SOMETHING WAS revealed about my choice of restaurants, or my friend’s, the other day, when he said he was unfamiliar with “natural wines”.
For a few years, almost everywhere I’ve dined that’s warranted a sommelier has thought its food warranted natural wines.
Defined with appropriate imprecision, natural wines require the least possible intervention from growing to bottling (with only sulphur likely to be added). It is more than organic, since the actual making is also minimal interference, and can often be biodynamic.
In ABC’s Landline coverage of three years ago, Adelaide professor of oenology Vladimir Jiranek lost me by defending added yeast as “only” like using dried bread yeast from the supermarket. Had he never appreciated carefully-made sourdough bread?
Many higher-tech makers are inclined to scoff that natural wines have “faults”, and command undeserved prices, although others appreciate the variety, and satisfying texture.
Before I explain the Aladdin’s cave reference, here’s Anton van Klopper of Lucy Margaux wines in the Adelaide Hills.
What do I think of his wines?
They definitely feel crafted, and made from grapes, which is saying more than might seem, because conventional wine can taste more like, well, wine. These edge a little towards craft beer or cider. Having opened only two bottles so far, I can confirm their deliciousness, which is again saying more than might first appear. They are really nice to drink. Whatever the faults, I failed to notice them (not minding some cloudiness). Whether they would ever reach the sublimity of a great Bordeaux, I am not sure, but, then, old Bordeaux were made more this way.
I should confess how I came by a veritable cave of Lucy Margaux wines. Anton and colleagues are about to open a restaurant a short drive out of Adelaide. It’s called the Summertown Aristologist.
You might be aware that Jennifer Hillier and I used to operate the Uraidla Aristologist, a little further (1.4 kms) up Greenhill Road. Anton recently sent us a box each as a goodwill gesture.
Since I anticipate getting across not long after the new Aristologist’s opening, I shall report further.
One thought on “An Aladdin’s cave”
*LONDON Tuesday, 20/09/16 – *Today, we got to visit Fleet Street. We caught the number 13 bus from Swiss Cottage, alighted at the Aldwych, then caught the 15 (our old Notting Hill bus) down past the law courts, getting off at Temple Bar, the traditional entrepot to the City. Not a skerrick of the old journalistic Fleet Street remains. Nothing, zilch, caput. Of course, the ghosts were there, still haunting The Street of Shame. The Reuters building empty, ditto the /Telegraph/, and saddest of all, the black-glass façade of the /Daily Express/. Behind it, nothing but a fading memory of Beaverbrook and**William Boot, the anti-hero in Waugh’s great novel of Fleet Street, /Scoop/. I glanced down Bouverie Street, where I worked in the News Ltd office, opposite /The Screws of the World/…and then further down into the former Northcliffe/Harmsworth precinct – the /Daily Mail, Daily Sketch, Evening News, /and my own /Weekend/ Magazine, where I slaved away on two stints, in 1965-66 and 1971-74. What memories are there for me. I saw Fleet Street in its prime, before Murdoch and Wapping. So I had to go back, more than 50 years on, to pay my respects. We had lunch at the Bell, which is still the same as I remember it, next to St Brides (“the journalists’ church” – I think Murdoch married one of his several brides there). Opposite they are pulling down the building on the corner of Fleet Street and Ludgate Circus, where the ACP office was from the late 1930s. I saw its demise, too, when I took over the office in 1983. (I tell that story in my /Lifebook/.) What future journalism and newspapers? Are they doomed too? If you read the current UK quality titles – /The Times, Telegraph and Guardian/ – you would have some hope for their future. Unlike Australia, they are changing and adapting to the new digital age. So while the middle-class in England can still read, there is hope. (Quite coincidentally, there was an obit in /The Times/ today of Richard Egan, who was a feature writer on /Weekend/ when I was there. It said he hated working at /Weekend/ and had devoted the rest of his life to becoming the world expert on The Ripper. His real name was Richard Wittington-Egan, but he was always Dickie to us. He disguised his upper-middle-class background, as did many who slummed it in The Street of Shame. Waugh’s Boot was by no means untypical.