The wine and jazz appreciation society news, vol 5, no 1, 1/2/99

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James Halliday's latest tasting notes...May 99
Seppelt Para Liqueur Port NV

Rating: 94 Best drinking: 1999-2019 Price: $19.00 Drink with: Coffee, chocolate

Background Produced from old, dry-grown shiraz, grenache and mourvedre, principally on the floor of the Barossa Valley. It is a blend of many vintages in a solera system that was established in 1973, and using wines dating back to 1940. Each successive blend is given a bottling number; that current in 1999 was Bottling 118.

Tasting note Bottling 118: Dark mahogany tinged with green; the bouquet is complex, and both richer and sweeter than DP90 with malt, butterscotch and strong rancio characters. The palate has complex structure and great power, yet paradoxically has an almost dry finish, and no biscuity aftertaste.
It's up to you

David Traeger Classic Verdelho 1997

Rating: 87 Best drinking: 1999-2000 Price: $16.00 Drink with: Sweet and sour pork

Background Something of a signature wine for David Traeger, although quality (and style) have varied somewhat over the years, suggesting the vineyard source is sensitive to climatic variation. The grapes, incidentally, are grown in the King Valley.

Tasting note Light to medium yellow-green; a very interesting wine with honey, mead and malt aromas, together with a rich, full-flavoured honeyed/meady palate. Seems far riper than the 12.5 degrees on the label; one suspects it came from very low-yielding vines.
Worth having

Elgee Park Riesling 1998

Rating: 89 Best drinking: 1999-2005 Price: $12.50 Drink with: Crab and asparagus

Background The Elgee Park vineyards are the oldest on the Mornington Peninsula, with vines over 20 years of age. These invest the wine with an extra degree of concentration and flavour.

Tasting note Light green-yellow; mineral, herb and lime aromas and flavours run through a wine with well above average concentration and length. The lime flavours on the palate persist on a clean aftertaste.
Off the beaten track

Holm Oak Pinot Noir 1997

Rating: 92 Best drinking: 1998-2001 Price: $25.00 Drink with: Squab

Background Produced from estate-grown grapes on the banks of the Tamar River. The '97 shows excellent varietal character, and by far the best from Holm Oak to date.

Tasting note Medium to full red-purple; dark briary/plummy fruit aromas with subtle oak. There is abundant dark plum fruit on the palate with a nice touch of forest floor; good weight and balance.

Simply the best

Seville Estate Chardonnay 1998

Rating: 92 Best drinking: 1999-2003 Price: $15.95 Drink with: Yabbies or marron

Background Reflects both the skills of the winemaking team headed by Iain Riggs and the 25-year-old estate vines.

Tasting note Excellent medium yellow-green colour. The bouquet is clean and smooth, with ripe melon fruit which spills over into a generously flavoured palate with sweet melon and fig fruit, all supported by subtle oak.
In addition to the wines for which full tasting notes are provided, I inevitably taste a large number of additional wines which are either not of the same quality or of the same interest. For the sake of completeness, I list these (and publish the points) under the heading 'Also tasted'. Typically, these will be wines which receive 80 points or less, but there is no hard and fast rule about this. Lower-pointed wines which are inexpensive may well get reviewed; conversely, more expensive wines which just scrape past 80 points may not be reviewed.

