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Black snakes and wild boars

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Whitey wrestles with black snakes and de-reconstructed wild boars from the Barossa.

Véronique Old Vine Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2012

$22; 14% alcohol; screw cap; 93+++ points

Vicki and Peter Manning moved to the High Barossa a dozen years ago to grow and make wine. When it became obvious the ground they chose wouldn’t spare them a drip of underground water they chose to buy grapes from elsewhere around the Valley, and with the help of the friendly and most enthusiastic neighbour, Dominic Torzi, make the sorts of wines they loved the most. This fruit came from the young alluvial ground called The Moppa, which stretches east from the ancient rocks of Greenock across nearly to Nuriootpa. The Grenache and Mataro were co-fermented and finished in old French oak; the Shiraz deserved a little new French as much as old stuff, so was handled separately until blending. So whatter we got? It’s a bit stand-offish for the first few hours, but then we’ve got something that smells about $40 more as far as your consideration goes. It’s tight with black tea tin and bitter cooking chocolate reeks, and gives no hint that it could be up around 14 alcohols. If you need fruits you could think along the lines of semi dried date and fig as much as the old mulberry tree, and that bit’s as much bark and leaf as your actual berries. In the laughing gear division it takes the silly grin away and sets you marvelling and pondering until you once again remember that price. I’m about to share it with some osso bucco, and yes, I’ve sacrilegiously put some kalamatas in my sauce, with a great handful of fresh basil leaves from the garden. Yum! 420 cases made.

Véronique Barossa Foundation Shiraz 2012

$22; 14.5% alcohol; screw cap; 90+++ points

Immediately as dark and salty-smelling as Linke’s blood pudding and a leg of black Iberian ham with some hair still round its hoof, this moody brute seems to deconstruct from that point and clomps backwards out the butcher’s smokehouse door to reassemble itself into a real live snorting wild boar. It’s bristly and meaty and sweaty, and not at all happy about what the butcher just did to it. Its breath leaves quite a lot to be desired: it smells like it’s been eating oily old railway sleepers, tussocks and potato peels, and its byre ain’t all that sanitary. I wouldn’t ever suggest the greatest Stone has swine-like manners, but like Keef, this bugger’s one that could drink nails and piss rust. It offers a brief illusion of sweetness when you chew it, like really ripe Juniper berries mashed up with the lolly bowl from the Star Wars Bar. And it is salty, which merely serves to make you thirsty, so against all the above-learned knowledge and the smell of your own rank fear et cetera, you greedily reach out for more snoutwork. Which is exactly what I’d drink it with: the whole steaming head of the re-deconstructed boar, cooked in red wine barrel lees with nettles, Juniper and beetroots, delivered intact to the table with the butcher’s hand in his mouth. By Bacchus I can already taste the tongue, and the cheeks, and that lovely gristly little bit at the top of his nose … the ears! Awwww, Lordy! Where’s Dr Max Lake when you need him? Crusty bread and butter would be good, too. 580 cases made. We’re in trouble!

Véronique Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

$22; 14.7% alcohol; screw cap; 91++ points

Pure Eden Valley Cabernet, this reminds me of a vivacious indigenous friend who when commenting on the Garden of Eden yarn, sniggered about Adam and Eve having navels, then cackled brilliantly when she said “Apple? Bloody apple? Us mob woulda et the snake!” Here we have a glass containing quite a lot more snake than apple. And that dusty dry smell of goanna. It’s more bones than flesh, and triggers recollections of the sort of Cabernet Hamiltons made in that rocky spookhouse out east of Eden in the late’ seventies. Being a colourblind synaesthete, snakes to me imply the flavours of British Racing Green and much darker aromas, right though the greens of Pinus radiata to black snake and the sort of slide Ry Cooder added to movies like Southern Comfort and Paris, Texas. Now you’ve got your head around that, let me add the bitter, very dark green flavours of the nightshades, from tabac through Deadly to Lycopersicon lycopersicum, the spellbinding Black Russian tomato, and I mean its leaves as much as its fruit. This is a tight, lean wine, which may grow a little flesh, but it’ll never be much. That bloke in Rocky Horror. Was he Brad or Brett? Have it with dribbling pink lamb. 220 cases made.

drinkster.blogspot.com

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