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  1. Bigger than Clive Palmer with all the finesse of Skippy having tea with the Queen

    Bigger than Clive Palmer with all the finesse of Skippy having tea with the Queen

    I must be talking about Durif aka Petit Sirah right? I often describe Durif to the uninitiated as 'Merlot on steroids' at which point they say 'is it Merlot?'... Okay, I'll explain myself a little better. Durif is one of my favourites because even in its youth the nose is generous and very 'pretty', a very attractive drink until you start wrestling with the often massive drying tannins and high alcohol. Not everyone that makes it finds the balance but a couple come to mind. 919 Durif from Glossup has a beautiful nose of violets and blue fruits with a firm but balanced mouthfeel. Stunning! Kalleske has achieved the same stunning nose but at this point in its life (give it a year or 2) the palate menaces with dry gripping tannins so drinker beware. If drinking big ballsy Shiraz isn't blowing your hair back any more, grab the Kalleske Durif, break out the latex, don the mask and make sure everyone in the room knows the safety word. [caption id="attachment_1340" align="aligncenter"
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  2. Vintage of the Year

    Vintage of the Year

    I love this time of year, mild Autumn weather sets in and a vigneron’s thoughts turn to getting precious fruit off the vine and into winery. This conjures for many wine drinkers a romantic notion of wine maker or grower walking through the vineyard chewing on a grape or two, a thoughtful look at the sky then a knowing nod to the vineyard manager that ‘it’s time’. The reality is somewhat different as I experienced again this year in McLaren vale as assistant dog’s body at Five Lazy Acres (nee Killibinbin Sandtrap), owned and operated by Liz and Ritchie Smith. It was an early start and we were out in the vineyard at 4am as the harvester started its rounds, the real back breaking work hadn’t started for us yet but I could see the stress levels rising as Ritchie began calculating in his head how much fruit was coming off and what it was going to convert to in real volume and ultimately income. Noel, senior member of the picking crew stood next to us still
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  3. Christmas Wine Guide 2012

    Christmas Wine Guide 2012

    It’s always handy to have a guide to good drinking over the Christmas period. Here’s my pick for the best bots to crack this Chrissie.

    Bird in Hand Sparkling It’s an unusual wine this one with enough fruit and sweetness to keep the occasional wino happy and enough quality fruit to shift curmudgeonly wine snob from miffed to mollified. Pleasures best on its own but suspect it would be all over the turkey if given a sniff. Most accommodating Sparkling. Dandelion Vineyards Rosé 2011 A delight from its light pink hue to its delicate, near dry ending. The fruit in this is sourced from an 85-year-old bush-grown Grenache vineyard. Unusually the wine was left to wild ferment and stored on a bed of dead yeast in old barrels for a bit. The result is a superb texture with pristine and bright Grenache flavours and a whip crack of acidity that made me stand up and pay attention. Sugar is very low at four
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