jamie goode's wine blog: Cricket and greenness

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cricket and greenness

Been at the cricket this evening, watching my sons play for the U11s. Elder son is a regular - he opens the batting and normally gets quite a few runs. Was bowled for just 4 today though (the moment is pictured, although the 'welfare officer' for the team we were playing was unhappy about me taking pictures...I think he wanted me to get parental consent forms signed from all the players...such is the modern world). Younger son is two years below in school, but gets the occasional U10 and even U11 game. Tonight he was keeping wicket, and did OK. It was fun to see elder son bowling, and younger son keeping wicket together.

Tonight I'm drinking Mellasat M 2003 Paarl, South Africa (see http://www.mellasat.com/). It's beautifully packaged in a Burgundy-shaped bottle. A blend of Cabernet, Syrah and Pinotage, this is a deep coloured wine with a nose of fresh, subtly green dark fruits. There's a nice savouriness here. The palate has more savoury, spicy dark fruit, but this is joined by a herby greenness. It would have been a really nice, understated, food-friendly red wine, but the green streak - which on the nose adds freshness and works quite well - is too obtrusive on the palate, and for me is a big distraction. Greenness at a certain level can be a good thing - it's an important component of many great Bordeaux wines, for example. But here, in conjunction with ripe fruit and at this sort of level, it verges on the faulty. There's still some enjoyment to be had from this wine, and if it could lose its greenness it would be really nice. Like so many South African reds... 82/100

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At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Ben Hopkins said...

Great picture Jamie! Reminds me of my career as an agricultural late order batsman, with misplaced belief that I should be much higher up the order. I had 2 shots - the forward prod, and the mow to deep midwicket. I frequently found myself in the situation you show, staring in disbelief at my wrecked stumps.

At 7:26 PM, Blogger Michael Pollard said...


The laws for obtaining consent to photograph vary from country to country. As someone with a long interest in photography Iíve always been careful about this because you can get into quite a bit of trouble Ė unless you have a picture of a drunken Paris Hilton etc, etc.

In NSW (Australia) (my original home state) children are not afforded unique legislative protection when it comes to photographs. As with adults you need a signed release for commercial use, but not for non-commercial images. In NSW, at least, it seems that consent for general child photography remains an ethical and moral issue, not a legal one. The increase in trying to ban photography in certain situations stems from a desire to "protect" children from internet paedophiles and unauthorized use of their image on websites, blogs etc. Iíve heard stories of legitimate photographers being verbally and/or physically abused for photographing in a public setting when children are present. And if you are a parent who sees someone photographing your child you might not worry about the (serious) legal implications of assaulting an innocent photographer. A little calm goes a long way in sorting out any possible problem. I hope the welfare officer in your situation approached you in a calm manner.


At 8:35 PM, Blogger Summertown said...


Great photo.

Like Mike, I also come from NSW, Australia. We have our fair share of politically-correct wankers, but no "welfare officers" that I'm aware of. I'm pretty confident a "welfare officer" would be more concerned about his own welfare if he approached (politely or impolitely) most of the Dads I remember watching their Steve Waugh back in Oz!

Onto SA greeness, (actually, imagine for a moment a "welfare officer" in Jo'burg! You'd want to be paid a lot! Sorry, I digress...) what is it about so many SA reds? It surely isn't "terroir"? But there is that medicinal greeness that seems to afflict so many of them. Is is a style thing? It seems like a whole heap of dirty barrels or a particularly powerful domestic yeast. Would love to know what you think because I have a lot of SA friends and relations and I'd love to have a more educated view.


At 9:18 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Ben, the mow to deep midwicket is an underrated shot.

Michael, there's no law, as far as I know, in the UK - it's a question of good practice and common sense. Each sports club where kids are involved tends to have a 'welfare officer' to protect the children and ensure good practice, but I suspect a lot of the time these guys are just itching to do their job, even in situations which really aren't a problem.

Rob, the reason behind the greenness in SA reds? I think its a problem of non-homogeneous ripening caused largely by leaf roll virus, spread by mealybugs. You get a few patches of vines in your vineyard that are affected, and the grapes never really ripen. These green grapes go into the vat with very ripe grapes - the consequence is sweetness plus greenness, and it's not nice.

At 10:57 AM, Blogger Salil said...

Great picture, and I agree - the mow to deep midwicket is not a bad shot. Especially when done as a cross-batted swipe on one knee to a slow bowler.

Just wish I could have connected a bit more often, and that the ball had connected with my stumps a little less...

At 3:45 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

The heave to cow corner is a poetic description of the shot in question. Many of my batting sideswipes have had a bovine disposition. The other word for this style of batting is "bucolic".

The greenness in the wine can be present for a variety of reasons. I agree with Jamie's analysis, although it is tantamount to an indictment of any winemaker who proceeds with such poor raw material. In very hot regions - and Paarl is definitely that - the grapes easily reach very high sugar levels (and potential alcohol) before actual phenolic ripeness. The growers have to pick before achieving phenolic ripeness. This imbalance is manifested in the wine in a bitter, almost medicinal quality to the fruit. This problem is not exclusive to South Africa; tasting wines from parts of Australia, Spain and Southern France you often find powerful extractive wines with green, unripe notes.

Secondly, although one would presume that the premium wine of an estate would be made from hand-harveted fruit, there is no indication of that here. The quality of triage in the vineyard and at the winery door determines the quality of fruit that goes into the fermenter.

Thirdly, in regions such as Paarl, Rhone varieties such as Grenache and Carignan (grown on bush vines) are normally the most suitable for the terroir and the climate as they appear to be equipped to resist the heat and, when blended, confer a rich, spicy quality to the wine. This particular blend seems to be ill-conceived; I can't imagine the Cabernet is going to have a beneficial effect. Nor the Pinotage.

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Doug - fantastic analysis. Agree fully.

At 2:26 PM, Anonymous mambo said...

Hi Jamie, Mark here from the Cru - this greenness you mentioned with regard to SA reds. It's a new concept for me, please would you elaborate further with regard to the palate/taste. I've read your reply to Rob's post but what should I be tasting in the wine?


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