W(h)inery and sour grapes

Does this make any sense, anyone?

Colour: Deep red with garnet hues

Full-bodied yet refined, the plush palate offers ripe, jubey fruits such as blackcurrants, plums and mulberries framed by subtle cedar/spicy oak characters. Smooth and silky, firm and fine-grained; a structured wine whose slightly closed and brooding core of blackberries, cassis and plums is tightly interwoven with tannin.

Best paired with wood fired Margarita pizza.

It reads like a confused version of literary analysis and art critique put together by a desperate academic who uses a thesaurus religiously for posturing. A tad bit unfair perhaps?

That is a partial description of some wine I took from a catalogue. There is more, mind you. But I’ll leave out those details about the grape type, harvest conditions and all.

Wine means only 2 things to me – either sweet or bitter. In the complex, hoity-toity and somewhat pretentious world of wineries, where fine food made solely to be paired with the wines produced, I felt like a fish gaping out of water, and was rather enjoying myself feeling like a complete idiot at well. What TC’s nose sniffs and recognises as floral, I can only get a breeze of wet socks in them. When he marvels at the subtle differences between the Chardonnay and some other dry white, I can only wrinkle my nose and snigger in a corner. Each time I ask him if he is buying anything after a tasting, it is accompanied by a snort of laughter and an amused grin.

Let’s look at the description again.

What the hell is “oakish”?  My mind associates it with “boorish” because it rhymes.

Blackberries, cassis and plums? Fruits? It smells sour and just…sour. In my simple mind, when fruits smell sour to me, it’s simply a sure sign that they have gone bad.

Structured wine? As opposed to…disorganised? Can wine even be disorganised?

Must we learn French properly to even pronounce their names?

Whinery in full swing with a sour grapes attitude.

Give me something that is sweet (and not just only in the imagination of winemakers and connoisseurs) but not something that is just grape juice. I tell the wine servers somewhat apologetically that I only like sweet stuff and they are quick to defend my taste, claiming “to each his/her own”. Yet I have also been lied to by those who believe some wines are rather sweet. To my chagrin, TC sometimes agrees with them.

TC’s understanding of the complexity of wine flavours remains beyond me. He is in his element there, particularly after our visits to several massive estates. They were of no use to me of course, but I insisted that one could not visit Margaret River and not look at the estates.


Voyager Estate’s driveway made me hope that there wasn’t some butler awaiting us among the carefully manicured gardens, or a housemaid waiting to frump up my clothes and chuck me into a bath. As I found out later, its owner Michael Wright set it up as a hobby after striking it rich in the mining movement in Western Australia, hiring 6 gardeners to tend to its lawns.

Even TC was quite taken aback by the lavishness of the place. We hurriedly made our way to the nearby Xanadu, taken a wrong turn in the process and nearly knocking over a cyclist in our haste to get out of a world in which we didn’t belong. We parked ourselves in the cool and Zen-like environment and in its high timbered ceiling and stone walls, I felt a bit calmer.



Xanadu has yet another award-winning restaurant, along with its other decorated competitors around the region. Their dessert plate was impressive. I obviously couldn’t pronounce half the words of what we ordered (we managed to pull that off by pointing and nodding sagely as the waitress read the menu for us) but TC and I remembered eating and marvelling at the bay leaf ice-cream that sat at a corner of the plate.

Our last stop in Cape Mentelle was probably the cosiest one with a nice lady pouring their only sweet bottle of Botrytis Viognier 2008 for me. But it was probably because we were the first customers to arrive at exactly 10 in the morning before we took the long drive back to Perth. In fact, I liked the dessert wine so much I even bought a bottle of it, packing and overloaded luggage be damned. TC found Cape Mentelle’s different wines superlative and full of character. I already can’t remember the words he used to describe them.

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