Vintage Wine Rating

1996 Ada River Chardonnay 77

1995 Ada River Chardonnay 80

1997 Ada River Pinot Noir 79

1997 Ada River Neerim South Pinot Noir 75

1996 Ada River Cabernet Sauvignon 74

1998 All Saints Orange Muscat 84

1997 All Saints Marsanne 85

1998 All Saints Heritage Red 78

1997 All Saints Heritage Red 79

1998 All Saints Aleatico 82

1997 All Saints Merlot 83

1997 All Saints Late Harvest Semillon 80

1995 Andrew Garrett Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 83

1998 Andrew Garrett Chardonnay 84

1997 Andrew Garrett Cabernet Merlot 83

1997 Andrew Harris Vineyards Premium Cabernet Sauvignon 84

1996 Ashton Hills Chardonnay C

1997 Aquila Estate Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc 83

1997 Aquila Estate Margaret River Classic 82

1998 Aquila Estate Margaret River Chenin Blanc 78

1997 Aquila Estate Boyup Brook Chardonnay 84

1998 Aquila Estate Flame 78

1996 Aquila Estate Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 81

1998 Babich Hawke's Bay Sauvignon Blanc 83

1998 Babich Unwooded Chardonnay 80

1997 Balnaves of Coonawarra Cabernet Merlot 85

1997 Balnaves of Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 84

NV Banrock Station Shiraz Cabernet 80

1998 Barking Owl Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 83

1998 Barking Owl Chardonnay 79

1997 Barking Owl Talus Brut 78

1997 Barossa Settlers Megans White 80

1997 Barossa Settlers Woolshed Flat Chardonnay 81

1998 Barossa Settlers Late Harvest Riesling 82

1995 Barossa Settlers James Cabernet Sauvignon 80

1996 Barossa Valley Estate E&E BlackPepper Shiraz 84

1997 Barossa Valley Estate Ebenezer Cabernet Sauvignon 85

1998 Basedow Riesling 83

1998 Basedow Semillon 81

1998 Basedow Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 79

1998 Basedow Chardonnay 84

1997 Basedow Shiraz 85

1997 Basedow Oscar's Heritage 78

1997 BlackJack Vineyards Cabernet Merlot 79

1997 Blackwood Crest Wines Sauvignon Blanc 83

1997 Blackwood Crest Wines Blackwood Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay 83

1997 Blackwood Crest Wines Shiraz 82

1997 Bremerton Wines Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 81

1997 Bronze Wing Estate Shiraz 80

1997 Bronze Wing Estate Merlot 79

1998 Brown Brothers Victoria Chenin Blanc 79

1997 Brown Brothers Merlot 78

1998 Browns of Padthaway Sauvignon Blanc 77

1996 Browns of Padthaway T-Trellis Shiraz 74

1998 Burge Family Winemakers Olive Hill Quartz 82

1998 Casella Carramar Estate Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 80

1998 Casella Carramar Estate Unwooded Chardonnay 77

1998 Casella Carramar Estate Chardonnay 83

1997 Casella Carramar Estate Shiraz 84

1998 Casella Carramar Estate Shiraz Cabernet 79

1997 Casella Carramar Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 77

1998 Dalfarras Sauvignon Blanc 85

1997 Dalfarras Marsanne 85

1997 David Traeger Cabernet 84

1998 Deakin Estate Merlot 80

NV Deakin Estate Brut 81

1998 De Bortoli Gulf Station Riesling 86

1998 De Bortoli Windy Peak Chardonnay 84

1998 De Bortoli Windy Peak Pinot Noir 79

1997 Delegat's Wine Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 79

1998 Diamond Valley Vineyards Blue Label Sauvignon Blanc 79

1998 Diamond Valley Vineyards Blue Label Pinot Noir 79

1997 Diamond Valley Vineyards Blue Label Cabernet Merlot 81

1996 Diamond Valley Vineyards Estate Cabernets 84

1998 Djinta Djinta Sauvignon Blanc 84

1997 Djinta Djinta Marsanne 76

1998 Donnelly River Wines Sauvignon Blanc 79

