Drew and Rae Noon at their vineyard

Midnight spice

Christopher Pincher is thankful for the South Australian vineyards

On Wine

Somewhere there’s another land, different from this world below. So starts the song Ivor Novello and his lyricist Edward Moore composed now nearly a century ago. Yet despite the passage of a lifetime and then some, the lachrymose refrain of The Land of Might-Have-Been remains redolent of our present world. As we lock ourselves away from our family and our friends, as we permit passers by the broadest berth and wash our hands with uncommon urgency, we may be forgiven for wondering “what if?”

What if? The world might be very different. What if Raleigh had not discovered the pipe and the potato? Cornwallis had not been surrounded at Yorktown? Officer Murdoch had not ordered Titanic’s helmsman to “hard-a-starboard”? Governor Arthur Phillip had not shipped vines to New South Wales, or his successors had not persevered when his first harvests failed? Yes, the skein of history might have followed a different thread.

Luckily in the latter case there is no parallel universe. The conditional clause, so beloved of Rudyard Kipling and Lindsey Anderson, need not detain us. Governor Phillip did not leave his cargo on the quayside and Gregory Blaxland’s persistence paid off: his plantings took root and ripened and for nearly two centuries the world below has furnished this land of ours with some tremendous treats.

One of the best, yet little known, hails from the Noon winery of South Australia. A boutique deep in the heart of the Southern Vales, its owner Drew Noon takes what he does very seriously as one might expect of one of the Antipodes’ very few accredited Masters of Wine. His Eclipse 2007 is a masterpiece of his art. Two-parts Grenache to one-part Shiraz, Eclipse is the Jayne Mans eld of vino: full-bodied, bold, complex yet sumptuous. Deep maroon tints fasten the eye as rich raspberry and chestnut hook the nose.

A full draw from the rummer is the right way to drink this one to make the most of its earthy endnote. Tannins zing around the roof of the mouth and disappear down with a flourishing farewell, full of spicy savour. This is naturally a nocturnal wine, too vigorous by day whilst the sun is up and shining. For with the Eclipse, Noon is best enjoyed at night.

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