Dan's Blog


Friday, October 25, 2019

Recently, one of the world’s best ever drummers, Ginger Baker, died and hearing that news prompted me to rummage around my old record collection to find my one and only Cream LP in which Ginger played a truly amazing drum solo.

I dusted it off and put it on the old record player and in doing so I thought about how much more work it used to take to play a record than to load a CD. Listening to the maestro at work from around 50 years ago, with the crackles and hisses of the old LP, I prayed that it wasn’t scratched and that I could listen to the whole album. It suddenly struck me as to the similarities to cork (LP’s) and the comparison of it to screw caps (CD’s).

There used to be a whole rigmarole to putting an LP on to play including, dusting it off, putting the needle down gently so as not to scratch the record, not bumping it, etc. Then along came the CD – just drop it in the slot and hey presto scratch and static free music every time!

Likewise with a cork sealed bottle – you have to cut the capsule, make sure that there is no mould under it (wipe it off), twist in the corkscrew and tug like buggery to yank the darn thing out. Then you hear the lovely POP as it comes out – unless of course the cork breaks or crumbles and makes an unholy mess, as opposed to simply twisting the screw cap and pouring the wine. Not to mention that there is a decent chance that the cork has allowed the bottle to leak wine thereby significantly increasing the air space in the bottle.

What a great analogy I thought! Here is another instance of technology moving on and making the previous obsolete. Yes, sure there has been a “Vinyl Revival” in recent years, with some people claiming that music sounds better on vinyl, complete with crackles and hisses. The question though is: How much of the world’s music is being issued on Vinyl today as a result of this “revival”?  One per cent or maybe five per cent of the total music? It is not significant in terms of output.

Likewise, the technology of sealing bottles has been moving on since the turn of the century, despite the tens of millions of Euros that the cork industry has spent on Goebel-esque propaganda to firstly persuade us that there was no problem. When that failed they promoted that they had fixed the TCA problem (within the limits of human detection) and then advised that the forests in Portugal wouldn’t survive if we didn’t use cork. Is that because the trees die if men don’t rip the bark off them every so many years? Or is it because the cork manufacturers won’t be making their big fat profits? I wonder!!

Rest in Peace Ginger Baker, you were a truly remarkable drummer who brought musical joy to a whole generation. Now I think I will download some of your music from iTunes, given that CD’s are being made obsolete by music streaming/downloads. Hey, my latest laptop doesn’t even have a CD drive!

Imagine if we tried to insist that all music today had to be on cassettes or Vinyl LP’s – that would be laughable! Wouldn’t it?  Well, that’s what the “Corkers” of Portugal are trying to do with wine bottle closures. We should really say “Screw You” to the “Cork Brigade”!

Cheers and enjoy some screwed wine during the week!


I was sitting here at my desk writing an article about the amazing/awesome Durif from Morris of Rutherglen spanning back 50 years (that I recently enjoyed at a fantastic lunch with David Morris here in Adelaide) when lo and behold I receive a batch of samples from the gang at Aldi Liquor which included a Durif. Say What!! And Aldi Durif –non, c’est pas possible!! But, it is.

The wine in question is the ALDI VENTURER SERIES 2018 RIVERINA DURIF:  Absolute masses of deep, dark colour, not quite as dense as Rutherglen Durif are, but still pretty awesome. Very appealing aromas of ripe, red berry fruit and just a hint of dried herbs. It explodes onto the palate with a mountainous wall of rich, smooth, svelte flavours – again, not quite as deep and intense as Rutherglen, but oh, so much more approachable. It’s rearing to go right now with a superb, rich meal and no need to wait for it to soften off in the cellar for eons. Absolutely perfect accompaniment to richer style vegetarian or meat dishes as the slightly grippy tannins will cut through and counterbalance any oiliness in a rich dish.

This is a sensational wine, but don’t just take my word for it, the judges at the following wine shows this year thought it was “none too dusty” as well:

Riverina Wine Show – Trophy & Top Gold

Cowra Wine Show – Silver Medal & Top in Class

Royal Queensland Wine Show – Silver Medal

Sydney Royal Wine Show – Bronze Medal

Royal Hobart Wine Show – Bronze Medal

Perth Royal Wine Show – Bronze Medal

Royal Adelaide Wine Show – Silver Medal

So if you like Durif, or if you have never tried a Durif (why not???), and you don’t live in the “Stone Age” State of South Australia where the only supermarkets allowed to sell wine are Coles and Woollies (in stores right next door to their supermarkets),  race down to your nearest Aldi Liquor store and grab a bottle (or six) before it runs out, cause at an RRP of just $7.99 for such a cracking wine, it has to be (by a country mile) the BARGAIN OF THE YEAR. Hey, how often do you see a Bronze Medal winner for eight bucks? Let alone a Trophy Winner with eight awards under its belt for $7.99.

PS: If you are a Durif “nut” like me you should seriously consider buying a dozen to enjoy while your, “pride of Rutherglen” (and other areas), is slowly maturing away in your cellar.

Ah Aldi! You have done it again!!