Saturday, 18 July 2009

When is a Burgundy not a Burgundy?

A recent Wine & Spirit Association survey has found that most UK wine consumers think that, whilst the country of origin is probably of consequence, region is unimportant. It is intriguing in this context to see that the Burgundians are locked in dispute with their Beaujolais colleagues further South, who are planting Chardonnay apace. Beaujolais has always been counted as part of Burgundy even though their red grape is Gamay rather than Pinot Noir. But a mature Beaujolais Cru such as Moulin à Vent is often indistinguishable from mature Pinot Noir from further North. Yet it is the Chardonnay - the same white grape that is grown throughout Burgundy that is really causing the problem. The Burgundy winemakers' association considers that the Beaujolais producers should be calling all this production Beaujolais Blanc, whereas in fact it has the right to be called Bourgogne Blanc. They consider it is not Burgundy.. Surely their time would be better spent on ensuring the quality was indistinguishable from the posher stuff further North. But on second thoughts this is probably what is worrying them...

Times Still Hard

The enormous wine group 'Constellation' has announced that, having failed to sell it, it is to close one of Australia's oldest wineries, Leasingham in the Clare Valley. Meanwhile the French think production will be down 600,000 hectolitres in the Languedoc Roussillon and Bordeaux sales are declining in both value and volume. South America seems to be surviving better though in Chile some US buyers are rumoured to be looking over one or two wineries that have fallen on hard times, but at least Argentinean wines are up all round!

The Real Thing

Apparently a consignment of Bodegas Kohlberg wine from Bolivia has been found to offer rather more than was expected. The Bulgarian authorities have discovered that over 90% of all bottles contained just liquid cocaine. We did no know too much about Bolivian Wine either but it is apparently much appreciated in the Czech Republic. No wonder..

Friday, 10 July 2009

Contemporary Beverage Closure Anyone?

This is the new Zork (that's not a Cork -geddit?) that in similar form already closes cheap still wine in America and Australia but is much hyped as the next big thing - sorry the next 'contemporary beverage closure' for sparkling wine. It is basically a plastic stopper which 'unzips' to become free and which has a button on the top that you can reseal your bottle of fizz - very similar to newer Champagne 'savers'. The advantage is that this stopper does it all in one. It hails from Australia and they have high hopes of setting up European production 'within months'. It has, I think they say, the spin of the screwcap with the pop of the cork. That's certainly some spin - and whilst Champagne is unlikely to take the plunge (as it were) Prosecco and Sekt well might.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

American Taste

It is interesting to see that the USA's best selling Sauvignon Blanc is no longer Californian but the Constellation owned 'Nobilo'. Designed by the Marketing Department at Constellation especially for US tastes it is sealed a cork. That is what Americans prefer. Is this the only NZ white wine to be still using corks?? Apparently it also comes in a white glass bottle because the US doesn't like green.(And we thought that was just George Bush - remember him?) The ruder amoung us would say that 'Nobilo' also has to be the blandest NZ Sauvignon Blanc that was ever produced. Still we are all different. But it is a surprise to learn just how different!