2011 Madfish Sideways Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
(Margaret River, $20-odd bucks a bottle, or FREE if you have really lucky kids!)
Once upon a time there was a Beanie Queen who moaned to anyone who would listen: "I never win anything... I can't even win a frozen chook in a chook raffle... Woe. Woe. Woe."
Lately, the Beanie Queen has had a change of fortune. For one, I have been winning books! So far this year I've managed to snaffle myself The Wedding Season by Su Dharmapala (my surprise-packet book of 2014); House For All Seasons by Jenn J McLeod; Thornwood House by Anna Romer, Sumerford's Autumn by Barbara Gaskell-Denvil; In Safe Hands and In Safe Arms by Lee Christine; Band Of Gold by Maggie Christensen and Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein. That's some kind of reading pile!
Well... my luck got even better a few Saturdays back. It was the local primary school fete, a big fund-raising gala event with pony rides, choirs, zumba dancing, bouncy castles and bouncing kids... there was a chocolate wheel, and there was a wine-winning prize! Serious!
Now, school fetes don't hold a whole heap of interest for me. There is only so much recorder playing I can take.
It was while I was trying to remove myself from the immediate vicinity of said recorder playing that I saw a heap of wine boxes beneath a trestle table, and wine bottles atop the trestle table. I spied the wine from a distance (I'm very good at that) and I thought to myself... no one can complain if I purchase wine as part of a school fundraiser, can they? This was legitimate wine purchasing for a good cause, versus wine purchasing that is going towards a very naughty cause.
So, I shepherded the kids toward the wine booth and, lo and behold, discovered you didn't actually BUY wine here, you bought a ticket to WIN it!
There was a big 'pool' of sand and in this sand was a gazillion popsticks (paddle-pop sticks from icecreams). The deal was, you paid $2 per popstick, or $5 gave you three 'pulls' of popsticks.
So I handed over my $5 (because this is all for a good cause, remember, and hey, I'm no cheapskate) and I told my two kids to go their hardest and pick out a popstick each. Then the oldest, who had been the best behaved, got to choose the third stick.
So, now I have three sticks and I looked at them. Each stick had a number on the end but the numbers were all different. I started surreptitiously looking around to see a sign that said which number won a prize... Or whether there was a board that said "every number two is a winner!"
No such board could I see. So I piped up to the lovely lady from Madfish wines with a tentative (because one cannot look desperate at these things, can one?) "Um... how do you know if you've won something?"
"If your popstick has a number, you've won a bottle of wine."
Well blow me down with a feather. "Um. Well... all my popsticks have numbers on them."
"Then you've won three bottles of wine. Take your pick."
Three bottles of wine for $5!
My whoop scared my four-year-old out of half his bucket of hot chips.
I chose one bottle of clean-skin red (wine without a label), and two bottles of 2011 Madfish Sideways Sauvignon Blanc Semillon:
This SBS was a truly lovely little wine, 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon. It's classic Margaret River SBS — and Margies rocks this variety. Easy-drinking. Easy come, very easy go. As you expect with a brand like Madfish, the label is quirky. Look out for it — it's a turtle on its side, and it looks like he's about to devour a tiny little fish.
Let me finish by saying much better judges than me like this wine too. James Halliday rated it 92/100.
But sometimes with wine, it's the story that's just as important as the taste.
Every drop I drank, I thanked my kids... as well as my lucky stars.