All Aboard The Bandwagon – Gastrovins

27 Sep

Forgive me Father for I have sinned.

It has been 9295 days since my last confession. I accuse myself of the following sins. Absolve me if you see fit.

Last Wednesday night in a quiet, private room within the Circa The Prince complex, I found myself surrounded by nine much older and wiser gentlemen, where I then proceeded to try the finest white wines that I have ever had the privilege of putting past my lips.

The sin?

They were not Italian.

They were French.

The evening was organised by none other than Mr Ben Edwards of the Wine Guides in conjunction with a monthly dinner on behalf of the Gastrovins wine club. An exclusive 30-year old Melbourne institution to say the least, Gastrovins is made up of a small but fiercely experienced group of wine-loving males. Such enthusiasm was noted in fellow participants such as wine buyer Chris Crawford and wine merchant Philip Rich, as well as the other invitee, Wine Guide Dan Sims.

I hear you querying, “Wouldn’t having boobs eliminate a young lady from partaking in such an event?

On the majority of occasions, I would have to say yes. However that night was a night like only three others, where the lads were keen to invite a female to the table for a night of sipping and discussion. I was mightily grateful.

The clip above is a scene from “The Bandwagon” [1953]. It is one that magically ties in with how I approached the evening:

Fred Astaire (in this case, me) slides warily into the ‘cool cats’ hangout (Circa The Prince). Upon entering he braces himself for what lies ahead. The last thing he wants is to antagonise anybody. Within moments he is confronted by the beauty and power of Cyd Charisse (symbolic of the wines). After such an auspicious meeting, they saunter in each others company a moment before they flirt and dance the evening away…

The menu proceeded like so:


Egly-Ouriet NV, Champagne


Raveneau Les Clos 2007

Christian Moreau Valmur 2007

Raveneau Blanchot 2007


Renato Ratti Rocche dell’Annunziata 2007, La Morra

Massolino Parafada 2007, Serralunga

Vietti Lazzarito 2007, Serralunga

Veglio Rocche dell’Annunziata 2007, La Morra

Giovanni Rosso La Serra 2007, Serralunga

Pira Cannubi 2007, Barolo


Cordero Montezemolo Vigna Enrico VI 1996, Castiglione Falletto

Giovanni Rosso La Serra 2006, Serralunga

Vajra Bricco delle Viole 2006, Barolo

Albino Rocca Barbaresco Bric Ronchi 1996, Barbaresco

E Pira Via Nuova 2006, Barolo

Bruno Giacosa Falletto 1996, Serralunga


Grahams Vintage Port 1970


The best description that I could find to adequately illustrate the effect these wines had on me lies in this promotional photograph taken for the aforementioned film, “The Bandwagon”.

In other words, I was left weak at the knees.

Fred Astaire & Cyd Charisse in The Bandwagon

I was so thrilled that there was a white wine bracket placed before the Barolo. Especially to the calibre of Grand Cru Chablis, which is a level of quality, French, white wine that I have only recently become more acquainted with. I think it is fair to say that I plan on getting more intimate with this sort of wine in the future.

Having had the 2004 Premier Cru Montmains (Butteaux) from Raveneau not that long ago, I was able to pick their style out of the range of three wines. Les Clos was the purest and most driven with a stunning egg yolk richness rounded with a pebble-like freshness and almond meal finish. Its partner, the Blanchot, had more austere, mineral tones but considerably more upfront fruits hinting on the quirky but understandably approachable kiwi spectrum. Again, the persistency in flavour on both these wines was unquestionable. Lastly, the Moreau Valmur had a pronounced lactic nose and was somehow more advanced for a wine of the same vintage. Considering it was somewhat flat, this could have derived from a closure issue. Both Raveneau’s drank superbly with the rabbit tortellini and morels.

The second bracket took a little longer with a total of six wines. After a short period of analysis, the wagyu sirloin with the comical ‘sprout cream’ (I was on a table of males, so help me) was presented immaculately. The Veglio Rocche dell’Annunziata 2007 was the table’s favourite, followed by Vietti and then E. Pira. I agreed with the faultless style of the Veglio; full with ripe, savoury tannins and such a pretty lift to the nose. I thought both the Renato Ratti and Veglio Rocche vineyard wines had a characteristic ripe, blueberry aroma to distinguish them from the others, but for these particular bottles, the latter stood firm. Alternatively, the Serralunga wines came in next for me, with the loveable Giovanni Rosso La Serra and the dear Massolino Parafada (from Serralunga with love) both possessing that firm, dark horse quality about them that draws you deep within their realms. I found the E Pira and Veglio to match most pleasingly with the meal.

The final Barolo bracket was a retrospective cast of 2006 wines versus the 1996 vintage. Initially somewhat of an anticlimax due to the discovery of two severely ‘affected’ wines, we were glad to discover that the rest were in fantastic condition. For the 1996 collection, the Cordero Montezemolo Vigna Enrico VI was a highlight for me with its black, savoury, long decadence. The Giovanni Rosso La Serra 2006 opened up further with time showcasing its tarry, layered body to us all. The G.D.Vajra Bricco delle Viole 2006 had by far the prettiest nose and the most velvety texture but more unusual aromas of red desiccated fruits melded with tar. As they say, “anything goes” with truffled mash.

The night drew to a close with a 1970 vintage port from Graham’s in Portugal. Highly ripe and rich on the palate with boiled red fruit characters, the gruyère matched a treat making it certainly not a bad way to end the evening.

Thank you kindly to the members of Gastrovins for your company, your wine and your wisdom. If you ever need a lady to complete the company at any future wine/food meetings, I hope you know who to call.

2 Responses to “All Aboard The Bandwagon – Gastrovins”

  1. Dan Sims September 27, 2011 at 10:43 AM #

    Great post yet again young lady and glad you enjoyed the dinner. Yes, always a tad intimidating dining at these dinners regardless of gender but they’re always very hospitable and open to new comers.

    The wines are always the highlight and though not what they usually drink, the 2006 Barolos look fantastic … and some very good 2007s as well.

    Indeed, Raveneau huh. Bloody delicious stuff …

    Keep it up!

  2. Tracey Frigo September 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM #

    Another fine post!

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