Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Is this the world's most expensive Wine?



SOBERING PRICE FOR WORLD'S BEST WINE

David Ellis

AN auction in London has just seen 152,750 pounds (around AU$262,680) paid for a case of near-30 years old French wine that the buyer's going to no doubt spend plenty of time looking at, but in no way pull a cork.

The vintage 1988 Pinot Noir came from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti vineyard in Burgundy, which at a mere 1.8ha (4.5 acres) is one of the smallest estates in France, and was first worked seriously by monks from a local abbey back in 1232.

Today it produces on average just 450 cases a year of Pinot Noir from a single strain of vines, that wine being described variously by connoisseurs as "the scarcest, most expensive and frequently best wine in the world," "a perfection of aroma and taste" and "the peak of Pinot Noir." And if you want one of those cases of the latest vintage, it'll cost you around AU$17,200 – IF there are any left.

Horses are still used in the vineyard to avoid tractors compacting the soil, fertiliser for the vines is a home-made compost of crushed vine roots, grape skins and residues from fermentation, and grape yields are kept low through severe early season pruning to remove substandard fruit and concentrate flavour in the remainder.

And on picking, every grape is hand examined for health and condition, meaning it can take the total fruit selected from up to three vines to make just one bottle of wine.

The 152,750 pounds for the case of 1988 was paid by a European wine investor at a just-held Fine and Rare Wines auction conducted by British auction firm Bonhams in London. If you'd like to see what other classic wines they have coming up in future auctions, go to www.bonhams.com

PHOTO CAPTIONS:



[] HAILED as the frequently best wine in the world, this dozen-bottle lot of French Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Pinot Noir, has just sold at auction in London for the equivalent of AU$262,680.

[] HORSES are still used in the vineyard to avoid tractors compacting the soil and damaging the vines' roots.

(Images: Bonhams Auctioneers)

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Blue Wren No. 216 Verscato - Mudgee

Blue Wren, situated amongst the vines and situated in one of New South Wales’ premium wine regions – Mudgee - has just released their first ever Verscato label – Blue Wren No. 216 Verscato.

Exhibiting all the characteristics of a Moscato; the new Verscato it is an innovative and fun wine with low alcohol, a yellow tinge, hint of sweetness and vibrant fizz - with the Verscato made from the Verdelho grape, rather than the Muscat Grape.

“The rationale for our Verscato came to us after participating at numerous wine shows and the never ending search from our loyal customers for a Moscato wine. Not actually producing Muscat grapes we previously could not meet the demand of the market yet continually deliberated about how we could meet the expectations of visitors to our vineyard,” says Blue Wren owner Kip Harris.

“With the on-going successful production of Blue Wren’s Verdelho White Port, it was agreed to attempt to create a Moscato-style wine also utilising our Verdelho grape,” said Harris.

The result is the Blue Wren No. 216 Verscato. It shows all the characteristics of a Moscato; with an abundant white peach and candied pineapple nose, tropical guava on the palate, coupled with notes of passion fruit and key lime flavours. It is light in colour and holds an-oh-so slight spritz. At 7.0% alcohol, it is the perfect pre-dinner aperitif or equally, makes for a pleasant light dessert wine.


Monday, 5 June 2017

Celebrate “Cabernet Season” in the Napa Valley November through April


Napa Valley's Cabernet Season features the following events:

Napa Valley Film Festival – November 8 – 12, 2017
Napa Truffle Festival – January 12 – 15, 2018
Napa Valley Restaurant Week – January 21 – 28, 2018
Napa Valley Marathon – Sunday, March 4, 2018
Arts in April – April 2018

Napa Valley Film Festival

The ultimate celebration of film, food and wine, the NVFF (Napa Valley Film Festival) lights up the picturesque towns of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga. NVFF features more than 100 new independent films and studio sneak previews screening in venues throughout Napa Valley. www.napavalleyfilmfestival.org and http://www.visitnapavalley.com/napa_valley_film_fest.htm

Napa Truffle Festival

The annual Napa Truffle Festival features an exciting lineup of special guests from the food and wine world, including truffle cultivation experts and internationally renowned chefs. www.napatrufflefestival.com

Napa Valley Restaurant Week

This program provides special restaurant offers for both visitors and locals with single priced $20 two-course lunches and two-price dinner options at $36 and $46 for a three-course meal. Participating restaurants are encouraged to donate corkage fees to the Napa Food Bank, or a charity of their choice. A total of eleven Michelin Stars shine on Napa Valley -- including The French Laundry and The Restaurant at Meadowood, each with three Michelin Stars; and five restaurants which have each been awarded one Michelin Star (Auberge du Soleil; Bouchon; La Toque; Solbar and Terra). http://www.visitnapavalley.com/restaurant_week.htm

Napa Valley Marathon

The Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon, named one of the “Top 10 Marathons Worth Traveling For” by Forbes Travel, is dedicated to fostering and promoting quality racing in an inspiring setting. www.napavalleymarathon.com

Arts in April

The Napa Valley showcases its wealth of art and artists from American Canyon to Calistoga for the annual Napa Valley Arts in April, featuring works that span artistic disciplines, genres and decades. Last year featured more than 70 special shows, openings and exhibits providing an artistic feast. www.napavalleycollection.com/artsinapril

St. Helena welcomes Cabernet Season with the “Little Book of Big Experiences,” which includes 25 quintessential St. Helena experiences, including wine and food pairings, guided tours, meals and lodging specials. The “Little Book of Big Experiences,” which is valued at more than $1,000, may be purchased on-site at participating venues or at the St. Helena Welcome Center, located at 657 Main St. in St. Helena, as well as online at experiencesthelena.com, which provides details of each offer. The cost of each book is $100 and offers are valid November 2017 – March 2018.