1998 Donnelly River Wines Pinot Noir 81

1998 Doonkuna Estate Riesling 79

1998 Doonkuna Estate Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 85

1997 Dowie Doole Sauvignon Blanc C

1998 Dowie Doole Chenin Blanc 79

1997 Dowie Doole Chardonnay 84

1998 Driftwood Estate Semillon 82

1998 Driftwood Estate Classic White 77

1997 Driftwood Estate Merlot 81

1997 Driftwood Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 85

1998 Dulcinea Chardonnay 78

1997 Dulcinea Chardonnay C

1997 Dulcinea Cabernet Sauvignon 77

1998 Eastern Peake Alba Unwooded Chardonnay 73

1998 Eastern Peake Persuasian Pinot Noir 75

1997 Eastern Peake Pinot Noir 80

1997 Eling Forest Winery Riesling 83

1996 Eling Forest Winery Furmint 72

1998 Eling Forest Winery Traminer Riesling 76

1997 Eling Forest Winery Chardonnay 83

1998 Eling Forest Winery Carla EF Red 79

1998 Elsewhere Vineyard Dry White 82

1998 Evelyn County Black Paddock Sauvignon Blanc 80

1998 Evelyn County Black Paddock Cabernet Sauvignon 82

1998 Faisan Estate Chardonnay 81

1997 Faisan Estate Pinot Noir 74

1997 Faisan Estate Shiraz 74

1997 Faisan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 74

1997 Faisan Estate Old Block Cabernet Sauvignon 80

1998 Fern Hill Estate Semillon 79

1998 Fern Hill Estate Chardonnay 83

1996 Fern Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 79

1996 Foxes Island Wines Pinot Noir 76

1998 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Riesling 83

1998 Frankland Estate Sauvignon Blanc 78

1996 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Shiraz 85

1996 Frankland Estate Olmo's Reward 83

1995 Frankland Estate Olmo's Reward 85

1997 Frankland Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 79

1996 Frankland Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 81

1998 Fyffe Field Verdelho 79

1996 Fyffe Field Byronine Dry Red 79

1998 Gehrig Estate Chenin Blanc 83

1998 Gehrig Estate Chardonnay 84

1998 Gehrig Estate Late Harvest Tokay Riesling 375 ml 79

1997 Gehrig Estate Pinot Noir 79

1996 Gehrig Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 85

1994 Gehrig Estate Vintage Port 81

1998 Geoff Merrill Sauvignon Blanc 80

1996 Geoff Merrill Chardonnay 84

1995 Geoff Merrill Reserve Chardonnay 85

1997 Geoff Merrill Merlot 80

1996 Geoff Merrill Bush Vine Grenache 77

1996 Geoff Merrill Cabernet Merlot 82

1998 Grevillea Estate Lunatic Hill Sauvignon Blanc 72

1998 Grevillea Estate Unoaked Chardonnay 74

NV Grevillea Estate Rougon 75

1996 Grevillea Estate Edmund Kirby Tribute Cabernet Sauvignon 80

1998 Hanging Rock Winery Jim Jim Sauvignon Blanc 84

1998 Hanging Rock Winery Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 79

1997 Hanging Rock Winery Victoria Shiraz 83

1997 Hanging Rock Winery Victoria Cabernet Merlot 78

1998 Hardys Siegersdorf Riesling 87

1997 Hardys Sir James Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 79

1998 Haselgrove Merlot 85

1998 Heathcote Winery Viognier 81

1998 Heggies Vineyard Viognier 85

1997 Heggies Vineyard Chardonnay 81

1997 Heggies Vineyard Pinot Noir 80

1997 Heggies Vineyard Merlot 86

1998 Hickinbotham The Taminga 84

1998 Hill-Smith Estate Air Strip Block Chardonnay 83

1997 Hillstowe Buxton/s Merlot Cabernet 85

1998 Houghton Riesling 85

1997 Houghton Crofters Chardonnay 86

1998 Houghton Chardonnay Verdelho 82

1998 Houghton Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 85

1997 Houghton Cabernet Sauvignon 78

1995 Huntington Estate Bin FB30 Cabernet Sauvignon 84

1997 Jackson's Hill Semillon C

