I usually keep a stash of quaffing wine in the kitchen and in the grog fridge, but things have been disappearing at a rate of knots of late. It’s time to stock up again.
So I have dipped into the wine cupboard to keep myself happy of late … and there have been some pleasant surprises.
The biggest surprise was the discovery of another bottle of 2007 Bollini Pinot Grigio Trentino. I’m keeping it for a special occasion. As I wrote on an earlier post, “I’ve seen it described as the “ultimate aperitif wine” … or how about “the fresh, refined style is ideal for frequent, casual consumption”? Frequent? That’s my kind of wine.
It’s fragrant, lively, crisp, fruity, flinty and oh so clean in the mouth. And there’s just enough acid. I reckon it would go well with any sort of food. Without question, for me it was the wine highlight of the week in a week where there were some highlight-worthy beauties on the table.”
The same sentiment still applies … yep plenty of some highlight-worthy beauties.
Among the a 2004 Elderton Shiraz (14.5%), which had a really deep colour, tonnes of fruit on the nose and a bit of a liquorice/peppery thing happening … even vanilla. It was great drinking.
So too the 2011 Waipara Hills Pinot Noir, but the show was stolen by a 2003 Brown Brothers limited release shiraz. I reckon it was a bloody cracker in a week or so where crackers have been on the agenda.
Umani Ronchi Montepulciano 2007 D’Abruzzo was a surprise packet. I read a review of it: “A supple and earthy medium-bodied Italian red that's full of plums, hints of chocolate, nuts and dried herbs and has and attractive slightly floral sting in the tail. Will go superbly well with the Sunday roast, with game. and let's not forget the cheese. Very smart buying." Warren Barton
Because I’m a smoker, my chances of finding all that going on is, well, unlikely … but jeez, I loved it.
There have also been a few chardies around … a 2011 The Seedling from Eden Road, which didn’t quite set my tastebuds on fire … but the fire was burning with a 2010 Camelback chardy from Sunbury. I’d buy it just because of the words across the top of the label … “Man is not a camel”.
The real chardy winner was a 2011 Ad Hoc Hen & Chicken from Pemberton in WA. It’s buttery, nutty, fruity, oaky (plenty but certainly not to its detriment) and a lovely acid balance. I’ll have it again.
I also revisited Domaine Begude 2010 Chardonnay. I wrote a while ago “It’s a bloody cracker, which is my way of saying “Utterly beguiling. Full of flowers, citrus, orchard fruits, and almond, this offers some lushness of texture while remaining bright and refreshing, and displays a shimmering sense of minerality that would be worthy of a Chablis costing three times the price”, which is how Robert Parker’s Bargain Wines Guide 2011 said of the Terroir 11300 chardonnay. It’s available at Vintage Cellars.
It’s all gonna be a hard act to follow. If the next week comes anywhere near the quality of the past couple, then I’ll be one happy camper.
Now, it’s market time and food shopping. I have to take lunch to work tomorrow for EB, my editor at The Weekly Review. Dunno what’s on the menu … guess it’ll be whatever look good.
Glory days are long gone
I started to venture into the wilds of Albert Park in the very late ’80s … somehow I’d managed to find my way there. I was a northern suburbs bloke who had little, OK no, knowledge of the southern suburbs back then.
I used to go there for a Sunday breakfast … a big brekkie was a novelty in the north. OK, a café that did that sort of thing didn’t exist in the north.
The place was called Morning Glory. The food was always good and the coffee was par excellence. It won an award from The Sunday Age as having the best coffee in Melbourne. From memory, I instigated that the judges check it out.
I can even recall being there about 20 years ago and telling a bloke at the next table to put his smoke out … I was in a non-smoking stage. I still talk to him most mornings when I’m wandering up the street, sometimes stopping and to have a smoke with him. Yeah, times change.
The restaurant at the same site claims to be one of the area’s best … specialising in attention to detail and a friendly atmosphere.
Like I said, times change.
I went there with a friend for a late breakfast recently … nothing big planned, just a cuppa and some eggs.
We grabbed a table out the front and ordered a pot of English Breakfast tea, a latte, some water and poached eggs with spinach on the side and a serve of eggs Benedict (on English muffins).
We sat there shooting the breeze for 10 minutes or so (it was a beautiful morning) and finally the waiter appeared again. “Did you get your coffees?”
“Well no, and it was a latte and some tea.”
“Sorry,” he said as he disappeared inside.
Back he came with another sorry. Apparently the paper with the order on it had been lost.
Lost? It’s not that hard, after all, attention to detail is one of the place’s strong points. Yeah, right.
Finally, after a 15-minute wait, we had our drinks.
The latte was as dark as the inside of a dead dog’s guts. It couldn’t have been any stronger. My friend would be bouncing off walls in no time.
And then to the tea. OK, it was fine but the small milk jug left more than a bit to be desired. There were dark smudges around the lip (it needed an up-close-and-personal scrub) and several black bits floating in the milk. Attention to detail?
