Posts Tagged ‘style’

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 …

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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The wine trade’s recent rhapsody in pink has resulted in a rosé marketing binge which can confuse as well as entice.

Not so long ago, rosé was just a swimming pool wine: slippy and thirst-quenching, a frivolous herald of summer weather. Then it became popular. We all started to drink pink, even the French, who don’t just knock back getting on for twice as much rosé as they do white wine, but also more rosé than they make: over a third of the pink wine produced on the planet is consumed in France.

 
Now rosé is also chic. And as always along with chic comes prestige, high prices – and Brangelina, whose 6,000-bottle release of the first vintage of rosé from their Château Miraval bolt-hole in Provence (€105/£88 for a six-bottle case) sold out within five hours when it went online earlier this month.

 
Oh la la. Does rosé just have delusions of grandeur or is it actually grand? You can now buy the still stuff in (increasingly expensive thanks to the cost of the glass) yacht-christening sizes: magnums, jeroboams, clanking great nine-bottle-big methuselahs. Pink champagne, which once had all the class of a hen-night stretch limousine, is now super-smart – and super-expensive.

 
And then there’s the performance of flogging rosé “en primeur” à la Brangelina, often before the wine has even been bottled, for all the world as if this pale-pink mayfly of a wine were a fancy first growth or limited-production burgundy – which seems presumptuous beyond belief.

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Kim Kardashian.

Kim Kardashian.

 

From Kim Kardashian to Queen Elizabeth II, here’s a look at the favourite drinks of some of the world’s most famous people.
Whether it is a white Russian or glass of Sapporo, celebrities enjoy some very different drinks. Who do you think enjoys a gin and Dubonnet with a slice of lemon with the pips removed? Can you guess who lists a pomegranate Martini as their favourite drink?

This is a slightly more cheery list than our rogue’s gallery of despots and their drinks, which we featured recently.

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Fine wine and Champagne houses should not lose sight of what the west can offer as they scramble to serve wealthy drinkers in Asia, says Olivier Krug.

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While Krug Champagne sales in Hong Kong now almost equal those in the UK, Olivier Krug is just as excited about opportunities closer to home.

‘What’s amazing is also what’s happening in traditional markets,’ said the sixth-generation family member and director of Champagne Krug, who spoke to Decanter.com at the press dinner for the Krug Institute of Happiness pop-up restaurant in London.

‘Take the London on-trade, it’s one of the most exciting on-trade markets in the world.’

Krug was also keen to stress that ID codes now appearing on bottles of Grande Cuvée are about more than simply publishing the date of disgorgement – the removal of… read on