Do you know the way to Sangiovese?

Max Crus
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Had the misfortune to see Big Brother the other day. The TV show that is, not the one who lives in Melbourne and sends me nice clothes for my birthday. No, the one that, given the constraints on the household members and their childish behaviour, should be called Big Mother.

It came about because my TV reception had been slowly deteriorating and reached the stage where only channel 10 was watchable, despite the contradiction in terms.

Adding to the severity of the situation, the drought broke one hour before the TV repairman was due to arrive.

Thank you, but please don’t send flowers or money, just videotapes.

Anyway it struck me that Big Mother was a household of whingers who couldn’t tell one another what they really thought, instead saving it for the whinge-room where they made their nominations for who should turfed out.

This reminded me of Cutlery Man’s very astute observation that people generally are reluctant to tell others where to go, or more particularly and more importantly, that their wine is’off‘.

His observation was made at a family do when his Dad opened an expensive Champagne which everyone then soldiered through in silence despite it smelling and tasting of Drano and rotten vegetables.

So how do you tell someone their wine of off?

The simplest way is to say ’you must now leave the house‘, which might be a bit strong if you’re in their house, whereupon you should simply pour it into the nearest pot plant and say ’Yuk‘.

’Life is too short to drink bad wine‘ or watch bad TV.

And well may you ask ’What’s this got to do with sangiovese‘?

About as much as Big Mother has got to do with reality.

Hamiltons Bluff Sangiovese 2002, $15ish. In the course of half an hour I awarded this 6 different scores, from bloody awful, improving rapidly, thankfully, to 8.2/10. If you have no expectations, your pleasure palate can be enlightened and awakened and broadened. Maybe given another hour it could have been Italy’s answer to Grange.

Gapsted King and Alpine 2002 Sangiovese, $25? This is probably a good Big Mother sort of wine, a bit raw, a bit nude, and will make you ill if you have too much. However unlike Big Mother it is bigger than the label suggests. 8/10.

Rosemount Sangiovese 2003, $13. I don‘t know why there isn‘t more sangiovese around. Actually, I do. It‘s because I am drinking it as fast as I can. Specially those that cost a mere pittance. 8.2/10.

Nugan Estate AlfredO King Valley Frasca‘s Lane Vineyard Sangiovese Merlot 2003, $19. There‘s a lot to remember on these labels, but in time it will probably become known as simply ’Alfred‘ with a capital ’O‘. Everyone has their own little bit of quirky grammar these days. 8.3/10.

De Bortoli Windy Peak King Valley Sangiovese, 2002, $12. How you get a windy peak from a valley is quite a conundrum, but who cares, check the price! At 14.5 percent you get a fair whack of alcohol for your dough, and it‘s good gear at that. 8.2/10.

© Max Crus


  • Central Ranges (NSW)
  • Cowra (NSW)
  • Explorer Country (NSW)

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