GUEST BLOG: Canadian writer André Alexis in Australia

6 Apr

This week we’re featuring a GUEST BLOG by the Canadian writer André Alexis, who has just returned from Australia where he was a featured writer at the Adelaide Book Fair.  Alexis has worked with Catalysis Project’s member and composer Veronika Krausas for over twenty years.

my most lasting impression of australia will be that left by the slightly obsessive and thoroughly engaging winemaker at samuel’s gorge, the vineyard in the mclaren vale. the man’s name is julian, i think, and he’s young, maybe somewhere in his mid thirties. on the day we were there, his ginger hair was in slightly ratty dreads, held loosely by a kerchief, he smelled of a few days sweat, and he was unshaven. he wasn’t sure what to make of us any more than we knew what to make of him. but once he felt we were serious about wine, he opened up and began telling us how much he wants to change the perception people have about australian wines. he wants to make wines that are subtle, more complex, more like old world, european wines. now, all that’s interesting enough, i guess, but what struck me was, when he allowed us to taste the batches of shiraz he’d have to combine  for this years vintage, the absolute – almost van goghesque – obsession for detail, his reliance on instinct, his near-rageful gropings to express details of taste in words. his attitude was like that of all the poets i’ve met in this life: eccentric, committed, slightly off-putting but, ultimately, attractive. so, for half an hour, in the middle of this resolutely commercial, winemaking vale, i thought of poetry even more than i thought of wine.

Here’s the vineyard’s website www.gorge.com.au

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