit. . . The three tales; City of Glass, Ghosts and The Locked Room are essentially the same story, retold and refashioned, the same names (Quinn, Stillman, Dark), objects (red note pads and fountain pens) and books (Walden, Don Quixote) reappear . . . A protagonist caught up in something bigger and ultimately more confusing and destructive than they might have initially assumed. . .

I realize that even on that first day I had slipped through a hole in the earth, that I was falling into a place where I had never been before.

The language and method is at times contrived, like an intellectual wank. . .

First of all there is Blue. Later there is White, and then there is Black, and before the beginning there is Brown. Brown broke him in, Brown taught him the ropes, and when Brown grew old, Blue took over. That is how it begins. The place is New York, the time is the present, and neither one will ever change.

And ultimately the threads untangle and the flow and direction and shape become amorphous and intentionally unclear. . .

There were moments when the text was difficult to decipher, but I have done my best with it and have refrained from any interpretation. . . As for Auster, I am convinced that he has behaved badly throughout. If our friendship has ended, he has only himself to blame.

Related.

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Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2011

Date: Tue, Jan 8, 2013 Wine Tasting


The third and most satisfying 2011 Margaret River Chardonnay of the year. It's similar in price ($55) to the Cherubino, but stylistically slimmer and more refined. Peaches and flint, almond meal and curiously but clearly - lime. Flesh with a sting a acidity, almond meal and fabric softener; something lingering, complex and intense. This is poised and on edge, with a wonderful tension between the components. A+.

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Is Donburi

Date: Tue, Jan 8, 2013 Wine Tasting

is donburi kara age

A small sample of five plates. The pictured kara age, a mostly eaten beef tataki, grilled salmon sushi and out of the frame California and soft shell crab rolls. All enjoyable and modest in price, but each with some slight defect. The tataki was still frozen at the centre and the pieces of beef where too large (8-10cm circles), the salmon tasted of butane, the rolls especially the soft shell crab had the wrong texture and lacked finesse. The chicken was the pick of the dishes, but mostly because of the freshness and variety of the salad leaves. The pieces of meat where crisp and tasty and lovely as a fried and crumbed chicken, but they were not to my mind kara age. There was no discernible ginger or soy and again the texture was wrong.

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Cherubino Chardonnay 2011

Date: Thu, Jan 3, 2013 Wine Tasting

Kakulas Brothers Northbridge

William street regulars will no doubt recognise this box of imported Chinese garlic. It has very little to do with the wine in question, the link (in my mind) is purely temporal.

More expensive than the Fraser Gallop ($55 rather than $30) and with a fuller, fleshier and arguably more seductive (though caricatured) figure. A post war hourglass instead of turn of the century cachexia. Melons, flint and pineapple. Perhaps a little too much sunshine and ripeness. Abundant and thick in the mouth, it's bold, lush and uncoiled. Padded and curved and just the right side of exaggeration; marzipan and almond meal and a redeeming bite of chalky acidity.

Related: The Riesling of the same name.
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Fraser Gallop Parterre Chardonnay 2011

Date: Tue, Jan 1, 2013 Wine Tasting


And so it begins. . . another year and yet again I find myself surrounded by yeast and the products of these wonderful unicellular organisms. Largely unintentional but hopefully the symbolism translates into something more concrete. . . I spent the afternoon making dough (pizza) and watching it rise and rise and rise. A warm day, though cooler than the preceding week, three punch downs and a final rest in the fridge before making two types of pizza, both tomato free. Roast pumpkin zucchini pine nut and gorgonzola, and secondly, a bacon and egg pizza with confit onions and buffalo mozzarella.

The year's first wine. Something fresh and bold and naturally curved. Peach and citrus blossom, flint, bacon and curiously bath salts. Sappy and electric, it's tight but with a pleasing and faint suggestion of wobble and flesh.

The winery also produces a cheaper though almost identically labeled Chardonnay (also Mendoza, but no new oak and no malo cf Chablis in style). The only thing different is the presence or absence of the word Parterre on the label. While I can understand and even applaud the decision to have two styles of chardonnay, I find the lack of greater label differentiation perplexing. I've been told by three seemingly well informed retail sources that the Parterre and the non Parterre chardonnay are one and the same.



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1.1.13

Date: Mon, Dec 31, 2012 Wine Tasting

tree rex

Happy new year. Let's hope some of our adventures succeed. . .
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Dosukoi

Date: Tue, Dec 4, 2012 Wine Tasting



Within the Fremantle Markets, amongst the purveyors of soap and trinkets is a well known and already well frequented noodle shop. It's only open Friday to Sunday and the lines can be long if you plan on sitting and eating. Order, take a number and wait for a text message while you peruse the market or watch the street performers. My thirty minutes stretched to forty five, ultimately you will wait for longer than it takes to eat - but I'm not complaining. . . Nine dollars for a bowl of steaming ramen (I tried # 4 and 5, soft pork and fried dumplings) and $5 for a small tub of fried chicken. Simple but quite delicious.

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Michel Gassier Costières de Nîmes Nostre Païs 2011

Date: Tue, Dec 4, 2012 Wine Tasting


Blanc. Grenache blanc. . .

The label presumably tells a tale - from earth to vine to man. The liquid itself smells and tastes of summer. Warm peaches, citrus, musk and green sap. It's hedonistic, punchy and bold with a squirt of citrus and mineral to partially foil the flesh and fat. Large, languid and uncoiled, it's unapologeticallycurved and full.
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