Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category

Kangaroo Crossing

The Australian wine industry is awash with change and we have identified the key alterations taking place Downunder.
From new style whites to single block reds, winemakers and brand owners are displaying a restless urge to experiment, embracing new practices in the vineyard and cellar.

As for plantings, there’s a surprisingly broad array of grapes going into the ground (particularly from the Mediterranean) as producers search for the best match between variety and climate, along with soil type.

Meanwhile, it’s clear Australia is embracing its cooler-climate regions, creating lighter wines, and working harder to express specific sites.

Improved viticultural practices in particular are key to Australia’s vinous evolution, with more suitable clones, older vines and better soil management all making their mark.

Helping capture changes in the vineyard are earlier harvest times, gentler fermentation practices and reduced new oak use, and overall, as Mark Lloyd from McLaren Vale’s Coriole told db, “Today the Australian wine industry is in a sweet spot.”
Read on …


Click the link to read the full report:

Australian Wine Grape Production Projections for 2013-14

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




Penfolds has announced its most expensive collector’s item to date – a complete vertical for £1.2m.
The centrepiece of the one-off ‘Penfolds Collection’ is a complete vertical of Grange from its first experimental vintage in 1951 (pictured) through to the current 2007.

It comes hot on the heels of its controversial £100,000 Ampoule launch earlier this year,

Each bottle of Grange has been authenticated and signed by one of Penfolds’ Chief winemakers including the late founder Max Schubert, John Duval and current incumbent Peter Gago.

The deep-pocketed purchaser of the collection will also receive a set of 13 magnum cases which include both the ultra-rare 2004 Bin 60A and the 2008 Bin 620 Coonawarra Cabernet-Shiraz. They will also be sent a case of Penfolds icon and luxury wines for the next ten years.

That’s not all. An additional part of the package is £50,000 to spend on acquiring other older Penfolds wines to add to the collection. Also included are two business class tickets to Adelaide, followed by a VIP tour and tasting at Penfolds Magill Estate. This comes with two nights’ accommodation and dinner at the Magill Estate Restaurant.

Gago believes this is probably the finest set of Penfolds wines ever to be… read on

A distinctive eucalypt smell makes Australian reds easy to spot in a blind tasting. But how does it get into the wines?




Would you like some mint in your cabernet? Or perhaps a dash of eucalypt in your shiraz? If so, you’ll need a vineyard near eucalyptus trees and Australia has plenty of those on offer, endowing the country’s red wines with a distinctly minty character.

The aromatic compound that causes this character is called 1,8-cineole. First identified by a German scientist in 1884, it is the main component found in the oil from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. But to this day, nobody has quite fathomed out its journey from tree to bottle.

There have been conflicting theories. A French study suggested that the compound originated in eucalyptus trees surrounding vineyards and was airborne, while an Italian group proposed that aromatic compounds in grapes, known as terpenes, were the creators of 1,8-cineole.

In an attempt to get to the heart of the issue, the Australian Wine and Research Institute (AWRI) in Adelaide set out to confirm just why so many of the country’s cabernet sauvignon and shiraz-based wines are affected. In a study of 190 wines, it found that the existence of eucalyptus trees near grapevines can influence the concentration of the compound. The closer the trees, the higher the concentration of the minty smell.

Digging deeper, the AWRI then discovered that the machine harvesting of rows close to eucalyptus trees was likely to result in leaves from the trees being mixed in with the bins of grapes. Among their key findings, the scientists reported that even hand harvesting could “result in a surprising number of eucalyptus leaves in the picking bins.” From their experiments, they concluded that the “presence of eucalyptus leaves and, to a lesser extent, grape-vine leaves and stems in the harvested grapes” were the “main contributor to 1,8-cineole concentrations in the wine.”

But that didn’t explain how even meticulous producers, who remove the eucalyptus leaves from their grapes before processing the fruit, still end up with a minty smell in their cabernets. The answer, it appears, can be found in the… read on

The Complete Guide: Wines of the Southern Hemisphere is an amazing gift. To have this book for my wine library is a tremendous resource; and, making the time to read it delivered even more gifts.




