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News posted on Thursday, 5 January 2017

Adelaide Hills ‘makes a Pollock painting look simple’
The diversity of different terroirs in the Australian region of the Adelaide Hills “makes a Jackson Pollock painting look simple”, according to one local producer. Adelaide Hills’ vineyards are like a patchwork quilt. Speaking to the drinks business during a recent trip to Australia, Tom Keelan, of The Pawn Wine Company, said, “If you look at a soil map of the Adelaide Hills it makes a Jackson Pollock painting look simple. We’re fine tuning our soil mapping at the moment and are starting to find our feet. Pinot used to be made like Shiraz in the Adelaide Hills – it was picked very late. There’s a new regime now and it has got stronger as a category." “Winemakers are going back to using traditional techniques, are picking a lot earlier and are using whole bunch fermentation. “There are massive changes going on in the style of Pinot being made from here, which is helping to express the terroir more. We’re not making Coca-Cola – vintage variation is part of expressing our wines.”

Resolve to rediscover Aus winemakers
Once the leader of the New World wine revolution, Down Under has fallen off the radar of many aficionados as the juice of once-upon-a-time up-starts like Chile, California and, yes, even Canada has become cooler to drink. Arguably the Aussies have been their own worst enemy, with many winemakers chasing the same flavour profile and the industry as a whole struggling to tell their story to consumers whose basic knowledge of the country is still gleaned from Crocodile Dundee. While I could go on about the uniqueness of its growing regions and its innovative use of familiar grape varieties, for me the defining description of Australian wines is that they offer uncompromising value no matter how much they cost.

Shiraz not run of the mill
The passage into a new year is bringing a rash of retrospection on the best- and worst-of during 2016. I have no qualms about declaring the wine bargain of the year as the $20-a-bottle Windowrie 2015 The Mill Shiraz. This is the red that last month won the NSW Wine Awards’ Wine of the Year title, as well as the trophies for the best young shiraz and the best red wine. It was made by Anthony D’Onise from grapes grown on the O’Dea family’s Canowindra vineyards, 30 kilometre north of Cowra. Anthony began his wine career in 2003 after gaining a University of Adelaide winemaking degree and joined Windowrie in 2010 after working at Charles Sturt University Wines in Wagga.

Trinchero Family Estates launches Hopes End wine in US
Trinchero Family Estates has launched a wine brand aimed at Millennial consumers in the US market. Hopes End is made by Angove Family Winemakers in South Australia. The first expression is Hopes End Red Blend 2015 - a blend of Shiraz, Grenache, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The wine is aimed at 25-35 year olds, the company said. According to Trinchero the wine "taps into a psyche intrigued by the dark and mysterious". The grapes for the blend are sourced from McLaren Vale, Barossa and Murray Valley. Citing Nielsen figures, Trinchero said red blends are the third largest category in the US.

Wines from New Zealand named the biggest winners of 2016
Brits’ love of New World wine accelerated in 2016, with New Zealand and Argentina showing the biggest sales growth in the 12 months to November 2016. New Zealand, led by Sauvignon Blanc, racked up £546m worth of sales in UK shops, bars and restaurants (WSTA figures) – an increase of 14% on 2015. Australian wine is still top when it comes to wine sold in UK supermarkets, shops and off licences, but the growth of New Zealand and Argentinian wine is the most impressive overall. Despite being on average more expensive per bottle than any other top ten country in UK stores, sales of New Zealand wine continues to grow.

Big Bang Theory's Kaley Cuoco is tasting her way around Nelson
Nelson has been hit with a big bang after Kaley Cuoco and her boyfriend Karl Cook were spotted tasting fine wine and dining out for breakfast. The Big Bang Theory actor visited The Cellar Door restaurant in Richmond around 11am on Friday for breakfast. Seventeen-year-old Richmond resident Sam McKenzie said he was having breakfast in the restaurant when Cuoco and Cook walked in. "We assumed it was someone else just having breakfast and then I looked over and thought, 'is that who I think it is?'," he said. Cuoco also visited Nelson's Brightwater Vineyards tasting room on Thursday morning with Cook and his family of about seven people.

As 2017 Begins, Brexit's Impact on Wine Remains Cloudy
The United Kingdom, one of the world's largest wine markets, faces an uncertain future as it leaves the European Union and negotiates new trade deals. It was one of 2016's biggest news stories: the United Kingdom's vote for Brexit. And as 2017 begins, the government has just started the complex process of leaving the European Union. For wine, some effects of last June's referendum are being seen, but the long-term consequences are still hazy. "We have indeed felt a bit of a reduction in the shipments to the U.K. since the Brexit referendum," said Joao Machete Pereira, export director of Marqués de Murrieta in Rioja. In the immediate aftermath of the decision, "several players froze and decided to put on hold their scheduled shipments." Then, he says, shipments again slowed as the pound began losing value.

Battle of the bulk: The world’s biggest exporters
n 2015, global bulk wine exports reached a record 36.3 million hectolitres – a 3% increase on 2014 – but dropped in value by 13.7% to US$3.1 billion, according to Italy’s Il Corriere Vinicola. While high volumes kept prices relatively low for buyers in 2015, 2016 has, to some extent, seen the pendulum swing in the opposite direction, with a smaller harvest and less supply driving prices up. In Europe, severe hailstorms in France hit the bulk wine region of the Languedoc, while drought across much of Europe has driven down yields, with France recently reporting on its smallest harvest in 30 years. In the southern hemisphere, 2016 harvests in Chile and Argentina dropped by 30% and 25% respectively, due largely to the effects of El Nino. Here, the rising price of bulk wine has left international buyers grappling with fluctuations in price and limited supply.

