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Episode 31 – Wine and Books

Meg Brodtmann – Rob Dolan Wines

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Rob Dolan Wines is a lovely Winery and Cellar Door in South Warrandyte part of Victoria’s Yarra Valley wine region. Founded by local legend Rob Dolan after 25 years of making wine for some of Australia’s most iconic wineries, this is the only winery which I have joined the wine club of, ever! The goal here is extreme drinkability and I must say, I have tried all their wines and am never disappointed, there is not one which I haven’t enjoyed!

Earlier this year Master of Wine Meg Brodtmann joined the team and I just had to have her on the podcast for a chat! Meg initially undertook a Bachelor of Science (Hons), majoring in Microbiology and Immunology. However, after a few years working in medical research and some extensive travel, she realised wine was a far more interesting career option.

Meg actually started her winemaking journey in Australia with Rob before heading overseas and eventually ending up in beautiful Chile. She became the first Australian woman to pass the Master of Wine exam in 2002 and came back to Oz in 2008 working for wineries and sharing her knowledge and love of wine through education and is now the Education and Global Outreach human for Rob Dolan Wines!

The pairings:

2020 Rose – A fresh and youthful wine, pale strawberry in colour with aromas of cherry, red currant, pomegranate + rose petals this is red currant on the palate, crisp and textural with a dry and savoury finish

I absolutely love Rose wine and was so excited to see this one on the tasting list! It’s such a wonderful spring/summer drink and I have the perfect book to pair with it!

The Other Side Of The Sky by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Prince North’s home is in the sky, in a gleaming city held aloft by intricate engines, powered by technology. Nimh is the living goddess of her people on the Surface below, responsible for providing answers, direction—hope. Below they think the people in the sky are gods. In the sky, they think there’s nothing below. When Prince North falls to the ground there is a clash of culture and confusion. North believes in technology while Nimh believes in magic. North’s and Nimh’s lives are entwined—though their hearts can never be. Linked by a terrifying prophecy and caught between duty and fate, they must choose between saving their people or succumbing to the bond that is forbidden between them.

A beautiful blend of technology and magic this book is super fresh and youthful having only just been published in September and is a Young Adult book. The world-building is so vivid and the characters are lively and fun. There’s loads going on and it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. It is a really fun read, with great characters and an interesting story which you’ll get through far too quickly and you’ll want more where it came from … just like this Rose!

2017 Black label Arneis – Italian for little rascal, and rightly so, this grape which originates in the Piedmont region is tough to grow but worth the reward. Lean, crisp and mineral with almond notes, this wine is an industry favourite and a cracker for food pairing.

The book I am going to pair with the Arneis is a lot older than the last one I mentioned … it was published in Italy in 1996 and translated into English in 1997 and again in 2006.

Silk by Alessandro Baricco

When an epidemic threatens to destroy the silk trade in France, the young merchant Herve Joncour leaves his doting wife and his comfortable home in the small town of Lavilledieu and travels across Siberia to the other end of the world, to Japan, to obtain eggs for a fresh breeding of silk worms. It is the 1860s; Japan is closed to foreigners and this has to be a clandestine operation. During his undercover negotiations with the local baron, Joncour’s attention is arrested by the man’s concubine, a girl who does not have Oriental eyes. Although the young Frenchman and the girl are unable to exchange so much as a word, love blossoms between them, conveyed by a number of recondite messages in the course of four visits the Frenchman pays to Japan. How their secret affair develops and how it unfolds is told in a narration as beautiful, smooth and seamless as a piece of the finest silk.

This is a slim book, more of a novella even, written by an Italian and set in France and Japan … but don’t be fooled into thinking this small, romantic sounding tale is anything less than stunning! It has those crisp, textural and ripe elements of the Arneis and for such a small book there is so much to it, layers of beauty which will linger long after you finish reading it. It might be tough to find these days but it’s well worth the effort!


2017 White label Cab Sav – A deep crimson purple colour with aromas of blackcurrant, forest fruits, bay leaf + cedar and juicy dark fruits and mocha on the palate this is a balanced and complex wine with fine tannins.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

 A foundling, an old book of dark fairy tales, a secret garden, an aristocratic family, a love denied, and a mystery make up The Forgotten Garden.

Cassandra is lost, alone and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident ten years ago, feels like she has lost everything dear to her. But an unexpected and mysterious bequest from Nell turns Cassandra’s life upside down and ends up challenging everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.

 Inheriting a book of dark and intriguing fairytales written by Eliza Makepeace—the Victorian authoress who disappeared mysteriously in the early twentieth century—Cassandra takes her courage in both hands to follow in the footsteps of Nell on a quest to find out the truth about their history, their family and their past; little knowing that in the process, she will also discover a new life for herself.

This is the first Kate Morton book I read, and although I like all of her books, this is still my favourite. It is beautifully written, with three generations of women telling their story.

Layered, delightful and seductive, this is an atmospheric and compulsively readable story of the past, secrets, family and memory, a book to savour, with a hint of darkness and perfect to read whilst sipping at this delicious Cab Sav!



This episode of Literary Elixirs was recorded via Zoom, please forgive any minor technical glitches!   

Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.