Who are those tossers?


I happened to be browsing through some photos the other day and came across this one of Chris and I, taken at the Wooing Tree cellar door in Central Otago. I missed it entirely at first; in the original photo, we are very much in the background, surreptitiously tasting our way through the range. Some judicious cropping brings out the full glory of our situation. If I recall correctly, we had been tasting all day and were quite tired; evidently not too tired to pull some pretty awesome wine wanker faces, however. 

Dribs and drabs

I (Julian) am currently in the enormous Goulburn Valley region — Dookie to be exact — kicking off what I hope will be an interesting part-time course of study (wine-related, of course). Forgive me if posts are few and far between these couple of weeks. On the plus side, some interesting wines are being tasted, including a most unexpected Semillon, made from fruit grown at the Dookie campus vineyard, twenty three years old and still singing.

More soon.

Salisbury Estate Block 14 Barnevelder 2010

A rich egg yolk yellow in the glass…

The backyard hens are finally laying, after being raised, with much care and amusement, from day old chicks. Wilhelmina, the Barnevelder, is an especially pretty bird, with gold flecks through her dark brown feathers and a quirky disposition. Narelle, the Australorp, is rather common-looking but a good layer. Daphne, the Light Sussex, is just fat and lazy and no less cool for it.
There were four birds at first, but Sheila, the Rhode Island Red, turned out a tad butch, and thus became the centrepiece of a marvellous roast dinner. The food chain can be so cruel. 
So for breakfast today, there is a batch of eggs of various sizes and shades boiling on the stove. Perhaps hens, like vines, take a while to produce predictable yields. I will have them plain, just sprinkled with salt perhaps, and savour the satisfaction of growing something myself.

Shameless self-promotion #1

The other day, the Courier Mail newspaper’s lovely food writer, Natascha Mirosch, asked Jeremy Pringle (of Wine Will Eat Itself) and I if we might provide a list of ten wines under $20 we thought to be suitable for consumption on Christmas day. As a normal, well-balanced person, I imagine Natascha was expecting a straightforward list plus, perhaps, a concise introduction.
Ah, but neither life, nor wine, is that simple. In response, we produced a dialogue fit to try anyone’s patience. To my great delight, Natascha has most generously published our missive in its entirety on her blog.
Jingle bells, jingle bells…

Ridge Zinfandel Paso Robles 2005

Look, I know you’re not really supposed to age Zinfandel, but I have a slight problem: Ridge keeps sending it, I keep not getting around to it, and years later I find myself opening a bottle that’s two or three years past its release date. Is that so wrong? Me, I’m not so sure it’s a good idea to wait so long, at least not with this particular wine.The nose smells simple to me: warm, jammy red fruits and not much else save for a very faint dill pickle note. Spice? Yeah, that too, but one of the lighter ones; bay leaf and allspice. In the mouth, it seems unexceptional: a little bit warm, slightly sweet in the alcoholic sense, with a straightforward finish of warm mulberry jam.Thankfully, however, I set the glass down, walked away, and came back to it an hour later – and that has made all the difference. With some time, the smells have coalesced into a very warm, Christmas pudding with overtones of hazelnut and allspice. Although the mid-palate is still frankly odd, with a spritziness that might be due to some VA here, it’s fairly good wine, certainly characterful, with a slow finish of warm red spicy fruit and surprising acidity. On the whole, this is far from my favorite Ridge wine, though, and I’m disappointed; I’ve had this one before, only younger, and was more impressed to then.Note to self: In the future, drink up, don’t hold.Ridge
Price: $28
Closure: Cork
Source: Retail

Back on deck

After an interesting few days stewarding at the Sydney Royal Wine Show, I’m back and hope to get some more notes up soon.

Watching the judging process was illuminating in all sorts of ways, and humbling with respect to my own efforts here. Certainly, I’m reminded that I’ve an enormous amount still to learn. There is, I hope, a corresondingly enormous amount for me to enjoy too.

Mount Ida Shiraz 2001

An older Shiraz from one of Australia’s more renowned regions for this variety, Heathcote in Victoria. This wine is, interestingly, sealed under Stelvin, which is somewhat unusual for red wines of this age. Although Mount Ida is a famous vineyard in Heathcote, I’m not especially familiar with its output, so this tasting was quite exploratory for me.

A savoury nose, some volatility, with earthy minerals, some astringent eucalyptus, roasted meats, slightly edgy oak. Far from a fruit bomb, this one. I find the nose complex and a little challenging in its angularity. 
The entry has good impact and delivers flavour early in the wine’s line. There are lots of distinct flavours here and, unusually for me, I found myself identifying a fair few. At last count, we have: pepper, sappy vanilla oak, some sweet leathery bottle age, dusty dark fruit, some cedar and slight ecualyptus character, plus a dash of sweet granite-like minerality. Phew. It’s medium bodied and presents its flavours assertively. It’s also curiously flat and almost cartoonish in its “surface level view” of flavour. The wine lacks a sense of depth and stuffing that, even in a lighter red, assures continued interest beyond any initial impact. So, despite a lot of qualities usually regarded as positive (complexity, intensity, distinctiveness) I wasn’t especially drawn to the wine’s flavour profile or structure. Fine tannins help the wine’s dry finish to linger well.
This wine (or perhaps this bottle) isn’t really my style, although some elements of the flavour profile (the minerality in particular) are pleasing. The other half loved it.
Mount Ida (Fosters)
Price: $A30
Closure: Stelvin
Date tasted: July 2008

A new look

You will no doubt have noticed that we’ve updated the way we look here at Full Pour. We hope the site is more readable and, in general, easier on the eye. If only it were so easy to refresh one’s liver, too. Feel free to send us feedback on our new design!