Those Industrious Australian Scalzis

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Australian arm of the Scalzi clan is the one that has all the ambitious folks in it; in addition to the previously mentioned Scalzi Produce agricultural empire run by Pat Scalzi, there’s also God’s Hill Winery, run by a fellow named Charlie Scalzi. God’s Hill is a boutique winery producing Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot, and apparently word on these wines gets around. Note this review of the 2002 vintage of the cabernet I found in the Sunday Business Post in Ireland, which gave the wine a 94 rating:

Tiny parcels of the best cabernet sauvignon from an already small 30-acre vineyard go into making God’s Hill wines. This cabernet cuvée is a simply epic creation. Opaque black in the glass, the wash is a wall of concentrated fruit alive with a riot of delicious dark chocolate, crushed blackberry, prune, caramel and even eucalyptus touches. A very fine wine.

See, now. That’s a review worth having. It makes me wish I actually drank alcohol. Well, Krissy does; indeed, she was enjoying an Australian wine just the other evening. Maybe I’ll get some from her. My understanding is that God’s Hill Wines are now beginning to be available in the US, so I’ll have to track down the distributor here in country (it’s in Texas somewhere).

Learning about God’s Hill naturally led me to learn more about Australian wine-making, because I’m like that, and it turns out that where God’s Hill’s winery is (a little town called Lyndoch — see it here on Google Maps), is smack dab in the Barossa region of South Australia, which I am led to understand is very much the analogue of the Napa Valley in California, i.e., positively riddled with wineries and places where Down Under oenophiles can go and get their Sideways groove on, although hopefully without the rants about merlot and the whole “getting one’s nose broken by an outraged lover” thing.

Indeed the Barossa Vintage Festival is just a month away now — there’s still time to book! I shall not be able to go myself — I have other commitments, alas, and it does take place on the entire other side of the planet, which makes nipping out and back problematic. But you should go. And have some God’s Hill wine while you’re there.

28 Comments on “Those Industrious Australian Scalzis”

  1. Shiraz is mighty fine tasty wine. Right up their with Noirs, in my book. So does Krissy like red wines? I’ve found many women who don’t. And it might just be Austrailia, but I don’t remember eucalyptus on the taste wheels.

  2. Count me as a woman who prefers red wines.

    As for the “eucalyptus” jab–it reminds me of what they used to say about Canadian wines: “Very patriotic. Tastes just like crushed maple leaves.”

  3. The eucalyptus is added to make the wines more popular at Lesbian Koala Bars. Always cater to your customer base.

  4. I was born in Newcastle, at the mouth of the Hunter Valley, which is a wine-growing area a bit smaller and lesser known than the Barossa Valley. It’s a cross we can bear only by regular application of the local product.

    Hunter Valley reds can be a bit rougher than other Australian reds. And it’s fair to say that the whites are commonly not as good. The best joke I heard about a local white while I was growing up was that it tasted used.

    If you ever make it as far as Sydney, it’s possible to drive to the Hunter Valley and back in a day, although last time I did it, my sweetie and I stayed overnight. I have fond memories of navigating the dirt roads with decreasing accuracy as we visited more and more wineries. One place was so small they didn’t have a spittoon, so the proprietor suggested I just spit on the ground.

    The worst part of the visit was that we bought more wine than we could possibly carry back on the plane, so I had to leave many bottles with my ungrateful family.

  5. It is always fun to find stuff with your family name on it. I have an old watch I got from my father, and once when I took it in to get it cleaned the watchmaker got curious and looked up the codes on the mechanism. It was made in the A. Schild watch factory in Switzerland, in 1941. Since my name is Schild, he rightly suspected I would be interested to know that.

  6. Napa Valley? Naw..To commercial.
    Anderson Valley is where its really happening in NorCal. Nice drive up Highway 1, left on Highway 128 to Mendocino.
    As for the Scalzi wine. As I mentioned in a previous thread. I think there is some secret success formula having the last name “Scalzi”.
    Now I am off to go partake in some good Burgenland Austrian wine.
    Aufweidersehen!

