Thursday, 27 September 2012

Corked wine sucks

There are things in life that suck ... like that unpleasant moment when you sit on a warm toilet seat because the last person to take a leak took their sweet arse time. This sucks a fatty. 

Accidentally tucking your dress into your sad washing-day knickers for all the cool kids to see – also a major fatty sucker. 

Of course such suckers are not limited to toilet time. Saving a cracking bottle of Italian Barbera (or any good wine, for that matter) for a special occasion only to discover it’s corked, is a hideously unfortunate instance, where the only real words left to say are: 

“Dang. This wine sucks a fatty.”

Such was the case about a month ago when a bunch of friends and I drove to Middleton, along the South Australian coast, for a weekend of vino, slow-cooked food, good company and games. 

It was a super sunny day and the first bottle to be enjoyed was Kalleske Wines 2011 Clarry’s GSM - a top drop from the Barossa which was recently awarded three awards at the International Wine Challenge in London.

Then came the moment we had all been waiting for - the time to crack open the Barbera. Off came the cork and there I was, taking a sweet sniff and sip from my glass. 

A sour look took over my face and, along with it, came the dreaded words. Words that no one ever wants to hear...

“Dang, Joe, I hate to break it to you, but this wine’s corked!”

(That is, the wine contained TCA (2,4,6-trichloroanisole) - a compound that leaches from the cork, into the wine, causing icky odours that often resemble mouldy newspapers or wet dogs).

You should have seen the despair in his eyes.

“Dang nath, girl! I ain’t drinkin’ dis shit!” he said. Not in those exact words but, needless to say, the wine was undrinkable. 

Don't get me wrong. I’m not anti-cork. I have tasted several wines under cork that have turned out to be exceptional. At the same time, when opening a bottle under cork, I can’t help but find myself holding my breath in the hope that the wine won’t be corked.

So it was with great pleasure that, when I opened a 2010 Shiraz, first picking, from Adelaide Hills' producer Main and Cherry, that I was blown away - in the best way possible.

Main and Cherry winemaker Michael Sexton with his wine dog, Charlie.

With raspberry sweetness, and soft and silky tannins, this wine reminded me of the delicious candy my teacher treated me at primary school when I worked well in class. It's certainly not too sweet. Hints of spice and blackberry add to its complexity, making for a lucious, well-balanced and moreish wine. I'd lap this up in a heart-beat.

For more information on Main and Cherry, and the wines, check out their website.

Note: Main and Cherry's 2010 Shiraz, first picking, was kindly supplied to me as a sample.

Friday, 14 September 2012


It's been a while since a special someone visited this blog ...
She sure digs a drive in the car. Especially to music by '60s outfit, The Shirelles.
Such a pretty pooch x

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Dirty wine

There's a wave of winemakers who are ditching conventional winemaking processes in favour of a 'less is more' approach to produce some real funky wines.

Forget your clean Riesling or blockbuster fruit-driven Shiraz. These new wines stink. They're grubby. In fact, sometimes they're so dirty you can literally see particles floating about in the bottle.

I'm talking about unfiltered wines made with the very rarest of intervention. The grapes are grown to organic or biodynamic principles; some go as far to say they're natural. I'm talking natural yeasts, no enzymes and the deliberate exclusion of chemicals in the vineyard.

Some say they're bogus wines being led by overly enthusiastic winemakers who don't know what they're doing; that it's all marketing hype. Others argue it's the wine of the future - that it's the next logical step in the sustainable paddock-to-plate food phenomena.

While I've heard good things and bad, I can't say I've tasted an organic wine that makes me want to gag. So far, they've all been pretty decent. At the same time, it's also very possible I haven't tasted enough.

Nevertheless, if there is one wine that's got me on the organic train, it's this baby.

Dear God. This wine makes it hard to for me to express myself. It's actually breathtaking. Give me a second, yeah?

Based in the French village of Courgis, in Chablais, Alice and Olivier De Moor are known to produce some of the best Aligote-based wine in France. Can't say I'm surprised. Light, aromatic, textural with a good balance of acidity and sweetness, this wine is a treat worth savouring.

It's an organic vino, too. It's even a bit dirty. According to Living Wines, all the grapes are picked by hand and only natural yeasts are used to ferment the wines. Nice one.

If you happen to come by it, lap it up. Cork Wine Cafe was selling it for $50 a bottle, though I was told by co-owner Mr Travis Tausend that it was the last bottle they had. I'm crossing my fingers they get more in.

Happy drinking.