The tickets were purchased and printed.
The Dead Red wine was sourced.
The driver was organized.
It was off to the Dead Red Wine Group’s Wake by the dozen.
Not only was this the first Dead Red Wake I was attending, but I was also the guest judge. I knew that significant fun was to be had as I had seen the outcomes of previous wakes on all the social media out there – especially on Facebook.
The venue was found, so it was all good. Only one problem – I did not know what a Dead Red was. Sure it was a red wine greater than 10 years old, but, what then? Soon I was told not to worry, that I would know when I found a real dead red. OK. So with that wisdom it was time to check out the venue.
Ben’s place was full of interesting nooks and crannies with some wonderful artwork of the photographic kind. The art work did not stop with the photos. Some of the photos were printed on what looked like recycled paper.
I am always intrigued about the difference between just a photo and the art form that is photography. Taking photos cannot be too hard can it? When I see such art then it reminds me of not only the quality of the shot and the printing but the framing of what is in the photo and such elements as lighting. Understanding that the photos are just printed elements hanging on a wall then why do some of them reach out to me and also feel that in some cases the people in the photos are looking back at me.
As people arrive (to the event), I have a sense of anticipation and I see the deadred table filling with interesting wines.
There is a sense of anticipation regarding a particular Demi John of d’Arenberg dry red, that I have been told is attending the function.
As I was mingling with the crowd and introducing myself the other aspect of Deadred Wakes started – the wine sponsor for the night. On this occasion it was Dakhara Wines a small producer from One Tree Hill. They had a Shiraz and Petit Verdot blend plus a GSM (Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre) blend. I was not able to taste the GSM – it never seemed to me around when I was looking for a wine. The Shiraz blend was very interesting with the small amount of Petit Verdot providing significant effect on the wine. The perfume aspects were very strong and I suspect the wine needs more time in the bottle before the elements of the 2 varieties work harmoniously together.
Charlie just had to have a quick speech before the wine opening begun and my education in the world on mature wines was in for such an interesting ride.
The ritual of the wine begins with the opening as Martin creates a sense of ceremony of the opening of the bottles one at a time. He tells us he wears an apron in case the wine spills as he opens and pours the wine – but I wonder this is a hiding place for the wines Martin really likes! Once opened the person gets to taste the wine and then here comes the judges.
With my fellow judge, Tony and myself getting close to Martin to get our tastes and then the opened wine is left on the table for all to try. It was interesting to observe 2 groups in the room. One group who wanted to experience what the wines were to offer. A second group that just wanted to have fun and the wine was almost secondary. With this grouping it seemed to me that the first group also wanted to bring the best dead red of the night and the second group wanted to bring the worst and wear this award as a badge of honor.
As the judges tried each wine we would discuss each wine and weather it did fit the best or worst wine and agreed on where the wine fit before moving onto the next wine.
Two other interesting features of this night were occurring during the night. As a photographic studio was the venue a special photo box was set up where every few minutes a photo would be taken automatically. I wonder what some of the photos really looked like as many people posed for photos. There was probably a number of photos of people’s backs and backsides as most of the action was away from the photo box. It was an interesting element of the night that brought interest to the wold of photography.
To Check Ben’s Final Gallery [Click Here]
The second element of interest of the night was due is some level to Telstra and their 4G Network. With the speeds of the 4G Network a computer with a camera was set up and the whole event was streamed to the Internet world on UStream. After the judging was completed we even discussed the wine winners over ustream with the people that were following what was going on. Even more interesting to me was that there was people watching and asking us questions as I had thought that the ustream idea was a stunt as who would really watch us taste wine and have fun!
The night could not be finished without announcing the winners of the best and worst wines. The worst wines were either the Dry Red from d’Arenburg that we believe was bottled in the 1970’s and a Lindeman’s 1988 Classic Dry Red. It was a close call as the d’Arenberg wine smelt and tasted like strong blue cheese and the Lindeman’s was, in 2 words, just horrid. The judges were unanimous that the horridness of the Lindeman’s was just too horrid and took the prize. What was interesting was the reaction to winning the worst wine prize. The best wine of the night was between a 1998 Edwards and Chaffey Shiraz and a 1988 Lindeman’s Pyrus Cabernet. We had the power of a McLaren Vale Shiraz that was still fresh like it had been bottled 2 years ago and not about 12 years ago compared to the elegance of a mature Coonawarra Cabernet. Even though McLaren Vale is close to my heart the perfumed concoction from the Coonawarra was agreed to the the best wine of the night. It had most us intrigued especially as the wine was able to breathe.
In true reflection of the DeadRed evening of unearthing, it was so interesting that one wine company, from one vintage, was able to show the best and the worst.
Was it because the wines were made so differently or was the difference because the wines were cellared differently? We will probably never know but it is fun to think about and discuss it over another dead red. Pass me the Pyrus………