I took this photo earlier in the year, when the days were longer and warmer. Yallingup, heading south along Smiths beach, Canal rocks in the distance. I was just about to walk into a swarm of sandflies. . .

Carcinogenic salt fish, my childhood was sporadically dotted with meals featuring it and my memory is replete with images of my grandmother curing the fish, it's something even now I enjoy, but with ever increasing intervals. I stir fried some Tuscan kale with the pulled meat of the pictured fish and a few cloves of chopped garlic; the memory of the saltiness and rich meatiness will linger, which is fortunate as I'm not sure when if ever I will eat more. . .

The 2011 edition was Shiraz dominant, while this is mostly Pinot noir. Again the stems and whole bunches are notable, but this seems less on edge and more enticing. Cherry and stems, a low grade smoulder and a hint of acetone. . . Tart, lean and quite delicious. . . it's clean, bright and svelte, in profile pip and stem flavoured, the stalky tannins giving definition and shape. yes.


The first wine I've tried from this new producer, and also the first West Australian traminer I can recall tasting. It's very convincing. Lychee and tropical fruit, spice, perfume and rose petals. It's floral and expectedly exotic. Sweet and fleshy, lychee and nectar, but with a redeeming crunch to offset the grip and musk. Yes.

Invisible from the street, a modern day den at the base of Jacob's ladder. The ceiling is low, patterned with hexagons, and once inside you feel disconnected and removed. It's like a bomb shelter with Cantonese food, thankfully there's a bar and the option to BYOB. We had pre ordered a family favourite. Eight treasure duck. . . I think it's been more than a decade since we last shared one. It's a spectacle and comfort; a plump, mostly deboned duck, swimming in sauce, stuffed with treasure.

aka rooted. . .

Tamar Ridge Pinot noir 2002. Mature. Blinded, I thought this was a Seppelt Gt Western. . . Saddle and leather, ginger spice. Round, full (14.5%) and bold. Surely a shiraz. . . Hide and meat in the mouth, it's firm but fine. Soon.

Cocotte of radish. Take 8 or 9 radishes, scrub away the earth and trim the roots and stalks. Toss into a pot with a tablespoon of butter, a teaspoon of miso and 60mls of water, a few leaves of sage and two sprigs of thyme.

A blend of three, Cabernet being the majority. (13.5%, screwcap, approx $A55). Very pretty to begin, more spice and violet than blackcurrant. It's delicate to open, but in time the shadows and darkness emerge: bay leaf and chocolate, crushed herbs, bramble. . . On the tongue, soft and hard; a sweet core, generosity, meat and granularity, but within the flesh an inky spine of tannin, serious and long.

I've been thinking about Ochota Barrels ever since reading this quote a few weeks ago in the Weekend Australian.

“Music and wine are so connected in so many ways,” says Taras. “I reckon you can often see the styles of music people like in the wines they make. I like edgy music, rawer, sharper, and my wines tend to be all elbows and knees sticking out. Someone else might like folk music, and they make rustic, countryesque wines.

A mostly substance free week; a sip of chardonnay and single cup of coffee to book end the days. At first it was illness (self limiting and mild) and then curiosity. . . I've not stopped thinking about wine, or indeed buying, but it is a drinking pause, and for the moment, I'm in no hurry to move on.

I'm self medicating with soup. . . it's unconscious, but for the last three years I've pictured and sustained myself with the same humble broth.

In red, the Australian - sunburnt and fleshy, giving; and in blue, the French - paler, tighter, sharper, edged. I'm not the first to use pictures instead of words, the limitation of course is that with repetition the scribbled shapes can start to resemble each other and of course there will occasionally be something in a wine, so unexpected, that a new axis is required.