Written by Mike Desimone & Jeff Jenssen, two very savvy World Wine Guys who are wine, spirits, food, and travel writers, have gone around the world and are now sharing those adventures. Their gathered stories are warm and very informative, sharing much of what they learned in this very thorough book. Representing each region well, they also present it in such a way that the only thing left to satisfy is your own personal curiosity through adventures you need to start planning….

Much of the Southern Hemisphere has escaped me because I’ve never physically made it over the equator. I’ve been to the South Pacific, to the Caribbean, Canada, most of the US states (40+ states), and to Europe… but not gone over the equator.

My favorite section was Chile. Perhaps it’s because I was part of the Wines of Chile Blogger Tasting led by Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer, and enjoying those wine immensely. It was very enlightening about this wine grape growing country, with the book connecting me on a much deeper level with that recent wine exposure.
Read on …


Our handy visual guides to major wine-producing areas in Europe, the United States and the Southern Hemisphere

Look at almost any wine’s label, and you’ll find an indication of its origin, whether it’s as broad as an entire country or as specific as a particular vineyard. That’s because wines embody, and are shaped by, the places they come from—their distinctive combination of geography and climate.

Wine Spectator’s illustrated wine maps cover the whole world of wine. Love Cabernets from Napa Valley but not really sure where Oakville is? Confused by all the different appellations in Bordeaux? Let our maps be your guide to a deeper understanding of the wines you enjoy.

Maps by Richard Thompson, with exception of Alsace, Argentina, Austria and Oregon AVA maps by Henry Eng
Read on and view maps…

A new study has found that darker and heavier bottles can protect the quality of white wine.


The research conducted at the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) at Charles Sturt University (CSU), in collaboration with Dr Daniel Dias at The University of Melbourne, examined the impact of light on the quality of white wine, with the ultimate aim to improve its shelf life.

Lead researcher, Dr Andrew Clark said, “A series of experiments dating back to 2008 have attempted to better understand the impact of light on several white wine components that have previously not been investigated. The components were tartaric acid, which is a major organic acid in wine, and iron, a metal ion found at low concentrations in all wines.

“Although not well understood in wine, these same agents were in fact used as photographic emulsions by the pioneers of photography in the mid-1800s.

“We have shown that a chemical process, known as iron (III) tartrate photochemistry, can adversely affect white wine as it may… read on



Old world wines reflect place. New World wines come from grapes. Get set for the Next World— where wines are based on concepts.


Make no doubt: what’s in the bottle counts. But so does what’s on it, especially now that the proverbial wine “lake” has grown into a global ocean. And more than ever, the imagery wine suppliers are choosing to project—and which in turn merchants are compelled to embrace—involves words and art that favor a “concept” instead of, or on top of, a wine’s ampelographic information.

The era of wine being labeled predictably is over. The standard formula of “Somebody’s Something from Somewhere” still works, on a boilerplate level. But traditional wine lingo has always been problematic for Americans, most of whom just want something tasty to drink. If the Old World represents wines based on place, and the New World represents wines based on grapes, it is entirely reasonable to frame a third sort of world—one where wines project a concept.

The steady growth of more expressive wine branding is a natural byproduct of both the crowded wine marketplace and modern  consumer culture. Wines labeled Chateau This and Over-There Vineyards are feeling rather…20th century. The material world around us today is fueled by brands that “speak” to people, wearing their attributes as vividly as possible. Detergents are designed to look and sound clean. Electronic gadgets exude utility and efficiency. Athletic products evoke speed, strength and optimum performance. Why should wine be any different?
Read on …

The growth cycle of a vine.

The growth cycle of a vine.

Australia-based Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has carried out a research to delay the growth of wine grapes to tackle with climate change related issues.

TWE national viticulturist Paul Petrie will present the findings at the Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries (CCRSPI) conference in Melbourne.

Every year climatic changes not only affect the flavor of grape, but also the capacity of wineries to effectively use their infrastructure. Therefore, many winemakers in Australia are using the technique of pruning grapevines a month later to delay the growth of grapes and avert the bad weather.
Read on …