Wine & Food
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Topper’s Mountain

Some wines are an omen’s bet, picked up because the name means something, or is significant, or  “just ‘cos”. This wine is one of those.

Topper’s Mountain 2009 Tannat $36 from Olinda Cellars.

I was speaking to Ross at Olinda Cellars, and asked him to pick out a couple of wines for me to chose from, which he dutifully obliged.

Choosing was a no brainer, Topper’s Mountain it was! Because?

Because I played footy in Brisbane with a bloke called ‘Topper’, and he was a man mountain…..HUGE!

A bit slow, not overly flash on the park, but a fearsome sight, both on the field and more importantly, in the bar afterwards. His weapon of choice was beer followed closely by Bundy, but lets not let the facts get in the way of the story.

A ripping bloke! So hopefully a ripping wine.

And this wine comes from up north too, not quite Brisvegas north, but close enough not to quibble.

It comes from New England, up near Armidale NSW. Not exactly a thriving hub of vinous frivolity, but with a surprisingly long wine history starting with the first settlers and squatters in the area, and further developed by George Wyndham who went on to found Wyndham Estate in the Hunter Valley.

Another aside, my first wine job was selling Wyndham Estate…so there you go, happenstance!

Anyway, wine purchased we went to Volpino in Mt Martha for dinner on one of their BYO nights and solemnly produced said wine for consumption over a lovely meal.

I’d like to say the wine was as big and powerful as my old mate Topper, but sadly that’s where coincidences end.

Old England is cool to cold climate, the vineyard is 1000 feet in the air, which isn’t conducive to ferocious brutal beasts, but more to mid weight fare. More like another footy mate from Brisbane, Brim, who liked the outside run. No bruises on Brim! And probably no ongoing injury issues either, so who was the smart one?

I digress…..the wine was Ok, maybe too astringent and a bit short on the finish, but nice flavours if a tad subdued, just like Rachael after the Tiger’s performance on the weekend!!

I reckon it’s one of those varieties that should be blended with Cabernet or something to cut thru the astringency a little, like grapes such as Malbec or Franc, which are sometimes tried as stand alone varietals, but really shouldn’t!! Oh, and Merlot, but lets not go there!!!!

The meal was great, the wine not quite so, and not worthy of the price… overall just ok.

If I was to see Topper again, I probably would steer clear of introducing him to Tannat if he had matured into a wine person, but I reckon that’s probably unlikely. He’s more likely progressed to overproof Bundy instead!

On the other hand, Brim might be a chance, but I’d bet London to a brick he drinks Merlot!!

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