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Dirt cheap pinot noir that is good

I read in the Epicure section of The Age on Tuesday an enthusiastic recommendation for De Bortoli’s Windy Peak Pinot Noir. At Dan Murphy’s liquor stores the 2010 was retailing tonight at under $10 a bottle. Its not great pinot but it is very, very good – fragrant bouquet and simple strawberry flavours. Good acidity […]


At lunch today a friend provided a 1969 Wynns ‘Claret’. This was something of a misnomer as the label revealled it was, in fact, a cabernet-shiraz blend. It was a supremely aromatic, elegant aged wine that at 42 years of age was more than just perfectly sound and a curiousity – really close to perfection. […]

Leeuwin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1985

Sometimes you cellar wines of claimed renown only to find that, with extended cellaring, they have lost their fruit leaving only harsh tannins and oak. I bought this 26 -year old cabernet as a special at Nick the Wine Merchants I think in the early 1990s for around I think $14-99. As a young wine […]

Budget pinot noir exists

Budget pinot noir – no it doesn’t exist. I’ve always thought that’s probably true but I have drunk a couple of wines recently that come close to fitting the bill exactly.

The Trentham Estate 2009 pinot got a rave review in a recent Age Greenguide. It is justified rave. This is a big wine with […]


One of the world’s rubbish wines that I have always enjoyed is gamay Beaujolais. I drank a gorgeous, spicy entry-level Paul et Eric Janin Moulin a Vent 05 at Source Dining in Albury a couple of weeks back – I have already indicated that this restaurant offers some of the best food in NSW – […]

Australian (& 1 NZ) pinot noir

In the pure interests of science I have been working my way though some local pinot noir wine over the past week. Like many pinot tragics I have wasted a lot of money and effort trying to purchase great French red burgundies mostly without a great deal of knowledge or with great success. I’ve scored […]

More nostalgia – Fairport Convention

Fairport Convention is one of my all-time favourite bands. They still perform although their early album with Sandy Denny Liege and Lief remains my favourite. Denny died tragically in 1978 after skipping through a number of groups. Liege and Lief is monumental folk-rock music:

‘To rouse the spirit of the earth and move the rolling […]

1992 St Hubert’s Cabernet

Last year I reviewed one of the best wines I drank that year, a 1991 St Hubert’s Cabernet.  I thought I had exhausted my stock of these great old wines when I found, this evening, a 1992 St Hubert’s Cabernet-Merlot nestled away, the sweet thing that it is, in a sinful back alley of my […]

Saturday night with Grand Cru

My friend Professor Chongwoo Choe has come to his senses and returned to live in Melbourne. He and his wife put on a sumptuous dinner last night with four exciting French wines that he had managed to gather while on his regular academic field trips to France.

To start off we enjoyed a Chablis Grand […]

God lives in the Coonawarra

One of the great wine makers of Australia is Brian Croser of Petaluma. He makes lovely chardonnays and a Riesling you would die for but one of the wines of his that I really like is the Cabernet-Merlot. I drank my sole (sob!) remaining bottle of the 1990 vintage this evening.

It is 88% cabernet […]

Taxing alcohol & tobacco products

I found this webpage from the Australian Taxation Office on excise charges on alcohol and tobacco products very useful. Taxes ideally should reflect damages of these products which are presumably related to alcohol and carcinogen content respectively. With respect to alcohol this is volumetric taxation rather than ad valorem taxes levied on product value.


Old red wines

I enjoyed two great old vintage wines last night with old friend Chongwoo and his kin. A 1976 Wolf Blass Black Label Cabernet-Shiraz for a pre-dinner warm-up was, I thought, in excellent condition – Chongwoo thought it a bit faded. These very old wines are a matter of taste – they don’t appeal to all. […]

Older wines: the 1984 Metala Cabernet-Shiraz

Metala Cabernet Shiraz was one of the more reliable, long-lived South Australian red wines that is sourced mainly from Langhorne Creek in South Australia. At a recent retrospective, wines from Metala were sampled back to 1945 – the 1951 shiraz-cabernet was still sound after 50 years in the bottle and one of the best wines […]

Aged riesling from Knight at Granite Hills

The Knight family Granite Hills Vineyard at Mount Macedon produces probably the best Riesling in Victoria. I have only a few of these in my cellar and tonight I drank the 1989 Knight Granite Hill Riesling. It was originally an austere, cool climate-style Riesling that, in a good vintage, would last 20 years from birth. […]

1991 St Huberts Cabernet

Occasionally I think we all forget how good aged Australian cabernet can be. Shiraz is so often promoted as the Australian red wine with cellaring potential. Most of the red wine in my cellar is shiraz.

The exceptions are the wonderful Wynns cabernets, the Penfolds Bin 707s, which often disappoint me, and a collection […]

Two older Australian shiraz wines

I have enjoyed two good older Shiraz wines over the past few days. By coincidence both were from the 1993 vintage. In my budget-constrained middle age (school fees, viagra bills etc) I am constrained to drink off my vineous wealth so there might be a few more of these types of posts over the next […]

Walters on a sunny Melbourne afternoon in autumn

A mid-afternoon escape from the Global Finance Conference yesterday afternoon landed me in Walter’s Wine Bar on Southbank. I ordered my usual cheese platter and launched into three sample size (75 ml) glasses of extraordinary Italian wines: a 2002 Umberto Cesari Sangiovese, a 2005 Farnese Montepulciano and a 2001 Pasqua Valpolicella. These are powerful flavoursome […]

Summer holls

Today travelling to the south coast of NSW – to Ulladulla – to do some bird-watching, swimming (I used to say, go surfing) and generally to enjoy life. I’ve got a couple of bottles of 1990 Wendouree cabernet to ease the burden of my transport discomfits. Also have some trashy sex-violence-crime novels for the more […]

Three old reds

I was fortunate enough to drink three well-aged, red wines over the past few days. I’ll bet you are all glad to hear that and to have the opportunity to share, if only vicariously, in my pleasures. Its kind of ‘Will you buy me an ice-cream? No, but I’ll let you watch me eat it!’Besides […]