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Those were the days my friend...(Column No.1468)

Those were the days my friend...(Column No.1468)

Grape Expectations by Max Crus (Column No.1468)

Those were the days my friend, spare me.

The sky had assumed that shade of grey that old people favour for their slippers, so you knew the sun had risen, somewhere.

The wrinkled, coloured balloons hung limply from the canopy of the party boat dawdling lazily upstream for the second bout of festivities of the new year, mocking the egos and expectations of the sailors on board.

“I left my heart to sappers at Khe Sanh”, blared intolerably loudly for those on the bank let alone the wheelhouse, and you thought, “geez, you wouldn’t be a musician for quids”, which is just as well given they haven’t earned much since we learned “there were no V-day heroes in 1973”, and even less in the past two years.

Who knew Don Walker and Jimmy were so prescient, and 1978 was the last time anyone went looking for new music at new year instead of trotting out tired old classics at every opportunity, not least January 1.

Modern musos must be tearing their shaved-headed hair out - which perhaps is the problem – how do they get people to listen?

There are radio stations entirely devoted to ‘classics,’ spare us please, and the ABC can’t find anything more modern than ‘I am You are,’ or the Sundays from 1997. How many songs can they ruin?

Sporting bodies seem immoveable from Freddie or Tina, or Cher. There are grandparents born since their songs were hits, who themselves can’t resist turning back time.

Anthems they call them. Hey, we’ve got one of those already, and okay it needs more tweaking than Scotty from Marketing allowed - how empathetic, Scotty, almost worth the $200,000 empathy coach, so how about spending another $200k and change the date of Australia Day while you still can…but I digress, and more on that in a fortnight.

Okay, okay, before our neighbours expose us, there WE were, in the wee hours, dancing unashamedly like our best moves were behind us, to the writhing falsetto of Barry Gibb.

Yes, guilty and true, we could have, should have, just tuned into JJJ, the only branch of the ABC, indeed perhaps all media, who are truly more bohemian than Bohemian Rhapsody.

To add to the guilt, our wine list on NYE paralleled the music, old classics, albeit new vintages. Surely that counts?

So let’s (unashamedly) have a look at some classics of 2021.

Elderton Barossa Valley ‘Command’ Shiraz 2018, $125. We commanded a good shiraz on NYE, and managed to commandeer one of Barossa’s true classics. It’s been going since 1984, co-incidentally the same year Tina released “What’s love got to do with it”. So we put that on too. Solid, super shiraz. 9.6/10.

MollyDooker McLaren Vale 'Velvet Glove' Shiraz, 2012, $200. Found this old treasure lurking in the wrong part of the cellar, whoops, but it's probably more delightful and delicious than it would have been if we hadn't lost it. Proper red wine with a proper velvet label. 9.7/10.

Robert Oatley Margaret River Limited Release (Larry Cherubino) Assemblage (Cabernet Blend) 2017, $70. (728 Cases). Is this a classic in the making? It is in our household, and that's not many cases, so one feels a little guilty about having diminished that number by 1/12th, but it’s worth the anguish. Absolutely lovely stuff, and a bargain at this price. 9.8/10.

Yabby Lake Vineyard Mornington Peninsula Single Block Release Block 1 Pinot Noir 2018, $100. Anything that wins a Jimmy Watson Trophy gains automatic classic status, even if you can’t remember who won it and when. This pinnacular pinot won in 2012. Practically modern! 9.7/10.

Tahbilk Ngambie Lakes Marsanne 2020, $20.30. Tired of the same old same old? A young, truly classic marsanne could liven your weary palate and NYE and you can have it old too like an ABC Classic listener. Better than cake in that case. 9.4/10.

Taylors Estate Limestone Coast Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2020, $22. The stalwart of student days continues its stalwart duties decades on and just as reliably. For anyone wanting to go back to study, you are well catered for and still affordable even to those building a HECS debt. 9.3/10.

Max Crus is a Clarence Valley-based wine writer and Grape Expectations is now in its 26th year of publication. Find out more about Max or sign up for his weekly reviews and musings by visiting