Fully Worked in a bottle

In motoring, rev-head parlance, the term ‘fully worked’ could mean anything from having the cylinder heads shaved in your vehicle to the engine management chip being tweaked or going the whole white knuckled gamut and committing to fully worked, rubber-burning, race-ready capability.

But in the sedate and elegant world of quality Australian winemaking there has emerged a “Fully Worked” sauvignon blanc. O’Leary Walker wines have produced an FW (Fully Worked) sauvignon blanc at the request and guidance of legendary chef and restaurateur Tony Bilson for his three hatted Bilson’s Restaurant in Sydney’s Radisson Plaza hotel and his Spanish ‘worked’ Number One Wine Bar at Circular Quay.

O’Leary and Walker both have impeccable winemaking credentials boasting some 300 gold medals, 60 trophies and a brace of International Red Winemaker of the Year Awards between them. In their joint reincarnation they produce some pretty damned fine wines including another sauvignon blanc that hasn’t been fully worked.

But Le Bilson is a Francophile and his sauvignon blanc bent is closer to the nuances of Sancerre in the Loire than some of the more traditional grassy and herbacious offerings coming out of the Adelaide Hills. So he persuaded the boys, as you would a donkey with a carrot – almost a dare.

FW is a more restrained local sauvignon blanc with notes of grapefruit and lemon with a hint of baking bread tantalising the nose. Compared with its zingier stable-mate it displays less tropical fruit aromas and more subtle herbaceous cut grass characteristics. Fully Worked, this Oz sauvignon does the business.

But then Bilson has being doing the business successfully for four decades. His extraordinary influence on Australian dining is unique. From his first restaurant in 1971, La Pomme d’Or in suburban Melbourne to the legendary Tony’s Bon Gout in Sydney and later the milestone Berowra Waters and later, Kinsela’s (where a young Tetsuya Wakuda discovered his love of and flair for classical French cooking technique), then Bilsons’s (now Quay), Fine Bouche, Hotel Intercontinental’s Treasury Restaurant, Ampersand and Canard are all testimony. Having an intellectual meddle in the development of a wine from a team as talented as David O’Leary and Nick Walker is a natural progression.

At the risk of lowering the tone and quoting Molly Meldrum: “do yourself a favour” and seek out the O’Leary Walker offerings. And to experience the FW in its natural habitat immerse yourself at Bilson’s or at Number One Wine Bar where saucy chef, Miguel Maestre should almost be back from working with Ferran Adria at El Bulli in Spain.

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