En Primeur at The Mill Middleton

Queen Rose releases her two French wines at the Fleurieu.

winemaker Rose Kentish

It could well have been in Provence, France on Sunda, May 22 at The Mill at Middleton when Ulithorne winemaker Rose Kentish presented the first tastings of two stunning new French wines she made while working at wineries in Corsica and Provence.

Rose, her artist husband Sam Harrison and their children recently returned after a nine month sojourn in France in 2010 and have  bought the historic The Mill at Middleton which doubles as an exotic cellar door and their own private home.

On Sunday,May 22 (despite dreadful weather) The Mill was filled with people  who attended the en primeur – an all-things French fun food, wine event.

However, amidst the frivolity was the serious business of the release of Rose’s two French wines – Corsus Vermentino 2010, the first vintage she made with French winemaker Jerome Girard at Vino Vecchio, recently named as one of the top Domains on Corsica. The other exciting wine – a limited release of the pale salmon-pink hued Epoch Rose 2010 was also the first vintage made by Rose and French winemaker Remy Devictor in 2010 at Domaine de la Sangliere, a second generation Domaine on the south coast of Provence, near Toulon.

Prior to her winemaking in France, Rose was McLaren Vale “Bushing Queen’ in 2008 and her Paternus 2006 was wine of the McLaren Vale Wine Show that year.

Meanwhile, Rose and Sam have returned and renovated The Mill and the event gave them an opportunity to open up the living quarters of their home, which doubled the capacity for visitors.

The white-washed walls of The Mill created a great gallery atmosphere for striking new paintings from Sam Harrison’s recent soiree in Provence while the space was scattered also with 1950s furniture and a new shipment of interesting hand selected French antiques.

Platters of French cheeses and local olives and vine grapes were placed on old French refectory tables and to add a wonderful French flavour, the family ran non-stop slide-shows of photographs of France on one of the white-washed walls.

For wine-lovers, tasting notes claim Vermentino 2010 has a “French pineapple and citrus nose’’. with big fleshy mouthfeel with a long, dry fresh acid finish.

Interestingly, the Epoch Rose 2010 (58 per cent Cinsault, 33 per cent Grenache and 9 per cent Mourvedre) was night harvested from 15-25 September 2010, de-stemmed, cooled and pressed.

Both wines sell for $34 a bottle and more information on www.ulithorne.com.au.

Staving Off Ageing:

 Yes, it’s a hellava way off, but by the year 2070 scientists expect to have found the key to slowing down the ageing process.

Scientists are slowly piecing together the ageing process at the genetic and molecular level – and it augurs well for the longevity of our grand-children.

Surprisingly many of the genes that regulate the ageing process have been found in yeast cells, fruit flies and worms.

And if that’snot mysterious enough, we  know that we are 98.5 per cent genetically similar to chimpanzees, so why do we live twice as long?  Are those the genes which lengthen our life span? Can they be manipulated?

After all, scientists have lengthened the life span of mice, rabbits, dogs, cats and monkeys and according to Dr Leonard Guarente, of MIT calorie restriction is the answer. If you feed dogs and cats, for instance, 30 per cent fewer calories, they live 30 per cent longer.

He has discovered the  gene SIR2, and says: “If the SIR2 gene is counter-acting ageing in yeast and in worms, it is doing that universally. And that would include in mammals, and that would include us.’’

two for the girls

Grey-power is Good:


Here’s a thought which is taking hold on the runways of the world. Since when have teenagers been known to buy haute couture? Well, why should teenagers with nubile bodies be used to sell high-end fashion to 40-somethings, 50-somethings and 60-somethings, the vast majority of whom have mature figures?

The penny seems to have dropped that older women are big spenders on fashion regardless of their size and grand dames may well be surpassing their younger sistuhs in becoming the fashion trendsetters of the 21st century.

A small item in Grey Matters raises this issue and provides evidence dating from last autumn’s top fashion shows when 47-year-old Elle Macpherson appeared on several catwalks, gaining world-wide media attention.

Then Juan Duyos gathered a cast of 60-somethings for his Madrid showings and evergreen supermodel Veruschka, now 71, strutted her style for Giles in London.

(I remember some time in my journalistic career seeing Veruschka on the runway and I was in awe of her ageless beauty (no surgery evident). It could only have been at the Australian Fashion Show in Melbourne many years ago because that’s the only one I ever conned my way into – not being a fashion writer, and known widely for my feminist writings.)

H&M also jumped on the wagon and included a white-haired grand dame in its video for Lanvin x H&M.

And any astute media watcher may have noticed the growing number of mature faces appearing as cover “girls’’ and our own much-admired celebrity cook Maggie Beer springs to mind.

