It’s like an Ark, or a flood of wine
WINE COMES into Eat Drink Sleep Shop Australia like animals into Noah’s Ark, two-by-two. Perhaps it’s not so unusual since one of us likes white and the other prefers something pinker or redder.
But as the bottles trundle in for sampling and enjoyment, their labels and other accoutrements also tell stories, so we’ve prepared a little picture gallery to accompany today’s yarn.
For instance, the iconic and very popular Ten Minutes by Tractor winery and cellar door on the Mornington Peninsular south-east of Melbourne includes a tractor logo on nearly everything, including its metal screw caps. Cap art is not new but it’s normally words: this is the first time I’ve seen an embossed illustration. Let us know if you’ve seen any …
On the back label, TenX (as they seem to abbreviate the brand) has adopted the now-common Quick-Response codes to steer shoppers to their website.
And for a quick review: the 2010 Estate Chardonnay impressed us as our Wine of the Christmas Season (we went back for more) and the Rosé was lovely, lightly fruity but still dry enough for our taste.
THIS MONTH we ventured into the wilds of Carlton North, Melbourne, to Enoteca Sileno and the 60th birthday of what the locals probably regard as an institution: a corner wine shop, a deli and a restaurant in Lygon Street. Their menu offerings captivated the three of us on a Saturday evening but the wine was an even more alluring call. We fell prey to the 2011 Jacot Friulano “Ronco Calaj”, from north-east Italy and which tasted of chardonnay but also of sunshine; and a cheeky little prosecco, Furlan, also from the north-east.
WE don’t normally have to go far for quality drops … down the end of our street to Auburn Wine Cellars, Hawthorn East. So on the way home from work on this Friday I chose a Spanish 2010 Garnacha (visit http://www.docampodeborja.com/en/imperiogarnacha.html) and a delightful 2009 chardonnay from Dixons Creek in the Yarra Valley. The wine tasters at home immediately ordered me to purchase more.
WHY GO OUT when the wine man can come to us? We received a call from Stuart, a roving rep for the Pieroth winery, who lugged his chiller box into Hawthorn for our benefit. There was at least half a dozen varieties hidden in there from Europe, New Zealand and here in Australia but we settled on a Te Atanga New Zealand sauvignon blanc (13% alc/vol) and a 2005 Victorian “Big Mamma” Red Diamond with a delightful 15.5% alcohol kick. Hmmmmm. Been drinking these ever since.
LAST but definitely not least is the journalists’ offerings in the Eat Drink Sleep Shop wine round-up. We stopped in at Get Wines Direct (161 Burnley St Richmond) and lo and behold, there is a pinot noir called Headlines (from Griffith) and a chardonnay called Bylines (from Margaret River). If you’re a journalist and understand the significance, please comment and let us know you’re there … another one for the wine list.
Keep drinking …
We visited the Meatopia event today as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and what a good time we had.
For our $50 a head we enjoyed very minimal queuing, friendly staff, fabulous food and enough drinks to satisfy us during this Melbourne heatwave and still legally drive away.
We booked online on Saturday night (thanks credit card) and rolled up to the Middle Park Hotel in trendy St Kilda/South Melbourne around 12:15pm as the lines were starting to form.
But instead of dreadful delays, we found easy access and speedy issue of our event food and beverage cards within minutes: for the $50, three food items and three drink items each.
A short queue for a plate of rare Cape Grim beef, a hop to delicious pork and ribs to die for, a little line up for pear cider and James Squire stubbies, and we were holding all the cards for a great lunch.
“Holding” was the key word … standing in a pub full of nearly 400 patrons and all tables full. Arms full too.
Thank heavens for the wait staff member with the delightful brogue and thoughtful approach who found us a table and stole some bentwood chairs to make our day.
Now then, picked those plates clean. What next?
There’s a short line for the BBQ’d chicken and even shorter for the goat and wallaby — which by the way equaled the pork as favourite for the day — and let’s have another pear cider, Cricketer’s Arms beer and James Squire.
Polished those off, starting to slow down, must be time for some of those antipasto delights and southern Australian cheeses, yep.
Venison, pork and beef salami, goats cheese, ash rind and — what’s that? pickled peaches and apricot aioli? Hmmm, this’ll do.
What’s that, another cider? And then someone in the party suggested coffee and some of the delightful ice cream — pistachio in one, raspberry in the other — and OMG, another James Squire.
And that was that, mid-afternoon, off into the heatwave. Don’tcha love Melbourne?
I’ve always wanted a black Fedora hat and yesterday was the big day … here’s my new “Bogart” from the Akubra range at City Hatters in Flinders Street, Melbourne. For the princely sum of $145 shop manager Christian helped me select this rabbit-fur beauty then hand-steamed and brushed it ready to wear out into the CBD crush on what was a perfect hat-day … windy, overcast, and just a little chill in the air.
An art-lover’s shower rose in the bathroom at the Heide Museum of Modern Art just north of Melbourne. I’ve photographed showers before because they’re often the things which leave the longest-lasting impressions … and this one takes the cake at nearly a foot wide.
Here in the front room at Heide we found a wonderful array of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves bulging with examples of mid-20th century publishing in the house established by John and Sunday Reed (read the story of their art-loving lives, their publishing and their patronage of Australian cultural greats). We were captivated by original works on display created by legendary artists Sidney Nolan and Albert Tucker.
Back to earth at the yummy Melbourne food and wine supermarket, Leo’s at Camberwell, where we discovered these pickled eggs: how many varieties can one have of these things?
Nice bath at Captain’s on the Bay … but after the sights of the day, Apollo Bay was a bit of an anti-climax. The perils of being “next village on” from stunning geography! Perhaps we’re getting road weary, perhaps anxious to be arriving in the Big Smoke, Melbourne … that would be tomorrow. The end of an epic journey, the start of a new life. How many times do we get to do this in a life?
Happy note: the Dragon Bay Inn was a very pleasant surprise at the end of our long day’s drive … not crowded, not noisy, not slow, attentive wait-staff. We ate the dim sims, the duck pancake, crispy-skinned chicken, crispy roast pork and sipped Heineken and Stonyfell Verdelho. And off to bed.