Top Gear

Max Crus
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One of my greatest regrets is knocking back the opportunity to drive a Ferrari.

While waiting to pick up a friend from a TV station once, just across the road from a Ferrari dealership, as they are, I decided to poke my nose in.

The salesman astonishingly, instead of admonishing me for leaving greasy marks on the windows, asked if I would like to test drive the Testarossa I was ogling.

I nearly fell over backwards and shocked said “no thank you”. I later realised that he had asked because I was wearing a new silk tie with jeans, as I believed was the fashion of the day, and thus he suspected I was like many of his clients, rich but no style whatsoever.

Reminded of this incident by the BBC motoring program, Top Gear, I thank them for pointing out how similar are wines to cars.

They received a letter asking why they always looked at expensive, sexy, sporty, fast and flashy cars like Ferraris, Lambos and Astons etc, to which the compere acquiesced and reviewed a Nissan Pulsar briefly before announcing with glee...”now, back to the latest Ferrari”.

His thinking was sound.

If you really want to know about things such as Corollas or Barinas, Falcons or Commodores, just pop along to your local dealer, they’ll give you the keys.

At your local Porsche or Lamborghini franchise however, you need to wear a tie.

If you are too shy for that, then the only way to get your exotic jollies is vicariously and that’s where Top Gear, and Grape Expectations, come to the rescue.

Having learned my lesson, I didn’t reject these...

Inniskillin (Canada) Icewine, Riesling 2004, $150 (375ml). That’s a fair whack for 375mls and it singlehandedly raised the average bottle price in my taste-list by an outstanding three cents! Incredible stuff but not a million miles from our own world beating Noble One. Actually it’s more like 12,000kms. Perfect for Ice T’s lime pud’. 8.8/10 for both.

Rogues Lane 2003 Shiraz Malbec Heathcote, under $70. Soon as you know a wine is less than $70 you cannot help but be swayed. But then again most wines are less than $70. The 16 percent alcohol is cleverly disguised, your behaviour afterwards may not be. 8.8/10.

Orlando Lawson's Padthaway Shiraz, 2000, $60. Everyone gave glasses this Christmas and this was a christener for the new Riedels. 9/10.

Yalumba The 2004 Virgilius Eden Valley Viognier, $50. Wallowing in my renewed enthusiasm for viognier, this is about as good as they get. 8.8/10.

Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River 2002, $75. I’d brought this to the swank gathering with the deliberate intention of impressing Dr Soy but alas she left before I had a chance. Impressed the other guests though. 9/10.

Baileys of Glenrowan 1920's Block Shiraz, 2003, $35. The older you get the more you appreciate old blocks, like good 354 Chevys and this. 8.8/10.

Meerea Park Terracotta Shiraz 2003, $55. There’s always someone from the Hunter Valley at any gathering of more than six people. Six degrees of Hunter it’s called. If not, you can always open one. Goes well outdoors on fancy pavers. 8.6/10.

Wines reviewed:
Rogues Lane 2003 Shiraz Malbec Heathcote
Orlando Lawson's Padthaway Shiraz, 2000
Yalumba The 2004 Virgilius Eden Valley Viognier
Inniskillin (Canada) Icewine, Riesling 2004
Meerea Park Terracotta Shiraz 2003
Baileys of Glenrowan 1920's Block Shiraz, 2003
Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River 2002

© Max Crus

Column on the benefits and function of winewriters to and for the general public published week beginning March 12th 2006.

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

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