Monday, October 24, 2011

When is wine not wine?

Some time in October this year the minimum alcohol requirement for Australian wine will drop from 8% alc/vol to 4.5% alc/vol. There has been what some might call a conspiracy of silence between the wine industry, the Commissioner of Taxation and Uncle Tom Cobbly and all about the moscato (and a few others) with less than 8% alc/vol being sold and taxed in Australia on the basis that they conformed to the requirements of the legislation being the Food Standards Code of Australia and New Zealand. In other words, it has suited the Commissioner to tax the ‘wine’ turning a blind eye to the alcohol issue, and it has equally suited the producers and (presumably) the Winemakers Federation of Australia not wishing to create waves for no good reason. Anomalously, the EU has for some considerable time mandated a minimum 4.5% alc/vol level, and, under the EU wine agreement, Australia has been obliged to accept those wines and allow them to be sold on the Australian market.

There is always the outside chance that the bureaucracy may not accept the FSANZ recommendation to reduce the alcohol level, but that seems highly unlikely.

What I drank

I had the pleasure of attending a small private dinner at Circa the Prince the other night where we drank the following wines, partnered with the outstanding food the restaurant is providing these days:

Coche-Dury ‘Les Rougeots’ 2006
Ravenau ‘Clos’ 2007
Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne 2005

(with rabbit tortellini, morels, broad beans, garden peas)

Comte Georges de Vogue Bonnes Mares 1996, 1998, 1999

(with suckling pig, salsify and ham beignet, baby leeks)

Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Richebourg 1990
Domaine de la Romanee-Ctoni Grands Echezeaux 2000
Domaine de la Romanee-Ctonee Echezeaux 2002

(with roasted duck breast, beetroot tart tartin, pepperberry sauce)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hitler v Parker

Bob Campbell sent me this yesterday, said it is the funniest thing he’s seen in years. I couldn’t agree more.

Regional Wine Shows

The results for the 2011 Riverina Wine Show, published on 13 September, come with a prominent headline ‘Coonawarra Cabernet Crowned at 2011 Riverina Wine Show’. The release goes on to disclose that the cabernet in question was Brand’s Laira The Patron Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, and also that the Nepenthe Ithica Chardonay 2010 won the Best White Wine trophy. The cabernet edged out the chardonnay for the trophy for ‘Best Still Wine of Show’.

While in no way quarrelling with those particular awards, this once again raises the question why regional wine shows should be open to entrants from all over Australia, with little or no prospect of the field of entries from premium table wine regions (such as Margaret River, Barossa and Clare Valleys, Coonawarra, Yarra Valley, Hunter Valley...... the list goes on) being truly representative of the best wines of those regions.

What is more, even if they were truly representative, the basic point still remains: regional wine shows should be for the wines made from grapes grown in those regions.