Gearing up for the Grand Final

Max Crus
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The thirty-year-old vines at Bimbadgen Estate produce some of the Hunter's most complex award winning wines

The thirty-year-old vines at Bimbadgen Estate produce some of the Hunter's most complex award winning wines [©]

Pump up the Sherrin, pull on the boots, tug on the shorts and the stripey socks, squeeze the tube (Dencorub), mow the lawns, pull the snags out of the freezer, fire up the big screen and grab the corkscrew, it’s Grand Final time.

That one day of the year that stops a nation.

Well, okay it stops Melbourne, and of course Sydney will be glued to their chardonnay, Adelaide will be all a tizz with it’s long vowels, Perth will be torn between lunch at Freo and another shift back at the mines, Darwin will do anything if grog is involved, Hobart will claim a few ‘sons’ are playing, one of the rare occasions they won’t deny their lineage, and even Brissy will be eyeing the prize hoping it won’t go to the Mexicans ever again.

That just leaves Canberra, who will probably say “Another day that stops a nation? We can’t afford that.”

It’s a wonder the Employers Federation and the Government haven’t outlawed it. I mean, the Cup is one thing, it only lasts 3 minutes, how can we afford to stop for a whole afternoon?

Of course, temporary working visas. Not only are imported workers paid half the rate, they don’t care about the Grand Final. So on with the game.

The trick with Grand Finals is to pace yourself.

You need a strict regime of only bubbly before noon, no reds before the opening bounce, kick to kick must stop at and for the national anthem, and a designated viewer must remain in front of the telly at half time to ensure that all worthwhile information is relayed to the backyard players in a timely fashion. No waxing, except to remove unwanted hair. (For viewers outside Victoria, that‘s a  joke, albeit not terribly funny.)   

Lastly, establishing the correct volume of wine required can be difficult. I recommend one glass per person per quarter, unless they want more...or less.

Here’s a few suggestions :

Rymill Coonawarra Sauvignon Blanc 2006, $17. Drinking Mr Clean at a footy do didn’t seem the slightest bit incongruous, and before we knew it, ‘twas gone. 8.5/10.

Wirra Wirra Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc, 2006, $24.50. The reasonable quantity of bite sat well with the food and the occasion. Enjoy with homemade pizza and a spiteful footy clash. 8.5/10.

Printhie Orange Region 2005 Merlot, $15. Great wine for bonfire and bucketloads of barbecued meat. You could actually taste it through the smoke and charcoal. One of the best merlots doing the rounds. Bugger Sideways. 8.3/10.

Bimbadgen Signature Shiraz 2005, $40. For only 14 percent this sure leaves its mark, ‘scuse the pun, and tastes more potent. Sexy bottle too. 8.8/10.

Hamilton’s Bluff Sangiovese 2004, $15ish. Whacko the diddlyo, 15.2 percent alcohol, or nine standard drinks. But I didn’t really notice until I started to fall asleep. This is the third vintage tried of their Sanga’, and each has scored 8.2/10. How consistent is that? A real Swannies wine.

Scarpantoni Brothers Block 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon, $25. What better way to enjoy this than with your brother? Well, with your lover might be an option, or a footy match. No offence Bro. 8.6/10.

Wines reviewed:
Scarpantoni Brothers Block 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon, $25
Hamilton’s Bluff Sangiovese 2004, $15
Bimbadgen Signature Shiraz 2005, $40
Printhie Orange Region 2005 Merlot, $15
Wirra Wirra Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc, 2006, $24
Rymill Coonawarra Sauvignon Blanc 2006, $17

© Max Crus

Column on what to drink during the AFL Grand Final, published week beginning 16th September 2006.

Published in Cairns Post/Rockhampton Morning Bulletin/Northern Star Lismore)/Daily Examiner (Grafton)/Wagga Daily Advertiser/Geelong Advertiser.


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