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Wine: Slightly Corked

Australia Declares War On Canada

By Delbert Horrocks

To the Canadian people:
By the powers invested in me by our Prime Minister, who is still recovering after taking a cricket bat to the side of the head, it is with great regret and much sadness that I have to declare a state of war between our two nations. Sorry blokes, but when you engage in International Piracy, that’s what happens.
Yes I’m talking about your wineries using the word Shiraz to describe their inferior products. The latest culprit being the Peller Estate Winery –make that Peller Estate Bottling Plant – who, obviously not happy with bottling their own plonk, bought Spanish syrah, bottled it in Canada, and had the nerve to call it shiraz. In Oz we call that kind of behaviour “lower than a snake’s arsehole.”
As if you didn’t know, Shiraz is the Australian word for syrah. Thanks to the climate and soil in Australia, (terroir) syrah grown there is unlike any other. Australian Shiraz is ripe, juicy, and friendly as a puppy. European syrah, hell mate, it can bite you.
Calling that Spanish stuff Shiraz is like Hyundai calling their Pony a Testarossa. It’s like substituting a tart green apple for a ripe banana, nothing but a cheap trick to fool gullible consumers, a blatant attempt to profit on our hard earned good name.
Worse, much worse, is that you’re sullying Shiraz’s reputation, creating confusion in the market place. People will be drinking your Shiraz imposters and saying, “Hey, this doesn’t taste like a banana! Maybe I should buy something else.”
But heh, we understand your dilemma. It must be hard to market wine that tastes like yours. We can understand, but not condone, why you’re trying to piggyback your success on the back of Shiraz. So we’re willing to help you out, to assist in developing your own snappy name for syrah.
But first, some Australian history, how, you ask, did we come up with the name Shiraz in the first place? What prompted us to name our favourite beverage after a city in Persia? Let’s just say our other favourite beverage was involved. The boys were looking for a name with punch, with, well, pizzazz. That led us too Shazam, then a couple pints later to Carumba, then finally to Shiraz, where we stayed, the beer having run out by that time.
Now we’re willing, if you supply the beverage (But please, none of that thin stuff you’re pedaling as shiraz.) to help you find your own marketable name for syrah. Our suggestion is you stick with West Coast names. If your wine turns out soft and feminine, you might want to run with something exotic like Sointula. For big and chewy, there’s always Skookumchuck. A glass of Skookumchuck, now that’s got a nice ring to it, eh mate?
But whatever you choose, keep in mind, Shiraz is taken. We don’t go around stealing your names. (Although I must admit one of our rugby teams did hatch a plot to kidnap Pamela Anderson.) No, we have scruples. Not many as far as ex-Baywatch sweeties are concerned, but what the hell mate, we’re only human.
And while we’re on the topic of Auzzie property, lay off the bird labels. You can have the seagull and the crow, but anything exotic, especially with a yellow tail, belongs to us. You blokes seem big on that 100- mile diet stuff. Maybe go with the 100- mile label. You could use the mighty Douglas fir, the blackberry, and heh, wouldn’t that big hockey stick in Duncan look nice on a bottle of Skookumchuck?
So it’s up to you, but take our demands seriously. Presently six Kangaroo class Auzzie attack submarines are stationed off Kitsilano Beach, where the men are taking turns at the periscope ogling bikini clad… No! Are aiming their missiles at the Peller Estate Winery bottling line.
And if our missiles fall short, or can’t find your “Wineries of Mass Production,” we’ll resort to plan B, a full scale invasion, led by tanned, charming, slick talking, bicep popping, Auzzie lifeguards, Speedo clad, with orders to seduce your women and bring them back home in our submarines, where they will be plied with the finest Shiraz and shown how to waltz with Matilda, if you know what I mean.
And if that doesn’t work, if you still fail to come to your senses, we’ll hit you with the most diabolical plot we’ve hatched since we gobsmacked those dumb Americans with our “trick keel.” That’s right, we’re going after your Nanaimo Bar. We’ll make a chocolate, custard desert, sprinkle it with dingo do-do, and market it around the world as “the original” Nanaimo Bar. It’ll be “Good Night Irene” to your economy, take my word for that.
PS. All this can be averted if you talk Pamela into forsaking Canadian citizenship and moving to Australia, my house will do. – Crocodile Dundee.

Here’s a twist, the Domaine Tournon Mathilda Shiraz, $22, Auzzie Shiraz, made in Australia by a French winery, Chapoutier. For some reason, known only to Chapoutier, the label is Braille equipped. Personally, I don’t drink enough to encounter vision problems, but for those who do, a must purchase.

Delbert is the co-proprietor at Mahle House.


About the author: Delbert Horrocks

Delbert Horrocks

Delbert is the co-proprietor at Mahle House restaurant in Cedar.

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