Domestic reviews from Graeme Phillips & Simon Hughes

Grape Expectations 20 August Max Crus (Simon Hughes)

At some point in the week these reviews and article  will appear in The Daily Examiner (Grafton), Border Mail (Albury), Rotary Down Under (National) and Australian Petroleum Marketer News (National) 

Don’t be alarmed.

You have to feel sorry for people who use alarms.

The myriad problems besetting the modern alarm user are well, alarming, and not the least is that the alarm tones provided by modern devices are truly awful.

Many would argue that the purpose alarms is to wake you. Okay, point taken, and almost as many subscribe that the more annoying the tone the more likely you are to say no to the ‘snooze’ button.

But who wants to start their day with something annoying as, say, Marimba?

What sane person would use that ring tone (unless you’re a character in a movie or a gritty British crime show)? Honestly, it’s as bad as using your favourite song as a ring tone. A song which is seldom if ever, anyone else’s favourite.

All very clever if you happen to be at a concert of the artist concerned and you can all wave your ringtones in the air like hippies in the ‘60s and ‘70s did with matches and cigarette lighters.

How very at one with one another, but not in public, please.

While annoying alarms are one step up the auditory ladder from annoying ringtones, they’re two steps above favourite songs as intro to voicemail messages.

Okay, so you love ageing American rockers, big whoop, I just want to leave a message, not relive my youth, or worse, yours. Just go beep. Please.

But back to alarms. How magnanimous of Apple to finally consent to users choosing their ringtones outside the suite of rubbish loaded onto the devices in Mumbai or Shanghai by 8 year olds, which probably explains why things like Forest Bell, et al ever got a guernsey in the first place.

If you have to wake to something other than birds twirping or cheating or whatever birds do, why not something soft, gentle, lilting and soothing?

Ahhh, the misty eyed nostalgia of old Nokias.

One of their alarm tones was Bach‘s Cello Prelude in G. It is truly a tragedy that the poor Scandanavian trendsetter fell from favour, and sadder still that Apple took ten years to catch up.

Alas after ten years without alarms, not even Apple could lure me back.

Now, what’s a wine to go with a bowl of nostalgia, or Bach’s Prelude in G?

Yarrawood Tall Tales Cabernet Merlot 2013, $24. This is so soft you could wear it as undies, and if that’s too unsavoury, have a another glass. This is quite savoury and should be savoured. 9/10.

Yarrawood Yarra Valley Merlot, 2013, $18. A bottle with a lyre bird on the label is perfect accompaniment to gatherings involving wine and enough of this – easy enough to do – will make a liar of most. 8.7/10.

Claymore Wines Nirvana Clare Valley Reserve Shiraz 2012, $45. Buddhists, Nirvana fans and lovers of Sanskrit will flock to this. As will lovers of shiraz. Wonder if they pray when they crush the poor little grapes. 9.1/10.

Claymore Superstition Clare Valley Reserve Riesling, 2015, $28. The cat eyed woman on the label is quite striking and I wouldn’t mind betting these guys are fans of Game Of Thrones. Steely, unctuous and ideal with GOT. 8.9/10.

Tahbilk Shiraz 2013, $24. How simple a label is that? Nothing but important stuff on the cover, and nothing but important stuff in the bottle. 8.7/10.

Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, $25. Rats, was the Olympics on? Dang, missed them. This is the wine you have when you turn the commentators down and relax. 8.7/10.

The Mercury (Tasmania), 20 August, Graeme Phillips


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