I've feasted several times at Lalla Rookh, but it's only now that I've visited their wonderful wine store. Off St Georges Terrace, a tiny room with two walls lined with curious and geeky bottles (the previous 3 bottles for instance). This was the first bottle I saw, I was attracted to the Great wave of Kanagawa, I had no idea then what cyprine referred to.

The wildness and funk is greatest at the beginning; unfiltered and diam sealed this is golden and provocative. A bruised apple and blue cheese, it's tart and cidre like, nutty, oxidative, salty, wild and for a moment full of life and vigour. If a wine could have umami, this is it. . . tangly, delicious, tense and close to the edge.

Leafy and autumnal; wilted rose petals, bay leaf and for a moment aniseed. It's meaty and reassuringly familiar. Well paced, unforced, a light to medium body and the obligatory dry finish. Tobacco with caramel edges, but no sweetness. Yes.

13%. $A55. Diam and a stumpy bottle.

The first day of Spring and the obligatory asparagus post. The formula and method for the dough can be found here. Once the base has been dusted and rolled add a handful of grated yellow mozzarella then a tablespoon of chopped chives and parsley stems and then cover this with a scattering of goats cheese (about 70-80 grams for the pictured pizza). Add the spears of asparagus (skinny and so quick to cook, if large and thick - split lengthwise) and a few slices of finely cut red shallots.

Smudged and savoury. 90% Nebbiolo from the top and middle of the Italian thigh, not far from the Swiss border. Thyme and marjoram, meat and rust. . . On the tongue - tobacco leaf, soft leather and very fine but firm tannins.

What a curious and exceptional wine. An old vine gamay from the Northern Rhone; whole bunches, bright, sharp and beautiful, sealed with a black plastic slug. . . I've seen plastic corks before, but never one like this, it has a squishy foam core and an outer shell of plastic. Presumably it's less prone to shrinkage.

Unfiltered and unfettered. Expressive, sappy, stems and spice, thyme and red berries. Edgy and slightly nervous, pert, pips and more grip than I had expected.

The last Grüner, Australian rather than Austrian seemed hollow and misshapen and I wondered if I was being too critical and so wanted to try something archetypal for calibration.

The Nigl is breathtaking. An evocative nose - tropical, pineapple almost; slate and white flowers, pollen and white pepper. Searing and intense - attention seeking, sleek, hard and edgy. Mineral. It still seems entirely primary, an unfinished sculpture, jagged and frozen in time.
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A blog slow down of sorts. . . hopefully it's only seasonal, a winter pause before the promise of spring.

Temple Bruer Cinsault #3 2014. My magpie brain couldn't resist this one, though it has been gathering dust ever since I bought it. Such is the dichotomy between desire and reality. A micro batch of 25 cases. Curious. It's smudged and worn, beaten and leathery. . . woody, thyme the back label mentions. . . tart and crisp to start, then something meaty and lean.

Atlas Riesling 2014. Clare, South Australia. 12%. $A25. Made by Adam Barton. A whimsical label, the toothed edge reminds me of a postage stamp, while the constellations speak of place and position. It's a terrific Watervale wine; electric, tingling and searingly intense. Kaffir lime, powder and bath salts, driven and focused, a sabre thrust of acidity. Bone dry. A-/A

Longview Kühl 2014. Adelaide Hills, South Australia. 10.5%. $A35. A heavy bottle for something relatively short.

The Right Reverend V Temperantia Riesling 2014. Mount Barker, Western Australia. Had I known this was from the Vinaceous stable I might have passed. . . the back label talks of deadly sins and restraint. . . Thankfully the wine is quite good - sharp and electric, a curious suggestion of meal and pear along with the more expected citrus and lime leaf. Salty, dry and safe.

Tarra Warra Pinot noir 2013. Yarra. Bristling and energetic, a juxtaposition of soft cream and tart raspberry. . .

The one with the square label and wine red cursive, as opposed to the old vine oval.  It's lovely, even when you're distracted. Perfumed and bright, it's fresh, pure and on the nose at least it seems untroubled. On the tongue it's slightly snappy and quite anxious/exuberant - oh to be young and energetic.

Image: by Stormie Mills.
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