1993 Johanneshof Cellars Emmi Brut 72

1995 Johanneshof Cellars Noble Late Harvest Botrytis Chard/SB 76

1998 Kara Kara Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 84

1997 Kara Kara Vineyard Chardonnay 83

1997 Kara Kara Vineyard Marshall St Arnaud Shiraz Cabernet 77

1997 Kemblefield Estate Gewurztraminer 84

1998 Kemblefield Estate Terrace View Sauvignon Blanc 80

1997 Kemblefield Estate Sauvignon Blanc 86

1997 Kemblefield Estate Terrace View Unoaked Chardonnay 86

1997 Kemblefield Estate Merlot 82

1997 Kemblefield Estate Terrace View Cabernet Merlot 75

1998 Kilikanoon Blocks Road Riesling 84

1997 Killawarra Pinot Chardonnay 78

1997 Krondorf Family Reserve Chardonnay 78

1997 Lawson's Hill Cabernet Merlot 78

1998 Leasingham Bin 7 Riesling 79

1997 Leasingham Bin 37 Chardonnay 82

1998 Leconfield Old Vines Riesling 85

1997 Leconfield Cabernet 83

1998 Lyre Bird Hill Gippsland Riesling 74

1997 Lyre Bird Hill Chardonnay 76

1997 Lyre Bird Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 78

1998 Lengs & Cooter Watervale Riesling 84

1997 Lengs & Cooter Old Vines Clare Shiraz 79

1997 Lengs & Cooter The Victor Grenache Shiraz 75

1993 Lyre Bird Hill Rhapsody Sparkling Pinot 75

1997 Majella Sparkling Shiraz 79

1997 Malcolm Creek Chardonnay 80

1995 Malcolm Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 76

1998 Marienberg Riesling 78

1998 Marienberg Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 77

1998 Marienberg Reserve Chardonnay 83

1996 Marienberg Reserve Shiraz 86

1996 Marienberg Reserve Shiraz 86

1997 Marienberg Cabernet Grenache Mourvedre 78

1996 Marienberg Cabernet Sauvignon 79

1996 Marybrook Vineyards Verdelho 80

1996 Marybrook Vineyards Chardonnay 78

1996 Marybrook Vineyards Cabernet Franc C

1995 Marybrook Vineyards Cabernet Franc 77

1994 Marybrook Vineyards Cabernets 76

1993 Marybrook Vineyards Cabernets 79

1992 Marybrook Vineyards Cabernets 79

NV Massoni Main Creek Lectus Cuvée 79

1998 Massoni Main Creek Homes Chardonnay 83

1998 Massoni Main Creek Homes Pinot Noir 80

1997 Massoni Main Creek Langhorne Creek Shiraz 85

1997 Massoni Main Creek Homes Langhorne Creek Cabernet Merlot 84

1998 McWilliam's Hanwood Sauvignon Blanc 77

1998 McWilliam's Hanwood Shiraz 82

NV Merrivale Wines Tapestry Old Tawny Port 80

1998 Merrivale Wines Tapestry Bin 228 Riesling 86

1997 Merrivale Wines Tapestry Bin 288 Chardonnay 82

1997 Merrivale Wines Tapestry Bin 338 Shiraz 77

1996 Merrivale Wines Tapestry Bin 388 Cabernet Sauvignon 79

1998 Mildara (Coonawarra) Jamiesons Run Chardonnay 85

1996 Mildara (Coonawarra) Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 86

NV Mitchell Sparkling Peppertree Sparkling Shiraz 85

1997 Montara New Wave Riesling 80

1996 Montara Chardonnay 84

1996 Montara Pinot Noir 79

1996 Montara Shiraz 80

1996 Montara Cabernet Sauvignon 81

1997 Montrose Sangiovese 84

NV Moondah Brook Maritime 79

1998 Moondah Brook Chardonnay 84

1998 Moorooduc Estate Chardonnay 84

1998 Moorooduc Estate Devil Bend Creek Chardonnay 84

1998 Moorooduc Estate Devil Bend Creek Pinot Noir 77

1995 Moorooduc Estate Cabernet 77

1997 Mornington Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 79

1997 Mornington Vineyards Estate Shiraz 77

1997 Morris Chardonnay 84

1996 Morris Shiraz 83

1996 Morris Cabernet Sauvignon 81

1997 Moss Wood Pinot Noir 78

1997 Mount Helen Chardonnay 81

1997 Mount Helen Cabernet Merlot 84

1997 Mount Hurtle Chardonnay 82

1998 Mount Hurtle Rosé 83

1997 Mount Hurtle Grenache Shiraz 75

