Posts Tagged ‘Shiraz’

Breaking old rules, to creative new wines ...

Breaking old rules, to creative new wines …

 

As I mentioned here once before, the fad in California wines for more than a decade now has been the heavy emphasis on what I call MSG wines. 

 

No, that’s not a designation of something to order in your favorite Chinese restaurant; rather, it refers to Rhone-style blends featuring Mourvedre-Syrah-Grenache.   Many of these blends are knockouts, and adjusting the blend allows winemakers to bob and weave depending on the weather and harvest to deliver a very consistent wine. 

 

A number of French winemakers have come to the central coast of California because they can experiment here, whereas in France the wine bureaucracy prevents wine makers from innovating.  While I like many of these efforts, I still prefer old-fashioned straight-up classic varietals, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Syrah.  (I’m having a 100% Syrah tonight with my grilled pork roast.)

 

Read on …

Scores 100 points!!!

Scores 100 points!!!

 

A price war is raging among retailers in Australia over the 2008 vintage of Penfolds Grange, which received a perfect 100-point score from The Wine Advocate.

In a bid to lure buyers with the lowest retail price, Australian liquor chain Dan Murphy’s cut its price from AU$669 to AU$645 (£423) in order to go lower than US supermarket chain Costco as the cheapest place to buy the prized new release.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Costco responded to Dan Murphy’s discounting yesterday by knocking a further $5 off its price to bring it down to $645.

Sydney-based independent wine merchant Kemenys is also selling the wine for $645, despite it carrying a recommended retail price of AU$785 (£515).

Meanwhile, UK-based fine wine merchant Farr Vintners has waded into the pricing war, matching Dan Murphy’s and Costco’s price, selling the wine at £350 in bond, which, with VAT and duty added, works out at £422.40 a bottle.

Having put 78 bottles on sale yesterday, the wine was already moving quickly at Costco’s Melbourne store, with assistant manager Nick Weller reporting “fantastic” sales.
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Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga.

 

Pop sensation Lady Gaga’s favourite wines have been revealed during a court case with her former personal assistant Jennifer O’Neill.

 

Details of the Italian-American singer’s tour rider came out in court this week, revealing that wine features among the backstage demands Gaga makes of each venue she visits.

In addition to bizarre requests like a life-sized mannequin, Gaga asks for “two bottles of good white wine”, preferably Chardonnay, and “one bottle of quality red wine.”

Perhaps in order of preference, the singer specifies her favourite red varieties on the rider as Shiraz, Grenache, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The case also unveiled Gaga as something of a turophile, with the singer requesting brie, sharp cheddar, goat’s cheese and Dutch gouda at every show.

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Motorhead wine in a box.

 

 

British heavy metal group Motörhead has released a bag-in-box Shiraz modelled to look like a guitar amplifier.

Motörhead Sacrifice Shiraz, the first bag-in-box wine to be produced by a band, has been designed specifically to appeal to the BIB-friendly Swedish market.

“Around 60% of the wine consumed in Sweden is from bag-in-box, which makes Sweden the world’s largest consumer of boxed wine.

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italian-wine1

 

 

The third of our 10-part analysis on Australian wine trends considers the country’s embrace of Italian grapes and newfound success with the Moscato wine style.

Although the planting of Mediterranean varieties from Greece, Spain and Portugal is in vogue, it’s the potential of those from Italy that really seems to be exciting winemakers Down Under.

Historically, as André Bondar, at McLaren Vale’s Mitolo, records: “Australia used to plant French varieties regardless,” but today growers are realising that many Italian grapes are more suitable to certain climates in Australia.

For Corrina Wright, director at McLaren Vale grower and producer Oliver’s Taranga: “Italian varieties in general are gaining traction because they have high natural acidity and a lovely texture and they are well adapted to heat spikes.”

Notably she has planted five acres of Sagrantino. “We’ve had it for 12 years and it’s hard to grow and low cropping, but produces wines with fabulous tannins.” She would like to plant white grape Greco too, she says, but has run out of vineyard space.

For many, Sangiovese elicits excitement. Coriole’s Mark Lloyd points out that he was the first to grow Sangiovese in the country, having planted it in 1985 in the McLaren Vale because, he recalls: “It was going to be the antithesis of big, sweet Shiraz.”

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Penfolds_logo

 

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?

 

mint-info0

 

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