a r c h
2 0 0 3
If you would like
to be included
drop us a line at:
a printable version of this newsletter
we not wean'd 'til then?
suck'd on country pleasures, childishly? ”
The Good Morrow
ranged from settling twelve new weaner Aberdeen Angus cattle to making
an idiot of myself on national television as the Singing Chef (capitals
deserved) with Sami Lukis, Channel Nine’s shapely weather girl; not
as shapely as the model who posed for the Nude Food and Wine segment of
whom viewers and yours truly saw the back ‘though that was enough - a
Roberts’ canvass, thick with mist and bush flavour - yet not an
one would try during a Granite Belt winter (one of the longest
I have ever attempted in a newsletter and surprising that the grammar
has not cacked it. Oh, there it goes.)
quality of mercy is not strain’d.
droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven”
The Merchant of Venice
got an inch of rain in half an hour the other day when this missive
and another 11mm in the following six hours. This was welcome, as you
imagine, for while those to the north, west, east and south got
the Granite Belt, until now, had scored eight millimetres in a
just enough to put our whites in peril of botrytis, otherwise known as
bunch rot. We have checked since and thus far they are clear.
at 13 Baume a week ago and green, has not increased sugar content but
less green. Interestingly, it is picking up the fig aromas that
our 2002 Chardonnay (mental pictures of that model for some reason).
the vagaries of the weather we think we shall do a test again on Friday
and almost certainly pick on Tuesday, February 18.
Justice, with her lifted scale,
in nice balance, truth with gold she weighs,
solid pudding against empty praise.”
Pope, The Dunciad
thing that could spike the pudding is that if we do get the dreaded
and have to spray to kill it, then we will not pick the Chardonnay for
a Vintage Banquet last Saturday night. In addition to the food (menu at:
a vertical tasting of all of our Beverley Chardonnays, including the
of which just 300 bottles were made.
also tasted side by side all three 2000 vintage reds, two of which won
trophies and gold medals. The 2000 Republic Red, a Cab Sav Shiraz blend
that was never entered in any competitions and, thus, won no medals,
beautifully and was a match for the Upper House Cab Sav and the Black
Shiraz. If anyone has any of the 2000 Rep Red left in cellar, save it
a special occasion.
up and see me sometime.”
West, Diamond ‘Lil
brothers attended as did Dave and Judy Thorburn, the Cross family and
and Beverley Ryan who have stayed at our cottages a number of times.
Courier Mail’s wine writer Mike Frost came with his wife Denise who
to write a Mills and Boon novel based on the WGW newsletters. “Good
I responded, gazing into her onyx eyes, spellbound by her dazzling
Imperceptibly, she moved towards me and I caught my breath… Well, you
Mike and Denise the night before at the First Sip function in the new
air Stanthorpe Piazza to launch both the two week Granite Belt Food
Wine Affair and the new Granite Belt Wine Dozens in one of which our
Upper House Cab Sav is included. There was a bit of country pageantry
speeches through a scratchy microphone (testing twooo, twooo, twooo).
and Andrew Corrigan (MW) spoke well and briefly about wine matters and
most people drank too much.
is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
always remind me of what a rotten little borough the Granite Belt can
when left to unscrutinised devices. It is amusing to observe except
from time to time, by-standing innocents get hurt. The local council’s
political philosophy is rooted in the Country Party’s agrarian
of last century and lots of things get done or don’t get done on nods
winks. Politics here has an arrogance of which the participants appear
blissfully unaware; it is about making ends justify means. The latest
involves selling sewerage outfall to one of the district’s largest
growers who happens to operate north of town and, thus, uphill of
treatment plant. Consequently ratepayers are subsidising the
pumping costs. If they had piped it to downhill farms the shire could
turned a tidy profit.
election time a donkey could get up as long as it was the incumbent
It is titillating to watch the ebb and flow of political allegiances –
they appear as undercurrents at these formal functions and establish
that Aprille with his shoures sote
droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote."
councillor (more pecked than pecking) who is also a moderately
vegetable grower and not a bad bloke, has always been dismissive of my
water supply which is underground and, thus, invisible to the naked
unlike his extensive dam. “How’s that little well of yours going?” he
somewhat patronisingly, I thought, so I said: “How’s your big dam?”
empty,” he said. “Well, my little well isn’t.”
I digress. My favourite councillor thanked me for my newsletters that
but I don’t think she actually reads them. This should flush it out one
way or the other. Anyway, it was a lovely night.
Frost had a great idea. I told her and Mike that I was concerned about
the Block 5 Cab Sav – it has been a tough year for young vines and the
fruit is suffering - I suggested that if it was not up to scratch we
bulk it up and sell it off in carboys. “Why don’t you make a
Denise chimed in. It is a splendid idea and I think we may do that. We
shall call it Frosty’s Rosé and, as Mike suggested, we will put
it in a frosted bottle. Chill before serving, perhaps?
a ravenous horde"
tasting some lovely wines, including Alex Harslett’s new Fox Bar Faces
Cab Sav Merlot, we trooped off to the art gallery for the opening of a
new show and drank (for free!) Mark Ravenscroft’s superb 1999 Raven
present: we have had an excellent response from pluckers and are in
of being over subscribed for the Chardonnay harvest. With about three
on the vines, we shall need six bodies in addition to yours truly and
Cutuli, the vineyard manager. Certain starters are Iain and Peter
Derek Churchill is a probable; possibles are Tony Bilbrough, John and
van Pelt; plus Roger Jeffries has nominated himself, Griff Hodges and
Bladwell has threatened to bring a nubile Brazilian Rotary Exchange
along. I suggested he save her for Carnivale in the Cab Sav.
have to rationalise the pluckers somehow (rationalising pluckers sounds
as unconvincing as military intelligence). We shall sort it out at the
Beefsteak and Burgundy luncheon on Thursday.
will be at least four separate picks this year, so there will be plenty
come to pluck your berries harsh and crude”
Sad to say
that if we do need extras, Charlotte and Elin, our Swedish backpackers,
are now unavailable, having returned to Stockholm. Sami is unavoidably
detained by a warm front and the model was so unutterably beautiful I
to ask her name. However, a couple of likely lasses from Cheshire in
UK called around the other day and, naturally, I accepted their mobile
number as television personalities do.
she moved towards him. “I think,” he thought, “she is going to kiss
The luminous, fleshy lips held him spellbound. They came ever closer.
heart thumped and a lump formed in his throat. He could feel her warm
on his cheek. She whiskered huskily: “We’re crossing live in two
and your fly is undone, bozo.” It was, he would later ruefully reflect,
one of morning television’s finest moments.