10 February 2011

Westend Estate 2008 Three Bridges Golden Mist Botrytis

Shane Warne. Is there anything, or anyone, this man cannot do?

A gentlemen and a scholar if ever there was one. Well, maybe not a scholar. But a gentleman certainly. For this week, the great man delivered us the authoritative lesson in class.

On the day that his latest conquest - the most shagadelic Ms Hurley - arrived to pay him a visit downunder, not only did he take the time to have someone clip the hedge, vacuum his rug, and install some privacy screens on the front gate, he also ensured that he took delivery of a "fresh" mattress for the occasion.

And that, my friends, is pure, unadulterated class. Okay, so again, maybe "unadulterated" is the wrong word. But nonetheless, you get my drift.

After all, a man must always have a good clean workbench, particularly when he is expecting a fembot for the weekend.

And so then, from one gentleman to another; this time a man widely acknowledged as a true gentleman of the Australian wine business, Mr Bill Calabria of Westend Estate in NSW.

I confess I’ve not actually met the chap, mainly because I’m too scared to visit the Griffith area after watching the second series of Underbelly. But many other wine writers are quite adamant that he’s a truly great bloke. And being that these people are real, proper writers who have had their words printed in magazines and on newspapers, I’m prepared to accept that what they say must be true.

The thing that caught my eye when it comes to Bill though, is that he is ironically unique amongst winemakers...He is a teetotaller.

Not by choice mind you. It seems the poor fellow suffers the most unenviable affliction of being allergic to alcohol.

Imagine for a moment, if you will, the sheer torment of this situation. Being born into a prominent wine family. Going on to yourself become a talented and acclaimed winemaker. And all the while you can never enjoy the sweet product of your labours. Not a drop.

It would be like Enzo Ferrari suffering from car-sickness. Or Warnie having an allergy to vaginas.

Fortunately for Bill, it seems he has learned to bear his burden, while at the same time mastering his craft, by utilising the undoubtedly unsatisfying “sip and spit” method.

As Bill says on his website, ‘One does not have to swallow to know whether it is good or bad.’ I expect Ms Hurley will be nodding in agreement with that sentiment come Monday morning.

If you’re still reading this (and hopefully my Mum stopped reading some time ago), you’re probably hoping that I’m going to get to the wine shortly.

So, let’s do it. The Golden Mist Botrytis Semillon.

I bought it after reading a while back that it had beaten the uber-famous Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes in some far off wine show.

Now, I don’t know it’s that good. But it certainly is one delicious little sticky, let me tell you that. And, at $20 a pop, you can buy 40 of these for the price of one bottle of d’Yquem.

It gives off a subtle golden glow in the glass, but despite the pallor, it has a lovely, thick lusciousness in the mouth. It’s big and fat and full of tongue-coating flavour.

It tastes like it smells, with a truckload of intensely ripe tropical fruit, and finishing with a clever surprise of warmth and clarity.

I’d happily wash down a plate of cheese and bikkies with a bottle of this anytime.

All this is my very longwinded way of saying that this is a very nice little bottle of plonk.

Get one up ya. Before Warnie does.

Rating: 8.75/10
Drink with: S.K. Warne
Price: $20



  1. Fantastic read. Hilarious.


  2. Love the work !

    To see the words Warnie, Workbench and Wine mentioned in one page is just pure craftmenship.

  3. Quite a lovely segue from the Warne to the Wine. Or as I heard today, a Hurley Warne-ing system!! Delightful read as usual.

  4. i wonder if warnie might get caught on a sticky wicket..or if he is in the midst of a Golden Mist?