He walked onto the seaside balcony like he was walking onto a yacht, to paraphrase Carly Simon. The only difference was that Nick Stacy – the owner/operator of Vinaceous Wines in Western Australia – was carrying a medium sized anodised suitcase. And a hair-dryer. ‘Where can I plug these in?’ he asked our host.
Electrical extension leads were provided. He opened his luggage. And if he didn’t have my attention already he certainly had it now, as the suitcase proved, once opened, to be a charcoal-burning, six-skewered rotisserie. ‘I bought it in Argentina’, Stacy said, apropos of nothing, as if it were something everyone did.
He threaded three tiny poussin onto the top skewers, lit the bed of charcoal, and turned on the rotisserie suitcase. The birds slowly span about. The hairdryer? It fanned the charcoal’s heat and helped cook the fowl. We drank fino sherry, ate olives, and 50 minutes later the poussin were ready.
Charisma is a funny thing in the wine game. Many winemakers think they have it. In most it is totes faux and heavily self-styled, to a dad-joke degree. In Nick Stacy it’s more natural and easy. As are his wines: they have a charm and confidence that’s effortless to like. The label artwork, however, is more theatrical and carnivalish. They stand out in a burlesque sort of way. I ask Stacy about this. He replies sans intonation: ‘It’s called marketing, Ben.’ Charisma meets pragmatism.
He fanned the charcoal, prodded the poussin, sipped cold fino and told me about the time he met the actor Christopher Walken in a bar in Cancun. Matter-of-factly. It wasn’t long before I asked him if he’d be interested in a Speccie Wine Club offer…
To wit, Vinaceous has sportingly honoured the Speccie protocol of free freight and 20 per cent off cellar door prices. There’s the mixed case, which readers seem to like; but the rosé in this offer is something to seriously consider in case lots… Vinum Vitae. (PS: look up vinaceous in your OED.)
- Vinaceous Impavido Vermentino 2016 $17.60, down from $22. This Italian white variety grows well in WA’s Mt Barker, and is made in a no-nonsense stainless steel manner. Acidity, freshness, pace – well, impavido means fearless in Italian, after all. This is the thinking person’s sauvignon blanc, but without the connotations of social death that poor old Sav B has, nor its pungent stridency. It’s citric, minerally, and a little nutty – and only 12.5 per cent alcohol. Drink it at 11am on the remaining Sundays before Xmas.
- Vinaceous Salome Tempranillo Rosé 2016 $17.60, down from $22. Do you remember those Red Indian lollies of childhood? There’s a hint of that aroma here, along with honeysuckle, rose water, and musk. Turkish Delight. Aromaticity is indeed the key attraction; but once the wine is inside your mouth a more savoury and tannic edge takes over – as you’d expect from tempranillo. This is grown-up pink wine that can handle serious food. The grapes are from the Geographe region. Versatile.
- Vinaceous Red Right Hand Shiraz/Grenache/Tempranillo 2015 $20, down from $25. Two-thirds Margaret River shiraz provides the earthiness and the pepper – and the oomph. A quarter is grenache – the juiciness and the ripeness and the jube-like perfume. And then about 10 per cent tempranillo defiantly making a savoury statement of machismo. Tension and tannin; grip. Open it in the morning and manfully decant it twice before luncheon.
Drink with any foodstuff containing pimentón.
- Reverend V Syrah 2014 $22.40, down from $28. Plums, game, Christmas Pudding. A hermit in a cave. Will keep – indeed, keep it two more springs. Mt. Barker vineyards with some maturity produce this wine, and that perhaps explains the moniker syrah, as opposed to shiraz. It’s more like a Crozes-Hermitage than a Barossan. Rich, long, deep, chewy. Quite a treat, this red. Duck confit calls.
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