2022 Hahndorf Hill Gru (Gruner Veltliner)
    13% Adelaide Hills, South Australia RRP $32

    The best wines convey a striking impression across a few dimensions (although some wines that are so beautifully balanced it is difficult – and almost shameful -to dissect them, unravelling their glorious attributes). Balance, length, intensity, complexity (BLIC) is what wine professionals seek – although some wines gloriously outperform this mantra.

    Gruner Veltliner (pronounced GREW-NER FELT-LEANER) is another distinctive white wine variety. Its home is mainly in Austria, where it can produce very long-lived wines sometimes with rousing sensations of pepper! There are plantings in Australia too, with Hahndorf Hill being both fanatical, and successful.

    This wine has a youthful colour and revels in aromatic lime, grapefruit and pear. The dry palate is full-bodied, savoury, and textured with an intriguing hint of oiliness; fresh fruit flavours are in full force and it ends with a peppered spiciness that makes another taste compelling.

    It’s a screamingly versatile wine that will reward cellaring, but no issues drinking right now with fish, white meats and many Asian-style dishes. I successfully paired the wine with a tofu curry! The Hahndorf Hill website is well worth a browse, and local-ish retailers exist too. 


    Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1983
    ABV 12.9% RRP $1000

    A boys ‘glamping’ trip to the Grampians to celebrate my good friends’ 40th birthday seemed occasion enough for him to share this bottle that he was given by his father for another milestone some 19 years beforehand. It’d been laying down on top of his fridge for all those years… Maybe not the best place to store one of the world’s most revered wines, and it certainly added to the nervousness that this drop may not have been able to stand the test of time; oh how I was wrong. 

    I was tasked with the responsibility of opening the bottle and I can tell you, my hands were shaking. The cork did seem somewhat soft but also intact. With some patience, precision and encouragement, I managed to get the cork out with minimal drama, although it did break and required 3 attempts. 

    We poured the liquid gold into a clean and seasoned beer pitcher through a muslin cloth to filter out sediment. Evenly filling each glass to within a millimetre, we stepped out into the cool May sunshine and toasted to our good fortune. 

    I could not believe just how fruity this Grange was. Fresh ripe berries and plums, chinotto and subtle soy filled the senses upon first sip. Every single sip from then on was different as the wine was exposed to the elements for the first time since its bottling in 1985. By my final sip, I was experiencing notes of chocolate cookie, wood smoke, sauna (yes you read that correctly), pine needle, prune or date, pudding, mint and coffee bean. 

    At the end of the day, it is just another bottle of wine. But it is an experience I’ll never forget and feel so very lucky to have enjoyed this treasure with my closest and oldest mates. Happy 40th birthday Chris!

    Pair with: Roughly broken shards of 75% cacao Ugandan dark chocolate. 

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