Website: experiencesthelena.com

Calistoga's annual Winter in the Wineries Passport offers a relaxed way to tour, taste, and meet winemakers at more than a dozen heralded wineries, both large and small, in and around Calistoga. Passport holders also receive discounts at several of Calistoga's finest restaurants, lodging properties and downtown shops.

Website: www.visitcalistoga.com

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

D’Arenberg 2014 releases: Shiraz, Grenache






D'Arenberg 2914 The Dead Arm Shiraz ($65)— This is my favourite of the three new vintages of the Icons. The lovely, rich berryfruit flavours have a delightfully earthy, old-vine edge to them. Think ripe berries, foot-crushed autumn leaves and stewing mushrooms. Then bring on the heartiest of winter beef stews.




D'Arenberg 2014 The Ironstone Pressings Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre ($65) — There's a reason why these three red varieties are planted together in places such as France's Rhone Valley and Australia's McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley. And that's because, in Mediterranean-style climates, they blend into soft, heavenly complexity.


WINE OF THE WEEK

D'Arenberg 2014 d'Arry's Original Shiraz Grenache ($18) — For mine, still far better value than any of the three wines in the Icon series. This red carries its familiar red diagonal slash of warning with pride and was first released in the 1960s. It's soft, it's full-flavoured, it's complex, it's beguiling … ok, it's just moreish.

- John Rozentals

Chester Osborn Winemaker - Loud and Proud

It would be easy to dismiss Chester Osborn as simply an extrovert — as someone who wears the loudest of shirts and has shown the flamboyance to match that of his famous father d'Arry and come out at least equal on the personality front.

And he's certainly done that, while at the same time presiding over the creation of one of Australia's broadest range of wine labels — and definitely the most lavishly named.

Think the Stephanie the Gnome with Rose-Tinted Glasses Shiraz Sangiovese or The Witches Berry Chardonnay or The Broken Fishplate Sauvignon Blanc, and you'll get my drift.

But in doing and being all that, Chester has also shown himself to be a highly skilled and sensitive winemaker.

In just over 30 years, he has taken a line-up of mostly average full-bodied dry reds and turned it into a portfolio of elegant wines — red, white and sparkling — that can stand tall among those anywhere in the world.

And, believe me, that's quite an achievement.

Chester has just released the 2014 vintages of his three Icon series wines — the Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon, the Dead Arm Shiraz and the Ironstone Pressings Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre.

Some people will quibble and their $65 price tags, and many won't be able to afford them, but who can afford a Roller or a top-of-the-line Merc? They're at prices that are quite normal for top quality in today's wine world.


29 May 17

Riversdale Estate 2016 Syrah - Tasmania

PROVING just how good is an
increasing range of wines out of Tasmania

ONE TO NOTE:  INCREASING  numbers of growers in Tasmania are reporting great results from trial plantings of Syrah, with buyers who've a passion for cool-climate wines realising just how good are the wines from these vines.

Amongst one of these successes is Riversdale Estate with its 2016 Syrah off vines planted almost a decade ago at Cambridge, in southern Tassie's renowned Coal River Valley. With fruit for the 2016 being intensely flavoured, together with bonus natural acidity and fine tannins, it's all made for a really rewarding drop

Spicy and savoury and with a touch of oak, the marvellous length of flavour will make for a great match with something a bit out of the ordinary like rare pan-seared venison with rosemary and dried cherries. Pay $36 at cellar door, online at info@riversdaleestate.com.au or by phone on 03 6248 5555; freight is extra.



20 Mar 17

Wynns 2014 Coonawarra Estate Shiraz

AN OUTSTANDING drop first
released under this label in 1952.

THE SQUIRE WOULD LOVE TO SEE IT NOW

David Ellis

IT'S little wonder that John Riddoch had been dubbed 'the Squire of Penola' by neighbours of his vast estate at Coonawarra back in the late nineteenth century -  the property covered an amazing 700 square kilometres, and from the early 1880s had been supporting as many as 160,000 sheep.

But in the early 1890s 'the Squire' decided it was time to down-size, and so carved it up into smaller blocks which he sold off  to new settlers, while also planting 52ha of vineyards for himself on part of what he had kept.

After his death in 1901 those 52ha somewhat languished, until Melbourne wine merchants Samuel and David Wynn became impressed with the richness and intensity of wines still coming off the old property. So impressed, in fact, that they bought the place in 1951, renaming it Wynns Coonawarra Estate.

Just a year later they released a 1952 Shiraz under the estate's name, and a now-released 2014 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz furthers the reputation of this premium Coonawarra Shiraz under the label.

Medium-bodied with lovely flavours of red and black fruits, forest floor brambles and a cool spiciness, this 2014 is fresh, lively and rich, and has a beautifully lingering finish. At $25 it's a particularly nice choice with barbecued lamb burgers.



20 March 2017

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