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Phaedrus Pinot noir 2007

Date: Wed, Mar 13, 2013 Wine Tasting


Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, 13.9%. Screwcap.

A gift from an old classmate who I'm lucky to see once every few years. I still picture the two of us riding with abandonment down the bicycle infested streets of Beijing. 1991, two years after 6/4, two foreigners wide eyed and simple. . .

Like the wine, the acorn with cupule still attached was collected a few days ago. . . It's momentarily bright and cherry scented before becoming more wild and stinky. Menthol and camphor, dried herbs and small goods. Aniseed and animal. Savoury and slightly sweet to start, before finishing dry, metallic and adhesive.


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Soumah Savarro 2011

Date: Sun, Mar 10, 2013 Wine Tasting


Savarro sounds Italian, while Soumah makes me think more of Thailand than the Yarra Valley and Victoria. The back label mentions that Savarro is a synonym for the ancient grape Savagnin, which of course only entered the consciousness of Australian wine drinkers in 2009.

Prior to 2009, all the Savagnin that was being planted in Australia was thought to be fashionable Albarino. The mistake being a technocratic stuff up. To quote Robinson et al - The mix up was not finally confirmed until 2009, when it was shown that the source material propagated at CSIRO, Australia's plant research institute, was derived from mis-labelled plant material imported from Spain via France.

Incidentally Savarro is not listed in Wine Grapes as one of the principle Savagnin synonyms, making its use on the label at once curious and obscure.

All of this, and indeed Savagnin's link to Cabernet (it's a parent of C. franc) is much more interesting than the tasting note.

Grass, citrus and a suggestion of musk. It's bright, clean and unremarkable.


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Pickled kale stems

Date: Thu, Mar 7, 2013 Wine Tasting


Using an old but clean jar of vegemite I made a simple pickle.

Ingredients:

1 bunch of cale stems - trimmed and leaves removed.
150mls of vinegar (I used a combination of white and rice)
150mls of water
1 teaspoon of salt flakes
1 - 2 tablespoons of sugar
1 clove of garlic sliced
6 peppercorns
6 coriander seeds
6 fennel seeds
1 pinch of dried dill tips

How? Trim the cale stems and place into the waiting jar. Add the dill tips. In a sauce pan add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Pour the boiling liquid complete with the spices into the pickling jar. Seal and refrigerate once cool. Serve after 24 hours.


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Sauvion Dilection Chinon 2010

Date: Thu, Mar 7, 2013 Wine Tasting


An atypically shaped bottle (and label). From a distance and before I saw the word Chinon I had assumed it was a bottle of Champagne. . .

Floral and bright, raspberries and cherry pips, herbs, sticks and saw dust. It's quite wild and free, lifted and pointed and coated with a layer of dust. Slightly under nourished and thin to open, like a nail down a blackboard. . . Thankfully, it fills out with time and air and the company of meat. . . A green edge, sap and grass but there is cream and soy and meatiness to the finish.
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Mac Forbes RS14 Riesling 2012

Date: Tue, Mar 5, 2013 Wine Tasting


It's like a Willy Wonka golden ticket. . . my bottle was 3884 of 4063. From the town of Caveat in the Strathbogie Ranges. 29 year old vines growing at altitude (600m) on their own roots. Hand harvested, fermented with wild yeasts and matured in oak and steel with time on lees. 14 grams of residual sugar and 12% alcohol.

Lime, ginger, steel, and curiously hops. It reminds me in scent of the Orange Riesling made by Xabregas, but this is fresher witha green bean edge. Beyond the expected jolt of acidity and mid palate spice the most notable thing is the texture. Citrus pith, essential oil bitterness and bold grape fruit phenolics.

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Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese Goldkapsel 2007

Date: Mon, Mar 4, 2013 Wine Tasting


Seven years of Wino sapien and I'm surprised my self indulgence has lasted so long. . .

Something small, sweet and singular to mark the day. A dark blue half bottle, a cork too thick for the opening and the gold foil bling. Once more, I've misjudged my pouring and drinking and I find I've only a few drops left. Just enough to swirl and sniff. . .

Slate and a whiff of brimstone, and all manner of sweetness - pollen, dried apricots, maltose, candy, passion and stone fruit. It's quite pale and still has a hint of green and visible spritzig. Playful but intense and concentrated; a juxtaposition of sting and sweetness, rich texture and lightness of touch.


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Shall I compare thee. . .

Date: Sun, Mar 3, 2013 Wine Tasting


It's becoming a common refrain, uttered by new world producers. Don't compare us to the old world archetype. . . judge us for what we are, look and enjoy in isolation without checking over your shoulder or up ahead. And still tasting notes for the new world remain littered with the geography of the old.

