15 March 2012

Brookland Valley 2009 Margaret River Chardonnay

It was interesting this week to pick up the paper and see a Seebohm featuring on both the front and back pages.

One was an attractive Olympic swimmer, with a penchant for gold medals and undoubtedly the best name in sport.

The other was a large and litigious man who has been the primary reason for me working 20-hour days all month and otherwise causing me to neglect my important wine drinking duties.

Anyway. After keeping my winning record in the courtroom pleasingly intact, we managed to open a wide selection of tasty beverages over dinner with a group of old friends at Peter Stubbs’ always brilliant Cinco Bistro.

With tops being popped on a range of very nice old 389s, 407s, and Petalumas, we were more spoilt for choice than a hungry baby in a topless bar. The highlight for me though was the tasty little ’09 Brookland Valley Chardy which was cracked early on in proceedings.

Brookland is a Margaret River producer with a stellar reputation thanks to many years of rave reviews from Mr Halliday, Mr Mattinson, and Mr Oliver.

At $40 per, the bottle we had is the middle of the Brookland range – there is also a $70 “Reserve” (which I’ve not tried), and a $20 “Verse 1” offering (which I have tried, and which is nice for the price in a very pineapply kind of way).

In the glass, this fellow is a light gold, but edged with a bright rim that’s as green as a hung-over leprechaun on St Paddy’s Day.

The label advertises a nose of peaches and grapefruit, and for once I found myself nodding in agreement with the description. It’s a genuinely powerful nose that gives off a big whiff of grapefruity tartness, but without the usual squirt in the eye.

The drinking is rich and buttery and delicious. There’s a bit of pineapple there, but it is not nearly as sweet as in the cheaper edition.

One of my mates described it as a “really thick white”, although we were also talking politics at the time, so it’s quite possible he may have in fact simply been referring to Wayne Swan.

In any event, this is a pretty damn special wine which is drinking very well now and will no doubt keep improving for many years to come.

Get on board.

Rating: 8.9
Drink with: Emily
Price: $35-$40



16 February 2012

Chateau Francois 2009 Pokolbin Semillon

Yes, yes. I know. It’s been a while. So, a belated welcome to 2012 and welcome back to The W@nk.

The simple reason behind the lack of postings is that I’ve been off the booze, almost completely, for a good month and a half.

A misguided New Year’s resolution was mostly to blame, followed by the onset of general malaise and a bout of man flu brought on, undoubtedly, by my body suffering a severe depletion of vitamin W.

Nothing else for it of course but to open up wide and take my medicine.

A couple of remedial reds had me well on the road to recovery, but the definitive cure was this lovely little Chateau Francois Semillon and I'm pleased to say that I am now back in the rudest of health as a result.

I have a genuine semi on for this Semillon. It’s seriously stirring stuff.

I’d never heard of it before this week, and I have no idea how or when it arrived in my wine rack. But I do know that it hails from the place where all great Semillon is born – the Hunter Valley.

I’ve made enquiries as to how I might acquire some more and discovered it’s only available in small quantities by mail-order. At a mere $14 a bottle.

Oh, how I laughed and I laughed when I read that price, for this is no $14 bottle of plonk. I’m currently trying to have myself added to the mailing list under a multitude of aliases.

In the meantime, if you were the kind soul who brought this delicious drop to my house in the first place, please let me know because I’d like some more. Immediately. I will pay you $15 per bottle.

In the glass, it’s as yellow as the belly of an Italian cruise captain and as transparent as his excuses. And like his Moldovan consort, it also shows off a cheeky bit of leg and distracts you with a seductive sniff of its sweet perfume.

On the tongue, it’s as insistent and rebellious as an Arab Spring. True and direct, and rolling forward with a sense of power and promise.

But it’s the swallow-through that makes this wine so good – it’s all buttery briochey toasty goodness with lugs of delicious lemon butter thrown in for good measure.

Old Monsieur Francois has apparently been making this gear for 40-odd years, and I'm a little dirty that I've only just now discovered it. With the coal miners creeping ever closer to this little patch of Pokolbin, I sincerely hope he can keep on sending out bottles for at least a few more years - purely so I can stack my cellar.

À votre santé.

Rating: 9

Drink with: Schettino

Price: $14

Chateau Francois
Broke Road, POKOLBIN,
Hunter Valley
P: (02) 4998 7548 F: (02) 4998 7805
(no website, and definitely not on TwitBook)