Thursday, September 8, 2011

Oh You (Tasmanian) Devil!

Who steals a bottle of Tasmanian Pinot Noir from a hotel room? Take an iPad or a MacBook Air or a Cannon digital SLR or diamond bracelets or an elegant pair of Jimmy Choo's. Hell, if your bed feels empty on weekends and you come across the room of a kinky duo on their honeymoon, snatch their dildo, feathered handcuffs and candy g-strings. You know, really make it worth the risk of possibly getting caught red-handed rummaging through your guests' closet and luggage like a desperate raccoon scavenging through a garbage dump being engorged by flames. The bottle wasn't worth more than €25 so, unless you need a healthy serving of alcohol while on duty or breed Pinot-guzzling Tasmanian devils in your backyard, you were better off leaving with The Wife, Ph.D.'s woven grey Uggs and my parents' cherished organic muesli. Next time, though, at least have the courtesy of properly vacuuming the suite.

And I was so ecstatic walking back from East Brunswick to Fitzroy lugging the bottles of 2010 Sharmans Riesling and 2009 Josef Chromy Pinot Noir recommended to me by the fine chaps at Blackhearts & Sparrows on Lygon Street. One night, I hoped to show my parents, Mrs. Broken Record and Mr. Flog, how my career has unraveled and become a mockery of proper wine journalism. Share a glass or two with my brother, a role model of sorts, and his family. Slobber all over The Wife, Ph.D., as I recite my tasting notes for the last bottle of the night and mistakenly sense a hint of lentil puree, leek-infused olive oil and lip-numbing chorizo in a dessert wine. Wake up the next morning after a difficult night at work with a headache the size of Kim Kardashian's bikini bottom. Alas, I had to make up for the stolen bottle by visiting more wine shops and digging abysmally deep into our savings account just to bankroll this devil of a post.

First stop, King & Godfree on Lygon Street where I asked another fine chap about Tasmanian Pinots. "To be honest with you," he said, "I am not all that impressed by Tasmanian Pinot Noirs. They still have a lot of work to do. If you want a Tasmanian wine, I personally prefer their Rieslings, Pinot Gris and sparkling wines." Given his reticence, I purchased a lauded bottle of Hunter Valley Semillon, which, granted, is irrelevant to Tasmania but who's keeping score, right?

You see the resemblance, don't you?
Next stop, Sydney. What a beautiful city, specially as seen from the roof of the Overseas Passenger Terminal in The Rocks. Pictures don't do it justice. The wondrous beast that is Harbour Bridge, a ridged metallic star rising from the bay on one side, and the Sydney Opera House with its asymmetrical roof like a regal albino iguana's scales before you. After the infinity of bays you stumble upon in Rio de Janeiro, Port Jackson is probably the most magnificent one I have ever laid my eyes on. So with Whine On The Rocks at The Rocks and both The Wife, Ph.D., and yours truly in high spirits, we set off on our mission to end our Tasmanian nightmare. First evening, one of the best pork chops I've ever tasted (Esk River pork cutlet, toulouse sausage, pencil leeks, kipfler potato, tapenade) and a glass of a Tasmanian Botrytis Riesling for dessert at Pony Lounge and Dining. Second evening, 300 grams of the Slow Roast Sher F1 Wagyu Standing Rib at The Cut Bar & Grill with a side of onion rings and brussel sprouts tossed with pancetta and roasted hazelnuts, which that night in bed felt like a Sumo wrestler doing the cannonball off a trampoline straight into my stomach. We poorly matched our meal with the (finally!) Tasmanian Pinot Noir I was encouraged forced to order for the sake of my readership. Yep, guys, feel free to twist my arm but don't you dare steal my vino.


2010 Sharmans Riesling, Glenbothy Vineyard, Relbia, Tasmania, Australia - On the nose, pineapple, peach and citrus with a hint of honey and warm bread. Starts off rather empty but ends with sweet, fruity flavors. Off-dry and could have benefited from greater acidity. 87/100.

2005 Tyrrell's Wines Semillon, Single Vineyard HVD, Hunter Valley, Australia - Wonderful bouquet of honey, cantaloupe, citrus and white flowers. Pears, banana on the mid-palate and an enticing nutty finish. Easily, the best wine of the trip. 90/100.

2010 Stoney Rise Pinot Noir, Tamar Valley, Tasmania, Australia - Dark berries, mulch, coffee and an intriguing spicy beef on the bouquet. Red fruit and a meaty characteristic through the mid-palate with some hints of dark chocolate and mocha. Dies down towards the end. 88/100.

2009 Josef Chromy Botrytis Riesling, Relbia, Tasmania, Australia - Rubber, mango, pears and dried dates with a touch of brown spice. On the mouth, tropical fruits and a wonderful bitter orange finish. Medium body, good acidity, delicious. I could have consumed a bottle alone. 89/100.

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