The original Cow Bombie - personally, I'd prefer to lounge by a warm open fire, listen to the warm sounds of Andre Rieu's latest release and sip from the warm liquid of the other Cow Bombie than paddle out at this this thing. I'm pretty soft - Web Ed. Photo from smh.com.au
Today's review: Cow Bombie Cabernet Merlot 2008
Surfing has been used to sell a lot of stuff over the years, but wine?
Cow Bombie is better known as a former secret big wave spot near Margaret River that has leapt to prominence as one of the regular contenders in various big wave awards. But now some canny marketing folk in the local wine industry have got a hold of the name and put it to a range of “cheap and cheerful” wines, that make for decent drinking for under $15.
Damon Eastaugh is a local big wave charger, one of the pioneers of Cow Bombie, the wave, and an experienced winemaker, so if anyone was going to produce wine under the name you’d think it would be him. But, apparently not. The wine is actually the work of one of his competitors. How does he feel about his former secret spot being used to flog a rival wine?
“It’s got nothing to do with surfing,” Damon reckons, pointing out that the label is actually a visual pun, a cartoon-like drawing of a cow doing a “bombie,” presumably into a vat of wine.
“I still go out of my way not to promote the place,” says Damon, of his beloved wave. That is getting harder these days, as every man and his dog, and their cameraman, are now out there on skis trying to get shots of the joint.
But how does Cow Bombie taste? “The Cab Merlot has the leafy eucalypt nose of Margies cab with mixed forrest berries down the middle of the pallet. A slight cigar box nose hinting at just a touch of oak,” is how one popular wine blog puts it.
Personally, and rather more realistically, I’d suggest it might compliment nicely a Domino’s family supreme after half a dozen cones.
If you want to sample a wine actually made by a surfer, Damon works at the Flying Fish winery and reckons they have some pretty handy whites coming out in 2010. “Our Savignon Blanc Semillon is already bottled and should be out in a couple of weeks,” he says. “It’s really fresh and lively and would go well with any of your favourite seafood dishes - it’d be great with a prawn pizza or a nice piece of Red Emperor.”
This is not the first time surfing has been used to flog wine.
The cringeworthy “Longboard Vineyard” in Northern California, near Mavericks, released a Peter Mel/Mavericks Cabernet Sauvignon in 2009, to honour the big wave rider and the wave.
“Surfers express themselves by harnessing the power of the Ocean swells, winemakers by translating growing conditions into a feast for the senses,” their press release gushed. “Together, big-wave surfer and waterman Peter Mel and surfer-winemaker Oded Shakked found synergies of passion as they chose the lots that went into this bottling.”
Synergies of passion? Good Lord, what were those boys doing in there among the barrels? "Earthy flavors of blackberries, tobacco, sweet dried herbs and smoke. Ready now with a juicy steak," is how Wine Enthusiast magazine described it. Dried ‘erb and smoke? Now, that sounds more like a surfer’s wine.
Where will this puzzling new trend end up? I’m looking forward to the Superbank Shiraz, which will prove so popular 300 people will fight over a single bottle, and you’ll get the thing to the counter only to have it rudely snatched from under your nose. Or North Narrabeen Spumante, which will see customers punched out and abused for trying to purchase it at the local bottlo when they don’t even live in the area. - Tim Baker
The bottle in question - Cow Bombie.