Monday, 16 October 2006

1996 Lindemans Pyrus

This was purchased on my trip to the Hunter Valley a couple of years back. I was pretty much fresh out of uni and we had gone up and stayed in a little cabin in Polkolbin. It was a little weekend retreat and drove up there in a couple of cars. We had stopped at a number of wineries, but at the Lindeman's cellar we tried a number of wines and this one had easily topped our list. I believe that almost every one of us had bought a bottle of this one. Perhaps at that stage, I was a cheap drunk so paying a premium on this wine was definitely a big deal. The irony of the purchase was that it was a Coonawara wine!

I enjoyed the fact that it was a varietal blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and malbec so it made smooth as well as being medium to full bodied wine so it was quite nice.

It had sat at my place for a number of years and I had never really cellared in a "proper" environment. I have since purchased a number of different vintages - from 1995 to 1999.

My father had wanted to buy this a number of times, but had been disappointed by the sales person selling an entire 12 cases to someone else. Last year on my trip back to the Hunter Valley, I managed to get another three bottles of magnums.

Over the years, I guess I have grown out of the $5 "special" cask wines (as they were a sorry excuse to drink - but I did hear that red wine has a lot of anti-oxidants, so who said it was bad?) Not by any stretch of the imagination am I a connosieur, but I guess I just want to try different types of wine so that I can fully appreciate the variety of wines available.

So I decided to celebrate and open the bottle this year and see how well it had survived its nine years. Unfortunately, I didn't give it enough time to breathe and settle before the first glasses were poured, but luckily dinner was longer so it opened up and was rather smooth.

Dinner was a scrumptous meal of oysters au naturale as entree, lamb cutlets with garden and potato salads, followed by lemon cheesecake. My stomach is growling just thinking about it!

It was definitely good to be able to spend my birthday surrounded by my friends and family this year and just being able to relax. Sure I had to go into work the next day. Sure I had been working late up until that point. But it was worth it.

I even managed to use my new wine glasses! (I swear I am not an alcoholic!).

Anyway, my birthday haul is below (except a lovely dinner I had at est):

In any case, it was great drinking that bottle and knowing that it kept well. My rating would be a 93/100. Ok, so it not anywhere near the Grange territory, but at least I loved it. Often the company and the occasion make a wine memorable.

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

A long time coming...

I know that I have copped a fair bit of flack from certain individuals with regards to a long talked about topic for me: cars. In a similar vein to most hot blooded males, I turn my head when a Ferrari goes by. Or a Porsche. Or a Lamborghini. Or a Mercedes SL.... but I digress.

So it is no surprise that after many years of talk, many verbal jabs (some even coming from my father), as well as having big hopes of being in Australia for more than six months, I decided to take the plunge into the shady realm of buying a vehicle. No, not a push bike, but a petrol powered little guy. Learning about the dynamics of purchasing a vehicle privately was definitely a great experience as well as partly a nightmare. I think that tonight will be my first good night of sleep!

The reality of the vehicle being a massive financial drain is starting to, the purchase, bank cheques, registration, petrol, dealing with people.....what have I gotten myself into??? But as some put it - a vehicle is typically one's second biggest asset after their own home. Oh well, what the heck - might as well live a little right?

Anyway, here is a pic of my latest purchase:

I chose this car because it has a rather enthusiastic engine and is really the first car which jumped out at me and almost begged me to give it a bit more acceleration. The other factors included: less likely to be targetting by police and speed freaks alike, the understated feel of the car as well as the lower ongoing costs than a turbo vehicle. I don't think it is on the major hit list for thieves. Unfortunately, the car was a bit more rare than I would have liked so there were not many examples out there. Looking for one took a rather long time. As I am probably a little too picky, I found faults in many of the cars which I had driven (this one included). However, I settled for this upon realisation that cars have wear and tear and a minor scratch here and there is pretty inevitable. Sometimes, one needs to accept that there is no absolutely perfect example of a second hand vehicle. There is a reason that it is used.

I'll probably also get some new number plates as well, but for the time being, it's time to crank up the Initial D music in the car and get some music action happening. **hehe**. The best part is that I am on holidays now so I get to drive it a lot!

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Seeking professional help

Over the years, I have been lucky enough to make a variety of friends, many of which come from various backgrounds. Interestingly, many also happen to work in different industries.

However, the question arose as to whether one would in fact rely on that person's expertise - thereby crossing the fine line of friendship and mixing some business in there as well.

Almost all agreed that the person's personality, degree of closeness and industry all play a major part in determining whether one would seek out a friend and be a client. None, however were based on trust of the other person, or whether they were the best in the business - it was merely the fact that they would feel uncomfortable disclosing that information to someone in that capacity.

"Ok, gents, so surely you would not recommend your mother, sister, partner to a friend who was a (male) gynacologist, right". Almost everyone nodded in agreement before turning out a sour face once the full impact of that statement hit home.

"How about tax consultants?"
"I somehow am uncomfortable revealing just how much I (don't) earn to some of my friends".

"Not sure if I could turn to my friend and say very candidly, 'Mate, I seem to have a bad case of haemerroids. Do you mind checking it out for me?' Somehow, I am not sure that my friend, or I would be able to have lunch again."

"Diagnosing a friend with a terminal illness would definitely be a downer."

"How about builders?"
"Nah - when the building is delayed, it may not be the fault of the builder if the tradespeople don't turn up. When money is involved can it be so clear cut?"

"IT Guys - they ALWAYS get asked about why a friend's computer is not working. Which, by the way, is a stereotype."

"Lawyers? If you did commit a crime, would you admit it to a friend?"

Would it matter whether you started off friends and then moved to have a professional relationship versus building a professional relationship and then becoming friends as a result?

So what about referrals? Does that make it any better? Not entirely sure, since one's reputation is on the line upon a referral - so them being good, bad or even ethical is really based upon the powers of your referral.

This begs the question, how does one go about networking if starting out friends results in a non-professional relationship? The skill of one's friends was not brought into question however, and certainly no disrespect to all the professionals out there, however, the consensus view appeared to be how personal the act was and therefore whether one was comfortable in sharing.

Overshare anyone?