WANTED: One Richmond wine store, preferably quirky, independent, creative, lightly lit, seductive, wooden floor boards optional. Must have international experience, ability to have French speaking female staff desirable, varied stock rotation a plus, and at least one Grand Cru Burgundy somewhere in the shop Apply Here. I moved, I’m now connected to the ‘internets’ once more, and have returned. There is only one problem Bearded Wine Man (BWM) is gone, and so has his shop, it’s not so much that I don’t want to go back, it’s that I can’t. I’m further south, the beards are neater, the trimming tauter, the bikes for the most part have gears, and are shinny, women have makeup on, and your ripped skinny jeans make you look like you just couldn’t afford a new pair at Dimmey’s. I launched an expedition to BWM’s sister shop up north, with each pedal stroke I felt I was returning to the motherland, to the warm bosom of men wearing hats, and ladies with pixie cuts, tofu burgers, and vegan special’s nights.
The familiar is comforting in times of change, but sometimes a change of tack is required, this unfortunately cannot be seen as synonymous with 96% of the Australian wine drinking public. Ever wondered why out of the 5 fridges at your wine store, 1 of them is full of Sauvignon Blanc? Well its mostly due to Pinot Gris losing the good fight to the New Zealand menace, and well let’s not mess about, there are reasons, Sauvignon Blanc was the cheap date. I see it as the push up bra of the wine world, it looks fantastic till you get it home and unwrap it. Pinot Gris is a touch inaccessible to most, you’re going to have to think about things a bit to approach her, not just get a large club.
Quealy ‘Musk Creek’ 2011 Pinot Gris
Quealy, born of T’Gallant Vineyards, or should I say ‘the sale’ of T’Gallant Vineyards, and well let’s face it, if a large, albeit overexcited beverage company comes to you with a blank cheque, you fill the thing out and go forth on your own. And the Quealy’s did just that, they knew all the growers, and knew all the best bits, and went and conquered. Concentrating on Alsatian, Burgundian, and Italian varietals, they have for my mind stayed true to Mornington’s strengths, and I’ll be upfront, I’m a sucker for a single vineyard ‘anything’. This wine just looks classy in the glass, vibrant and clear, she is inviting, the nose presents in the Alsatian Gris style, lifted and clean, initially I had sherbet & confectionary lifts that morphed through to more traditional Australian Gris notes of stone fruits and pear. For me she really is a great introduction to European styles on the nose. Want acid? This has it in spades, not as austere as her Riesling cousins, but not far off. The palate is full and vibrant, she ‘pops’ on the tongue, great mid range depth and punch, the fruit is forward but not weighty. The citrus and lime keeps coming, its clean, its full, it’s exciting, pickup the meanest green Thai curry you can find and she will bat it away. This is one of the more serious, concentrated Australian Gris that I have had in a long time.
With Australian Gris like this hitting the fridge for around the same price as Shaw and Smith Sauvignon Blanc, it may just be time to get out of our heads, and move our hearts over to something new. This is not like going and buying a beverage, your participating in an experience, visiting a terroir, seeing someone else’s vision, not just drinking 0.750 litre’s out of a 65,000 litre thermo tank with fermentation temperature stabilising bromide strips. This is all going to happen one bottle at a time, one fridge at a time, and in the words of a most likely as successful change making campaign, “Yes We Can!”
So, do you come to this fridge often? I’ve been here for a while, are you interested?
7.0 / 10 Sipps