Oz Clarke’s Top Wines For 2013 (by wine-searcher.com)

Posted: December 26, 2012 by wynmaker in Australia, Cellars, Europe, France, Oenology, Origin, Vinification, Vintage, Wine, Winemaking, Wineries, World wine news
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Oz Clarke.

Oz Clarke.


In this excerpt from his new book, Oz Clarke slams the use of appellations and chooses his top wines for the coming year.

“Don’t do this to me, fellas. I’ve spent years promoting the libertarian approach to wine, the approach that says the tastiest will always triumph, the consumer will recognize the decent stuff and that’s what they’ll buy. Don’t let the bureaucrats into your vineyards and your wineries. It’s a simple formula. Just do the right thing, and we’ll do the right thing – we’ll buy your wine.

And then I hear that the New World champion of fresh original flavours, created from scratch and owing nothing to the European classics – Marlborough in New Zealand – wants to introduce an appellation system ‘with strict controls over quality and yield’, modelled on the French system. Why? How could such a standard bearer for the Brave New World admit that it needs to fall back on the French system of ‘Appellation Contrôlée’ – which over the decades has become one of the wine world’s most notorious apologists for mediocrity protected by government decree.

But hang on, let me read that again. Marlborough wants an appellation system ‘with strict controls over quality and yield.’ Er…what’s so wrong with that? Well, if the producers can’t trust themselves to vigorously control yield and maximize quality, perhaps you do need a bunch of local enforcers to do the job. When an area’s new and small, frankly, if someone isn’t playing the game, a few of the beefier winegrowers can take them round the back of the bike shed and give them a good kicking. It usually works. But Marlborough isn’t new or small any more. Over 30 years it’s built a reputation as the gold standard for Sauvignon Blanc around the world and has led New Zealand’s charge to join the Premier League of world winemakers. Its production now dwarfs that of any other Kiwi region.

Late last year I took a helicopter ride up the Wairau Valley, Marlborough’s heartland. We must have flown for half an hour up the valley – way, way past the limits old timers always told me… read on


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