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Thursday, July 25, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Rage, rage… and hunt down those bargains

Brokenwood’s chief winemaker Stuart Hordern.

“What sort of white sells for only $16? The winery’s website says that this wine is a blend of 81 per cent sauvignon blanc and 19 per cent semillon,” writes wine columnist RICHARD CALVER

As I looked at the state of the garden in my house at Tathra I was reminded of that weird pronouncement by comedian Steven Wright: “The sooner you fall behind, the more time you’ll have to catch up.” 

Richard Calver.

It was another round of Calver versus the kikuyu, which had managed to become entrenched in three of the garden beds where it seemed intent on strangling the desirable plant life. 

This grass (pennisetum clandestinum) is native to the highland regions of east Africa. It spreads rapidly via roots and stems, and its steady takeover of all in its path reminded me of the kudzu from the Margaret Atwood dystopian MaddAddam trilogy that survives the “waterless flood” and chokes most other vegetative life. 

The removal of kikuyu from my garden beds is a precursor to considerations of the consumption of good food and wine. 

I’d indicated to my friend that post-gardening, I’d be cooking pork fried rice, using a large pork medallion that I’d pre-cooked in white wine and lemon juice, thinly sliced, with zucchini and asparagus and given added flavour through chilli and soy sauce. 

To go with the pork, he’d purchased a Brokenwood Cricket Pitch Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2023 from Liquorland in Bega at a reduced price: $16 a bottle, which was a $6 discount from the normal recommended retail of $22. 

Bang on value for money, as the best price other than this bargain I spotted in my online searches was a members’ offer of $99 for a case of six direct from the winery, which works out at $16.50 a bottle. 

Over dinner, we had a discussion about whether or not the current economic environment was affecting our purchasing decisions and how we could better budget in retirement.

In part of his riposte, he held up the now empty bottle of white. He said: “You know, Richard, my first attempt at retirement was in 2013 and lasted 11 months before ending. In 2013 inflation was about one per cent in the December quarter because I looked up how the value of my money was changing. 

“It has since bounced upwards annoyingly. So let’s make every attempt to provide one of the pleasures of life at these obtainable levels.”

What sort of white sells for only $16? The winery’s website says that this wine is a blend of 81 per cent sauvignon blanc and 19 per cent semillon. 

The same site says that the grapes come from multiple south-eastern Australian growing regions.

To better understand the wine, I spoke with Carlee Watson, brand manager at Brokenwood. She told me that this wine “is zesty and well-structured that shows the talent of the winemaker, Stuart Hordern”. 

“Cricket Pitch is our entry level wine, so if you like this one you’ll love our other wine,” she said. 

I didn’t tell her about my attempt at Asian cooking, but almost like a telepath she offered that the wine went well with Asian dishes. It did, the acid cutting through the heaviness of the chilli and the soy. 

During and after dinner, I did not once crack a joke about my friend’s abstemiousness with money because I could only applaud the wine he’d bought at a bargain price and because it matched so well with the evening repast. 

Just like the persistent and annoying kikuyu in my Tathra garden, the effects of inflation are winding themselves around our economic life and attempting to strangle its joys. Don’t let it: hunt down those bargains. 

“Inflation is when you pay $15 for the $10 haircut you used to get for $5 when you had hair.” Sam Ewing


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Richard Calver

Richard Calver

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