  7. AliceB, I didn’t mean it as a jab. I’ve just never heard a wine described with that taste. For wine tasting here in the states (strangely enough just north of where I live is a very large wine producing part of Ohio) there are “accepted” terms of taste for describing wines. I’d have to look on those charts, but I don’t remember “eucalyptus” on them. To me that taste would be a turn off, as eucalyptus is very strong in my pallet.

    Nathan, you can’t add things to wines and still sell them as wines, you have to sell them as “coolers” and such. It’s only be recently that even mixing distilled wines was accepted. Many people still won’t touch those because they mixed years and vinyards. Grapes are fabulous foods. All those “tastes” and “scents” come from the grapes themselves.

  8. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, Webkinz Purchasiing Agent

    Them Aussie shiraz’ are quite tasty. I went through a heavy shiraz period for a time. It’s all I would drink. Now I’m doing the italian variety. But I may just head down to Whole Foods and get me some Aussie stuff for old times sake. ANd maybe even some God’s Valley.

  9. My wife and I took a fabulous wine tour of the Barossa valley while on our honeymoon. I highly recommend the Gibson winery, especially their Wilfred Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvedre blend.
    I wish I remembered the name of our tour guide, because he was really great. I’ll have to ask my wife.

  10. Heh. I’m pretty sure the Scalzis didn’t take the hill by force; they just bought it and put grapes there.

  11. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, Webkinz Purchasiing Agent

    Ha! As if by magic, Mrs. Chang hath bought a bottle of Australia’s finest! Tonight, I shall dine well with wine!

    But first, I shall eat of this old bag of ruffles I found in aa back cabinet.

  12. If you find it, don’t expect them to ship it, unless Ohio has changed the law about buying alcohol out of state and shipping it in.

    Maybe you should add a Texas date to your tour.

  13. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, delicate wino

    I am not a big fan of Yellowtail. I find their wines kind of weak and cheap. My wife is the sommelier in the house and she got me off of cheap zinfandels and sweet wines to stuff with flavor and body. Kind of like her. Hey hey.

  14. I don’t enjoy wine that much, though I can on rare occasions enjoy a glass of white wine. Red wine, I simply pass on, after the number of different ones that people have gotten me to taste, expecting me to like it despite not liking red wines.

    My boyfriend doesn’t like wine much either and neither do the people we’re renting a room at, but both of our works like to give wine to its employes on occasions. This means that we have a number of bottles of wine that no one wants and we don’t know what to do with them. There’s a bottle of wine under my table at work and I’m supposed to bring it home, but I honstly can’t be bothered.

    Last time we moved, we just left the wine for the next tenants to find. However, it has been Christmas since, so new bottles are now standing at home, not getting paid much attention.

  15. “Heh. I’m pretty sure the Scalzis didn’t take the hill by force; they just bought it and put grapes there.”

    John Scalzi. Apologist for the vast international right-wing Scalzi conspiracy since 2007.

    Or not.

  16. Rosemont is a fairly decent Aussie vintner. We’ve had some pretty decent reds and whites from them. My husband is very fond of the Shiraz and also the Merlot blend. I prefer the Riesling blend that they offer.

    Someone noted that many women prefer white wines to red — the reason for that may be because tannins in the red wines can bring on migraine attacks (and I speak from personal experience).

  17. I don’t really care for Australian wine. I don’t know if I will try the family label or not.

    And I am not helping the Scalzi family financially by reading “The Android’s Dream.” I checked it out of the library. But I did enjoy it and will be looking for your other works.

    I am new to the blog. Do you have a list of what you consider “quality” SF literature somewhere that I could access?

  18. Steve Buchheit: My apologies. I misread you. I guess because I agree that a hint of eucalyptus somehow doesn’t sound so appealing…

  19. I used to live about 45 mins from the Barossa. Nice place! If you ever do the tourist thing down that way, be sure to check out the B&Bs in the area. There are some truly stunning views!

  20. And here I was hoping Adelaide had suddenly been added to the Scalzi-a-loopa tour 2007 :(

    Ah well, maybe another year.

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