1997 Mount Hurtle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 79

1997 Mount Ida Shiraz 84

1998 Mount Trio Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 80

1997 Mount Trio Vineyard Pinot Noir 83

1996 Mount Trio Vineyard Cabernet Shiraz 85

1998 Mount View Estate Verdelho Chardonnay 86

1998 Mount View Estate Reserve Verdelho 86

1998 Mount View Estate Kester Chardonnay 85

1997 Mount View Estate Kester Chardonnay 84

1996 Mount View Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 79

1997 Mountadam Pinot Noir 79

NV Mountview Wines Shiraz Royal 76

1998 Olssens of Watervale Riesling 85

1997 Olssens of Watervale Cabernet Sauvingnon Franc Merlot 77

1997 Orlando Gramps Grenache 78

1998 Palmer Wines Sauvignon Blanc 79

1998 Palmer Wines Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 79

1998 Palmer Wines Unwooded Chardonnay 80

1998 Pankhurst Pinot Noir 79

1997 Pankhurst Cabernet Merlot 78

1996 Pattersons Chardonnay 84

1997 Pattersons Pinot Noir 77

1997 Pattersons Shiraz 81

1997 Paulett Polish Hill River Shiraz 82

1997 Paulett Polish Hill River Cabernet Merlot 85

1998 Peacock Hill Vineyard Reserve Chardonnay 80

1997 Peacock Hill Vineyard Jaan Shiraz 74

1998 Peacock Hill Vineyard Faith Cabernet Sauvignon 79

1998 Pearson Vineyards Riesling 85

1996 Pearson Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 84

1998 Peerick Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 85

1997 Peerick Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 79

1997 Penley Estate Chardonnay 84

1997 Penley Estate Hyland Shiraz 82

1995 Penley Estate Ausvetia Shiraz 85

1997 Penley Estate Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon 80

1998 Pepper Tree Traminer 78

1998 Pepper Tree Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 78

1998 Pertaringa Semillon 81

1998 Pertaringa Sauvignon Blanc 84

1997 Pertaringa Cabernet Sauvignon 80

1997 Peter Lehmann Cabernet Sauvignon 79

1998 Pipers Brook Vineyard Pellion Pinot Noir 84

1998 Plantagenet Riesling 83

1998 Plunkett Blackwood Ridge Gewurztraminer 85

1998 Plunkett Blackwood Ridge Semillon 83

1998 Plunkett Blackwood Ridge Unwooded Chardonnay 78

1997 Plunkett Strathbogie Ranges Chardonnay 79

1997 Plunkett Blackwood Ridge Shiraz 77

1997 Plunkett Strathbogie Ranges Cabernet Merlot 78

1997 Poole's Rock Chardonnay 83

1998 Punters Corner Chardonnay 80

1997 Punters Corner Cabernet Merlot 85

1996 Rabbit Ridge (NZ) Burrow Chardonnay 83

1997 Ravenswood Lane Vineyard 19th Meeting Cabernet 84

1998 Red Hill Estate Sauvignon Blanc 85

1998 Red Hill Estate Unoaked Chardonnay 80

1997 Redman Shiraz 79

1997 Reynolds Yarraman Semillon 81

1998 Reynolds Yarraman Chardonnay 85 85

1997 Richmond Grove Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 79

1998 Richmond Grove Cowra Verdelho 78

1998 Richmond Grove Cowra Chardonnay 81

1998 Rothbury Estate Verdelho 79

1998 Rothbury Estate Cowra Chardonnay 82

1997 Rothbury Estate Mudgee Shiraz 78

1996 Rothbury Estate Brokenback Shiraz 84

1997 Rothbury Estate Mudgee Cabernet Merlot 76

1997 Rumbalara Semillon 80

1996 Rumbalara Cabernet Sauvignon 79

1998 Saddlers Creek Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 76

1997 Saddlers Creek Equus Hunter Shiraz 85

1997 Saddlers Creek Merlot 79

1997 Saddlers Creek Bluegrass Cabernet Merlot 80

1998 Saltram Classic Semillon 85

1997 Saltram Mamre Brook Chardonnay 85

1998 Sand Hills Vineyard Classic Dry White 79

1997 Sandalford Reserve Semillon 85

1997 Sandalford Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc 79

