Posts Tagged ‘Cool’

 

 

Winemakers in New Zealand are hailing the 2013 vintage as ‘one of the best in history’, with a record harvest 28% bigger than last year’s crop.

 

New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan described the summer as ‘outstanding’ with ‘near-perfect conditions for growing grapes’.

‘The result is that we expect the 2013 wines to be vibrant, fruit-driven and complex expressions of our diverse grape-growing regions – 2013 looks set to be a vintage to remember.’

Nearly 350,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested in 2013, a record volume up 5% on 2011 and 28% bigger than last year’s small crop, which left New Zealand short of wine to feed its expansion plans.

Key region Marlborough and key grape variety Sauvignon Blanc both had good years, with volumes up 33% and 26% respectively, while the Pinot Noir crop was 36% bigger than in 2012.
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Sauvignon blanc vines from Marlborough, New Zealand.

Sauvignon blanc vines from Marlborough, New Zealand.

 

Few words in the UK wine market provoke a reaction as polarising as “Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc”.

For a host of consumers those heady aromas of passion fruit, gooseberry and the entire spectrum of fruit salad ingredients in between act like catnip. Among others, however, including many in the trade itself, it is possible to detect a degree of fatigue with New Zealand’s hugely successful flagship style.

This latter camp saw its numbers swell when the bumper 2008 vintage saw shelves flooded with discounted stock. On top of oversupply came the observation from several corners that quality was slipping as fast as the prices. Just as this golden goose was starting to look decidedly wobbly on its feet, New Zealand’s producers regrouped, rallied and within just a few years have taken major strides towards revitalising the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc landscape.

At a mainstream level, the classic style is clearly going stronger than ever – just visit a UK supermarket and compare the shelf space dedicated to this single combination of variety and region with the area allocated to other entire countries. Against this backdrop of stability, however, many Marlborough producers have now identified an opportunity – a need even – to shake up the stereotype and show what else they can do.
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Durbanville Hills cellar 01

 

 

From its first vintage 15 years ago, Durbanville Hills Wines, which is located on the Tygerberg Hills and overlooks Table Mountain and Table Bay, has produced some of the best received super premium wines in the country.

Cellar master Martin Moore, who was appointed in 1998 when the cellar was still in the early stages of construction, reminisces fondly of the first vintage and the memorable wines produced in 1999.

“When the first grapes were delivered to the presses, work had not even started on that part of the building which today houses the maturation cellar, restaurant and wine-tasting area.

“But regardless of the challenges both the Luipaardsberg Merlot and the Biesjes Craal Sauvignon blanc from our first vintage received double gold at Veritas while the Durbanville Hills Chardonnay was awarded gold. During that first vintage just over 3 000 tons of grapes were pressed. Within a few short years production moved up to reach the cellar’s full capacity of 8 000 tons,” says Moore.

“Over the years we have extended our product range to showcase the diverse terroir of the area. During the 15 years we have created a number of what I believe are quite remarkable wines; wines which in my view truly capture the unique flavour spectrum found on our valley slopes.”

Durbanville Hills has over the years become particularly known for its top-quality Sauvignon blanc, due also to the cool-climate location of its production units which all enjoy ideal conditions for growing this cultivar.

“During the summer months and then mostly in the late afternoon, the southeaster , blows off False Bay over the Cape Flats, bringing with it cool, moist air. The wind is surprisingly cold as it comes sweeping over the contours of the hills, cooling down the vineyards even on the hottest day. And when the southeaster is not blowing, a westerly wind coming off the cold Atlantic produces the same results,” says Moore.

Sauvignon blanc is represented across the cellar’s three wine ranges. All of them regularly receive awards at national and international competitions. Although the wines can be enjoyed immediately, the winery’s Sauvignon blancs are known for their longevity, with the Biesjes Craal in particular lasting for up to ten years.

The wines are available from the cellar and leading liquor outlets and retail for about R52 in the case of the 2012 Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc and R85 for the 2012 Rhinofields Sauvignon Blanc while you should expect to pay about R115 for the 2012 Biesjes Craal Sauvignon Blanc.

 

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Bag-in-a-box wines may not be the epitome of chic, but a new study finds that keeping them cool may hold the answer to their drinkability.

 

Scandinavians love pickled herrings, woolen sweaters and bag-in-a-box wines. The rest of the world isn’t quite so sure. Pickled herrings are certainly an acquired taste, woolen jumpers are sartorially suspect (apart from the ones worn by Sarah Lund in “The Killing”), and boxed wines suffer from an image of quantity over quality.

But the fact is that bag-in-a-box wines have plenty of advantages over glass: they are environmentally friendly, they are easy to transport, they don’t break, and they remain fresh for a long time once opened.

Unfortunately, long-held perceptions are difficult to overcome. The low quality of the wines inside the bags hasn’t helped to win consumers over. Scandinavia is an exception to the rule – you can buy Chablis and Sancerre in a box, and this form of packaging represents more than 50 percent of all wine sold in Norway and Sweden.

Elsewhere, the quality of bag-in-a-box wine could be higher if only producers – and consumers – would break with tradition and… read on

Your wine-loving friends can stay cool all year with these gifts designed for serving wine at its best

 

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December and its holidays are once again upon us, bringing crisp, cold nights and toasty evenings indoors, preferably with a glass of wine in front of a warm fire. Unfortunately, that glass of wine can end up warm before its time, especially those of the white variety. For this season’s holiday gift guide, the Wine Spectator staff tested out as many new wine- and bottle-chilling devices (many of them multifunctional) as we could get our hands on. And these cool holiday treats will be even more appreciated when the summer months roll around.

Metrokane Rabbit Wine-Chilling Crystal Carafe ($50, metrokane.com)
Metrokane’s new Rabbit Wine-Chilling Crystal Carafe is a lovely serving vessel on its own—it has a nice heft and balance to it, with a rubber grip around the neck and a drip-proof lip, as suitable for orange juice or iced tea as it is wine, of which it will hold a full 750ml bottle with the chilling device in place. Unlike most of the other tools for keeping wine cold featured here, the Rabbit Carafe will actually bring white wine down from room temperature to serving temperature. The thin stainless-steel walls of the ice-filled insert, in direct contact with the wine, are ideal for cold transfer. The Metrokane’s Houdini brand version ($40) of the carafe features a screw-top plastic lid without the rubber neck grip.—Robert Taylor

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Bag-in-Box.

Bag-in-Box.

Bag-in-box wines are more likely than their bottled counterparts to develop unpleasant flavors, aromas and colors when stored at warm temperatures, a new study has found. Published in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, it emphasizes the importance of storing these popular, economical vintages at cool temperatures.

Helene Hopfer and colleagues explain that compounds in wine react with oxygen in the air to change the way wine looks, tastes and smells. These reactions speed up with increasing temperature. Many winemakers are moving away from the traditional packaging for wine — glass bottles sealed with a natural cork stopper — and trying synthetic corks, screw caps or wine in a plastic bag inside a cardboard box. The scientists wanted to find out how this transition might affect the taste and aroma of wine under different storage conditions.
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