August 1, 2011

When it’s time to stop and smell the roses

01 August 2011 | by Andrea Frost

“Ta-daa!” she said, swinging open the door and twirling her arm behind her. “You like?”

“Well, get out of the way so I can come in and have a look.”

I wandered in and plonked down two bottles of wine. One was a Bress Silver Chook Pinot Noir to match the casual dinner of pork we were having. I was about to open the other wine when she dragged me off for the ‘official tour’ of the two-bedroom flat.

As she showed me around I noticed that she had already settled in. Her efficiency is beyond impressive; always has been. I have relied on her lightning-quick box ticking to get my own tasks done: researching a trip for me, checking out flights. She looks at ‘to do’ lists like a sprinter sizing up a racetrack.

“It’s so good you have your own place now,” I said as we looked in doors and peeked in cupboards.

“You’re telling me.”

Just a year ago she was suffering terribly. She asked me, in an unusually formal email, to meet her for regular laps of The Tan walking track to help her through her depression. Walking was one of the few things she could face. When I met her on those hazy afternoons, she was so numb and absent that I often felt more like a chaperone than a companion. Mostly she hid underneath her cap; looking down as I watched the path ahead for both of us.

Not knowing what to do, I took her somewhere that I have sought my own solace. Instead of walking The Tan with the frenzy of lycra-wrapped runners, footy teams in training and girls catching up, we went into the quiet and magnificent Botanic Gardens. There we wove through the lawns to the rose garden: a small patch of grass with several rectangular boxes of roses walled by evergreen trees. Every week until Daylight Savings ended, I walked my friend there to literally stop and smell the roses.

On still nights the perfume hung around the petals like an aromatic fog. Only some of the roses were strong enough to hold the perfume within the frills of their petals. We always shared the roses we smelt, cupping them and saying, “Smell this one”, “Try this one”, “This one is beautiful”.

Eventually it became more winter than autumn, and then it was just plain winter. The petals dropped and Daylight Savings stopped. Ever since then, an invitation to walk The Tan has been a request to “stop and smell the roses”.

So to see my friend a year on in her own flat, happy, having wrestled the demons that ruled her for a while and away from those who made the thousandth cut, really was something.

“OK, that’s all there is to show,” she said. Box ticked. “So, come on. What did you bring to drink?”

I poured us a glass of the second wine I had brought, the Dominique Portet Fontaine Rosé 2010. I held up the lovely pink glass to her. “Stop and smell the rosés?”


Dominique Portet Fontaine Rose 2010 $21

A consistently lovely style of rosé, the 2010 Dominique Portet Fontaine is made from merlot, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz from the Yarra Valley. Keeping a wide berth of any sweet characters that can afflict some rosés, it’s a fresh and lovely drink of savoury and spice aromas and flavours, all offered up in a pale pink package.

Bress Silver Chook Pinot Noir 2010 $21

A pinot noir with a little something extra. Winemaker Adam Marks uses whole bunch pressing and leaves the wine unfiltered, producing a more intense, full flavoured pinot with a little more structure than most at this price. Still lots of lovely aromatics, it’s a lot of pinot bang, for your 20 hard earned bucks.