Quick Note: I've added RSS links at left. The site has always had an RSS feed, but I never prominently linked it.
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A few weeks ago while hanging out with Paul, we had a little wine and cheese. Pictured are Stilton and Stilchester (a Huntsman-style). After dinner, we discovered that his dog Wendy had climbed up and stolen the remaining Stilton, though she left the Stilchester untouched. She may be a little thief, but she has a discriminating palate. The wine is the 2008 Torbreck Woodcutter's Shiraz. $20, 15% abv. Barossa Valley, Australia. It's a textbook standard Aussie Shiraz. Black pepper, black cherry, big fruit, and a little hot right at first. As it breathes, it smooths out somewhat but retains a big fruit presence with medium tannins.
The nickname for this wine comes from the fact that the winemaker, David Powell, spent some time working as a lumberjack in Scotland. This little note brought a smile to my face, because as a child we had a wood stove, and Dad cut his own firewood. When I tell this story, people don't often believe me, but here in Memphis back in the 1980s we had a wood stove. In the late summer/early fall, we'd go out on the weekend and cut wood. Dad would cut down a tree with a chainsaw, cut it up, and my brother and I would help stack the logs in the truck. Back home, the logs would be split and stacked so they could dry and season by the time winter came around. The large woodpile was built with sort of three stacked walls, so hanging up a tarp as a door turned it into a functional clubhouse, albeit one that was slowly dismantled throughout the winter.
In Scouts, there was a good bit of tree cutting, though I think they discourage that these days. We never took down anything big--mostly saplings for use in construction projects or the odd brush clearing that was needed, all using handtools. I was excited over the years to accumulate my own tools via birthdays and Christmases: a single bit axe, a bow saw, and a handy little hatchet. The Troop had a bunch of other tools whose names don't come up much in modern conversation: peaveys, mattocks, splitting mauls. One time I got to help clear about half an acre of scrub using sling blades, which will make you appreciate weedeaters and lawn mowers pretty quickly.
What was really amazing was visiting a logging operation in the Cascade Mountains back in 1989. If you've ever cut down a small tree using an axe, seeing someone cut down a 150 foot tall Douglas Fir with a 7 foot long Husqvarna chainsaw will just about blow your mind.
Note: This wine was received as a sample.