February notes


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Midway through the lunar festival and the chance to open and revisit some older bottles. . .

Not in picture – a green skinny bottle of unsurprisingly fresh and pert Grüner. Prager Hinter Der burg 2008. 12%. Screwcap. Pale, peppery and primary. Peach, pollen and polished stone. Super texture – in retrospect, like a mouth full of citrus and white flowers. Lovely acidity and poise. My drinking companion thought it was a 2018 riesling – so fresh. It’s the more expensive (though I’ve long forgotten the price) sibling to this bottle that I tried a decade ago.

Also unseen – a bottle of 2010 Mountadam Chardonnay. It’s become a butter ball – round and full, very old school / 1980’s in shape and accent. Butterscotch and almond meal. In passing.

The half bottle of the 2011 Lake’s Folly Caberents is starting to turn I think. Still …

William Downie Gippsland 2015


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Digging through my old photos, this 2014 image struck a cord, it seems the closest in subject to the label.

The wine question – 13%, Diam sealed – is jagged and brisk, quite different in character to the 2014 example. A volatile, acetic nose, dust and undergrowth; rhubarb and the impression of late autumn. Very fast, nervous, skeletal. . . this seems to be transitioning.  

Silkwood ‘The Walcott’ Pinot noir 2017


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Pemberton, Western Australia. 13.5%. Approx $A30

The bottle I tried on a warm day at the cellar door had much more red fruit and a playful touch. . .  days later, at home with rain – it seems more savoury, smoked and dusty. . . sour edged and slightly globular, pleasing weight and texture, quite good (?88-90) and very reasonably priced.

Postcard: Foragers


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Sophie Zalokar

A small room simply furnished with long tables and populated by eager communal diners armed to gills with BYO bottles of wine. On the back wall a large crinkled photograph of a free range pig. . .

As you drive in there’s a for sale sign – this wonderful place with it’s wonderful chef (Sophie Zalokar), modestly priced $80 set menus of local produce and thoughtful and soul nourishing food is in transition. . . Be nimble.

Pictured – a plate of beef brisket – smoked and slow cooked for 12 hours, on a bed of creamed corn and off set with locally sourced purple carrots and dill.

Related tasting note: 2004 Moss Wood Cabernet. Sealed with stelvin – the notable thing is how youthful this appears. Wrinkle free and with puppy fat. . . Last tried over a decade ago I’d be lying if I said it was unchanged, but looking at my notes, it …

Postcard: Pemberton


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Congee


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with sliced zippoli, a 7 minute egg, left over garlic and ginger dipping sauce from the previous nights steeped chicken. 

Related.

Zippoli


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A third and more successful attempt, these zippoli are much better in shape and colour. I used more oil to fry, meaning the dough was less likely to burn from contact with the base of the pot, and my daughter has mastered the sticky task of wrapping and rolling each anchovy with dough. . .

Earlier, and earlier still.

Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2004


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In cross referencing this post with my last encounter with this wine, I realised I had taken an almost identical bottle shot. . .  So a different, though entirely unrelated image. . . this a favourite spot in the Yallingup region – the Injidup natural spa, a rock formation just south of more well known Canal rocks.

The 04 Clonakilla is still a baby – spiced cream plushness, seemingly with no bones, the tannins are soft, super fine, like silk pyjamas. . . A+

Alex Foillard Côte de Broully 2016


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Gamay, 12%, Cork.

N of 2. While the Brouilly seemed twiggy, this is all fruit and confection. Bright and pretty, perfumed and very pink in scent. Raspberry and strawberry cordial – almost. . . musk and a suggestion of sap, very soft and embracing in the mouth. Pure and simple.

Domaine Simha Rao Derwent Valley Chardonnay 2016


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2019


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A myriad of tiny anemone like suns, afloat and twinkling. . .

Giampiero Bea Lapideus 2014


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Serragghia Zibibbo 2015


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19 months of skin contact in an amphora. Addition free. 14%. Sicily, Italy.

Turbid, grey / brown. . . A super nose – a scent cloud – elusive and changeable. . . grapes, musk, ginger beer, glue, cheese, mouse and white flowers. Snippets never quite expressing the whole. Toothy and tart, bright acids with a salty, savoury edge. I’ve been lingering over the last half glass for hours – sniffing and meekly sipping – stretching the pleasure.

Santini


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On the subject of favourites – a plate of superb grilled octopus from the Santini Grill in Perth’s QT hotel. Salty pancetta nuggets and perfectly textured and insanely delicious tentacles, the capsicum being a surprisingly good counterpoint.

Favourite things


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Bass Phillip Estate Pinot noir 2015


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I don’t taste enough Bass Phillip wines to answer the question. . .  Are they getting better or am I just becoming more attuned to the idiosyncrasies? Is there a difference?

This my second bottle from the Santini wine list. . . a lazy decision, but I liked the first bottle so much. . . sealed with a pro-cork. . . medium in colour, strawberry and raspberry, earth and a beautiful savoury porcini edge. Lovely in the mouth – brisk acids, fine tannins, pleasing movement and weight. 92-93.

Gut Oggau Josephine 2015


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12.5%. Blaufränkisch (mostly), Roesler (dark skinned hybrid created in 1970 by Gertrude Mayer). Burgenland, Austria. Biodynamic.

Looking at the percentage alcohol, I had mistakenly thought that this might be lightish in style. . . It’s much more substantial, though still lean and sinewy. Athletic. . .  We taste with our eyes – and so it is impossible not the be swayed by the level of pigment – glass staining, dense and impenetrable. Excellent nose – primal, meaty, blood like with blue flowers. Black pepper. . . and mouse steps. . . (I say steps because the more I sniff the less convinced I am, but I still think in the days ahead, for this bottle, it will emerge). Zippy and pert in the mouth with a savoury, slightly adhesive edge to the tannins.  


Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot Charmes-Chambertain 2005


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13.5%.  Cork. Cellar.

A relative lull in my consumption of wine, I wonder if it might be a secular rather than a seasonal change. . . I feel curiously more inclined to read or walk or lift embarrassingly modest weights. . .

I’ve been reading about the beginners mind but try as I might, I can’t seem to approach this bottle without preconceived ideas, I think it’s the last of my clutch of 05 Confuron-Cotetidots, mostly they’ve given only modest pleasure.

Mr Sheen and corduroy. . .  spice and earth, beets and dark red fruit, middle in age. . . a biggish frame, quite deep and firm, muscled tannins. . . bold and faintly medicinal, quite convincing, but never beautiful. 91-92.

Postcard: Monash University – Melbourne


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In the twilight, as you cross Wellington road to enter the Clayton campus of Monash uni – there’s an extraordinary screech – electronic and pulsing, like a bone saw. It’s made by hidden swarms of extra large cicada such as the greengrocer – Cyclochila australasiae. Wandering around the campus I happened upon this discarded cicada nymph exoskeleton – impressively big and complete. The nymph lives for at least 4-5 years underground before surfacing for its final rebirth.

Occhipinti il Frappato 2011


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Once it was bright and ethereal with will-o’-the-wisp tannins, now it’s much more mature and balsamic. . . rum and raisin, tobacco and game. . . a soft open but clenching, meaty tannins. Bucolic.