Friday, February 11, 2011

Tasting Notes

We are back in beautiful Tassie after a fun week wandering around the South Australian wine regions.

David and I managed to sample the wines at nearly three dozen cellar doors. He estimates we tasted between 250 and 300 wines. By my calculations, that means I have personally spit out about 2 gallons of wine in the last seven days. And that's not even counting the bit that dribbles into my beard while I am enjoying a bottle in the evening.

There was a fair amount of undistinguished wine being poured, but some real standouts as well. The predictable ones - Grant Burge, St Hallets, Peter Lehmann - continue to make superior wines. I hadn't been to Fox Creek in the McLaren before, but they have some very nice stuff, as I expected from their reputation.

And we bookended the tasting tour with two fabulous discoveries. I've written about how excellent Mollydooker is. My only complaint is that the case I bought hasn't been delivered yet and we are all hankering for another taste. And on the last day we went to Langmeil in Tanunda for the first time. They had the distinction of making a grenache that even David liked and several top-shelf shirazes that made me take out the Visa one more time than I should have.

What else did we learn?

Well, in particular order:

A little bit of viognier blended with shiraz seems to work wonders;

Drinking wine from 11,000+-liter vats at Mollydooker made me seriously consider losing weight so I could get up easily after lying under the spigot with my mouth open;

With a few notable exceptions, the people manning the cellar doors in all three regions (McLaren, Adelaide Hills and Barossa) are friendly, knowledgeable and happy to have a chat and a laugh. Napa, are you listening?

And, having nothing to do with wine but everything with the travel, David learned something LK and I had already known. Never fly Jetstar if you can avoid it.

And finally, perhaps because we have still hung on to our frequent flyer status and could sit in the Qantas lounge for one more year, I noticed something as we boarded our flight home. "LK," I said, "we're boarding a late evening flight to Hobart."

"Yes, Donald, I know," she said in that voice she uses when she can't be bothered to insult me.

"But LK," I continued. "I'm easily the worst dressed person getting on the plane."

"Yes, Donald, I know," she said. She thought for a second or two. "Maybe you could wear a shirt with a collar once in a while."

I told her I would think about it.

And finally, this is a picture David took at the place we stayed in Tanunda. I suspect anyone who knows us is not surprised:

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