Wine, balm for so many and so much. Dark days might send the majority scurrying for the embrace of any calmly cool white or warmly welcoming red to hand, but a stress-induced need for a drink turns me into a curiously specific wine hunter. I rummage in boxes from here to there, not knowing what I’m actually looking for but certain I’ll know it when I find it.
After a trying day of the sort bureaucratic box ticking and arse covering that only building inspectors truly lift to an art form, the long deep sigh of relief revealed itself to be the 2014 Gibbston Valley ‘Le Maitre’ Gibbston Pinot Noir ($85).
Succulent, juicy, with freshness and verve. Walking the knife edge of fruit sweetness with a finely tuned line of tension, its perfume and prettiness belied a proper core of savoury concentration. There’s something about the more marginal subregions like Gibbston that mimics the essence of Pinot itself. For me, all good wines should be a little capricious; complacency has little to offer true pleasure.
Gibbston Valley’s Single Vineyard range encompasses Le Maitre (named for founder, Alan Brady) and Glen Lee from the Gibbston home vineyards, and China Terrace and School House from Bendigo sites. All are good, the Bendigo wines having the slightly muscular opulence common to that subregion and Glen Lee offering another expression of Gibbston’s perfume and backbone. I used to find GV’s wines rather hard going, the oak too clumsily obtrusive. This is no longer the case. Looking back across my notes of various vintages, the collection of wines delivers a faithfulness to their place and an increasingly deft touch in their handling. 2014 is also shaping up to be a rather smart year for Central, its third on the trot. It’s a year that seems to me to combine the linear drive of the 2012s (which I love) with the added flesh of the 2013s (which seem now to be settling more comfortable into their skins), surely a winning combination for most.
It takes a lot to mellow one to a point of charitable thoughts in the face of petty pedantry. After quiet contemplation accompanied by a glass of Le Maitre, I could again reframe the world to a benign state, accepting everyone – even building consent bureaucrats – as just trying to do their best in life. Quite some wine then.