1998 Sandalford Element Chenin Blanc Verdelho 78

1997 Sandalford Element Chardonnay 79

1998 Sandalford Element Cabernet Shiraz 79

1993 Sandalford Cellar Reserve Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 82

1998 Scarpantoni Estate Block 1 Riesling 77

1998 Scarpantoni Estate Sauvignon Blanc 78

1998 Scarpantoni Estate Unwooded Chardonnay 80

1993 Scarpantoni Estate Chardonnay 86

1997 Scarpantoni Estate School Block 83

1996 Scarpantoni Estate Gamay 74

1997 Scarpantoni Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 79

1998 Seresin Estate Riesling 80

1998 Seresin Estate Sauvignon Blanc 84

1998 Seresin Estate Pinot Gris 83

1997 Seresin Estate Chardonnay 82

1998 Stephen John Wines Watervale Riesling 84

1998 Stephen John Wines Watervale Pedro Ximinez 77

1998 Stephen John Wines Chardonnay 79

1998 Stonier's Pinot Noir 84

1997 Stonier's Cabernet 81

1998 St Huberts Pinot Noir 82

1996 St Leonards Methode Traditionelle Chenin Blanc 80

1996 St Leonards Wahgunyah Shiraz 81

1996 St Leonards Carlyle Ruby Cabernet 81

1998 Steins Robert Stein Semillon 82

1997 Steins Robert Stein Shiraz 79

NV Stephen John Wines Traugott Cuvee Sparkling Burgundy 76

1997 Stumpy Gully Shiraz 78

1997 Stumpy Gully Cabernet Sauvignon 84

1997 Taltarni Shiraz C

1996 Taltarni Merlot 79

1997 Taltarni Merlot Cabernet 79

1996 Taltarni Cabernet Sauvignon 78

1994 Taltarni Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 80

NV Taltarni Brut Taché 84

1998 Tanglewood Downs Gewurztraminer 78

1997 Tanglewood Downs Chardonnay 79

1995 Tanglewood Downs Cabernet 77

1994 Temple Bruer Sparkling Cabernet Merlot 83

1997 Temple Bruer Botrytis Riesling 84

1997 Temple Bruer Cornucopia Grenache 79

1996 Temple Bruer Cabernet Merlot 83

1998 Tempus Two Wines Merlot 80

1997 Tempus Two Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 82

1998 Tintilla Estate Shiraz 79

1997 Tintilla Estate Shiraz 77

1998 Trevor Jones Size 98 Riesling 82

1998 Tuck's Ridge Riesling C

1997 Turkey Flat Butchers Block 81

1998 Tyrrell's Old Winery Semillon 83

1998 Tyrrell's Long Flat Chardonnay 80

1998 Tyrrell's Old Winery Chardonnay 79

1998 Tyrrell's Old Winery Pinot Noir 79

1997 Vasse Felix Cabernet Merlot 81

1996 Warramate Shiraz 83

1996 Warramate Cabernet Sauvignon 77

1998 Westfield Unwooded Chardonnay 84

1997 Westfield Cabernet Sauvignon 83

1998 Wildwood Pinot Noir 76

1996 Wildwood Shiraz 78

1997 Wildwood Merlot Cabernet Franc 77

1998 Wilson Vineyard Chardonnay 82

1994 Wilson Vineyard Hippocrene Sparkling Burgundy 82

1997 Wolf Blass Red Label 79

1998 Wyanga Park Colombard 77

1998 Wyanga Park Miriam's Fancy Chardonnay 85

1997 Wyanga Park Pinot Noir 75

1998 Xanadu Wines Secession Rosé 79

1998 Xanadu Wines Secession Red 78

1997 Xanadu Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 77

1996 Xanadu Wines Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 83

1998 Yalumba Limited Release Viognier 78

1997 Yalumba Shiraz 85

1997 Yalumba Viognier 84

1997 Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache 83

1998 Yarra Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 82

1998 Yarra Ridge Chardonnay 84

1998 Yarra Ridge Pinot Noir 83

1997 Yarra Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 83

Please note: All wines are rated out of 100 points, corked wines are marked accordingly and have not been rated.


"Did you ever walk in a room and forget why you walked in? I think that's how dogs spend their lives." Sue Murphy

