Swartland South Africa. 13%.

A slight change in method. I usually open bottles and pour liberally throughout the night, tasting and eating along the way. Until I run out of argon canisters I plan to use my Coravin to taste an equal amount while drinking far less. I'll post my tasting notes and periodically add comments as I revisit.

On the right a Coravin punctured cork which some moments later has started to bleed. The cork wound has not sealed, not helped by my curiosity, I inverted the bottle to check and few minutes later I found a drop of wine pushed to the surface.

Day 1. Whole bunches. Spiced and bright; black pepper, a hint of leather and something meaty and bleeding. Quick and tart, it's quite forward and grainy, the finish shorter and more truncated than expected.

Wax and pollen, citrus blossom and acacia. . . I feel like a bee. It's evocative and bright and completely primary. A moment of softness and an echo of sweetness, but mostly it's tight and lean, with a gentle curve. It's cool but smoother than I had excepted, I thought there might be more edge and steel to the acidity, instead something turned and delicate.

Pomegranate. South Australia. Those in a hurry suggest cutting a pomegranate through the equator and then striking repeatedly with a wooden spoon or rolling pin. It is effective but without joy. Peeling and breaking the fruit into segments gives so much more satisfaction. . .

2008 Ata Rangi Pinot noir. I can't remember any previous Rangis being so smoke and ham flavoured. It's leafy and complicated, smouldering and it reminds me most of a piece of speck - spiced, smoked and piggy.

The cheapest and most overt of the three Vini Viti Vinci wines I purchased. I've impressionable children at home and so over dinner I drank the wine with the label covered. . .

It's an excellent wine, especially given the $A40 price tag. Sharp and supple, indecently delicious. . . Pips and raspberries on the nose, its slippery - stem and spice, a hint of animal and juniper. . . if it's possible this like its sibling smells fast and bright.

I love the story behind this soup, seven virgins each with their own pot containing seven ingredients meeting once each year, on the first of May, to combine everything into a soup that blends the essentials of winter (dried beans) and the freshness of spring.

I used a single large pot and far fewer ingredients, though I still ended up with close to six litres of soup. The starting point is a thick slice (150-200g) of speck cut into cubes and fried in olive oil.

Dusty and hard. Cherry and prune, it's quite seductive in scent, shellac, polish and almond meal, much latter leaf and glue. . . It's direct and gripping, muscular and tight with a black tea finish. Non estate fruit from Wilyabrup and a modest price tag ($35). I found it entirely convincing - the weight, tannins and finish in particular.

I've been listening to the same piece of classical music, performed years apart by two different orchestras and violinists, Perlman and Tognetti, the contrast is telling and stark. The more modern and Australian is vibrant and edgy, it's as if the the grime has been rubbed away and all is bright, new and sharp. One quivers with energy, the other is sedate and proper, dull.

The wine too is fast and nervy, there's a pulse and quiver which I find hard to resist.

One of the least sexually suggestive Vini Viti Vinci labels, though perhaps I'm missing something. . .

11%. Pinot noir. Approx $A52.

It's a beautiful wine - fragrant and light, more nose than body. Floral with whole bunches, it's toothsome and delicious; a very different, arguably incomplete, interpretation of pinot noir.

Stem and sap, root and petal. it's very appealing, attractive and chewy. The nose in particular is wonderful - evocative and fresh, primary and bright.

A more complete version at an old favourite. Three or four beets, peeled, segmented and then roasted till pyknotic (90 minutes at 180 C, toss the beets in a teaspoon of crushed cumin seeds, olive oil and salt), three oranges cut into segments, a large handful of garden herbs and walnuts and pecans. This time the nuts have been candied - a cup of nuts, a quarter cup of sugar and a large tablespoon of butter. All into a pan and then heated and stirred till a caramel forms and coats everything.

In my initial haste some misunderstanding, though I was impressed. . .

At first - it's clearly tart and mineral, gripping and green edged. . . I've scribbled fruit tingles, but of course it is as far from such childhood memories as possible. It's brilliant and sharp, mouthwatering and impressively austere.

The first impressions were rushed and I had the distraction of poorly matched food (A North Western Chinese steam boat), children and the residual buzz of my last cup of coffee.
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