Monday 29 August 2011

"Do Not Spit" Sticks No. 29 Pinot!

It’s not all that often I find a Pinot that I could drink on a regular basis... they’re often just a little on the thin and savoury side for my everyday drink...

But low and behold – the current release 2010 Sticks No. 29 Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley breaks the mould for me. It is, quite simply, stunning!

So rich and plump for a pinot! Amazing colour, nice peppery, clovey, cherry spice, it is just yum! Everything is so well balanced; I honestly cannot fault this wine

If you’re a Pinotphile, get amongst it! If, like me you struggle with Pinot, give this one a go, I think you’ll be more than pleasantly surprised!

So, now that I have finally found a favourite Australian Pinot Noir, it’s only fitting to listen to one of my all time favourite Australian metal albums, Damaged’s Do Not Spit.

Once upon a time this was the most brutal Australian metal I’d ever heard! And it has stood the test of time, still a good listen. Solid but darkly melodic. Growing up in Melbourne – always loved that cover!

Dust, Dreggs, Walk Blind, Don’t Spit.... all winey connotations if you see life like I do! Do enough contract winemaking and you too could be The Travellin’ Maniac! Take my word for it!
And how can anyone go wrong with a Celtic Frost cover?!

I am a big believer in spitting when I taste wines. I find it gives a different perspective, like skipping to the end of the book to read the last page before you start the story. It gives the whole picture before you get drunk and start to embellish!

But DO NOT SPIT too much of this one, it’s far too good to waste!
Thursday 25 August 2011

Prime Evil Pewsey Vale

A little bit about Riesling...

Much underrated by many, but one of my favourites.

Riesling is a fickle wine. I really think you’ve got to drink it brand spankin’ new or leave it alone for at least five years, probably more.

It goes through what I like to call its “grey area”, where it’s not nice and fresh and crisp anymore, but it hasn’t yet developed enough, to show the preferred aged characters of a Riesling.

It’s like a child not being cute anymore, they’re in that awkward teenage stage before they come into their own as real individuals and adults. (Though as with anything, there are those that will never amount to much!)

I should have taken my own advice and left well enough alone, but I got nosey! I have had a box of 2008 Pewsey Vale Riesling hanging around for a little while and I wanted to see how it was going!

It’s a crackin’ wine, but definitely in its adolescence! Still, worth looking at.

Picking up more colour than I thought it would have at this stage, it’s starting to smell a little tired. It’s lost any crisp citrus and floral notes it would have had in its youth. Starting to come through is that honeyed, kerosene nose, iconic of a good aged Riesling. It will get there!
The acid has dropped a little, but retained enough to hang in there, giving good length of flavour.

As I said – teenager! Lost some of its prettiness and become a touch bitter!

Even the best of bands can also go through a “grey area”. Unfortunately, many don’t come out the other side looking as good as an aged Riesling!

A great example of this is Venom! Listen to Prime Evil.... It’s still Venom, and they do have their place. But it sure isn’t “Black Metal” or “In League With Satan”! A lot can happen in eight years!

Put your Rieslings away for eight years and see what you think! The Pewsey Vale is certainly up to the task.

Friday 12 August 2011

The Mad Butcher of Bannockburn

What really constitutes the perfect metal song?
I’d love to hear some responses to that can of worms!

It’s ultimately a matter of personal preference. The perfect ‘anything’ comes down to taste.
But sometimes there are those times when you just know that something is that little bit extraordinary.

There are many, many, many amazing metal efforts. But for me, Destruction’s Mad Butcher off Sentence of Death (among others)comes close to being perfect (for want of another word).
One of the best riffs ever written, it’s up there with the iconic intros of Raining Blood and Sanitarium.

This song is the perfect balance of thrash. It’s brutal but melodic, solid but with incredible solos, falsettos in all the right places, dark imagery, what more could any self respecting metal head ask for?

I remember driving up Main North Road, Gepps Cross (heading out of Adelaide), there used to be a wholesale meat place, Austral Meats I think? It had this hysterical life-size sign of a guy in a butchers apron, holding a cleaver with a sinister look on his face.... never failed to make me think of Destruction!! Always a chuckle for the hour drive out to the Barossa. Many a conversation about how to fit that sign in the car...!! Hahahah!
Sorry, I digress!

For the uninitiated, please see past the lycra, bullet belts and bad perms of Destruction– it was 1984 after all! Some of Germany’s finest, I assure you!

So, what to drink with the perfect metal song?

Sharing its name with one of the most decisive battles for Scottish Independence, Bannockburn Wines from Geelong have a great reputation. The battle of Bannockburn saw Robert the Bruce – another Mad Butcher of sorts, unexpectedly hold the English at bay.

I was recently lucky enough to try a bottle of the Bannockburn 2008 Chardonnay. I know it’s a big call, but this is my new benchmark for Australian Chardonnay. It was utterly perfect in every way.
Again, I loathe using that word, but it’s true.

The perfect balance of preferred chardonnay qualities; clean and fresh limey acid, but not overly tight. Mellow peach dipped in butterscotch and a hint of white chocolate. A tiny bit creamy, but not over oaked and not an over- the- top diacetyl bomb, that so many Australian chardonnays seem to hide behind.
The balance here is sheer genius.

The perfect metal song, the perfect chardonnay, the perfect victory. It all comes together as simple as that. Life can be good!
Wednesday 3 August 2011

Boulard and Black Sabbath

What would Bastille Day be without a nip of Calvados? Well, just another day actually. But any excuse will do!

Basics on Calvados – Distilled cider - aka apple brandy, made in the north of France (Normandy).

I wasn’t all that taken by Calvados while in Normandy. (Think I was getting sold the worst of the worst due to my lack of French language skills somehow!) It wasn’t until being persuaded to try calvados again recently back in Australia that I finally saw what it really could be.

Boulard Grand Solage Calvados Pays d’Auge.
This one actually tastes like the cider it began life as! There’s a little bit of licorice and a tiny bit of feijoa, but mostly apples and that hint of barnyard Normandy ciders can have. It’s a nice cross between Brandy and something like Benedictine.

Such a grand and noble spirit needs a good Soundtrack! Listen to Black Sabbath Snowblind for some grand and noble metal!
The “Snow” is optional, but drink enough of this and I guarantee you’ll end up “Blind”!