Fresh 5: A winter without shiraz
We know that life isn't all about wine. Here are some ways to put it in context, and remind ourselves what's important in life – and what's just frivolous fun (which is important, too). Of course there's some wine involved, but that's intentionally incidental. And despite shiraz being our linchpin variety, we'll take a chance and poke our mittens outside the box for a gander at some of the ever-so-slightly less-trodden wines.
It might be winter, but there are still celebrations, D&Ms, and fancy cheese nights to be had... not to mention tricking your wine geek mates and then rewarding them for being a chump. To me, that sounds like: good bubbles, deep pinot, aged cabernet, fancy sav blanc and bloody good soave – in that order. Here are some shiraz-less winter occasions and the wines to match. Or you could throw in the towel and go and get some shiraz.
But back to life...
Pop dem bottles, it's winter!
We're for blithely ignoring the lack of sunshine and revelling in the all-too-short-lived, enlivening clarity of a crisp winter's day. The pop-crackle of a bubbly bottle is the embodiment of that attitude; flying fizz in the face of frozen fingers. Maybe it's time to learn how to saber a Champagne (or do it with a glass – 5 min watch), maybe it's a mate's birthday. Maybe it's just living in the moment, rugging up and wriggling on down to the park when there's a sunny, dew-less moment. Just make sure the picnic basket's full of enough of these Black Market bubbles, as fine as they come for less than a lobster in Aus.
Embrace the darkness, plan your life.
Deep, dark and bloody aromatic. That's how we like our pinot noir in the cooler months. Something to brood with, contemplate and help us put some real thinking time into our 10 year life plan. The wine for life planning should be thoughtful and considered, but with a rich exuberance that means it's not the thing that needs considering – too much. Let it open while you chat about the past year, and consider how you tell your story [8 min read]. Finish a glass while the slow-cooker wraps up the brisket for you. Pause for two minutes to subtract the positives from your life [2 min watch], as counter-intuitive as this sounds at face value. Mind map your way through a second glass, with the future looking bright. Tonight you'll be sleeping with a belly full of brisket, an elegant sufficiency of pinot proficiency, and a satisfied mind [6 min listen].
Stock up on your fave hard cheese, and foist your decanter out of the cupboard. This 2012 cabernet [wine!] is dying for an occasion, and you're the one to provide it. We believe in you, mofo. Whether it's a night of cheese and chats, or a day of deep, solo reflection, you got this. And if you just need ten ways to change your life for the better immediately, here they are [10min watch]. To prepare and avoid guilt, maybe pop some fish oil tablets and make sure you're leaving enough time for a solid eight-hour sleep.
Here's to the thinkers, and the varietal-agnostic.
Let me paint you a picture of a wine: a wine that doesn't need to be mollycoddled and is bold when it needs to be; but a wine of subtlety and finesse. It has texture and stylish aromatics, and appeals as an expression of its place in the Yarra thanks to an unexpected, gently encouraged lick of oak. Intrigued? It's here, mofos.
Say 'saluti' to work-life fit and pillowy things.
It's about output. In news from across the ditch, a Kiwi firm has recently concluded that four working days are better than five [3 min read]. Now quick, go and tell your bosses (but maybe don't highlight the fact that the uplift in work-life balance was judged by the employees themselves...). Meanwhile, get home to another white wine that'll fit your winter palette and palate. Softly assertive and pillowy, this Soave will have you at 'ciao, mofo'.
It aches to leave you on a white wine in winter, though, no matter its anarchic vibes. So why not round it out to a fresh six (shhh) and since you made it this far, let's all agree that we could do with some Barolo. Because you've now graduated from the grasp of shiraz alone.
May your glass be full of goodness this week. Here's a picture of a Barolo vineyard in winter to finish. Drink it all in, mofo.