Three events in 5 days are enough to satiate even the hardiest musical searcher for truth. Fortunately, the musical pilgrimages comprised returns to bands I've enjoyed in the past, and the spiritual uplift compensated quite neatly for the deleterious effects of overly-frequent dissipation upon my liver and sundry other bits.
Wednesday at The Punters Club - a bit of a dive, minimalist comfort but a fair sound-system and a touch of Brunswick St grunge allows one to feel (however mistakenly) a mild sense of kinship with poverty stricken students and other Fitzroy eccentrics liable to wander in off the street. Of course, the 5 dollar cover charge dissuades those needing a warm spot to doss, whilst simultaneously relieving stress on the air extraction fans. The carpet was not wet with beer, an acid test in my book when assessing the fineness of a victualling establishment that promotes music. In short, if suits suit, this won't suit. As to the band, what can I say that I haven't already penned on these pages? Alright, I'll say it again!
The Hoodangers music has been described as "feral trad jazz" and "Dixieland Thrash", implying that although their music stems from the tradition which has spawned Dixieland and New Orleans style jazz; nevertheless, their approach has deviated markedly from that expected upon hearing of those two venerable styles. The band’s lineup looks more or less traditional: trumpet (Eugene Ball), clarinet (Chris Tanner), trombone (Ben Gillespie), banjo (Mal Williams), bass (Shannon Birchall), and drums (Ollie Browne). To those who have heard the musicians play in other places, however, it is clear that they are well-versed in other predominantly jazz genres.
The frontline players have done and continue to play in bebop bands, a style pioneered by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis among many other luminaries from the 1940’s to the 1960’s (the seminal bebop period). In listening to The Hoodangers, each of these styles can be discerned, with a further difference lying in the rhythms chosen to support the frontline. One can hear rock’n’roll, ska, reggae, and R & B beats driving the tunes. While this may be unnerving initially, the tunes both old and original sound remarkably fresh and exciting. Most listeners to trad jazz" are familiar with the "jam" - when the frontline improvises simultaneously in a riot of sound, which at its best has a joyous coherence despite its apparent anarchy. The jam occurs in most trad groups as an occasional finale to a piece, which for most of the tune comprised a series of predictable solos from the frontline and occasionally from the rhythm section. For The Hoodangers, the jam appears to occur with much greater frequency, and with frenetic, unconventional ensemble excursions.
An additional element to their performance is visual: a sense of mania, mayhem, and edgy unpredictability pervades the scene. This air of uncertainty, irreverence, and outrageousness is saved from being discomforting by the quirky sense of good-natured humour which pervades the band. They are reminiscent of a bunch of school students unsupervised on their first trip to the city. The humour evident in the lyrics of their tunes (I Want a Cabby from Another Country) is countered by savage political comment (The Garden State is on the Take), and hometown appreciation (Northcote). Many of their tunes are original (Danger Suite), some (Tom Waits - Evening Train) are imaginatively reworked, and a few standards are included.
It is a tribute to the musicianship of the band members that this fresh approach to a tried and true tradition works so well. The band enjoys great respect from jazz players of other styles - a feat not easily achieved in the disparate and often mutually antagonistic jazz scene. I doubt if many trad jazz groups have been regularly included in the program at Bennetts Lane, the recognised home of modern jazz in Melbourne.
Why do I keep returning to hear and see them? Perhaps it is because I smile for pretty much the whole evening when they play. Maybe it’s because they are genuinely exciting, capable musicians who don’t play it safe. The musical arrangements of their tunes appear very loosely-coupled - much of what occurs during a number is genuinely extemporaneous, an answering response to a colleague’s idea that in turn requires a retort. And so it goes, real-time music with an edginess that demands attention. Of course, it can’t always be a rip-roaring success, though for the most part their high-wire act is virtually faultless. The format usually involves two sets - the first has been instrumental in the past, largely respectful to the New Orleans style; the second containing the political side to their music, with such vocal gems as Jeff, Jeff; Cabby from Another Country; Northcote; Miner’s Song; This Garden State is on the Take. In recent times the instrumentals and vocals have been interwoven.
The interplay during and between numbers has the same edgy quality - humour, appreciation, challenge, spontaneity are all noticeable and clearly involves the crowd, most of whom are in a constant state of rapt attention, lest they miss something. Singing (if that is the correct term) is shared between Chris Tanner (clarinet), Ben Gillespie (trombone), and Shannon Birchall (bass). Chris has stunningly nasal vocal style. The voice is almost a caricature of the trad-style, but is attractive because of this musician’s artfulness in varying the rhythm and timing of his phrasing. Most of their original tunes are written by Eugene, and one in particular, Danger Suite, is a spectacular, long and complex journey in three (or is it four?) parts. Most of the band's pieces are studies in light and shade, involving changes in rhythm and volume - from a quiet solo to the full-blown jam.
