25 November 2010

Nepenthe 2008 The Good Doctor Pinot Noir

I attended a 40th birthday party recently with a top-shelf spread both of food and booze.

The evening started with cocktails and paparazzi-style photography on arrival, and I admit to partaking in a cheeky Cosmopolitan (purely to be polite of course). But while being polite is all well and good, because I also happened to be sporting a pink shirt, my more immediate concern was appearing to be of a persuasion that I most certainly am not. To avoid such blushes, and the unwanted attentions of a waiter named Sebastian, I switched quickly to a different type of red liquid which was served sans umbrella and in a more masculine glass.

The red in question was a pinot from Nepenthe in the Adelaide Hills and the bottle came dressed in a sharp black suit that looked to have been tailored especially for the occasion. I had myself a tasty bowlful and introduced myself to The Good Doctor before we repaired to our tables for dinner.

Dinner was excellent, and the Doctor, being a reasonably hefty and savoury fellow, lined up nicely against my slab of beef.

However, being the "plus one" on the invite meant I knew only a few people in the room and so when the mingling started after dinner, I found myself playing Robinson Crusoe with just The Doc (as I was now calling him) for company.

Happily, I soon made friends with the waitress as well; she being a young lady with improbably large Bristols and easy access to the Doctor's medicine cabinet. And so, over the next hour or so, The Doc and I became extremely well acquainted.

The diagnosis?

Well, I’ve got to say first up that it pours quite deep and dark for a pinot. It just looks like it has some real solid weight behind it.

The lifted florally hit of sweet fruitiness on the nose belies the substantial and savoury nature of the beast that is revealed in the drinking.

Now, when it comes to savoury pinot, I’m your Huckleberry. I love it. And this has all the very best earthiness and spice of the famed Martinborough examples.

It’s by no means a particularly finely tanninned or structured pinot, but it has genuine substance, wonderful flavour and I suspect it will soften nicely with a few more years under its belt.

Takes you on a titillating tour of duty from the first touch on the tip of your tongue to the final tickle on your tonsil.

Open up and say ahhhhhhh for The Good Doctor.

Rating: 8.25
Drink with: A nice nurse
Price: $38

PS Incidentally, The Good Doctor is actually named for Dr Ed Tweddle, a true Australian business luminary. A fine tribute to his memory.

04 November 2010

Haselgrove 2008 Bella Vigna Shiraz

Well, here we go. OcSober is over and I'm back on the drink after a month spent practising some semblance of sobriety. No doubt it was good for my liver. It was certainly good for my wallet.

Anyway, I'm easing myself back in slowly this week. It all started on Tuesday which was, of course, Melbourne Cup Day. I tucked into a nice mid-week quaffer (the Haselgrove Shiraz) as I trawled the web for news of Descarado's missing heart and the inevitable photos of drunken Cup tarts to laugh at.

By far the biggest tart of them all is that annoyingly vacuous beast of a woman who follows Geoffrey Edelstone around. I've written about her before, I know. I'm not obsessed. Well, maybe I am. But not with her beauty that's for sure.

If ever there was a poster-girl for people oblivious to their own absurdity, Brynne’s your girl (at least I think she’s a girl).

The part I don't understand is how she came to marry this pox of a man in the first place. I know he's got money, and a lovely yellow suit. But his face is more shrivelled than a warm scrotum, and so you can only imagine what his actual scrotum must look like. And I'm sorry, but services in that region are surely the only thing which Brynne brings to the relationship.

Anyway, the thought of a Geoffrey Edelstone Tea Party sickened me sufficiently that I was forced to quaff more quickly and in no time at all I found myself enjoying my second glass of the Bella Vigna.

Bella Vigna means “beautiful vineyard” and refers to the pretty patch of the McLaren Vale where these delicious grapes were lucky enough to grow up. And it really is a great drop.

Deep, dark ruby red in the glass. Almost impenetrable, but showing lovely shards of iridescence as you take it for a spin around the glass.

It smells sweetly of dark chocolate and a platter of fresh Italian charcuterie. It’s big and arrogant, but soft and smooth at the same time.

There’s an ample lug of ripened berry unctuousness combined with a demure touch of gentle spice. It’s eminently drinkable, but still gives you something very nice and substantial to chew on.

You could drink it with a steak (as I did), or simply sip it solo as the sun goes down.

To be honest, I was genuinely excited by this wine. Not quite as excited as Joel Monaghan on a visit to the pound, but you get the idea.

It’s truly a ripping little wine at a very reasonable price. I could happily drink it all week long. And twice on Sundays.

Rating: 8.5/10
Drink with: A hot dog
Price: $20-$25