Artisan Wines of Australia

Our Wines

Putting the screws on cork? Philip White
  April 7th - 13th 2007
  The Independent

"I'm a snob. One of Kevin Foleys "elitists". Im with the philosopher Pierre Bourdieu when he advises that "(good) taste is first and foremost distaste - disgust and visceral intolerance of the taste of others" I've opened a wine which reflects the taste of others as vividly as Kevin's archaic V8's. Its box is ostentatious and goth, with fke blacksmith's hinges and a gauche clasp. Beneath its laser etched lid is glued a diatribe with all the humour of the lamentations of Jeremiah. A glossy monochrome brochure reinforces its claims on a great but dubious provenance, repeated on the bottle, which has its brand custom-cast in expensive bas-relief. There are psalms about the great deliberations involved in selecting the grapes and barrels in which the wine slept, and of the mysterious procedures conducted along the way. But beneath its matte black capsule, this precious icon wine has a lump of Portugese bark jammed down its gullet. Bark, in a $65 red? Shut up and drink.
When a glamour-puss indutry, like motorsport, horse racing, or wine, rolls into public or political adoration, by nature it still employs as many tasteless, self important boofheads as you'll find anywhere else. David Hicks, crooked fed ministers, and a few crack addled footy kickers are not the only peanuts in our bowl. Need an indicator of the hopeless ineptitude of the rest of us? Check the road toll.
Most humans are human, and act like humans. The chaos in the grape business can't all be blamed on El Nino. Its humans at work. We never stop. The deluded winos who skwoze their tower of Babel into our Botanic Gardens - having failed to put it in Victoria Park, for which Mr Foley must praise Bacchus - are perfectly capable of further snafus. Like persisiting with dirty Portugese bark. Like their new push to impose even more irrigated vineyards upon the buggered Murray. The taste of others.

Mumbling this bitter Mantra, I opened my cabinet and withdrew a tool I despise. Its beautiful - a handmade Laguiole - but its a corkscrew. My last one. I unplugged the bark, poured a glass and inserted the hooter.
The Portugese have spent millions on ads on old world TV, pretending their threatend species will perish if we use anything other that their bark to seal our bottles. They reckon the Donley-Drivers who slice that bark from their Quercus suber are green heroes, and Portugals furred and feathered beasties depend upon the cork business for good health and longevity. Pull another one. Might as well claim that Mr Foley, the Lord Mayor, the Jockey club and those "supercars" are saving our parks.
Nose in the glass. All the mighty fighting bulls, the humble mules and stinking asses who;d rubbed their daggy arses on that tree, all the precious mangy squirrels, flea ridden oakrats and lesser spotted port warblers who'd used it as a pub and pissoir through the years, obviously hate Australian drinkers. Threatened? These critters are suicidal. The wine stinks.

It tooks twenty years of harping against the scientifically proven inadequacy of cork to finally have the satisfaction of witnessing Australia's brilliant, healthy swing to screwcaps. We were suddenly the champions of the smart world. Using cork, after all that research and hard science, is like insisiting on drum brakes in a race full of Brembo discs. Its pathetic, putrid logic.
With Diamants hightech Diam compound corks, even those quaint old Colonels who love the romance and ritual of the corkscrew can still play their dainty game with minimal risk of dissapointment.

But even the Portugese sardine industry discovered long ago that you can;t expect all your customers to carry a special hammer around, just to get at the fish.

My IN tray is an old Champagne riddling rack. I always look inside the A-frame to first select the bottles with screws. Their wine is superior in its freshness and vibrancy and they save time, which is important to the thirsty. These obvious advantages have helped screwcaps look more groovy, clean and cool. Like corks sooo yesterday.

So, now? Disgust and visceral intolerance of the taste of others? You bet. I can't consume rotten logic, rotten politics, or rotten wine. I'm a snob, see?