Recently, this young group enjoyed a successful tour of Russia and other Eastern European countries - their genuinely unique sound and stage personas winning new friends quickly. They have now won an Arts grant to take them in July to Denmark and the USA. Their final performance will be at the Punters Club again on Sat June 12. The Hoodangers website can be found at, and it includes tracks from their first CD Dang On for sampling using Real Audio. The promo blurb is pretty accurate, and is included below:
From Jelly-Roll Morton to James Brown; from King Oliver to Bob Marley; from George Lewis to the Sex Pistols...this is the music of The Hoodangers. Music of rhythm and energy, movement and celebration. A true melting pot of sound - mixing, blending, kneading and stretching all genres into a new, malleable, evolving sound that is truly distinctive. A sound firmly rooted in tradition, yet plunging fearlessly into the future. No leads, no amps; the 'Dangas are mobile - equally at home in parks and on the streets as in clubs and halls. The raw energy and sheer intensity of the music of The Hoodangers, coupled with the humour and honesty of its presentation, has and will continue to excite every audience in any situation.
Two sessions with the Paul Williamson Hammond Quartet (Friday at Ruby Red, Monday at the Rainbow) was not nearly enough to assuage my need to listen regularly to this band. Add to that an hour's musical session on Jim Macleod's Jazztrack (ABC-FM) on Saturday night and we are starting to get closer. Friday night at Ruby Red, a delicious and interesting 3 course meal with our work staff. We were very well looked after with good attentive service, reasonable prices, Strongarm beer at $2.20 a pot, nitrogened Guinness, and (disappointingly) a poxy wine list. Paul Williamson's Hammond has Tim Neal on Hammond B3, Michael Jordan (drums), guest James Black (keyboards). I have heard James before when he filled in for Tim, but only on piano. He has been around forever, formerly with Mondo Rock, and with The Black Sorrows. It was interesting to hear the different balance in the band with a piano competing with? complementing? the omnipresent undertones of Tim's Hammond. In fact, I'm told that it is not at all easy for two keyboards to keep it nice on the same stage. There is a real risk of discord or out of synch playing. Mercifully, each player was admirably sensitive to the other's musical lines and the result was smooth duetting and seamless crossover from one solo to the next. The music (for example, How Long? Who's been Talking? Cry to Me) has a much bluesier feel when the keyboards are producing a piano sound and James' playing was terrific. Whether soloing or playing support, it was as though he played with the band regularly. The Hammond/piano collaboration was ended for a time in the second set when James switched to electric guitar, an instrument with which he appeared reasonably familiar.
Monday's Rainbow session was a special night, being Paul's birthday. Dinner, beforehand involved a return to Bistro Inferno (yes I know it's not the only restaurant in Brunswick St). Fantastic rich lambs shanks on superfine mashed potato with a dark, brooding, chinese black pepper sauce was lifted evn further by a Craiglee 1996 shiraz. The pepper in the shiraz tangoed with that of the dish to such an extent that superlatives were called for (though they did not arrive in time). Meanwhile, at the Rainbow, accompanied by his family Paul decided to have a good time and not take his usual bandleader's position on stage. In his stead, he installed Gil Askey a septuagenarian former-American trumpet player with the energy levels of a 7 year old with ADHD. Unbelievably manic on and off stage, he was hugely entertaining and his playing was similarly full of spirit and technique. He also talks 15 to the dozen in a brazen, trashy manner whilst obviously having a hugely enjoyable time himself. Whether his insistence on taking charge endeared him to the regular members of the band appeared not to faze him at all as he called the changes and selected the soloists. Sam Keevers also played a number of tunes on keyboards during the first set.
The audience was a who's who of the Melbourne jazz scene and spotted among the non-players were Gary Costello (bass), Doug Devries (guitar), Dean Ford (guitar), Toby Mak (trumpet), Phillip Rex (bass), Julien Wilson (sax), Dean Addison (bass), and unknown others who wore a musical look and went whoo-oo a lot. Guests began to join in the playing under the severe eye of Gil, and those who passed the test were singers Julie O'Hara, Ruby Carter and Lindsay Hammond, Eugene Ball and Paul Coyle (trumpet), Ben Gillespie (trombone), Chris Tanner (clarinet), and Shane Ryall (guitar). Paul, of course, couldn't stay away from the bandstand all night and joined in with some spirited musical conversations with Gil and guests. It was a great vibe at the Rainbow, and the music was pretty special too.
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