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Wine & Book Group Pick for February '07

abstract:For February's Wine & Book Group we return to Australia with the fifth novel of two-time Booker Prize-nominated Tim Winton, and his post-WWII Australian saga Cloudstreet (Schribner, reprint 2002). Purchase the book online and read the tasting notes of the fabulous regional wines our partners at Women & Wine have picked to match this title. Sip, discuss, enjoy! This is our 14th session. Register for the group, and join in the online discussions.


February 02, 2007

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  • About the Author

    Tim Winton was born in 1960 in Perth, Australia, where he still lives. He attended a creative writing course at Curtin University in Perth, and it was while there that he began his first novel An Open Swimmer.

    His eighteen books for adults and children have been published to acclaim at home and abroad. Three times winner of the Miles Franklin Award and twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize, his work has achieved the rare distinction of being both critically admired and loved by readers.

    The subject and setting of Tim Winton's novels are reflective of a country whose landscapes are the soul and identification of its author. His subjects are families whose language is peppered with the vernacular of Australia and who possess honest directness.

    Tim Winton's books are published in more than twelve languages and have been adapted for stage, film, and radio. He lives in Western Australia with his wife and three children.

    The Story 

    The Pickles inherit a rambling old house with the book's titulary name. Their slothful habits contrast their hard-working tenants, the Lambs. As the two families forge bonds and undergo travails, Winton explores the haphazard nature of human existence with a quietly focused ferocity. Set against the real world of war, politics, ahd historic events, the book has a charming level of fantasy:  a talking pig, a house that cracks its knuckles, and a son who glows in the dark. 

    Purchase These Wines

    Flinders Bay Shiraz 2002, $15 (+ tax and shipping)

    Two families purchased 200 acres of dairy land and turned it into vineyards, whimsically putting a humpback whale that takes refuge in nearby Flinders Bay on their label. Exhibiting the traditional Shiraz characteristics of pepper and spice, this wine is well balanced by blackberry and blueberry fruit, giving it great intensity and length. A deep ruby with purple tinges, the Flinders Bay version of one of Australia’s best varietals exhibits notes of sweet cola, black cherry and cassis fruit. With a medium body that is polished and round and a beautifully balanced finish, this wine brings out the best of hearty dishes including braised short ribs and wild mushrooms.

    Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2005 $25
    (+ tax and shipping)

    From the Margaret River region of Western Australia, with its gravelly soil and nighttime harvesting, comes this pungently grassy, herby white blend. Smell the heady aromas of lemon blossom and snow peas with a hint of sweet orange sherbet. Enjoy tastes of lush fruit and grilled asparagus. A squeeze of citrus adds a crisp acidity to the long, balanced finish. This wine is a little more full-bodied than its Old World counterpart because it spends a small amount of time in new oak. Throw some shrimp on the barbie, invite some friends over and watch this young lady turn into a beauty.


    Frankland Estate 2001 Olmo’s Reward $32
    (+ tax and shipping)

    A family-owned winery produces this blend of five grapes, predominantly Cabernet Franc and Merlot, that reminds us of a St. Emilion. In fact, winemaker Judi Cullam calls it “Bordeaux from the Bush.” The first thrill is the nose of red fruit and black currant characteristics, and hints of spice, floral and earthy notes. The excitement continues with layers of concentrated velvety fruit flavors balanced by touches of sweet leather and spice. Fine tannins add to the long integrated finish. A wine that can stand up to pungent cheese or a grilled filet mignon.

    Previous Wine & Book Group Picks

    • December The Good German set in Berlin
    • November One Good Turn set in Edinburgh
    • September Lost in the Forest set in Napa Valley
    • August The Hummingbird's Daughter set in Mexico
    • July The Devil Wears Prada set in NYC
    • June Woolf in Ceylon set in Ceylon
    • May Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living Australia
    • April The Mermaid Chair set in South Carolina
    • March Memoirs of a Geisha set in Japan
    • February Get a Life set in South Africa
    • January The Shadow of the Wind set in Barcelona
    • December Pride and Prejudice set in England
    • November Beyond Measure set in Rennaissance Italy
    • October Breakfast at Tiffany's set in New York



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