Five blokes, five stars and fine wine

Max Crus
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View over the Hunter Valley - NSW's premier wine region

View over the Hunter Valley - NSW's premier wine region [©Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism]

Ricardo regaled us with tales of the sex life of his camel, while the Big Ant showed us why the ability to use one’s mobile phone should be an Olympic event, providing some long and oft promised wine reviews via digital recording.

Meanwhile, Benelli racing hero, Bruno Morrisimo, recounted the accident that ended his promising career, finding parallel in The Enemy Beneath, the movie mysteriously provided by Ant unaware of Ricardo’s yearning for same.

Lord Byron, sensibly, repaired to his chamber.

How much fun can five blokes in a five star hotel have with a couple of boxes of wine and a company phone?

Such was the scene at the boys-only annual cultural event, but there was something weird about the weekend.

Everyman and his digital camera was just so sweet and friendly and personable - except the abovementioned. They never are.

No, from transport and gate staff, to the splendid gourmet coffee stall where patrons were summoned by their first names, to ice-cream cone conveyors in the crowded confines of Siberia - Siberia crowded? -  from the sweetness of the souvlaki servers to the common camaraderie of 40,000 black-leather clad ticketholders, amidst whom lost friends were readily and randomly replaced at leisure.

Subconsciously anticipating the colour conundrum, we instead chose vermilion, who coincidentally came second in the big event.

Naturally no cultural event, be it a Grand Final or the MotoGP, is complete without liberal lashings of equally sophisticated alcoholic beverage and this was another weird bit : not only was wine available, we witnessed actual purchases of flat wine and more often, bubbly.

Indeed the track caterers report that while 40million cans of beer were sold, a staggering 27 ‘glasses’ of wine were also consumed. Well they would have if they’d returned my call.

Thus the perfect opportunity for a wine company to sponsor the MotoGP has arisen.

Perhaps one of these could step up to the podium.

Helm Premium Riesling 2005 $39. More trophies than you can eat on the label, and they’re all so shiny. Needless to say the contents are worthy. Worthy of a sunny afternoon and some swish food. 8.5/10.

Stringy Brae Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, $22. The boys carried on like pork chops over this and The Big A blamed his Saturday seediness on it, despite the five other bottles consumed, voting it 6/10. I reckon it was fine if a bit sweet, 8/10.

Mitolo 2004 ‘Jester’ McLaren Vale Shiraz, $28. Amidst the flurry of fussiness thank goodness at least one wine met with favour from the critical pillions. 8.5/10.

Scarborough Late Harvest Semillon, $18. Just sweet enough for strawberries in madeira with flash yoghurt, but next time we’ll try the strawbs in the sticky. 8/10.

Cofield Wines Rutherglen Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2006, $16. Very much a Three Bears sort of wine : not too tart with sav and not too insipid with sem, just right. 8.3/10.

Leconfield McLaren Vale 2004 Shiraz, $29. As weird as a weekend full of ‘nice’ bikers. It’s from McLaren Vale and is only 14 percent. I am officially over my passion for big reds, this smells and tastes fantastic. 9/10.

Wines Reviewed:
Leconfield McLaren Vale 2004 Shiraz
Cofield Wines Rutherglen Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2006
Scarborough Late Harvest Semillon
Mitolo 2004 ‘Jester’ McLaren Vale Shiraz
Stringy Brae Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
Helm Premium Riesling 2005

© Max Crus

Column on MotoGP in Melbourne, published week beginning October 1 2006.

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

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