Posts in Drinking
Brawn For The Brain

I was fortunate enough to dine at Brawn recently and I enjoyed some of the best food that I have eaten in quite some time. An exceptional dish of grilled duck hearts on fresh broad bean purée was followed by an equally delicious confit rabbit leg served with wet polenta and a delicate gremolata.

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Little Consolations From Giant Consolidations

To bastardise the words of Aeschylus, Hiram Johnson or Oliver Stone, the first casualty of wine is integrity. An almost inevitable result of the spate of mergers and acquisitions that seemed to characterise and redefine the Australian wine industry around the turn of the century was the loss of many of the things that had led to the companies involved being worth so much money.

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848 - The Number Of The Feast

After the excesses of Christmas, midway between the joyous fervour of well intentioned resolutions and the pay cheque that will once again allow you off the wagon, January can often seem to be the longest of months. What better way to shake off the malaise than by maintaining the level of decadence to which one has recently grown so accustomed?

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Two Out Of Three

As too often happens, work robbed me of most of the joy of the festive season but that didn’t stop me from enjoying a couple of rather nice bottles both as a festive treat and as a slightly belated celebration of my mum’s birthday. Given that she’s a big fan of fish, I’d lined up a bottle of Dom Pérignon and a bottle of Barboursville Vineyards’ Reserve Viognier to pair with a pescatorial pre-Christmas dinner.

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Victorian Values

With the global vineyard area planted to Marsanne currently as marginal as was that of Viognier (its northern Rhône cousin) twenty years ago, Tahbilk is unique in having both the largest single holding of this variety as well as being the guardian of some of its oldest vines. Hence the "1927 Vines" epithet. Contrary to the views of many winemakers whose prestige cuvées are produced from super ripe grapes and are lavished with every luxury at their disposal, the approach at Tahbilk is positively ascetic in comparison.

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West Country Alchemy

My brother, Rick Morris Pushinsky, was recently commissioned to photograph Julian Temperley and his master distiller Tim Edwards at Pass Vale Farm at the foot of Burrow Hill in Somerset. This is the home of the Somerset Distillery, where cider has been produced from apples grown in its orchards for over 150 years and where cider has been distilled into brandy since Temperley finally managed to obtain a license from HM Customs and Excise in 1989.

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Unreserved Pleasure

The annual carnival of mercenary hype is upon us once again and, as usual, my heart is filled with lament at the prospect of ever greater numbers of lovely wines rendered unaffordable by joyless speculation and hoarding. As good a time as any, then, to open a bottle of Bordeaux bought in slightly less cynical times when a reasonable amount of wine was still bought to drink rather than to resell.

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Greece Is The Word

Whilst I was waiting for Cecilia Pasqua to take the stage at Hanging Ditch the other week (see More From The Veneto), I couldn’t help but spend my time perusing the shelves. It wasn’t long before my eyes lit upon an old favourite of mine: Gaia Wine’s Thalassitis (2011, 13% ABV), a wine I had not drunk since the long-forgotten halcyon days when Oddbins had the audacity to offer a large selection of (mostly) very good Greek wines.

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That's Amarone

One of the funny things about the creative process, at least as far as we left-brainers are concerned, is that what you end up with can often bear little resemblance to that which you set out to create. The travelling is more important than the arriving; the artistic endeavour more significant than the resulting artwork. Even more bafflingly, this is perfectly acceptable. Try to run a business that way and see what happens.

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Festive Cheers

As usual, the run-up to Christmas was a prolonged period of pandemonium at work and so, by the time the holidays eventually arrived, all plans of elaborate meals and fine wines had been abandoned in favour of simpler family favourites. That’s not to say I didn’t open a couple of reasonable bottles, but only so I had something to write about, you understand.

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Floyd On Food

“Greetings, fellow gastronauts.”

That was the familiar salutation of the much-missed Francophile gourmet, Keith Floyd. Whilst he undoubtedly had his demons to face, his knowledge and love of food and wine were an inspiration to me when I was young and his straight talking approach was a blessed relief from the insipid inanity of most other television cooks of the time.

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Hit And Miss

I have a deep and abiding love for Château Musar, so much so that I’ll accept its myriad of idiosyncrasies any one of which would cause me to reject another wine outright. This Bordeaux inspired oddity, with its distinctive blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan, divides opinion more than any other wine I can think of.

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Prüm And Proper

This evening I opened a bottle of Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese 2009 (7.5% ABV) recently purchased from Howard Ripley, a specialist importer of truly great wines from the homes of some of my favourite wines: Germany and Burgundy. As you’d expect from one of the world’s greatest Riesling producers, this was a hugely enjoyable and particularly well-crafted bottle of wine.

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A Weekend To Remember

It took my dad literally seconds to decide where he would like to spend his 65th birthday weekend; it didn’t take him very much longer to rustle up a few Ryanair tickets and to book a hire car. Eventually the weekend rolled around and we hopped on a plane to Bergamo before following the autostrada right into the heart of the Valpolicella region.

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What Matters

A recent weekend away was a rare chance to spend time with many of my closest friends, as well as an extended excuse for a few drinks. However, as lovely as it was, it wasn’t really the occasion for great wines. That being said, who can go a whole weekend with nothing decent to drink?

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