Saying goodbye to Australia
I'm in the Quantas lounge at Sydney waiting to board a pretty much direct flight back to London. I'm looking forward to some sleep, and a few bad but enjoyable films on the way back, as well as some space to digest the remarkably rich experiences of the last week and a half. And don't be mistaken: I do realize how incredibly lucky and priveliged I have been to take part in the first Landmark Tutorial, and also to have the opportunities I'm offered for travel like this.
Still, my focus is on trying to understand and assess wine as objectively as possible; more than this, also to be able to communicate my experiences in ways that encourage others to explore the wonderful, thrilling diversity of wine that is there for us to enjoy.
Talking of films, I forgot to mention a great one that I saw on the way out - In Bruges. As long as you don't mind the language and violence (it gets a bit gory at the end), then this black comedy is one of the funniest films I've seen for a long time.
I'm missing my 11 fellow Landmark tutees. Being stuck together through an intense experience like this bonded the group into quite a family. It was a really good group of people, from all sorts of backgrounds and nationalities.
Chris and I had dinner last night with Bruce Tyrrell and Rowena from the Hunter Valley Winegrowers Association. It was a low key but jolly event at Chez Pok. Bruce brought along a string of unprintable anecdotes and revelations, as well as some very impressive wines: 1986 Semillon was a bit tired, but the 1998 Vat 1 was singing, and two reds - 1987 Block 5 Shiraz and 1998 Vat 9 Shiraz - were both world class, the first very Burgundian, the second reminiscent of a good Claret. The 2002 Vat 47 Chardonnay was fresh as a daisy and singing. The Hunter may be a challenging place to grow grapes, but it makes wines that last and last.
Pictured above is one of Tyrrell's' venerable Shiraz vineyards, planted with a clone that came from Hermitage in the 19th century.