Much more natural and endearing than the recent fashion magazine cover of Olivia Newton-John, who surely had had all her signs of age eliminated by surgery even before Photoshop.

In 50-Something magazine, I read about a Superstar of a different kind, revered foreign correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, who, at 53, showed the world how to nab the first American interview with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi since the country’s troubles.

The British-born Iranian has an iron-clad history covering the world’s major trouble spots including Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Rwanda.

Christiane reported on Twitter that Gaddafi “refused to acknowledge that any demonstrations took place in the streets of Tripoli,’’ and it was to Amanpour that he reckoned that “all my people love me. They would die to protect me’’.

 It was the second interview coup for Christiane during the Middle East uprisings because she was also the first to interview then-Egyptian president, Hosni Muburak.

And she has also interviewed the other controversial leaders including Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the late Palestian leader Yasser Arafat.
It begs the question Why do Australia’s media moguls place an age limit on women as interviewers for television news and current affairs programs?

 PS; I did get into trouble for attending those fashion showings, though. I was on holiday and not accredited. Nor was I dressed for the event and merely flashed my Advertiser nametag. On reflection, it was outrageous, but I scored front-row seats for my Sydney friend and myself which was not appreciated by some renowned fashion writers. I was reported and the editor dressed me down when I returned from holiday. The experience was worth it, though.

Celebs and Culture – May 2011

Congratulations to gifted Adelaide naive artist, Marie Jonsson-Harrison, whose work will be shown  at the prestigious 4th World Festival of Art Naif Katowice (Naive Art Exhibition) in Poland.

Marie and husband Bryan were invited to attend the prestigious event in the SZYB WILSON Gallery in the Katowice region of Poland on Friday, June 17,  but were unable to attend because of house renovations.

She has submitted three artworks – Snax Attack at Hungry Jack’s, a handmade ceramic and mosaic; Hide and Seek and La de da Shangrila,  both acrylic on board.

Artists must be invited to submit works and it has become the most important rendez-vous of all Niave artists in the world.

In all 2000sqm of space will be available in the SZYB Wilson Gallery and each artist has 2.5 metres of space. The exhibition will open on Friday, June 17 until Sunday August 14, 2011 and is organised by FIVAN, a French non-profit association and the SZYB Wilson Gallery. It is designed to promote naïve art and to sell paintings in a festive atmosphere.

Marie is an award-winning naïve artist, whose works feature regularly in Russell Starke’s Greenhill Galleries as well as selected regional galleries- and continuing to supply Japan and America. Her former home-town of Balaklava is decorated with her artworks at the entry to the town, outside the library and on park benches. 


Take a pew at popular Lucia’s Pizza and Restaurant in the western mall of the Adelaide Centre Market and Adelaide’s beautiful people are bound to pass or call in.

And on Tuesday, ever-gracious Lady Hardy, (once top model Joan McInnes) took a seat, ordered spaghetti (as one does) and sipped red wine while reading The Advertiser.

The stylish wife of  Sir James, wine icon and former Olympian returns from Sydney to live in Adelaide for some months each year and says she remains a South Australian soul.

I have interviewed Lady Hardy through the years – when she turned 50 when we talked about the pros and cons of HRT and again when she turned 60, she and Sir James were the cover story for the Looking Forward supplement.

This week at Lucia’s, she happily confides that she is now 65 (and looks 15 years younger) and in a catch-up conversation she says she does not bother with Facebook.

“I have many friends that I care about and I spend my energies on them. I don’t need Facebook to clutter my life,’’ she says.

Lady Hardy, who likes people she knows to call her Joan, should bottle her secret for how to age successfully. Not only has she remained glamorous, but she looks the picture of health and contentment, bubbling about her artistic project, which remains under wraps for the moment.  (Journalists must keep confidentialities.)

Another high profile South Australian, viticulturist Prue Henschke from the famous Barossa Valley Henschke’s wine label, has won the environment category at the InStyle and Audi Women of Style presentations in Sydney this week (May 11).

She has restored the landscape at her property and is working towards organic certification.

“Prue’s methods and dedication to creating a better environment make her a true ambassador of style,’’ said InStyle editor Kerrie McCallum.

It seems only yesterday that Prue invited me to be her guest at the 25th anniversary of Women in Wine. Along with other women winemakers, she hosted a table of 9 women and we shared a Henschke’s Hill of Grace red wine from the family’s museum collection.  I cannot remember the grape variety, but I remember thinking at the time it was the smoothest, most delightful red I had tasted.

