Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wine-ish wisdom

Last week, as our holiday drew to a close, we travelled with a friend up the Tamar River (near Launceston) to check out a few wineries. The area has wonderful cool-climate wines, and is especially well-known for its pinot noirs.

The first little winery we dropped in on was Goaty Hill.

I never expect to find stunning value-for-money at a cellar door - that's not why you go.

Occasionally, you'll stumble into some cheap bin-ends, but really, if you want cheap alcohol, go to Dan Murphy's. Or crash someone else's party. Or marry someone Italian.

It was our first tasting of the morning, and Tony offered to take us through the wine list. Our friend recommended we accompany the tasting with the cheese platter - which we did.

Talk about great value! Twelve bucks for a platter loaded down with premium crackers (Tony offered to give us more if we wanted them), quince paste, lovely sweet dried pears and peaches, and locally-produced cheeses (blue, double brie, and smoked cheddar). The photo above was taken when we got about halfway through the platter.

It was divine. 10am on a Wednesday morning, watching the kids play on the grass near the vines, sipping a fruity riesling, and chipping away at the local munchies - three adults soaking in the pleasure of the experience for the measly sum of twelve bucks. It felt like robbery - and not only because of the price of the platter (which is apparently about to go up ... still worth twice the price anyway).

Tony was the perfect host (we were the only ones there). Friendly (not all vintners are), non-pretentious, courteous, chatty, and non-intrusive. Nothing was too much trouble for him. It was a pleasure to relieve him of a couple of bottles before we left.

You see, the great value went well beyond the platter. It went into the enjoyment of the whole experience.

You come up here to northern Tassie and you get to sit in this wonderful, wonderful vineyard, hanging with people you like, being served by people who love what they do (and who make you feel important), and enjoying great wine, great local food, a delightful view, and pleasant background music. You savour this kind of moment. You fall in love.

In a recent interview with Andrew Denton, Jerry Seinfeld was talking about his 'three rules of life' (bust your ass, pay attention, and fall in love). He expanded a bit on 'fall in love' ...

SEINFELD: 'Fall in love' wasn’t, isn’t really a romantic love; it kind of gets back to a George Burns thing ... one thing I did get from him is if I get a really good cup of coffee I like to just go, you know, what, just hang on a second. (LAUGHTER) This is a fantastic cup of coffee. (LAUGHTER) Isn’t this a great, and I’ll ask everyone, isn’t this great coffee? Cos you know, it’s not always great. This one is great, you know. (LAUGHTER)

And that is one of the things that I really did learn from him. And why I had such respect for him is that I will stop and make that moment, you know, you will enjoy life more if you do that. You know, you get a great parking spot, just go… (LAUGHTER) Hold it a second, I mean look at that spot. (LAUGHTER) I mean it’s, we could have been blocks away and we’re right here. (LAUGHTER)

ANDREW DENTON: See, that to me is wisdom.

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