Reports from Grafton, Shanghai, UK, and back

Grape Expectations 19 November Max Crus (Simon Hughes)

At some point in the week these reviews and article will appear in The Daily Examiner (Grafton), Border Mail (Albury), Rotary Down Under (National) and Australian Petroleum Marketer News (National) 

The age of entitlement.

You may have noticed a new marketing ploy on your latest tax notice or council rates, they’ve begun itemising where your money goes.

Fantastic for statistics nuts and presumably designed to thwart placard carrying people from Adelaide who think our money is wasted on politicians‘ rorts.

Those rorts are cleverly disguised as financial governance while attention is diverted to other bits like ‘Welfare’ reminding us that the poor grab the lion’s share of we workers’ largesse.

Turns out that’s true…

Chapel Hill The Parson Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, $18. Used to be called the Parson’s Nose, so not sure if there was a legal action or what, but now it’s the whole parson and he seems a nice bloke. 8.7/10.

Chapel Hill The Vicar Shiraz 2014, $75. The vicar is worth so much more than a parson because he gives you much more in return for your donation to the plate. 9.3/10.

Schild Estate Alma Schild Reserve Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2014, $20. Pretty cheap for a wine dedicated to the matriarch of the Schild family, but she’s not around to argue her case. Good solid chardonnay probably like Alma. 8.6/10.

Schild Estate Ben Schild Reserve Single Vineyard Shiraz 2013, $40. $40 is more like it for a tribute, and hopefully the family doesn’t argue about blokes earning more than women. 8.9/10.

St Johns Road Block 8 Maywald Selection Resurrection Vineyard Barossa Valley Shiraz 2015, $38. They’re a pious lot up at St Johns Road, so have this after a Sunday Service or the second coming. 9/10.

St Johns Road Peace of Eden riesling, 2016, $22. After tart cat’s piddle NZ sav blanc this was heaven sent and heavenly scented. Praise be to the patron saint of riesling, John. 8.8/10.

The Mercury (Tasmania), 19 & 22 November, Graeme Phillips



Shanghai Daily, 17 November, staff reporting

My friends at Shanghai Daily are wonderful and talented people and they love giving me challenges. Take for example this week’s iDeal section with a featured topic of eggplant. How does one relate the eggplant to wines? Actually this isn’t the greatest challenge they’ve given me as eggplants are an exceedingly wine-friendly food and are genetically related to grapes. Technically the eggplant is a fruit, not a vegetable. Full article

The Australian, 19 November, Rebecca Puddy

Lean, leggy and with just a hint of struck-match aroma, Australia’s new wave of chardonnays are gaining the advantage over long-dominant sauvignon blanc.

After years of heavy-hitting, oaky Australian chardonnays being deeply out of vogue, the nation’s vintners have moved towards elegant styles that reflect their French counterparts in Burgundy.

Student Grace Whyatt, 23, is one of the converts. “When I started drinking it was all about sauvignon blanc but now my friends and I only drink chardonnay,” she said. “Chardonnay is softer and dryer — I find sauvignon blanc too acidic. “Chardonnay has always been the old-lady drink to me but I feel it’s really taking off with younger people now.” Full article 

Drinks business, 18 November, Lucy Shaw

Speaking to the drinks business during a trip to London this week, Chris Hancock MW of Robert Oatley Vineyards in New South Wales, said:

“We have just about lost all of the jammy, alcoholic, heavy, dead skin Shirazes that are Parker pleasing palate killers, which is an hallelujah moment. Instead, we’re moving towards lighter, brighter more interesting wines from quality producers.

“In Australia there used to be monster wines at one end of the spectrum and sweet, chunky wines at the other. There’s a space in between that we can fill where we can be shown to be very serious about what we do.

“Shiraz is our go to wine, it’s our homeland and deserves to be focused on more. Even in the Barossa Valley, which made its name on big wines, is pulling back on oak and alcohol and making more elegant and interesting wines as a result. Full article

Drinks Business, 18 November, Lucy Jenkins

Speaking to dbHK at last week’s Wine and Spirits Fair, Geber said: “Cabernet Franc is like perfume on a woman. It brings out the best qualities of the wine, it’s lovely on the nose and releases these gentle aromas – if used subtly.”

The proprietor of iconic Barossa property, Chateau Tanunda also said that the “Barossa is like Australia’s Napa” but at much better value.

“We have some of the oldest vines in the world, and we use our own roots, never rootstocks. Where else can you have 50 year old vine Cabernet Sauvignon or 150 year old vine Semillon? While I’m not knocking any of the Napa estates, their wines are three to four times higher in price.” Full article

InDaily, 22 November, Philip White

Back to the future with SC Pannell

Whitey revels in the wines and bright endeavour of thrice-crowned Bushing King Stephen Pannell.

Since Stephen Pannell graduated from Roseworthy in 1989, he has made wine at Seppelt, Andrew Garrett, Wirra Wirra, and Knappstein. He usually heads north between Australian vintages. He’s made wine at numerous great houses in Bordeaux and Burgundy. He loves working in Barolo in Italy and has done three vintages in Spain.

Pannell worked at Hardy’s Tintara from 1995 to 2003, becoming Hardy’s chief red wine maker before leaving to begin the S.C. Pannell line with his wife and partner, the former prosecuting lawyer Fiona Lindquist. Full Article

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