Upside Down

Koala-cuddling, wine-tasting, kangaroo-boxing, left-side-of-the-road-don’t-die-driving . . .
Hill-valley-meandering, pub-food-craving, empty-street-trodding, wool-coat-huddling . . .

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
It’s a town posing as a city – a square of one-story houses and a cluster of high rises hemmed in on all sides by swaths of dirty grass. There’s the River Torrens to the north, a botanical garden at the north eastern corner, and the occasional patch of lawn dotting the center of some of the larger intersections. The streets are wide and the people few. But head past the suburbs, winding through river canyons alongside orange cut rock faces, and suddenly the greenery rolls out in front of you in endless undulating waves. Hummock after hummock, bright and speckled with pom-pom shrubs in evergreen. Was America this vast once?

Shaw and Smith
Adelaide Hills


Bird in Hand

Exit at Handorf [sic]
SE freeway

The note I was given by one of the staff at the clinic, a cheeky woman with a honey-brown pixie cut, fresh even in issued scrubs. She would love to give me a winery tour, she said. Oh, if only I had another day!

Shaw + Smith it was, as first on the list must mean the best, no? [well, not to mention their website was beautiful and unpretentious and they advertised the tasting price, helping to avoid a sticky “that much?? um, nevermind” situation] Into wine country, where the grape bundle signs pointed to a cellar door around every other turn. The vines were gnarled and pruned to stubs; it had been a long winter. They clung to the slopes bound in perfect trellised rows.

The tasting room perched on a rise overlooking the fields with floor-to-ceiling glass and anally-arranged stemware. After a few minutes, the couple at the far end moved on to their next stop, and I was alone with the view and the host.

“Is there a proper way to do this?” I asked.
“Drink, eat some cheese, relax.”

Patrick clicked in and out in well-fitted but casual business attire. He was serene and the accent polished. Formerly in hospitality of various kinds, he was attending university for a wine degree and didn’t like city bustle. I talked too loudly and drank an entire pitcher of water along with the wine and cheese and lavosh crackers.

In order of preference:
Sauvignon Blanc – grapefruit! [does this come in perfume form?]
Riesling – sweet nothings
Pinot Noir – umm, red?
Shiraz – too much clove in the spice cake
M3 Chardonnay – charcoal

Thank you for the afternoon, Patrick! It was lovely.

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