I recently got an email from a mate — he’s a bit (read a lot) of a wine fancier and a slightly less-recent vintage than me (hard to believe, I know) — announcing a breakthrough from California. It’s a wine, the email said, designed for seniors who have, well, a constant need to decant (into the dunny) some of the night’s tipple.

These vintners in the Napa Valley, who primarily produce pinot blanc, pinot noir and pinot grigio, have developed a hybrid grape that acts as an anti-diuretic. Gotta say, I was quite excited reading the email until I saw that the new wine is called pinot more.

Meanwhile, back in the sensible world, my recent experiences with food and wine have been anything but sensible, that is if you listen to wowsers, dieticians, doctors, milk bar owners, people with small ears and those who wake daily to a magenta-coloured sky.

Lunch on Friday last at Golden Fields in St Kilda, with my good friend wine writer Jane Faulkner, was the starting point. We made our way through lobster rolls (delivered to our table by chef and owner Andrew McConnell), soft-shell crabs, Moreton Bay bugs with cabbage, twice-cooked duck (the highlight), a vegetable dish and some steamed barramundi with broad beans, wilted leeks and miso butter. It couldn’t get any better, could it? Well, yeah, it could. It did.

The wines were to die for: Wittmann Morstein Riesling 2009, Prager Gruner Veltliner 2009, Gaba do Xil Mencia 2008, Bindi Pyrette Shiraz 2010 and then some. My notebook matched my mind … not the clearest it has ever been. Suffice to say, lunch was great.

At the risk of sounding like a pig, later in the day I also has a couple of glasses of John Duvall Wines Eligo 2008 Shiraz (about $105 a bottle and, yes, it was a gift, so not a bank breaker) and I was like a pig in … OK, you get the drift.

Sleep came easily that night and on into Saturday, where the plan was to have a steak dinner at Mediterraneo, a local restaurant. We eased into the night with a fabulous Donnhoff Riesling 2010 and then hit the restaurant for a plate of griddled calamari and some Coombe Farm Chardonnay, which also sustained us through an excellent piece of wagyu beef, that, if it had been much bigger, we could have milked. The body finally conceded: enough already.

The only way to ease out of what was an excessive weekend was to do a deli run to the market.

To whit: a plate of bits and pieces (a great and cheap way to eat), including char-grilled, pickled artichoke hearts, fat olives stuffed with parmesan and then crumbed and fried, coriander and chilli pesto, smoked ocean trout with fresh dill and lemon-infused olive oil, a small piece of runny brie, some cornichons, salami and some crusty bread and crackers, all washed down with some Scotchmans Hill Chardonnay from the Bellarine Peninsula.

With the chard I got the melon and (other) fruity nose stuff although I still can’t get a handle on mealy notes, whatever that means (OK, I’m learning and although I graduated with honours at the “if it tastes good, drink it” wine school, I am booked in for a proper wine course with my friend, Jane). As is my wont, I reckon it also tasted buttery and oaky with some acid to balance it.

It went well with nearly everything on the plate and, priced somewhere in the mid-20 buck range, is a drink that I’d also be happy to drink with anything (or nothing really), because it’s a good drink.

Perhaps it wasn’t the best wine of the weekend, but it was a more-than-pleasant way to ease out of it.

Peter Fray

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