An egg is always an adventure; the next one may be different.”
– Oscar Wilde
“Love and eggs are best when they are fresh.”
– Russian proverb
So we are in the tenebrous basement of Terroirs with Anton Von Klopper, Tom Shobbrook and Patrick Sullivan and a couple of eggs housing their precious Hunter Valley booty. These are two of the last ceramic spheres that we have and we’re about to tee up the vinyl disc that they recorded when the wine was made.
An egg-you-menical wine made by four egg-hedonists…
GMH’s heart stirred for a bird. Embryonically speaking, my heart kindled for an egg, a ceramic egg filled (almost filled) with Hunter Valley Semillon. I’m an advocate of letting wine speak for itself and when the wine is not available its authors and editors should be our cicerones.
To fully unscramble this egg one should meet the protagonists (or hen-ablers?): Sam Hughes (RIP), James Erskine, Anton von Klopper and Tom Shobbrook, like-minded adventurers, not just in wine, but in food, philosophy, music and art. The pleasure in making and drinking wine allied to a desire to push boundaries and rediscover authenticity is captured in their joint venture called Natural Selection Theory with schemes such as Voice of the People and Project Egg and a natural pear cider that I’m looking forward to running amok (with? As a result of?). Human energy and creativity catalysed with natural unpredictability foments/ferments inspirational wine. NST compose wine like some would compose music, they seem to see things in the round (or the ovoid) and seek the harmony between nature, the man and the wine. So often wine is constrained by the lack of vision of the winemakers; it is about creating a square product for the quotidian market and the broadest range of consumers. It lacks integrity and a kind of energy also. A premeditated wine is usually a medicated wine; the serendipitous approach makes our pulses beat that much quicker.
In their own words Ab ova usque ad mala
Follow one rule – do nothing but relax and get into the moment. Be part of life, here, now, the part of life that one day doth die – shhh and listen, this is our our swan song as it cracks free from containment…
And let us say – what if you had never made a wine before? How would you do it, could you do it? What would you do? Love it we bet – but don’t rule it, isolate it from yourself so that it grows into itself, have the strength to let it fail.
Let the grape speak loudest, not the voice of its vice.
So to the grape – Semillon – world renowned for being blended with sauvignon! And the place – the Hunter, world renowned for ummm, being near Sydney! What a match! With vines that the sacred voodoo-chile of modern Australian wine, Mr Len Evans OBE himself, planted! With this wine we plan to reinvent the wheel! This time we aim to make it round! And for it to go down, down, down, down, down. A wine like digging a mine, something with which to get medieval on our sparkling 21st century palates.
9 eggs made to nature’s own specifications
Each one 44 litres of individualistic, expressive, feral Hunter Semillon – free-spirited souls unlike anything seen in today’s mass meat market, a market where an institutionalised clone of a retro classic is still seen as cutting edge.
9 eggs housed in 3 classic soil types – insulation and inspiration from where the vine doth flourish – 3 eggs immersed in quartz sand for isolation, 3 caressed with red clay for love and finally the final trio braced with limestone for strength. In each set, 3 different skins ratios directly inspired by the question of What If? A dreamy, loving sado-masochist is in our midst, don’t you just love your own kids!
Only 170 packs containing one of each specimen will be available, each housed in a 900ml ceramic birthing sphere.
And listen, do you hear – a lullaby to soothe their savage souls. The ethereal isolating squeal of glass; the warm loving beat of a pure heart and the power of bloody singlemindedness – a three piece band to play onwards and upwards as metal birds screech above our heads. These metal birds, 100 meters above the incubation chamber, rip as they come to roost at the gateway of Australia – Runway 3, Kingsford Smith Airport, Sydney, Australia. An explosion of the senses, each pack will feature a 12inch Album dedicated to the Sounds of Birth – music, noise, conversation, the backing track to the new day which is dawning.
To the res. The egg is a cute ceramic sculpture born of a desire to experiment and to link wine, terroir, music and men.
To hold it is to feel close to it (you have to clasp it in both hands), to pour it is to love it, to see is to feel warm and to taste is to suspend judgement. I like my concepts bold and my wine understated. This is a liquid that you want to both drink and roll around the mouth, feel the wine slowly releasing and unfurling its delicate flavours across your tongue and into your consciousness. I am loathe to give a tasting note to a wine that I enjoy drinking, but for completists and curious cats this liquid is the colour of cloudy apple juice, haze. Flavour a-plenty, yes, but more on the texture, firm and yet curved, combining primary and secondary aromas of malt, smoke and spice, apple and cinnamon with oblique notes of nutmeg, leesy spice then resurgent toasted hazelnut flavours. The full Semillon. And brilliantly whisperingly fugitive – the Hunter becoming the hunted…
NST also believe that the essential attribute of any good wine should is drinkability, that nourishing flavour and texture that makes you want to smash a bottle. Or, in this case, crack an egg…