I can't immediately decide which of the twins I prefer. This is clear and crisp, while the other is turbid, cheesy and slightly malodorous. The Cortez, free of additions is the easier to explain, the edges are sharp and distinct, but both wines are revealing in their own way and certainly the sum of the two is greater than the parts.

The scent is hard to transcribe. Wax and acacia, mustard fruit, tangerine and fleetingly (and most likely incorrectly) turmeric root. It's interesting to compare it to the skin contact bottle - they most certainly rhyme and this shines a light on the other. Crunchy and textured, the acids are sappy and green edged - more malic than mineral. . . Yes.

Kooyong Estate Chardonnay 2012. They say there's a tendency for technique and method to trickle down. This is the first entry level chardonnay that I can recall having such a distinct and strong note of curry leaf. . . Peach and smoulder. . . despite the nose - the shape is still round and fleshy with butter scotch and cream. Nose yes, body no.

Voyager Cabernet Merlot 2001. Tasted blind, I assumed this was a Penfolds red from 2002. . . I called it a 389. . .

I pour and apologise at the same time. It's turbid and murky and I suspect my family are taken aback, it looks unfinished, it smells of microbes and glue and my son asks if it is safe for me to drink it. . . I like it, though again I concede that method supersedes soil and grape. It's Chenin blanc, but how can you tell, it's all about the skins - it's cider like with apple, cheese, glue and ginger. . . Quite tart and brisk in the mouth, spiced, fleshy and dry to finish.


It's commonly held that olfaction is a vestigial sense. . . one supporting strand for this argument is that the language we use is weak and imprecise, that there is no specific lexicon for what we smell. The vocabulary for olfaction is invariably tied to something else be it discrete or metaphorical. In contrast colour has it's own language mostly independent of object (though we speak of fire engine red, ocean blue, forest and olive green).

Vin de France. 12.5%. Approx $A35.

Bright with a slightly hard shell. The grapes are from the Ventoux and from what I gather they've been transported to Burgundy for vinification. It's fresh and new in scent - cherry and raspberry and later stems and spice. It's enticingly sour and juicy, but with convincing spice, weight and texture.

A quartet of notes to mark the start of the lunar year. 

Clemens Busch Trocken Riesling 2012. Mosel. 11.5%. Green, mineral and citric. Flint and lime leaf on the nose. It's razor sharp, intense, searing and long. Double tick, red pen.

Stella Bella Chardonnay 2008. Pale gold. Full, creamy and rich, this is quite sweet in the mouth - melon and peach flavours. It's self contained, round and bright. Small single tick, in pencil.

Graillot Healthcote Shiraz 2012.

The Mrs S breakfast platter for $21. I'm satisfied but not entirely convinced that everything belongs on the same plate. The hummus and dukkha are comforting but seem like orphans, while the undisputed star is the poached peach with granola.

The space is mostly as before, but it seems more complete and confident.

A quiet nose, though with a change of glassware and warmth is becomes more evocative, with honeysuckle and musk. Grippy and textured in the mouth - peach, apricot nectar, almond meal, flesh and fat.


A brilliant wine. Citrus and grass, blossom, cordite and powder. All things you might expect from a Hunter Semillon, but this seems more precise, edgy and mineral. Lean, light and yet quite explosive and expansive in the mouth; sappy, salty and electric, it feels wild and windswept and manages to evoke the sea.

I'm not exactly sure how many figs I was given, in my arms, it felt like a large babe, so I'd guess there were at least five kilograms. I looked for the most mangled and split and once I had a kilogram I was ready to make some jam. Stems removed and figs halved for quality control, I added the peel of two lemons and then processed into a sludge (thermomix speed 9, 10 seconds), I added the juice of one and a half lemons, tasted and added some more and then 500 grams of sugar.