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Sobriety of a long-distance wino

IT was an awesome task, but someone had to do it. Over 40 wines to be tasted over just a couple of hours, with a vineyard tour in between, followed by lunch, its a mission the Note can appreciate. The venue – Ferngrove in WA’s southern Frankland River region, west of Mt Barker. The occasion – a vertical tasting of the wines made since commercial production began with the 2001 vintage. The tasting panel – prominent WA wine judges and writers Peter Forrestal, John Jens, Rod Properjohn (pictured above with Ferngrove staff) and one occasional wine scribe, who, while a highly qualified and proficient taster, is no judge. The Note’s goal? To be lucid, reasonably erudite over lunch and learn. The flight to Ferngrove in the six-seater piloted by ex-RAAF officer and Ferngrove founder Murray Burton passed without incident apart from some trepidation felt by Mr Forrestal about the cockpit door being opened just prior to taxiing to takeoff. The tasting itself was held in a white room of three glass sides overlooking the winery to the vineyards beyond. Quiet, almost contemplative. The three judges, all old mates, took up their respective positions at the bench and settled into a serious regime of quiet smelling, swirling and spitting. The Note attempted to emulate them. It was a quiet, sober and edifying experience, with discussion kept to a minimum until the end of each set. The judges gave the wine of the day to the 2003 Majestic Cabernet Sauvignon from Ferngrove’s flagship Orchid range. In summation, a great experience from which the Note learned a lot. It also marked a Note first: walking out of a wine tasting without having had a drink.

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