The food finally made an appearance, but only after the waiter had reappeared earlier to say that the kitchen had run out of muffins. “What sort of toast would you like with that?” I opted for multigrain.
The eggs got a pass mark. Not so the attention to detail. No salt or pepper on the table. My friend asked the waitress who was busily cleaning the next table whether she could have some pepper. It was almost a surly delivery of a pepper grinder, plonked just so on the table, no “sorry about that, there should have been one on the table”. It was almost as if the waitress was doing us a favour.
She went back to cleaning a nearby table, armed with a spray bottle, which probably wasn’t ideal given that there was a bit of wind about. My friend copped the residue of the spray all along her arm. Yep, that’s just what you need, the chance of some chemicals on your food. Attention to detail?
I walked inside (for the first and last time there) to pay the bill, rather than wait for the waiting staff to offer one. In effect, we were the waiters … waiting, waiting …
Golden Fields revisited
There’s a lesson to be learnt for the joint above. They should send all their staff to dine at Golden Fields not just for the great food, but for service that goes above and beyond.
A friend and I had a latish dinner there on Friday. As usual, the place was jumping and we were told that there would probably be a 45-minute wait.
The staff was attentive … constantly getting back to us with updates and organising a seat at the bar (the barman would win an award for politeness) so we could have a pre-dinner drink.
We didn’t feel left out at any stage. Update followed update … just 20 minutes had past when we hit a table out the front (the weather was pleasant). We were settled by the waitress, who said something about my friend being a regular. No so, but it made her feel at home. The waitress said she would get us a menu. “No need,” I said. “We’ll start with lobster rolls, pork dumpling, soft-shell crab and twice-cooked duck … and a bottle of 2010 von Buhl Riesling. We’ll see how we go after that.” No menu, no notes, no need. The waitress knew her stuff.
So too those in the kitchen. I reckon the wine was a cracker with the food (I’ve mentioned it elsewhere on this blog several times).
But it was the staff and the attention to detail. My friend suggested that had it not been for the pleasant demeanour and efficiency of the staff, we would have gone elsewhere, given the possibility of a 45-minute wait. She was right … but it was worth the wait.
Does social media have a conscience? Judging by some figures given to me by my Crikey mate Luke Buckmaster (he of the Crikey film blog Cinetology), the answer is an emphatic no.
To wit … every 60 seconds there are:
2 million YouTube views;
700,000 Facebook messages;
7630 hits on StumbledUpon;
7610 searches on LinkedIn;
3500 hits on TAGGED;
3125 Flikr pictures uploaded;
2000 checkins at FourSquare; and
1090 Pinterest visits.
Think about it: every minute. That amounts to an awful lot of power (courtesy of coal-fired generators, no doubt).
And that’s just the social media sites. Add to that the billions of page hits for other shit on the net.
Is there anyone out there who could extrapolate the figures and work out just how much effect the internet has on global warming? Surely, an academic could snaffle a grant from somewhere.
The son shines
And while on the subject of things involving technology, getting my iPod up to speed was not something I could cope with.
The iPod hadn’t been synched with my new laptop (I had to get a newie because I spilled wine on the keyboard of the old one … See “A byte to drink” elsewhere on the blog) and it was beyond me, given that I’m a Luddite.
I had dinner with Joel, my youngest son, and put it on him to fix it.
He somehow managed to copy the 11,000-odd songs from the iPod and another 2000-odd from the separate hard drive (see, I know technology terms, just not how it works) and synched them for me.
I owe my whole wireless set-up to Joel … the printer in the office, the router (whatever that does), the home network (whatever that is) … the whole shooting match.
Go Jo-Jo, you’re a gun.
The wrong way to catch a bus
My other son, Liam, he of Vanuatu, has had a rough time of it of late.
The other day he was cruising on a motor scooter through Port Vila at lunchtime.
He was travelling behind a bus and could see another sitting at the kerb. When the bus in front went by the parked one, the driver put on his indicator and pulled a U-turn. Liam saw him coming and hit the anchors. Too late, he T-boned the bus.
He was OK, a bunged up ankle and maybe a broken finger and a cut hand.
“I hope you were wearing a helmet,” I said.
“Shit yeah and lucky I was. I took a big chunk out of it,” he said, “but I’m OK.”
And the scooter? “Yeah, I managed to get myself between it and the bus, so as I gave a hip and shoulder to the duco, the scooter was OK. There’s just a bit of a bend in the handlebar.
“The driver was pretty pissed off. He said ‘didn’t you see I was indicating?’. I explained that indicating didn’t give you the right to charge out into a U-turn.”
“I told him to fuck off after he suggested that he would see me in court.”
Yeah, good luck with that
ME IN A NUTSHELL
- G’day, I’m Michael and I have two fantastic grown-up kids. I’m a jeans and singlet/T-shirt, cowboy boot, tattoos sort of fella, who knows a bit about this and sometimes a lot about that. I'll have a crack at most things, although having a relationship? ... well that ship has sailed. I'm past my use-by date anyway, so I'm gonna make it all about me and surviving life as I know it ... or make it.