Lake Breeze “Bernoota” Shiraz Cabernet 2010 – Death of a Salesman

Lake Breeze “Bernoota” Shiraz Cabernet 2010Well it’s that time to get the ‘Bat-phone’ out once again, “What phone? Where is Robin?”, well Robin isn’t coming, and neither is this months commission cheque, but for those of my fellow kin, the in between job mobile is mandatory field equipment. You see we don’t really have our own number, well most of us anyway, and very much the most of us that like the idea, and ability to disappear when required. If you have CV like mine that resembles a frequent flyers passport, you too would consider it good idea as well. Sales people are a transient bunch, staying long enough to be effective, but not too long to overstay our welcome, or problems. “Fish and friends”, only keep for three days I have been told, well in my line of work the three days equates roughly to 18 months, get in there, smile, make lasting relationships, and get out before the burn. Manipulation with a paycheck attached, only this time dinner is not coming out of your bank account, and closing the deal will actually make you respect yourself more in the morning.

You could all start to feel jaded, all of these people walking between you, hiding in plain sight, but you would notice our absence more, Pepsi would be more popular than Coke, Eskimos all of a sudden wouldn’t have any spare Ice, and well in the wine industries case “Just what the frack?!”, happened to Shiraz Cabernet Blends. Possibly Australia’s greatest contribution to the International Wine Industry, behind arguably our fortified wines from Rutherglen, no one is mad enough to do it elsewhere, not the French, the Yanks, and well the New Zealanders just haven’t got around to copying it yet, though it would actually require getting both varieties ripe. Only here does the regal Cabernet from Bordeaux, get paired with the queen of the Rhone Valley, this style was first pioneered by Yalumba very early on in the piece, is typically Australian in that no one knows about it, and fewer of us drink it, so hold onto my hand, we are off to meet the grand daddy of Australian Vino production.

Lake Breeze “Bernoota” Shiraz Cabernet 2010

So why such an indecent proposal of courting Shiraz with Cabernet Sauvignon, well Wine Tasting 101 is in session, putting these two together just makes sense, a bit like the wing tipped keel. Cabernet Sauvignon leaves the palate with a hollow doughnut in the middle, sticking to the front back, and sides. In Bordeaux this ‘hole’ is filled by one of the other four noble grapes, Merlot / Petit Verdot / Malbec / Cabernet Franc, at the dawn of our wine industry we were a tad light on these. Shiraz on the other hand but we had buckets of. Rhone’s Shiraz gives great middle palate weight and feel, one variety strong were the other is weak, a marriage made in heaven, or at least the genie in the bottle. I’m a big fan of Langhorne Creek wines, the region is a bit like McLaren Vale on steroids, velvet hammer Shiraz, with Coonawarra like cigar box Cabernets, and this wine is a great mix of both.

I’m looking at a four year old wine here in the glass, and the colour is bursting out, deep hues of purple that would make a Shiraz Viognier blush. The nose brings exquisite spices, cinnamon, aniseed, and the usual pepper, hiding behind this is the slight veg-ital tones of the Cabernet, highlighted by the a-fore mentioned cigar, and leather notes. The power on the palate has to be experienced, deep and viscous, delicate but thorough, she is not big for the sake of it like a Barossa Shiraz. This wine carries the weight with the intertwined structure of the Shiraz and Cabernet, a sumptuous dance by the two varieties. Find this vintage, and a decanter, pound for pound I would like to see you top this wine for the under $25 it costs, period.

So we lost her, hiding in plain sight, might just be found in the last place you look?

8 / 10 Sipps
$24-28 RRP


Marlborough Sounds Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – The Desolation of Bored

Space, it’s meant to be good for inner peace, finding ones center, perspective on life, the universe and everything. That being said too much inward reflection can be odious for ones health, it’s far easier to consider ones place in the outside world, then to consider the place within yourself. Paint it anyway that you like looking into the mirror tells you far more than you really want to know, or have the capacity to do anything about. Reflection, I for one think that this must have been made up by some reclusive introverted numpties, for while I can only speak for myself, it is the lifestyle equivalent of running fingernails down a chalk board, or in my case handling cotton wool balls, strange I know but true.

Now I like to keep busy. I write this, cycle, motorcycle, run, well anything really that results in not sitting still, result of an overactive childhood? I’m not sure really, most of what I can remember was spent hitting hockey balls up against a wire fence down at the local park in a vain attempt to escape household chores, under the guise of improving youthful sporting prowess. Today though I am pensive, something was messing with my chi, there was an itch to be scratched, something that should have been taken care of a long time ago. I didn’t go to Bearded Wine Man (BWM), I didn’t want him implicated in any potential fallout, this was code rouge. I walked into Dans, went to the fridge and picked out the second finest Woolworths created brand of  Sauvignon Blanc, not because I was in any way interested, but because it was time to expose her for just what was masquerading as a wine inside the bottle under my arm.

Marlborough Sounds Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Relax, but this might sting just a little, while you haven’t been lied to simply because most of you didn’t ask a question, the story behind what can only be the industrial military complex of the wine world may hurt a bit. The Cliffs-notes version of events are as follows, figuring they have a similar climate to Loire Valley in France, our New Zealand cousins plant Sauvignon Blanc, it grows well, well more than well, it crops like a nothing they have seen before. In Marlborough toward the western side they can barely contain its vigor, with tropical passion-fruit flavours in abundance, to the east, its the pungent pea pod flavours we have come to know. Unlike New Zealand fauna the only natural predator is frost, (helicopters later fixed this). It’s relatively cheap to grow, cheap to make as there is none of this nasty expensive french oak involved, and you can sell it for a reasonable price. It’s not long before the French arrive, knowing a good colonial investment when they see one, and also knowing no-one was going to shoot at them this time, they purchased Montana Wines, and it works.

Now everyone wants a piece, and our dear friends Coles and Woolworths are right on cue with other large multinational wine companies, looking to price fix the production volume by the litre, ( not by tonne),  and control the grape wholesale market. All the while screwing over local growers on price, thus forcing them out due to cost overruns, and then buying more vineyards off them. Not surprisingly the process cycles through again. Circa 2014 we are now seeing grape juice shipped overseas in large tanks, thus robbing local New Zealand industries of the profits, and the jobs of wine marking, bottling production, and logistics, want to find some boats to stop, easy pickings here.

It may be time for both Coles and Woolworths wine buyers to start, much like the fashion, food production, and mining industries to become accountable for the implications of there their purchasing decisions, or see their own hubris catch up with them. You can always vote with your hands, and visit an independent liquor store, and purchase something not on this list. As you may of guessed not actually going to review this wine as I’ve tipped it down the toilet, fitting really, hopefully it will find some goldfish, and make them happy before they meet their maker.

I’m going downstairs to make myself a gin and tonic , and contemplate just where, and when, it all went so terribly wrong, maybe you should too.

N/A Sipps
$14 RRP

Who Makes My Wine?