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Canberra Today 12°/16° | Saturday, September 25, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Urged by the universe to get writing

The d’Arenberg Cube… a five-storey monument to a vision of splendour amongst the vineyards of the McLaren Vale.

“Three conspiracy theorists walked into a bar. You can’t tell me that’s a coincidence.” RICHARD CALVER discovers synchronicity is nudging him on to write about d’Arenburg wine…

A SERIES of events led me to reconsider synchronicity. This is a concept developed by Jung to describe circumstances that appear meaningfully related yet lack a causal connection. It’s a fancy name for coincidence. Let me explain.

Richard Calver.

First, when recently in Adelaide, my friends took me to the Cube. This is the d’Arenberg winemaker’s folly become manifest, a five-storey monument to a vision of splendour amongst the vineyards of the McLaren Vale, now an icon to SA wine tourism. It reminded me of a giant Rubik’s Cube but in black and white and its homage to surrealism is captured by the Dali exhibition it houses and the eerie music that accompanies your journey from pathway to the entrance of this magnificent building. 

After visiting the quite marvellous Dali exhibit, we tasted a flight of d’Arenberg red wines with my friends saying: “I can’t wait to read what you’ll say about the wines,” an almost curse on putting down any sort of narrative. And when you visit the male toilets, why that just scares any creative thought from the mind of man. The movie “Jaws”, without the shark, resonates. 

Secondly, I walked home from work on a cold Canberra afternoon to watch the popular “Chase Australia” show. The final chase had been reached. I saw the chaser stuff up the answer to the question: “In which Australian wine region is the Cube located?” He answered the Barossa; close but no cigar. The contestants’ response was no better: they guessed the Margaret River. I refrained from yelling the answer at the television. 

Thirdly, a mate wanted to create an Australia v France event; old world against new world; my cooking, his wine. I made slow-cooked beef casserole and he brought to dinner two 50/50 grenache/shiraz blends. 

He brought a “Max” Cotes-du-Rhone Grenache-Syrah 2018 and, as a comparator, a d’Arenberg d’Arry’s Original, 2017. There was no prior discussion about the brands he would bring to dinner. I was being urged by the universe to write about the d’Arenberg winery. 

These coincidences are meaningless but, it seemed to me, all were directed towards this shootout. It was a close call but the four guests all agreed that the French wine, albeit younger than the Aussie, was a better drinking experience. 

The d’Arry’s had a very complex nose with strawberry overtones that belied the acidity you got on first sip, something that ameliorated with air and as it was paired with the food. 

The French wine was much cleaner and had a less robust mouth feel but a full red fruit honesty that made great drinking. 

The reverse of what happened with the Aussie occurred: the wine was better on its own than when matched with the slow-cooked beef. And there was none left by the time I served the cheese course.

The d’Arry’s has been marketed since 1969 but was relaunched with its current name in 1993 to honour Francis d’Arenberg Osborn. He was a pioneer of this august family winery and I’m sure that he would have revelled in the fact that his grenache shiraz was more robust, more food friendly and in your face when compared with the delicate French equivalent. In this pas de deux the French wine was a ballet dancer and the Aussie was stamping out the embers of a long-burning fire that obviously continues to spark creativity. 

If you tie two pieces of string together, it just so happens that they are both touching each other. Coincidence? I think knot.

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Ian Meikle, editor

Richard Calver

Richard Calver

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