Uncorked: Emma Gao of Silver Heights
Emma Gao, the formidable winemaker behind China’s leading boutique winery Silver Heights in northern China, is one of the forefront vintners revolutionising consumers’ attitude towards Chinese wines. A certified oenologist trained in Bordeaux, Gao studied oenology at Bordeaux University and later honed her winemaking skills at Château Calon-Ségur, where she met her husband Thierry Courtade, winemaker at the estate. Her first vintage, 2007, was greeted with applause from domestic and international wine experts. Her 100% Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Emma’s Reserve’ and a Bordeaux blend ‘The Summit’ are among the most prized China produced reds.

Berlin’s Secret Cold War-Era Vineyard
Mention the word “vineyard” and most people will think of rolling green hillsides or sweeping valley views. Yet few of them would expect to find one right in the heart of one of Berlin’s hippest districts, Kreuzberg. A true relic from the Cold War era, this tiny urban vineyard is one of the German capital’s best kept secrets. The vineyard covers a tenth of a hectare and it produces about 350 bottles of wine yearly, called Kreuz-Neroberger. Grapes for the rare wine are grown at the very birthplace of the first programmable computer in the world, which only adds to its mystique. It is notoriously hard to obtain. Over the last couple of years the secret vineyard has been overseen by Daniel Mayer, a jolly 44-year master oenologist and winemaker.

The rise of gender-specific wine
Gender-based marketing is the latest buzz word in the wine world, with big players such as Constellation, Accolade and Treasury Wine Estates creating brands designed to appeal to specific sexes. Meanwhile, in Australia, Accolade Wines claims 74% of wine drinkers between 25 and 34 years old are women. So it's released a pink sauvignon blanc called Ta_Ku. Treasury Wine Estate is testing the waters too, releasing the red wine label The Stag targeting men; and Truvee for women.

Scientists disprove ‘fruit/root day’ differences
A team of scientists in New Zealand has published a report they say disproves there is any difference in ‘Fruit’ and ‘Root’ days in the biodynamic tasting calendar. In a paper entitled: “Expectation or sensorial reality? An Empirical Investigation of the Biodynamic Calendar for Wine Drinkers”, the authors (Wendy Parr, Dominique Valentin, Phil Reedman, Claire Grose and James Green) asked 19 wine professionals in New Zealand – including a number of oenologists who work in organic and biodynamic ways – to try 12 different Pinot Noirs (from various regions) on both ‘fruit’ and ‘root’ days as determined by the biodynamic calendar.

Tasmania exporting cool-climate wine to China
In the early 1990s Wang Shan came to visit Tasmania from Beijing. She was so taken with what she saw that she bought land north of Richmond to plant a vineyard so she could take something of what she loved about Tasmania back home to China. For her it was wine grown in a beautiful clean natural environment. Her vision was a vineyard selling Tasmanian wine into the lucrative Chinese gift market. General manager at Nocton Park, Anthony Woollams said it was hard to imagine two more different environments. "Tasmania has almost everything that Beijing doesn't — fantastic air, clean water, a product with great provenance … and all the things that Beijing really didn't have," he said.

$300 Chinese wine arrives in America
If you pay even casual attention to the wine world you’ll be aware that China has recently emerged as a major player – it's estimated consumption has been rising 15% annually – but most people, bemused by headlines of the fantastic auction prices big-name Bordeaux has fetched in Hong Kong, and amused by the often ludicrous attempts of counterfeiters to pass off Chateau Lafight and Chateau Lafete as the real thing, focus on China as a market for other country’s wines.

Clos Rougeard sold to billionaire
“Winery X, in family for generations, sold to billionaire” is a headline that would normally barely raise an eyebrow. But the winery in today’s news is Clos Rougeard from the Loire. Located in Saumur, Clos Rougeard is the Bentley of the Loire. The wines, almost all red, are expensive, rare and of exceptional quality–the kind of wines that can turn haters of Cabernet Franc into ambassadors.

Carriageworks' huge Chinese New Year market
Following their massive 160-stall deep Christmas markets the good folk at Carriageworks have announced that they will be hosting a Chinese New Year market curated by Kylie Kwong in partnership with Sydney Festival. And the renowned chef has gone all out for her part in the market, bringing in over 50 stallholders from Neil Perry’s Eleven Bridge and the sorely missed Moon Park to the fresh Good Luck Pinbone and Mike McEnearney’s No. 1 Bent Street.

The helicopter in the vineyard
Spring 2016 was the season for getting bogged in the vineyard. In some regions the access issues overlapped the important early-season spray application window. But help was available in the form of a helicopter. Nathan Gogoll reports.

Taylor’s releases 1967 single harvest
Port house Taylor’s has released the fourth wine in its series of 50 year-old limited edition tawny Ports – the 1967. Taylors-1967-single-harvest-port-closed-wood-box-whMade in the same year that The Beatles released Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Port is described as having aromas of “honeysuckle” and “marzipan” and “apricot and guava” on the palate. Taylor’s managing director, Adrian Bridge, said: “Since we launched the first 50 year-old Single Harvest with the 1964 vintage four years ago, we’ve enjoyed strong consumer demand. “Port is one of the few wines which can withstand the passage of time and still deliver complexity and youthful freshness half a century later.


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WID 2017