Imagine yourself hovering over a vast land, an island continent in the Pacific. Its dry landscape belies the happiness that bubbles in its people. One day - one day soon - it would become one of the most important wine exporters. There is just one itsy, bitsy problem. It has no grapes.
I am thankful that Australia solved this oversight before my flight landed. After all, it’s kind of hard to tour wine country if there is no…well, wine. Problem solved when grapes were shipped off to Australia in the 1800’s. So Australia eventually had both grapes and prisoners. I wonder if the prisoners took some comfort in the thought.
Here I am, on my recuperative stay in Australia before I head for Nauru. (Airline travel is so exhausting). And the name of the game is wineries.
This might be a good time to mention my book The Bathtub Winery. I’m writing a book by that title. Feel free to buy a copy when it comes out. Or two copies. Or more.
I’ve decided to visit the Mudgee region in New South Wales. It’s a bit of a trek from Sydney, where my plane landed, but the region caught my attention. Why? you ask. Was it the fruity reds? The nurturing effect of clay earth on grapes? The lush hills?
No, I just like the name. Mudgee. Kind of like budgie, but funnier.
Likewise I chose Frog Rock Wines because I like the name. Its shows a sense of humor. People think wine is supposed to be stuffy. It‘s not. It’s supposed to bring us joy.
So how does a connoisseur like moi approach wine tasting?
Let’s just say I really get into it.
I stand off a bit while my group starts tasting wine. Once I see they are getting a bit looser, happier and less observant, I get right above the first open bottle I can find. I tuck in my wings and my muscular legs and…
Wheeeeeeeee! Down I plummet into the bottle. The key then is to lean forward a few degrees so that my lips are face down. Once I get close enough, out pop my wings and I hover over the wine like a parachutist whose parachute has stopped his fall. The I take a sip.
Aaaaah! How refreshing. I dive bomb from bottle to bottle, shrieking “wheeeeeee!” every time because it’s just so much fun to hear how the “wheeeeeee!” sounds different depending on the density of glass, the fullness of the bottle, and how much wine I have plugging up my ears.
Although I try to stay as dry as possible until my last dive so that the wines don’t mix. Then, once I’ve tasted from all the bottles, I let myself do a flying forward one-and-a-half somersaults, pike position, into the wine.
Once I did a belly flop in a Romane Conti 2001. That was fun.
The other part about wine tasting that I love is that as I bounce from bottle to bottle, I get to see the looks on my fellow wine tasters’ faces. The good thing is that at Rock Frog Wines, the wine tasters were mostly fun-loving Australians. Which meant I could let my guard down. They seemed to enjoy watching a mosquito “wheeeeeeee!” from bottle to bottle. I think they maybe even wanted to join in.
Not like that time in Paris when…well, that’s another story. Why whine about the past?
I’m afraid I let Australia’s laid-back attitude sink in too much, though. As I was floating in Rock Frog’s Cabernet Merlot (only $15 a bottle!), I felt the hints of red currant and black cherry tip beneath me as - oh, no! - the bottle was pouring me out into someone’s glass. Down I went on a vibrant red wave with purple hues!
“Hey, look! There’s that mosquito swimming in my wine,” I hear a lady say. I think it might be the cute redhead.
I never flew faster out of a glass of wine in my life. I looked the lady in her bright green eyes and gave her my most charming smile and winked.
I swear she winked back.
Tags: Australia, Australia wine country, Australia wines, Fiction writing, funny travel, harvey flea, humor writing, mosquito, Mudgee, New South Wales, red wine, Rock Frog Wines, travel Austrlia, travel Mudgee, travel New South Wales, Travel writing, white wine, wine, wine tasting