As we tilt and turn into summer, it seems an opportune time to head North along the Indian Ocean Drive towards Geraldton and then Kalbarri. I'll be looking left all the way, into the blue and dreaming of all the sharks and the ghosts and their stories. The Batavia and the Sydney resting on the bottom of the ocean and all the gulls, soul birds, aggrieved and squawking.

Schönburger is a pink skinned German grape, the humble child of pinot noir and a much lesser known varietal - pirovano, which in turn is related to muscat of Hamburg. . .

It clear and tinge free; musk and grape skin - a playful, slightly confected nose. Cute, short and a hint of sugar. Momentarily gripping, perfume like in the mouth. Aromatic and fleshy, I remain unmoved.

A fetching couple from vintage 2015.

First Sunshine and Hercules by Brave New Wine, it's in a non riesling bottle making it ideal for fans of blind tasting. It's curious too - dried citrus peel and musk - an olfactory profile quite apart from the norm. Grip and flesh, it holds a line while crackling away with energy and static. Yes. (12.1%, Great Southern WA, approx $A25).

Next the Mayer Syrah. Day 1 - Very spicy in a tight stem ribbed corset; lush and overflowing.

I'm still trying to recreate the magic, this one closer than before. . .

Firstly the rice - a tomato based risotto but cooked like a paella - add all the stock at once and don't stir. Specifically - in a large paella - add 30 grams of butter and fry 4-5 cloves of chopped garlic, after a minute or so add one tin of diced tomatoes (400g), a pinch of saffron and 400g of arborio rice. Mix well to evenly coat the rice and then add 4-5 cups of fish stock (the rice should be well covered).

Something new from Margaret river. . . A vermentino, 11.3%

The scent is quite explosive - pale green for the synesthetes - citrus and grass, wax, acacia, Eden valley like powder. . . it reminds me slightly of a Margaret river sbs, all that grass and citrus. . . Dry, lean and playful in the mouth; zest, salt and grip, grass and cut asparagus.

Image: the anticipated first novel from Jane Harper. For an alternate picture - my earlier instagram post.

A curious McLaren Vale chardonnay - 2008 fruit, matured oxidatively for 8 years under a flor coat; a vin jaune in style and intent. 35 cases, 14.9%, Approx $A55, Cork.

Half glue and half honey pot, nutty and fino like with a terrific salty sting. Zippy, tangy and savoury - the shape, speed and refreshment the surprising thing. Yes.
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My first Sorrenberg wine. . .

90% gamay and the rest pinot noir; as to method - there's a small portion of whole bunches. It grows softer with time, to open there's char and shadow, dust, earth and plum. Supple and sharp and within moments - flesh and creamy softness, though always with rusty edges.
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Geelong, Block F - north facing, close planted by Gary Farr in 1989. 40% whole bunches, 13.3% alcohol.

Pretty - pinot berries, stems and earth, much later spice and small goods. Curiously salty to open, quite frontal, slippery and quick; notable stems giving the finish a slightly rushed crunch. Savoury with sarsaparilla though more truncated than expected.

Something borrowed. . .

A pair of duck breasts - skin lightly scored and rubbed with salt, pan fried - 5-10 minutes of low to medium heat skin side down - to render the fat and to colour and crisp. Then 3-5 minutes meat side down and five minutes to rest before slicing.

A large eggplant - peeled and quartered, steamed for 16 minutes and then sliced.

Time to revisit some idea about terroir. My 2009 scribble is here.

1. One of the bigger ideas in recent times is that we are much more than just human DNA. We are just as much bacteria and yeast, most of which is yet to be catalogued and named. Curiously what we eat, and drink (tea and wine) has an impact on our microbes. (1)

2. A vineyard has its own microbiome, which is in turn affected by the climate and the agricultural practices.
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