As we sat contemplating the prevailing winds, there was a quick knock at the door, a mere instant before it was thrown open rather violently and without additional ceremony. Our guide, Chinskirin Boktani, was thus arrived. In native shoes and animal skins, Boktani cut a jolly figure, and one made all the more appealing by the unusual Pinot Noir he clutched tightly in his fist.
Without preamble, he told us he had booked passage on the next morning's flight to Launceston and then twisted the Stelvin closure off his odd elixir with a wry smirk.
The wine was a 2006, Punch, Close Planted Lance's Vineyard Pinot Noir. I'd never heard of the producer and leaned in expectantly.
Tell me about this, I said.
Speaks for itself, was his reply, as he poured me an ample glass.
The wine was immediately and obviously special, bright, pure and fragrant, a complex mix of cherry, red currant, and wild strawberry. The fruit laced with linear subtleties that twirled hypnotically across the palate. A lattice of alkaline minerality buttressed the wine in more than one direction. The finish was endless.
I demanded to know the source and insisted we must immediately procure further bottles. Boktani told me the vineyards had not entirely escaped the horrifying fires of the recent summer. He couldn't say if there would be more.
We fell quiet then. Not in disappointment. It was the memory of those terrible blazes that left us all silent.