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

04 March 2009



Campbells Rutherglen Trebbiano 2008

$17.06; 13% alcohol; screw cap; 92 points

It was 1870 when the current Campbell generation’s great grandfather planted the first Campbell vineyards at Rutherglen. John Campbell thought a vineyard would be a nice little back-up to his gold-prospecting on the neighbouring Bobbie Burns lead. He was a shovel man, you know. Digging was his business. And here we have a bonnie bardie brew of trebbiano and nuthin else, interrupting while I steer a huge nuclear submarine through the melting icebergs. Apart from its silky, syrupy, fruity aromas, these waters for some reason make my grandmother’s cheese scones reappear in the middle of my main screen. Which reminds me of the quote of Isabel Campbell on the family website. “A family winery is not just the wine in the bottle”’ she says, “it’s the soil under your fingernails, it’s storms and spring sunshine, tears and laughter and customers who become family friends.” Once it’s turned the scones back on, twelve years after my beloved Sarah’s death, it pulls out the sunshine, the laughter and the friendship with a homely palate of firm acidity, comfy viscosity, and, dammit, a faint twist of those scones, or a cheese stick. It doesn’t smell or taste like that, but it evokes those party favours. I wonder how that works? It’s much more pears-and-melons than farinaceous: slippery; with a polished silky sheen. Better than pinot gris, which has the slime, but not the fruits. And highly successful with the shiitake risotto tart I just removed from the oven, which explains the faint cheese and pastry. Duh! In Italy, trebbiano makes up about a third of some Soave whites, the rest of the blend being garganega. In Cognac, and Armagnac, where it’s ugni blanc, it replaced the superior folle blanche, which fell to phylloxera. To make heaps of money in the brandy business, you need high-yielding, tough-skinned, high-acid white grapes. Like colombard and trebbiano. And with a gold rush and everything, it would have seemed a bit silly, a Rutherglen winery not running something along the lines of well, you know. Distillation. Grappa. There’s more trebbi, of an uncounted array of sports and mutations, in Italy than there is sangiovese, by Jove! But hey, everybody, this is good wine. It reminds me of grüner veltliner, which I don’t have any of in the oven. But when you think of it, grüner’s only a long walk away, over the Alps to your north-east. Wachau. But that’s not Rutherglen is it. No. And this isn’t a nuclear submarine. It’s me. 03 MAR 09

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