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Watch out for Peeptoe and Coco


Whitey finds pleasure in the company of two old-vine glories from the bounteous sand dune at McCarthy’s Orchard.

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McCarthy’s Orchard The Peeptoe Reserve Old Vine McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015

($45; 14% alcohol, screw cap)

Peeptoe is a familial term of endearment for the mighty Pearl McCarthy, who, at three years of age, is already determined that she’s the only one wise enough to run the joint. Adults are so damn analogue and dorky to Pearl. They’re disobedient. They laugh too much. Any sensible woman knows that happiness is no excuse for laughter.

McCarthy’s Orchard is the amazing farm opposite Goodieson’s Brewery on Sand Road. I wrote of it recently but got stuck on their disarming pale Grenache Rosé. They grow just about every fruit one can squeeze from a decent sandhill, including mangoes. Mangoes. This farm of Pearl’s adults is probably the only place on the planet where mangoes grow – admittedly begrudgingly – alongside gnarly Shiraz vines that are nearly as old as me.

This wine beats a lot of hot brash glamourites with post-modern monikers and labels made by people with a haircut; many much more expensive and certainly more famous than this fairly-priced, smouldering marvel. It is, put simply, better at being it than they are at being that. All those surly, smooth, intense red berries we expect of such determined and venerable vine gardens are merely poking a toe out from beneath the duvet so far, and the silk-and-velvet texture of the wine, with that lovely staunch acidity, are truly deserving of the seasoned French barrels which tickle the edges of Peeptoe Pearl’s namesake in a much more alluring manner than any American oak could do.

I’m sure that Pearl, when she’s officially old enough to sit down to a proper glass of this, will approve. It’ll live that long. It’ll be glorious.


McCarthy’s Orchard My Coco Reserve Old Vine McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

($45; 14.5% alcohol; screw cap)

Named after Pearl’s minder, her elder sister Coco McCarthy, and made from more fifty-plus-year-olds by Andy Coppard, this is another grand sleeper carved out for your best Riedel stemware beside a candle, a Vegemite glass that don’t leak beside a block of proper cheddar, or a good cellar. It has all the intensity and brooding promise of the Peeptoe, but with the extra florals and fragrances grand old Cabernet sometimes affords us. This morning, for example, it waves eau-de-cologne mint, violets and musky/marshmallow confectioner’s sugar at my flaring receptors. Come in, sunshine. It’s juicy and sinuous, sweet yet bone dry, supple yet intense, with flavours akin to the dried figs and jujube berries McCarthy’s have for sale at their farm gate. While Peeptoe may sometimes think Coco has dangerously frivolous tendencies, these two remarkable wines are very well named. I’ll bet, like their namesakes, they’ll be hunting in a scary pack of two in fifteen years. Good cop; bad cop. Shivers.

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