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A night with the whites

Wine

Whitey gets as much marine musical motorsport thrash as gastronomic glory in the new whites from the Mitchell family of Clare.

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Mitchell Clare Valley Semillon 2016 ($24; 12.2% alcohol; screw cap)

If you’d preserved some feta in light, acidic olive oil with some fresh lemon verbena tips and fine-sliced – like translucent – rinds of kaffir and finger limes you’d be getting close to the slightly cheesy wafts of this baby.

Burlap sack. Isovaleric acid. Tarragon. Lemon balm. Wheaten hay. Slender fatty acids. Butyric acid.

Such a crunchy sweetheart looks a slightly awkward youth of a wine now, but if you got close in there through the hair it could be Joey Ramone, he who showed little sign of knowing nor revealing any normal measure of age from birth to death.

And out of everybody, you probly wouldna picked Joey to be lemony.

But when one delves, this bowl of cheeky flavour devoid of excess cushioning and anaesthetising ethanol is only 12.3 alcohols.

So it’s actually almost ethereally light and disappearing if you’re willing to just dance and shut up and not be such a forensically obsessive bore sitting there with all those goddam books you pretend to read.

Music to me. On your feet! Hey. Ho. Let’s go.

Jump a decade to the 2006 release (13%; screw cap) which is no longer available but is a fair guide to how that ’16 will go. Same band, bleached by time. All those things have been in the sun. Rockaway Beach? Spin me out.

But it’s more along the lines of somebody you’d run into with sand dropping off their plastic on the bar at Olaf the Owner’s Bombora Café on Cockle Beach at Goolwa. Somebody the colour of bleached coffee flashing a million bucks of teeth; Ligurian honey in the boardwax. Voombochoof!

I’m really glad that the Mitchells persist with their take on this forgotten slice of old Clare. It’d go real good with Joey’s favourite Kinpira Gobo. Or Poulet au riz à la Provençale – chicken pilaf – as prescribed by Richard Olney in Provence: the Beautiful Cookbook. Joey Ramone sitting down with Richard Olney at Hasaki on East Ninth Street, now there’s a notion … Older the younger, as it were … We’d need Norman Rockwell to paint it.

Mitchell Watervale Clare Valley Riesling 2017 ($24; 13% alcohol; screw cap)

We’re strapped into an even stiffer racing frame in the Rieslings. Double the torsional strength, half the weight. Closer to the ground. If the windows went down you could scrape your knuckles on the bitumen.

The young ‘un has all the lemon and citrus of the Semis. A bit of it seems slightly toasted like as if it’s just done three hot laps but it’s wrapped down now securely in damp Watervale chalk and everyone’s standing around looking amazed and talking quiet. It prickles and flares the nostrils.

It’s like cranking King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard in a Lotus Europa with the Cozzy 1600 Mk.XIII dry sump on a Hewland FT200 for two hours through the hills on real good tyres before lunch. One needs to turn it up.

The older McNicol Clare Valley Riesling 2009 ($35; 13.5% alcohol; screw cap)?

Get down. Not a minute older for most of us to sniff, just different. It gets near that perfect dunal fragrance that many romantics call ozone but which is actually dimethyl sulphide, the breezy whiff of a healthy fizzing ocean full of dead and deadly-fresh phytoplankton.

That’s just the leading edge. Get in deeper and it smells like fresh enoki spliced with the minor aromatic gene from the Curaçao orange grown in talc. It has a similar comforting fluff in its swallow: it is never hard nor citric/metallic like much Clare Rizza. It is too soft for fish and chips.

Rather, cut yourself a fat slice of crusty bread and spread it with your favourite butter or a better one. Fillet your King George whiting, cook it for a hot buttery flash on the skin of its back, spread it on your bread, squeeze a drop or two of lemon on it, grind fresh pale pepper on there and now try not to guts everything down at once.

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