September 20th, 2002


What the hell was that?

I just sat through the 1991 masterpiece of modern American cinema The Hard Way, starring James Woods, Michael J. Fox, Luis Guzmán, Christina Ricci, Bryant Gumbel, and many other reasonably famous people. And I am left dumbstruck, dumbfounded, incoherent. What the hell was that? Did I just see something that actually made it to theaters, that someone somewhere greenlit in expectations that it would make money?

I am in awe.

Oh, and by the way.

I believe that I have found the bomb, v2.0. Stoped by Plantagenet here in Mount Barker this afternoon, and discovered that their Mount Barker shiraz is incredibly good stuff. That now makes a grand total of two red wines I've tried in Australia that have left me with a ridiculously big grin on my face. I'm impressed.

The top ten so far, in no particular order:

1 Clonakilla shiraz/viognier
2 Leeuwin riesling
3 Plantegenet Mt Barker shiraz
4 Grosset Watervale riesling
5 Rosemount grenache-shiraz-mourvédre
6 That Tassie pinot noir that I can never remember the name of
7 Penfolds St Henri shiraz
8 Pelorus NV (I know, it's not Australian, but hey, it's practically made by Aussies)
9 Flinders Bay Agincourt cabernet malbec
10 Brown Brothers barbera, Tahbilk marsanne, or something along those lines for the obligatory quirky entry in the top ten

One last bit.

True story: at Plantagenet, I wanted to try the riesling first, but was delayed as the very friendly woman manning the tasting area couldn't find a corkscrew. I joked that she must be sad they aren't using Stelvin closure, to which she said not to worry, the not yet released 2001 and 2002 vintages were bottled using Stelvin. And wouldn't you know it, the bottle of the 2000 she opened for us... was corked. I asked if it might not be... uh... well, is it supposed to taste like that? She went out back to check with the winemaker, and yup... a little corky! The second bottle was fine, but I'm not buying 'til I can get me Stelvin. I don't want to lug the stuff all the way home, cellar it for six years, and find that it tastes like damp cardboard. [Sadly, though, although good, their riesling is not truly approaching bomb status like Grosset, Leeuwin, or even Howard Park.]