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Cherubino Laissez Faire Fiano 2012

Date: Sun, Feb 17, 2013 Wine Tasting


Tasted blind - it would be hard to avoid the obvious visual cues - the narrow bottle and the screw cap. . . the nose only leads you further astray - apple and lime. . . surely it must be a riesling.

Great Southern. 13.5%.

There's much more to the nose - cherry pips and almond meal. . . pine nut. In the mouth it's lean and well paced, any flesh is taut, but still there is seam of almond and twist of concluding bitterness.


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Cantina 663

Date: Tue, Feb 5, 2013 Wine Tasting


Home made bacon with a fried egg (hidden behind the apple salad) and peach ketchup. Absurdly delicious and just the sort of plate I've come to expect from Cantina.

Related 1, 2

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Grosset Springvale Riesling 2012

Date: Sat, Feb 2, 2013 Wine Tasting


12.5%. Clare. South Australia. Everything I might possible say seems clichéd and worn. Lime and powder, flint and citrus blossom. Thick but electric, unusually languid to begin before becoming more briskly paced without ever seeming urgent or anxious. Persistent and bright, but also expected and unsurprising.

Related: 2012 Polish Hill. 2011 Springvale.





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Bass Phillip Crown Prince 2008

Date: Thu, Jan 31, 2013 Wine Tasting


The observant will notice each end of the cork is covered by a thin membrane. It was disconcertingly raised and blistered, which I've not seen with a ProCork before. Perhaps this accounts for the visible seepage. You would assume that oxygen has been happily moving back and forth along the same path.

Not particularly alluring, I stopped after only two glasses. Rosewood, earth and plums. Dark and dusty, tired and creased. The first sip was unexpectedly sour, it seemed wrong and overly anxious; I was tempted to spit. It broadens with time and becomes more savoury and wild, the finish too starts to feel sticky and adhesive.

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Twins?

Date: Tue, Jan 29, 2013 Wine Tasting


Two bottles of the same wine, the 2006 De Bortoli Noble One. They started life together, but from the moment of purchase they were divided. One cellared at a constant 14 degrees and the other wrapped in foil and left to face the seasons. Sometimes it was cold (9 degrees) and sometimes it was hot (29 degrees). It was always dark.

The paler wine has had a more regulated life. It has more definition and nuance, I can taste apricots (dried) and feel a sting of acid. The darker is still enjoyable enough, but it is more of a caricature and tastes burnt and burnished with less focus and more flab. It tastes old and tired.

I'm not sure that this exercise proves anything new. Cellaring and temperature do make a difference, even for bottles with a 'perfect' seal*. Colour is a reasonable marker of quality** and if you have a choice of bottles (of the same wine from the same year) pick the one that looks paler.

Related.

* the perfect seal does not exist. A screwcap at least is hermetic, predictable and free of taint.
** A pale wine is not always a quality wine, but the paler white wine from a pair of twins is likely to be the better bottle.

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Giaconda Chardonnay 2010

Date: Mon, Jan 28, 2013 Wine Tasting


A trio of Australian chardonnay of high repute. A remarkably well preserved 2007 Pierro Chardonnay (Screwcap. 14%. Margaret River) still showing flashes of green. Rich, ripe and full. Butterscotch, cream and peaches. Curved and delicious. Next a golden 2000 Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay (Cork - crumbling. 14%. Margaret River). On a slow downward slide, tanned and starting to show its lines and wrinkles.

Tasted with its peers the Giaconda seemed subdued, at least initially. Curry leaf, peach, melon and butterscotch. Matchstick. Something recently struck and still smouldering. Intense and textured, layered, long and rewarding. Essence like and fatty but still mineral, hard and long. (13%. Screwcap. Approx $A120.)

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Taleb and Silver

Date: Sun, Jan 27, 2013 Wine Tasting


Purchased together and read sequentially, both books discuss information and decision making. Taleb is fond of neologisms (fragilistas, extremistan, mediocristan), throwing stones (at economists and doctors), and the tested and antifragile ideas of the ancients. Silver is younger and has more optimism and faith in technology and excel spreadsheets. A statistician with a fondness for baseball, poker and politics.

There is a clear contrast in delivery and the core message, but ultimately the conclusions are not irreconcilable. Both books highlight our weakness in making predictions and forecasts. Taleb concludes it is far safer to work out if something is fragile or the opposite - antifragile (and benefiting from volatility and disorder) and to position or protect yourself accordingly. Silver suggests we are overconfident in our ability to predict and suggests we look to Bayes and his theorem to better work the odds, so we might recalibrate our ideas and make better bets. (I suspect Taleb would counter that this only serves to make us more confident and to over extend so we get even more burnt when a Black Swan eventually arrives).

Silver's book is the easier and quicker read, it's certainly less tangential. Taleb's book is more elusive and digressive and amusing. I suspect in the weeks and years to come it will be Antifragile that I will seek to re read. . .

A quote from Antifragile:

I, for my part, resist eating fruits not found in the ancient Eastern Mediterranean. I avoid any fruit that does not have an ancient Greek or Hebrew name, such as mangoes, papayas, even oranges. . . As to liquid, my rule is to drink no liquid that is not at least a thousand years old - so its fitness has been tested. I drink just wine, water, and coffee. . . I would add that, in my own experience, a considerable jump in my personal health has been achieved by removing offensive irritants: the morning newspapers (the mere mention of the names of the fragilista journalists Thomas Friedman or Paul Krugman can lead to explosive bouts of unrequited anger on my part), the boss, the daily commute, air-conditioning, television. . .
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A rafter of turkeys

Date: Tue, Jan 22, 2013 Wine Tasting


Or more specifically a pair of new release (2010) Turkey Flat reds. The Grenache (red cap and approx $28, 15%) and Mourvedre (brown cap and approx $33, 14.5%). A kind gift from a colleague, regular readers will no doubt realise both are to the right of my normal field of vision.

