there are some new reviews oozing though here, but we're not deckin em up all pretty til we work out an otherwise unborn style for this sleazy rube we call drankster


that's a George Grainger Aldridge cartoon ... obviously a pre-screwcap man

08 March 2009


Cullen Mangan Margaret River Malbec Petit Verdot Merlot 2007
$45; 14.5% alcohol; screw cap; 94+++ points
Vanya Cullen's press release lists the components of this wine as 31% merlot, 37% malbec, and 32% petit verdot, in that order. The back label says merlot, petit verdot, and then malbec. This is a good indicator of how dumb the market is about varieties: malbec is not excellent. It is even less excellent in the mind of the lumpen hordes than the swillious merlot, which by dumb, disrespectful winemaking and marketing, America turned into mellow swill, then with one dim movie, rendered complete swill in the minds of the masses so even the great merlots, which have become increasingly few, were in deep image shit. It's not poor old merlot's fault. America should align all its old merlot to the berk the Pakis derisively remember as Georgiabush and get on with making and promoting good new ones, like the Jacques Lurton cheapy from Bordeaux you'll find in the, well, it's actually in the, er merlot section of DRANKSTER. Petit verdot means even less than either merlot or malbec. I don't blame Vanya for her indecision; the temptation to leave all varieties off the label must have been huge, because there's no buzzwords there. But, lovely reader, the buzz is where it belongs: in the bottle. And I'm recommending that very soon it should be in YOU. This is tight, black railway line wine. It smells like gravel ballast that's absorbed a million kilometres of late Amtrak trains. It smells like a gun cupboard; like the inside of a safe. It's impenetrable. So it's not mellow, right? Anybody who remembers the lovely straight malbecs that Merv and Jude Lange first made at Alkoomi in the late seventies will understand what I mean about this. Anybody fortunate enough to taste the barrels of straight malbec at Frankland Estate before the blending of the magnificent Olmo's Reward will know, as will anyone whose ever tasted straight malbecs from barrel at that dour temple of magnificent blackness, Wendouree. So, forgiving Vanya for not putting malbec first on her list, let's approach her wine afresh. Well, it's black and intense and smells like a train ... oh? Bin there? Drink a big slug of the bastard, and it doesn't taste like a train. It tastes as slick and dense and black and mysterious as the Devil would taste if you met him on a train. It's simply overwhelmingly delicious mysterious wine as shiny and eternal as a Schorl six-membered ring silicate, which is the black flecks in granite. And granite's radioactive, so keep an eye out. You might need it later. Oh, I forgot to mention the sweetness. This wine, after all that, tastes remarkably sweet. In fact, it's just friggin gorgeous wine, so jump to and never say I didn't warn you. Just remember: the Devil is on this train. This wine is unbashedly, incontrovertably sinful. And it's got petit verdot in it, which is another variety I really like, and, Jeez! Some merlot! You little trimmer! Don't tell Argentina! Red light on behind. 06 MAR 09

The Islander Estate Vineyards Majestic Plough Kangaroo Island Malbec 2005
$43; 14.5% alcohol; screw cap; 92++ points
When Colonel William Light drew his Rapid into Yatagolanaa, which he promptly renamed Rapid Bay, on 8 September 1836, he had his gardener, William Lawes, plant a garden of greens there to hold off the scurvy on their long return voyage to Britain. This garden included watercress, which you can still pick in the creek behind the little church in the gully below Delamere. It’s the most vividly peppery watercress I know. This Jacques Lurton wine reminds me of that cress: amongst the vivid compote of prune, beetroot, blackberry and fig in its bouquet, there’s a garden of chicory, rocket, and that peppery cress. The palate’s immediately plush and comforting, then the fine, insinuative tannins indicated in the bouquet draw the whole thing out to a long, beautifully-balanced finish. 10 OCT 98

Bodega Norton Reserva Mendoza Malbec 2005
$14; 145 alcohol; cork(!); 89+ points
Argentina so dumbly and thoroughly raided all my Sheltie and Orca mates in the Falklands that it took Maggie the Hen to send the Pom navy down with one of the Windsor lads and mince ’em, but I don’t even think of any of that while I drink this Argie malbec, hand-picked from 80 year old vines at 1000 metres, aged in real barrels for eight months and sent all the way out here for what? $14? Gotcha! Carbon, swarf, gun blue and saltpetre add their cold military sheen to the sweet prune fruit; the balance of acidity and flesh is a lesson to all of us. One whole pink lamb, please, juicy. Vintage Cellars.

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