On quite another bent, it’s hard to feel sympathy for former Royal Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson who says she was hurt when she was snubbed for the recent Royal Wedding of Catherine Middleton and Prince William.

Of her list of misdemeanors over the years, the most embarrassing for the Royal Family happened only last year when  she offered an undercover reporter access to her ex-husband Andrew, Duke of York, for a $750,000 fee.

She told Oprah Winfrey on her US television chat show that “It was difficult’’ to cope with not being invited. But she added that Prince Andrew, who accompanied their daughters, Beatrice, 22, and Eugenie, 21 to the wedding, kept her linked by talking to her on the telephone that day.

“I wanted to be there with my girls and to be getting them dressed and to go as a family,’’ said the 51-year-old.

“And it was also hard because the last bride up that aisle was me.’’ (She married at the Abbey in 1986 and was in Thailand when the wedding took place.)

However, she also was philosophical and took responsibility when she said: “I felt that I ostracised myself by my behaviour, by the past, by living with all the regrets of my mistakes.’’

A Date with a Dying Man


Thursday, May 19:

We are visiting a gravely ill male friend who is in the latter stages of advanced prostate cancer.  It is the hardest task for us because husband Olivier was diagnosed with the same high grade cancer three months ago.  His hormone treatment is working and his cancer is regressing. And only hours before we knock at his front door, Oli has received his second hormone injection to continue the regression – the current treatment for metastasised prostate cancer.

However, our friend, renowned clinical psychologist Graham Quinton is three years down the track in his struggle with this life threatening disease and presents us with a harsh reality check.

He sits in bed, skinny as a rake and naked from the waist up. He wears the same familiar smile at our arrival as he always does and except for his emaciated state, you would think nothing is wrong with him.  Except that when he plumps up his pillows he says how it exhausts him.

A psychiatrist mate is also visiting him and we three listen as the patient holds fort relating how an operation a few months ago had changed his life dramatically from a healthy fellow who seemed to have the cancer licked to a man struggling to stay alive.  Nothing now works for him.

Graham is writing a book on clinical psychology, which he hopes to publish. We discuss this. And we discuss how he blames a local doctor’s  neglect for his grave situation.

‘Of course I blame my local GP because he let 12 months slip by when I presented with erectile problems without taking what should have been appropriate testing for prostate problems,’’ says our stricken friend.

“I became so concerned I took myself to a urologist and asked to be tested;  I won’t forget what he said after the biopsy – “too late’’.’’

It frightens me how frank he is with Olivier about the path of advanced prostate cancer. I wonder how husband feels.

However, I am shocked when he reveals that his oncologist is the same one as Olivier.

How naive am I?  I had somehow imagined this dapper doctor could wave a magic wand and save my husband.  Why couldn’t he save our friend?

The oncologist’s words of two days ago take on an ominous twist.  The flip side of his statement that “some’’ patients with advanced cancer survive five years, is that many don’t.  And our ever-cheerful friend, now in palliative care, will be one.


Visit to the oncologist

Tuesday, May 17: 

 From elation to trepidation, Olivier and I attend Tennyson Centre to visit his oncologist, Dr Francis Parnis to find out if the hormone treatment is stopping the spread of cancer in his bones.

Dr Parnis is as bright in his personal style as his colourful patch-work socks peeping out from his well-cut dark suit.  And he has good news for Olivier.

“The tests show the cancer is shrinking and being controlled,’’ he says.

We are delighted to learn that Olivier’s blood levels have halved. “From an initial reading of  90 in January, the PSA has dropped to 45,’’ he adds.

These readings tell of the cancer in the blood, an absolute indication if the treatment is working. ”I thought his PSA was 70 in January,’’ I say.

“Yes, there is another type of blood reading of  70, which is now 35, so each one tells the same good news,’’ he says.

This is the best news and my stone-faced husband relaxes with relief.

Dr Parnis had kept Olivier’s MRI  and body scan results for a case study and the chief pathologist from Adelaide Pathology Services had sent us an account for attendance.

“What advice did the pathologist offer you about Olivier’s condition?’’ I ask.

“He confirmed that Olivier has a high grade Gleeson Number 8 cancer,’’ Dr Parnis says.

“He has been referred to me earlier than is usually the case because of the aggressive nature of the cancer,’’ he continues.

“We will watch carefully for any early change in the blood tests – and then we will immediately change treatment.”

He must have seen the words chill my initial joy, because he adds:

“I have some patients with Olivier’s grade of cancer who are alive five years after diagnosis.”

He asks Olivier how he is going with his exercise program and when Olivier says “sometimes’’, he adds “I must stress how important exercise is for.’’

We leave feeling that Olivier is in the most competent hands.