Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Happy Birthday Pinot Grigio..Happy birthday to you!

Keep it quiet, but Pinot Grigio has become middle aged.... It is now 50! First produced in the style we now know by the Santa Margherita winery in 1961, when, as their usual style lacked market success, they decided they would create a very lean and fresh wine by picking grapes early and having next to no skin contact during the fermentation. This also meant that the wine was straightforwardly fresh - even perhaps 'citrussy'- and also clear and limpid without the slightly coppery hue that it was wont to take on when fermented with the skins (as can sometimes be noticeable in Alsace Pinot Gris, for example). So they invented the lean and mean, undemanding drinking style that has been so very widely copied. Whereas the fuller style they changed from, which is predominant now only in Alsace, remains much less appreciated. Indeed so successful have the first fifty years been for the style that we bet there are many that do not even know that Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are exactly the same grape type!
June 11

Monday, 20 June 2011

A very good trip

Word reaches us from our supermarket spies that one of their customers received £10,500 this month - for slipping on a grape. But the Ambulance chasing lawyers seemed to do even better, pocketing £18.500. Only goes to show how dangerous these grapes are - much better to keep them safe by fermenting them.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Ripe for Change

The American Association of Wine Economists (no less) has analysed climate data from1992-2009 and decided that the rise in the alcoholic strength of wine is primarily man-made. Climate warming might have lead to an increase of 0.9% but the actual average increase is 1.12%. At WineDrop Towers we never doubted that the rise was man-made. Even the French are paying much more attention to ripeness of grapes and now tend to harvest as late as possible. Fuller, riper wines are more crowd pleasing and
because of the riper fruit often have more alcohol. In particular Robert Parker,
whose palate is much reputed in America, likes big and forward fruit. Such has
been his influence that the French even have an expression for being mentioned
in his publications - être 'parkerisé'! The problem is the rest of us have been
well and truly parkerisé too and French wine is not like it used to be...

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Raise the bottle - then sink your ship, or is it the other way round?

We understand that a record price was paid for a 200 year old bottle of Veuve Clicquot that was found in a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea of Finland's Åland archipelago during the summer of 2010. The buyer was from Singapore and spent 30,000 euros on his purchase. Indeed it seems that such was the auction's success that the islands are said to be thinking of holding a similar auction on an annual basis. Quite how this would work is not entirely clear but would seem to involve sinking a ship first. Still, forewarned is forearmed, so anyone finding themselves cruising in the Baltic would do well to ensure the Captain gives a wide birth to the Åland islands - particularly if there is Champagne on board.