We popped into our local MMI yesterday. (Actually, no-one has 'popped' into Ibn Battuta MMI, House of Prose, Sasha Beauty Salon or any of the other units on the outside of 'Andalucia' for months, not since the outdoor carpark was converted into a large hole in the ground and construction began on Ibn Battuta Gate. (Gate? Who knows?).
Since that time, you either walk (always fun at over 30 degrees with bonus fun humidity); or insert your vehicle very carefully between the other, parked, vehicles, and the fence; and crawl forward maintaining a steady 2cm on either side, and then proceed to turn right at the blind right-angle turn into what's left of the carpark, sincerely hoping that there isn't someone about to turn left onto your front bumper. Not many drivers use their mobiles on that stretch!
While Habibi was buying some beer, I was browsing the red wine shelves. We usually buy a box of Coolabah Dry Red, because I enjoy a glass of red in the evening, but can't handle more than one unless it's the weekend and I'm staying up late. (My sister famously gets completely puddled on one glass of wine!)
Anyway, (Tangent alert: going back a fortnight now.) anyway, since I've never developed a taste for beer or lager, Habibi bought a bottle of Sunrise Merlot a couple of weeks ago, to take to our friends' place to watch the England Paraguay match. I like Merlot, but this was something else: raspberries, blackberries and chocolate, and smooooooth as a dream. I'm telling you!
Usually, I don't understand all those descriptions on the back label, but this. Hmmmmm. I remember that I was distracted at virtually every sip of this miraculous stuff. Sunrise Merlot - it's Chilean - they also do a Shiraz and a Chardonnay, neither of which I've tasted, and the label is plain golden yellow. I have to say that the second bottle we bought (England v. Trinidad & Tobago!) was pleasant, but not extraordinary, so they may be from different batches. Still, worth tasting glory even once!
So I was browsing the red wine shelves yesterday! And saw these. Do you remember when wine was Deeply Serious, with the exception of Liebfraumilch, Mateus Rose and Spanish Plonk? Back then, there were those who Knew Their Wines; and then there were the rest of us, who hoped for the best at the off-licence on the way to dinner with friends, or read the mystifying little cards on the supermarket shelves (Oak notes! Woody! Tar!) before grabbing some vin de table because it was safe and inexpensive. Wine is much more fun nowadays. So here are the labels, and links to growers or sellers. And if anything appeals, you can pop into MMI at Ibn Battuta!
This is on the label of the Simon Gilbert Cabernet Merlot. This is a very sexy website, and I suggest you take a look.
Damn! Just lost the Cudgee Creek label with its cute frog, and can't get it back! The Chardonnay is described by one seller thus: "Great Value! The wine maintains a fresh palate this is well rounded, with perfect balance of flavors.." It's from a small vineyard in the 'Murray Darling' region. I know a man called Murray....
Here's a page of other interesting Australian labels to delight your eyes. This is from a Swiss personal site featuring 'hundreds of nice wine labels from all over the world'. I'd look further, but I have to get off this machine some time today!
It's ironic that Australian Aborigines a) can't metabolise alcohol properly, b) don't own vineyards - I may be mistaken about (a) but I'm pretty darn sure about (b) - and c) having been relieved of their old ways, and generally failed to adapt to the new, remain marginalised in their own country; yet so many of these labels are aboriginal-inspired. It's understandable though: Australia takes on the Old World to produce the wines the Old World produces. Fab wines aren't enough - at least, not until we know they're there! - so there has to be some assertive and canny marketing. What are the Australian icons, for us foreigners -sorry - the export market!? I think of kangaroos, koalas, Sydney Opera House, Ned Kelly, Ayers Rock, Aborigines, and Crocodile Dundee. On balance - I think I'd go for the unique, and instantly recognisable aboriginal art.
The Swiss collection contains a beautiful Jindalee label, but look at the Jindalee site - really - go now! The home page says, 'Jindalee Estate - a little wild'. If you never hear from me again, it's because I've doctored my passport to lose a decade for Oz immigration, or stowed away with Qangaroo Air, and gone off to work with these people!
Two from Cumulus Wines (Oz again): 'Climbing' Cabernet Sauvignon, and 'Rolling' Cabernet Merlot.
Blurb for your pleasure:
"Cumulus Wines grow and make wines of elegance and power from this cool climate, high altitude region. ................. Climbing (Orange) represents the altitude of the Orange region with character and life. In its continual quest for adventure, Climbing stands confidently in its individuality, showcasing a premium yet accessible range of elegant wines................. Rolling Wines are sourced from the Central Ranges region of the vineyard. The continual cool temperatures coupled with high-land sunshine gives the fruit incredible colour and vibrant flavours. "
And the handsome Mad Fish Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot label. How evocative is this name of the rich, sensual pleasures of the grape.........
The website says, "MadFish wines are pure, fresh and clean in which the flavour of the fruit is the primary character."
And if you want to know more, click HERE!
OK. That was fun.
For some reason, I can't load pics of Goats du Roam (Paarl Valley, South Africa), Papio (Californian - another fun site - I now know that Papio means baboon, by the way.) and Massaya (Lebanon). Maybe another day. By the way, I have actually drunk GdR, and it's good!