A water stained label and a sweet smelling pristine cork complete with wine diamond. A deep and changing nose - vanilla and varnish then cedar and cigar. Comfort in a glass. The first sip like a prune - sweet, sour, wrinkled. . . Soft peppermint tannins. An excellent 707, though I'm not sad this is my last bottle.

The Old Port Rìgh Vinyeyard Lancefield. 12.9%. Diam. Approx $A50

Polysyllabic, though by days end it's dominated by the modern and now obligatory note of match stick and flint. Peach and acacia, the sulphur cloud comes later. . . Fatty and bold, oatmeal seams, rich with a super acid sting. Citric and complex with lovely poise. Yes.

Even by the half bottle, this was a bigger and more serious argument than expected. Dust and spice powder, raw meat and blood. Deep and brooding, more force than beauty. Brutish and bold in the mouth - diffuse and warm, though there's still a corset of sap, roots and earthy tannins. I'm not entirely convinced or won over.

Diam. 13.5%.

Before.

First the rub. 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 melted tablespoons of butter, 2 tbs roughly ground coriander, 1 tbs crushed cumin seeds, 1.5 tsp smoky paprika, 6-8 cloves of garlic crushed into a paste, 1 tbs of salt.  Mix it all together and rub onto a scored lamb forequarter (3-4kg in weight).

Place the lamb in a large roasting tray and grill for 5 minutes at 240 degrees C so the top starts to sizzle.

It's only a four hour drive away and though I've visited many times, it's only after this most visit that I've come to better (though still partially) understand the size and geography of the different subregions  that make up the Great Southern.

Easily the best and most memorable evening meal I had during my road trip. A small corner bar at the front, like a left bank Parisian bistro in feel, and at the back, past the the Delacroix reproduction, a larger but more intimate space - lush and comfortable; a time machine. . .

Super super food - a tight and exciting menu, Viet accented, very punchy bold flavours, pungent where it should be, hot and sweet and sour in places, but always balanced, fresh and perfectly measured.

An unexpected roadside sighting of an umbelliferous plant that I assume is wild carrot. It's the first time I've seen this in Western Australia, it's everywhere in North America, though I have been mistaken before. . .

The clouds in Albany seem to hatch in front of you. . . This photo was taken early in the morning, one moment bright sun rising over the green slope to the left and then moments later a heavy low rolling mist, which was surprisingly dry. . .

A Salmon Gum in the fading afternoon light, the shape like the Nile river delta.http://feeds.feedburner.com/WinoSapien Click here for the original context

East to Hyden along an almost deserted Brookton Highway. I think we might have passed three or four cars on our trip. The birds were in fine song - the larger and more colourful ringneck parrots (aka 28s) and the cockies - Major Mitchell and the ubiquitous Galah, in particular. Golden fields of stubble, from a distance and in the right light they look like sand pits. I can image the summer dust storms. . .
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