Well done, team. Great effort. You did everything a nation expects its wines to do at such times. You stepped up to the plate, went perfectly with the food on it, and displayed distinctive regional and varietal qualities to distract attention from the burnt bits.
You did good. Most of you.
I know it was a challenge. When I announced that special friends from France were making their first ever visit here, I saw your corks shifting uneasily. And when I mentioned that after 20 years of grand cru generosity at their place, I was hoping to delight them with the best Australia has to offer, I saw some of you thinking, ‘We’re screwed’. And I knew you didn’t just mean your closures.
But when Anne and Jean Pierre arrived, and we’d sorted out which of them wanted to pet a kangaroo and which of them wanted to confit one, you didn’t hold back. Most of you.
Great teamwork, Yarra Yering No.1 Dry Reds. When I saw you, 2008, giving everything you’d got, even though you knew the 2006 would always be better, a tear came to my eye. And not just because I’d paid the same amount for both of you.
Hats off to your game plan, SWIFT sparkling and Cape Mentelle Semillon and Sorrenberg Gamay. Be yummy. Brilliant.
Savaterre Chardonnay ’03 and ’08, and Bindi Pinot Noir ’96, you played a blinder. As did the Sydney couple from whose cellar you emerged. The generosity of some people is matched only by their modesty, so all I’ll say is that they share a terrace house, a tortoiseshell cat and a wine magazine.
Good on you, Bass Phillip. See? All those panic attacks and sleepless nights, and it was fine. Les Français did want to drink you. In fact they wanted to take you home for a menage a trois.
Not so, sadly, some other team members. I just don’t get it, Ravensworth Pinot Gris. Incredible talent, amazing footwork the way you weave around three different regions for your fruit, inventiveness to spare in the fermentation department (oak, concrete and ceramic), but on the day, when you ran out onto the palate, it just didn’t happen, did it?
And Shadowfax Pinot Noir. I asked only one thing of you in training. Be yourself. You’re a Macedon Ranges pinot. Smell like one. Taste like one. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t lose your bottle. Which on reflection probably wasn’t the best choice of words.
Perhaps it was me. Perhaps the stress of 12 days of hospitality payback was more than my nervous system and palate could handle. Though I did notice the guests wincing slightly sometimes, and not just when I mixed up the kangaroo preferences.
But they left happy and I was happy, too, as I waved au revoir. Thanks to you, team, we now know we can boost tourism even if we do decide to take the ‘au’ back out of philausophy and put it where it belongs. In faux.