The Landmark Tutorial, Day 1
I’m now in the Barossa, staying at The Louise (www.thelouise.com.au; one of the best places I've ever stayed), and about two-thirds through day one of the Landmark Tutorial. It is already very exciting, and we’ve only really just got going.
Last night (Sunday) the twelve of us, plus some of the tutors, met for dinner at the Sparrow Kitchen and Bar in Adelaide. It was a relaxed affair, with really nice food and a good selection of wines that Tony Jordan chose off the list. This included the Innocent Bystander Pinot Gris 2008 (fresh, complex, interesting); Crawford River Young Vines Riesling 2006 Victoria (lovely expressive, pure style); Corinna’s Olive’s Taranga Vineyards Shiraz Cabernet 2005 McLaren Vale (dense and spicy with good definition); De Bortoli Pinot Noir 2006 Yarra Valley (quite green and savoury with bright cherry fruit); Spinifex Esprit 2007 Barossa (lovely meaty, pure dark fruits) and the Parker Coonawarra Terra Rossa 2005 (benchmark Coonawarra Cabernet).
It was early to bed, but in my jet-lagged state I slept only fitfully. This morning began with a session at the Australian Wine Research Institute where we were treated to a taste of one of their Advanced Wine Assessment Courses. These normally last four days, and judges’ scores are collected in and analysed. We had just a couple of hours, so did a mini-AWAC, involving two flights of ten wines each: the first all Riesling, the second all Shiraz. Interestingly, several of the wines were replicated in each flight (that is, we were given the same wine more than once), as part of the assessment process.
After we’d tasted, we all had to call out our scores. Some of the replicates were easy to spot – others were much harder. It’s a really useful exercise. Doing this sort of process helps you get to know how your palate performs in this type of setting.
We finished late morning, and headed off to the Barossa, where, after a light lunch, we began session 1 of the Tutorial. Led by Michael Hill Smith, Andrew Caillard and Tony Jordan, it was a look at Australia’s ‘regional classics’. The tasting component consisted of some very smart wines, but even better is yet to come. With dinner - which I have a feeling will be very special - we’ll be looking at ‘Australia’s Fine Wine’.
Enough for now. I’m feeling pretty tired and I need to make use of the wonderful bath I have in my suite of rooms before pre-dinner drinks at 6.30 pm.