“Flannel mouths” – an expression from 1963

Had a Southern Fleurieu (south of Adelaide) shiraz recently. It was inexpensive, but I was not overly impressed; thought it tasted like oak was in the wine, rather than the wine was in oak. I looked on the back label for a clue (always a source of entertainment) and found that “the soft and elegant palate lingers, offering berry fruit and spice with a hint of chocolate from French oak.” Ah, it doesn’t say it was matured in French oak barrels, just that it tastes of French oak. I’ll remain suspicious – maybe I should stop reading the industry magazines that carry adverts for oak chips, oak essence, oak staves, oak powder etc. etc.

Just as disturbing was the note that the wine had been imported by Oddbins in London.

Hmmm. I bought this in Singapore quite a while ago. I’m much more careful about who I buy from these days and I avoid stock that may have travelled half way round the world before ending up in Singapore.


No specific reviews today as I’m currently at our property in NE Victoria (home of Bastard Box vines) and being in the country that has one of the world’s best telecommunications systems means I have to venture out onto our deck to obtain a decent broadband signal. Running through the various raters’ websites takes a little longer than in Singapore but the rewards are that I often get to see kangaroos, crimson rosellas and the occasional wombat whilst I’m waiting. That’s all well and good, but yesterday it snowed here, and it’s looking like it might do the same today. Standing in the snow to find ratings was too much to ask, especially when there was a log fire blazing inside and the Sydney Swans were inching in front of Hawthorn.

So no ratings, but an observation on a retailer who finally seems to have got their act together. I’m talking about The Straits Wine Company. They’ve updated their website into something that actually works. I have no association with them at all, so my comments come as a customer, and to be honest, I’ve not been much of a customer in the past. But I recently had reason to seek out a particular wine and the process of buying it online was painless and efficient and best of all, free delivery. I think they’re finally on a winner.


THE WAY THINGS WERE:  – 1961 – How to read a wine label



It’s poetic verbiage, the elaborate hocus pocus of certain self appointed knights of the wine table. Listen to these flannel mouths as they tell how one wine was ‘hospitable’ whilst another was ‘modest’. They are not content to enjoy a wine for its sheer liquid goodness. They must ascribe all types of human qualities to it.

The vignerons who work, and how hard they DO work too, in the larger wine estates are artists with a magnificent background and experience, and are entitled to their technical jargon. Keep this professional talk inside their realms, not to be used with a lordly air at dining tables!” – From Wine Talk, published around 1963 and written by Mrs. Rada Penfold Russell, Penfolds Advertising Director at the time.


1 Response to ““Flannel mouths” – an expression from 1963”

  1. 1 Roger Prior September 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Hi David,

    Bloody funny weather! You have snow and in Sydney one day is 30 and the next 18!

    Oddbins I believe went into receivership some time ago, I might be wrong but I have a vague memory of that ….



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Wine quotations

"A good bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world" - Louis Pasteur

“The unexacting palates of the masses…are content to ask no question [on origin] so long as a florin or half-a-crown will purchase a roomy flagon of strong , full-bodied, fruity wine” – CE Hawker writing in 1907