Alastair is owner of OS Kitchen&Wine Bar in Victoria’s Hampton – but is as self-deprecating as it gradually emerges most Code38 owners are! Describing himself, he will only admit to being “inspired by great food and wine from artisan producers and enjoying bringing this to my customers.”
Alastair is going through a Nero d’Avola phase – “whether it’s from Brash Higgins in McLaren Vale or Gulfi in Sicily.” For all that, however, Pinot Noir (Burgundy) is his “go-to variety and will always be.”
In honour of the late Trevor Mast, he last uncorked a 1998 Mount Langhi Ghiran Shiraz with his Code38. Most exciting, though, (oh those beloved Romanee-Contis!) was part of a “pretty serious lunchtime line-up” organised by one of Alastair’s best customers. It was a 1985 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache. “And what made it special”, he tells me, “not only was it a great wine, but it was the ‘hero’ within the line-up… A broken cork would not have been a good result!”
Italy has Alastair’s votes, for now, as far as favourite wine region, red and white go. He loves “Puglia because of its honesty. Great indigenous varieties made with modern wine-making. What’s not to love?” (Well, horse meat actually, one of the region’s culinary specialties…) He nominates a Vadiaperti Falanghina 2010 as his current favourite white and a Gulfi-Cerasuola di Vittoria DOCG 2010 as his favourite red.
And it’s a Vadiaperti Fiano di Avellino which he suggests fellow Code38-ers try. He says it is best decanted and that it exhibits an overall structure not dissimilar to Cru Chablis. Palate long and intense, stone fruits, tropical fruits, an abundance of minerality. “The nose”, he tells me, “offers smoky notes intertwined with fresh apricot and pineapple. As the wine warms up the palate weight intensifies.” Amazing, he says, served with grilled scallops, sweet corn puree, air-dried prosciutto and watercress. It can be found at Ciao Vino – ask for Scott Irving in Austraia: 0412 082 874.
Alastair claims it impossible to single out just one great wine moment: there have been too many! “I would rather”, he says, “narrow it down to two scenarios which I enjoyed most. Drinking great wine with my wife because of company and her amazing palate. And the excitement of opening a truly special wine.” As for his Code38 – it’s “the balance and weight in the hand” which he loves about it most.