I find it impossible not to compare and categorise. It's one of the magical characteristics of wine, it is a liquid which can reveal subtle differences and nuance, it speaks to the attentive with a regional accent, sometimes allowing localisation to place, time and person.

Two sparkling wines from 2004. Both similar in weight (12.5%), though differing in composition. The Arras being 2/3 chardonnay and 1/3 pinot noir, while the Moët is a 1/3 each of noir, meunier and chardonnay. Not dissimilar in price. The Arras $A60 and theMoët $A80. I thought the Tasmanian was more assertive, angled and edged while the French had more brioche, polish and sweetness.

I preferred the Arras, though I concede this is likely to be a minority position. A streak of patriotism, coupled with a fondness for wines with edge and hardness.

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Kale

Date: Sat, Mar 2, 2013 Wine Tasting


Stems removed, blanched in boiling water for a few minutes then tossed with a simplevinaigrette. In shape, taste and texture it must be the land plant that most resembles seaweed. . .
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Condes de Albarei Esenza 2007

Date: Thu, Feb 28, 2013 Wine Tasting


Brianwas shamed by other men's obsessions. They exposed his own muddling drift, the voice he heard, soft, faint and faraway, that told him not to bother. Don DeLillo, Underworld.

A vinous pause. I've been uninterested and spluttering and more concerned about finishing DeLillo's book that has been sitting unbroken on my bookshelf since it was purchased more than a decade ago. The text meanders across the years and the secrets are revealed a pixel at a time. . . circles ever smaller and points of interest dissected with the most vivid and wonderful phrase and image.

My shame is deep enough. Let's not examine the details.

The last time I was bed bound I read Jeffery Eugenides book Middlesex. Curious then to find this one liner from DeLillo:

8. The Coptic family in Detroit - never mind, it's too complicated, riots and fires in the distance, tanks in the streets.

It's the perfect synopsis for Middlesex, which was first published five or six years after Underworld.

Tasting note: A late harvest Albarino with a bee on the label and both ends of the cork. . . surely there can only be tears of regret. Extreme levels of sweetness (I'd guess north of 150g/L) which are inadequately buffered and balanced. It's top heavy and dull, shrivelled and burnt. A honeycomb and dried fig nose while in the mouth it is like drinking tinned apricot nectar.


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Beetle juice

Date: Wed, Feb 27, 2013 Wine Tasting


I'm back in Dogistan which mostly means walks at odd moments of the day and night, while scooping up poo at regular intervals. . . In the evening I look to the sky and invariably I gaze at Orion, or at least his belt and his coloured hand - Betelgeuse, the red and variable supergiant.

A Blistering beetle, such as the one pictured above contains cantharidin, which is exceedingly toxic and potentially fatal if ingested, which of course explains why some foolishly consider it an aphrodisiac. . . it's relative the colourful Spanish fly, which is another source of cantharidin, was sometimes found in Ras el hanout, though it has been banned since the 1990's. Cantharidin is found in the male beetle's ejaculate. Wikipedia has a quaint term for it - calling it a copulatory gift. The female beetle uses the cantharidin to coat and hence protect her eggs and future offspring.

Image: From Wikipedia and belonging to Bruce Marlin.




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A cliché

Date: Sat, Feb 23, 2013 Wine Tasting


Late summer and I've been struck by a dose of the flu. I've lost all desire to drink and my appetite for most things has diminished. I crave only sleep, books and familiar comforts. . . Today it was chicken soup with barley. . .

Into a pot add 2 diced onions and a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Fry till clear and than add three cloves of crushed garlic and 3 carrots and 2 sticks of celery that have been diced. Fry and stir for a few minutes before adding a 400g tin of crushed tomatoes and 2 litres of home made chicken stock. Bring to the boil and then add 200g of rinsed pearl barley. Cook at low heat until the barley is ready (40-60 minutes) and then add the desired amount of left over chicken meat (300-400g of left over roast chicken for instance). Once the meat is warmed through add salt and pepper and then garnish with parsley.



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Number 11

Date: Tue, Feb 19, 2013 Wine Tasting


aka - mi vit tiem - braised duck noodle soup for $A13.50 from Brisbane street's Phi Yen.

Phi Yen on Urbanspoon

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Scattered light #2

Date: Mon, Feb 18, 2013 Wine Tasting


Ever since 1977 I've dreamt of hyperdrive. . .
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Scattered light #1

Date: Sun, Feb 17, 2013 Wine Tasting


Jim Campbell's 2010 installation - Scattered Light. It first appeared inManhattan'sMaddison Square Park. It's now temporarily on Fraser Avenue as a part of the Festival of Perth. The LED bulbs flicker and sway and the humans are drawn moth like to the light.
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