I spent most of the weekend hiding, safely ensconced in a peaceful backwater while the well heeled of Melbourne toured the peninsula in their huge Mercedes – it was Winter Wine Weekend.  On the Saturday the big shed at the Red Hill Show grounds hosts most of the wineries on the peninsula, and for AUD$60 you get your Riedel glass, something to eat and as much pinot collapso as you can taste.  I tend to avoid it at all costs because the local constabulary set up check points at either end of Arthurs Seat Road and nothing gets in or out without the obligatory breathalyser.

I did get to visit Elgee Park on one of the rare days it was open, but that for another time.  Another thing I did was make an interesting find in the Dan Murphy’s at Bentons Road.  Dynasty – a genuine Chinese wine.  It claimed it was a Merlot, and I wouldn’t argue with that.  And at AUD$12.99 a bottle it wasn’t bad as a quaffer.  Now I’d heard that China was producing a lot of wine, that they are now the fifth biggest producer in the world, but this was the first example of a Chinese wine I’d seen in Australia.  The Chinese are also very actively buying up chateaux in Bordeaux, so a part of their society is obviously taking wine very seriously.  I like this Dynasty for no other reason than it’s a fascinating glimpse into this whole new world of wine.  If you see it give it a go.

Dynasty Merlot, front label

One peculiar thing is the bottle.  A typical commercial wine bottle weighs in at around 500g, half a kilogram.  The Dynasty bottle weighs the best part of 1.3kg in it own right, before they fill it with wine.  It is a substantial bottle by any standards.

Dynasty Merlot, back