I did not come to Australia expecting to fall in love with eggs. Truth be told, eggs and I have been having a pretty serious love affair for a while now, but this trip has taken it to the next level. I don’t know what they feed their chickens here, but the eggs they produce have a depth of flavor that I have never experienced before and I am, to put it lightly, smitten.
The complex hierarchy of eggs is as follows: farm fresh eggs beat grocery store eggs; eggs from an organic farm beat conventional farm eggs; organic and free range eggs beat eggs from organic but pen raised chickens; and eggs from chickens raised in a hippie rainbow trailer on a biodynamic vineyard beat them all. Therefore the eight eggs I was gifted during my visit with Ben Gould at Blind Corner were second in worth only to the wines themselves.
But in a lot of ways this should come as no surprise, as the chickens, in their own right, are an integral part of the wines at Blind Corner. The bees, vegetables, fruit trees, and chickens on the property are just as important as the vines themselves, because great organic and biodynamic farms take into account the whole living system. And like all things in this world they thrive on healthy relationships: the bees pollinate the plants; the plants give nutrients to the soil; and the chickens eat mites and bugs that threaten the vines while expelling a natural fertilizer.
What touched me most about Blind Corner was the bigger picture that Ben and his wife Naomi have carved themselves a place in. It is clear that it is not about just making great wine for them (although they do that superbly), but rather about nurturing a living system from which wine is just one of the many rewards. There is a connection to the land but also to the people and the community. They have a little vegetable patch which they use to feed themselves, giving surplus to friends and to people in the community who need it. Even their choice to farm organically came from modest roots and not from a loftier dogma or desire to fit into a trend. They wanted their kids to be able to run around the vineyard, get their hands dirty, and be among the fruit without running the risk of exposure to toxic chemicals.
And all of this ends up expressed in their wine. It is unpretentious and beautiful. It reflects both their expertise from over 20 years working in cellars and vineyards in Margaret River, as well as the knowledge and influence gained from spending two years traveling through Europe immersed in the wines there. Although all the wines I tried captivated me, I was particularly taken by Governo – a wine made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, a portion of which are dried before pressing. This technique gives the wine a uniquely rich nose and flavor while still being fresh and acidic. I am reticent to jump into the world of wine reviewing as my formal training is non-existent and my informal training has just begun, but I feel no hesitation in saying that these were truly beautiful wines – delicate, complex, and a little bit wild, just like Blind Corner itself.