The Grenache is big and volatile, the nose is non specific and even after a quick chill it prickles with alcohol. Raspberry and confection and later cream. The finish is like an emulsion of silt, meat and chocolate. A forceful, pounding and heavy handed wine which still manages to disarm.

The Mourvedre is more spiced, earthy and less volatile, though by nights end it too is non specific and over warm. Broader and more expansive than the Grenache, a push rather than a thump. . . loose, languid and uncoiled with a hint of cola before tea leaf and leather tannins. By a small fraction, my favoured wine of the pair.
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Twin egg yolks

Date: Tue, Jan 22, 2013 Wine Tasting


are apparently not uncommon, especially if the hen is young and productive and you have access to unscreened eggs. When you rely on the supermarket and mass produced ova, they become rarer. One in a thousand I've read. . . Today I cracked three eggs, the first a single and then my first ever double yolk, followed immediately by a second twin. One in a thousand by one in a thousand. . .
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Bindi Block 5 Pinot noir 2005

Date: Mon, Jan 21, 2013 Wine Tasting


An economist might call it diminishing marginal utility. . . the first bottles were sublime, the subsequent ones, though excellent, seemed less magical and enchanting. Has time changed the wine (yes) and have wines changed the taster (yes). This fickleness in my palate, which is modified by experience and mood and company is one reason I have largely forsaken numerical scores. The habit lingers, I still mentally rate the wine I drink (with less assurance and rigidity and generally lower scores* than when I started), but I now see less validity in publishing my numbers.

Rose petal and meat, turkish delight, smoke and rubber gloves. It's still youthful and exotic, while in the mouth supple, slippery and elusive. I'm still enamoured, but now less than before. . . there's a hint of warmth, ink and ginger on the finish, but not enough swish in the tail.

Previously 1,2

* rather than grade inflation, I've gone the opposite way, finding I've become a harder to please.
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The Merrywell

Date: Mon, Jan 21, 2013 Wine Tasting

wagu sliders
Smaller and less chaotic than I had expected, it's walled off and mostly apart from the Crown (Perth) complex. Bookings are not taken, orders have to be placed at a counter complete with its own neon sign,condiments and cutlery are in a wooden tray at the table,and children are not allowed in after nine. . .

The food arrives at speed. I had just enough time to order a beer from the bar. . . The serves are generally large and from my single visit I suspect the best approach is to share everything. The wagu burger sliders ($22) are a triumph. Easily the best burgers I've eaten for years, mostly meat (moist, juicy, and falling apart) with a token layer of pickles. The lobster rolls ($26) guilty, wet and creamy, the pulled pork quesadilla ($22) joyous and authentic. Somewhat less victorious were the Merrywell chips ($15) and the Fried chicken with red velvet waffles ($28). The chips of course were delicious, I just query whether a small tub of fried potato pieces should be fifteen dollars. The fried chicken and waffleswere very good but only in small doses (do order, but share). After a while the sweetness and crunchy toughness of the skin (corn flakes and honey) becomes cloying and excessive.

Desserts come in small jars, though another visit to the order counter is required. Cookies, Cheese cake, Lamington trifle. . . I though the trifle was particularly good in terms of value and taste ($9).

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A custard tart

Date: Thu, Jan 17, 2013 Wine Tasting


The pastry is a fairly standard short crust - 250g of flour, 180g of unsalted butter in cubes, 70mls of cold water and a pinch of salt. Combine the flour and salt in a processor, till granular (thermomix speed 6 for 10 seconds). Add the water and salt and process for 20 or seconds till a rough dough is formed. Roll between two sheets of baking paper (till 2-3mm thick) and then refrigerate.

For the custard, a lemon twist - 6 whole eggs, 250g of castor sugar, 135mls of lemon juice, 170mls of cream and the zest of 2 lemons. Combine the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest first (thermomix speed 5 for 40 seconds) then add the cream and process again (Speed 5 for further 30-40 seconds).

Prepare your muffin tray - butter the receptacles (18 of them) and place a 1cm strip of baking paper into each depression, which will help you lift the cooked tarts out. Cut the cooled and rolled pastry into circles - 11cm discs and position the pastry into the pre buttered and part lined moulds. When finished refrigerate for a further 30 minutes. Preheat the oven in the interim to 200 degrees C. Now ladle the custard into each pastry case - aim for a three quarter fill and then bake for 10 minutes at 200 degrees C and then a further 10 minutes at 180 degrees C. Remove from the oven, cool for five minutes and then eat while warm.

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Château Canon 2004

Date: Thu, Jan 17, 2013 Wine Tasting


With the first the wine was tainted, with the second the label. . . It's curious that for a drinker the first is a disaster, while the second, a stained label, mainly concerns those who might seek to sell and profit.

The nose is clean and true, though pedestrian and standard. Cedar and smoke, vanilla and blackcurrant. . . it still smells of furniture - wood and polish. . . Spice (star anise) and vanilla in the mouth, it feels encapsulated and enclosed, trapped. . . the tannins meaty and firm only heighten the sense of restriction.

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Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling 2008

Date: Tue, Jan 15, 2013 Wine Tasting


Bottle sweat. . .

13 percent, cork and around $A60. Austrian and adolescent, but with no spots or frivolity. Intense, searing and essence like. Pure and pulsating, thrusting and forceful. Lime (leaf, zest and blossom) and slate. No petroleum, though you could imagine how it might start from this. White pepper and fleetingly a whiff of toluene. Tart and electric in the mouth, sherbet and powder, salt and grip, sour (of course), fleshy and ginger spiced. Yes.


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