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Yummy Yarra

I wrote this post last week. As I was about to post it the Elitistreview Server went totally tits up. My computer department (The Editor) was too busy earning a living so we could… well… live to fix it until now. Elitistreview is now back on a fresh, clean, brand-spanking, new server so you can once again get your fill of filthy metaphors.


Last night The Editor and I forced our way through the thick London air for a dinner engagement with wine merchant Lance ‘Jesus Christ! How did you get all those amazing agencies?’ Foyster and the Australian wine maker he represents Mac ‘Bugger me! Is this really Australian Pinot?’ Forbes.

It is great to have friends who are the cream right at the top of their chosen pursuits – it is even nicer when they are terribly lovely people. Lance proved he had the amazing booze tolerance a wine merchant should have and Mac showed that he can order the most god-damned weird wines on a list that are still actually delicious drinks.

Mac had a dribble left of possibly that greatest Australian white wine ever made (by him!), from his new vineyard acquisition; a Chenin Blanc. It was almost a physical jolt of surprise to taste it right after a 2012 JJ Prum Auslese and witness that it took its competition easily in its stride.

The Chenin was like a Savennieres that was squeaky clean and, despite its blazing acidity and powerful, dense structure, was absolutely tits-fun to drink. I mean it, I solid mean it.

If I were the vineyard management contractor for Mac (Ha ha ha ha ha!) I would be suggesting that he went for a hang time that was as long as possible to get super-ripe (not that Chenin Blanc actually ripens as such) grapes with ludicrous potential alcohol levels.

He could then ferment the juice until his indigenous yeasts die of crapulence – he would not have to worry about acidity levels as Chenin Blanc never fails to make teeth fizz as they are dissolved by the wine – and bottle a wine that would scare the shit out of plebs but for those more well versed in wine tasting it would be sex on a freaking stick. It is just possible he is trying to do this already, but go for it Mac! Go! You more than anyone in the Yarra can go for extremes and have them blossom into beautiful blooms.

Right, now we have got Australia’s best white wine, it is time to deal with a red. Mac sculpts pulchritudinous, small-scale stunners from Pinot Noir. Mac gave us a popped bottle to knock back on the train back to lovely, lovely Winchester. We decided to avoid provoking jealousy in our fellow travellers; it made a perfect lunch.

Mac Forbes Hoddles Creek Pinot Noir 2015Mac Forbes Hoddles Creek Pinot Noir 2015Pinot Noir ‘Hoddles Creek’ 2015, Mac Forbes

Ooooohhh… yummy, yummy! This is bursting with lovely Pinot fruit that is super fresh and charged with energetic vivacity. The fruit reminds me of the lovely Premier Cru raspberries one can find in the Domaine Dujac garden at the right time of year.

But there is a subtle difference from the Morey character of those raspberries: a sort of blackberry/blackcurrant thing fiddling around at the edges of your perceptive range. Definitely there, just not jumping out of the glass and slapping you around a bit. This is more involute than the first sniff of hilariously pleasurable, stunningly enjoyable, obvious fruit one first gets.

The fruit is sweet, lively and ripe. But, get this, even though the fruit is sweet and ripe this wine is only 12%! I was rather surprised when I read this on the label, but this is the reason why it seems so lively and fun. So it should be easy on the head and not impede the execution of one’s afternoon of trying to improve my musical skills for my second album; an exercise that seems necessary as my first album is yet to sell a single copy!

So it smells great and won’t knock me for six; a top luncheon wine then! It smells like it will be great with my Beechcroft Farm beef.

And it is. There is a hint of prickle to the tannins, and the acidity is wizard. This is quite the stunner of a structure – a really delicious light Pinot composition.

It has the same delicious raspberry fruit and the acidity tastes like it is actually freshly squeezed out of some raspberries. Ooohh… I’m having a good time with this!

Now I am being completely honest here – flavours in wine can remind one of all sorts of things. Whilst I was doing my doctorate I took a day off, did not get many of them, to drive to Wales with my chum Miles to climb a mountain. Buggered if I can remember why I agreed to this lunatic plan: I am petrified rigid of heights and mountains are… well… high.

Once we got to the top Miles said he wanted to take the fun way down. This involved sliding down a vertiginous scree slope on one’s arse, using feet to control speed and to prevent heading toward the several hundred metre sheer drop worryingly close to Miles’ preferred route.

As I burned down the slope, wondering how many of the small rocks would end up burning through my clothes and getting permanently lodged between my buttocks I felt a strange, hard bite in my mouth; I though this odd, stony grip was rock dust from the slope filling my palate in what I thoroughly expected to be a successful attempt to choke me to death.

Now, that anecdote does actually have relevance to this tasting note. You see, on the mid-palate and finish of this wine there was a seasoning of the flavour exactly like the rock dust I tasted so long ago.

It was a subtle addition to the palate’s flavours, but I recognised it so clearly that after my first mouthful I said to The Editor, “Good god! This tastes precisely like a Welsh mountain that nearly killed me almost twenty years ago! With fruit.” I explained myself above and I was gratified that he too could taste shades of rock in it. With an awful lot of fruit.

So this winsome little number actually ended up having a rather complex set of flavours – it was a deeply satisfying luncheon wine. It coloured and illuminated our discussions as we ate and we were terribly disappointed when the bottle was empty. It is not a frighteningly expensive wine, by any means, and will delight and engage you as you drink it.

I will not mess around here: It is a damned fine wine that will please people who want to taste where their Pinot comes from. OK, I have piss all experience with this vineyard, but I was very much taken with its demonstrable communication of its origins. Top kit, Mac, many thanks!

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