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Treasury pulls support from Wine Australia

Published:  31 January, 2011

Treasury Wine Estates has withdrawn its support from Wine Australia in the UK ? saying the body does not do enough to "promote and represent our total portfolio of brands".

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Geoffrey Dean Ashes and wine blog: soaring temperatures add to Victorian winemakers' troubles

Published:  31 December, 2010

Despite the wettest December in Victoria since records began - and that after a similarly damp November - there were widespread fire bans across the state on a roasting New Year's Eve when temperatures hit 42C in Melbourne.

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Geoffrey Dean: Ashes and wine blog reports on impact of rain to 2011 vintage

Published:  10 December, 2010


This has been a good week to be an Englishman in Australia following England's crushing victory in the second Test.

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Geoffrey Dean: our man Down Under's Ashes and wine blog, Adelaide

Published:  06 December, 2010

The Adelaide Test has always been my favourite in an Ashes series Down Under. It's not just because the Oval is the most attractive in the country - with its cathedral, scores of trees and stylish stands including a brand new Western Grandstand that cost £50m - but because the whole occasion is the most social of the Australian cricketing calendar.

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Geoffrey Dean: our man Down Under's Ashes and wine blog, Adelaide

Published:  06 December, 2010

The Adelaide Test has always been my favourite in an Ashes series Down Under. It's not just because the Oval is the most attractive in the country - with its cathedral, scores of trees and stylish stands including a brand new Western Grandstand that cost £50m - but because the whole occasion is the most social of the Australian cricketing calendar.

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#winedealfriday gathers momentum

Published:  26 November, 2010
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More bid speculation for Foster's wine interests

Published:  21 September, 2010

Rumours are circulating about another bid for Treasury Wine Estates, the wine division of Foster's.

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Andrew Catchpole's final Regional Heroes blog from Australia

Published:  23 August, 2010

From the Hills to Clare Valley, where a cracking turn out of winemakers reinforces one of the best masterclass tastings of the trip, fronted by the region's lime-slaked, bone dry signature style of Riesling.

 

Dave and Diane Palmer of Skillogallee, Jeffrey Grosset of Grosset and Stephanie Toole of Mount Horrocks were just a few of the dozen leading Clare winemakers who joined us for a tasting lunch following a serious crack at Clare sub-regionality under the guidance of Kilikanoon's Kevin Mitchell.

 

Flights of the superb 02 and '09 Riesling were shown blind, followed by a bracket of iconic Clare Shiraz (think Jim Barry's 'The Armagh' and Tim Adams 'Aberfeldy'), before launching into a lunch which then opened the field on Clare's myriad styles, including plush Cabernet-driven wines epitomised by Grosset's seamless Gaia and Mount Horrrock's seductive Semillon.

 

It was the Rieslings, though, that really pinpointed the character of Clare, as we traced a progression from warmer, fleshier Auburn in the lower Valley via the well-structured complexities of Watervale and Sevenhill to the tightly knit, mineral charged wines of Polish Hill. '02's, especially from sub-regions showing more minerally, tighter character in youth, also impressed upon our group how well Clare Riesling can age.

 

After such a whirlwind tour of cool and cooler climate regions it was intriguing to contemplate how Barossa, king of the blockbuster Shiraz, would show after such a run of aromatic Rieslings, fresh and restrained Chardonnays, vibrant Pinot Noirs, cooler region savoury Shiraz/Syrahs a host of other up-and-coming varieties including Rhone whites, Italians (Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Nero d'Avola, Fiano and Arneis, among others), plus the odd dollop of good-looking Tempranillo.

 

It was pretty simple and quite a coup. The Barossa boys and girls pulled out their Old Vine Charter and soaked our palates with flights of Old Vine (35+ years of age), Barossa Survivor Vine (70+), Barossa Centenarian Vine (100+) and Barossa Ancester Vine (125+). These old vines are - no cliché here - a national treasure and given the extraordinary combination of balance, harmony and concentration that overwhelmingly informed this superb flight of 12 Barossa classics, it seems churlish to single out any single wines. However, an '07 Cirillo Estate Vineyard Grenache, from 1850 plantings, and a 164 year old '05 Schild Estate Moorooroo Shiraz deserve special mention.

 

The final stages of this Regional Heroes trip played out in the Barossa and its more elevated sister region Eden with visits to a trio of wineries, all very different and all thoroughly enjoyable, not least for their more intimate tours and tastings after so many masterclasses in so many and such contrasting regions. It was a good reminder of something that Australia does well - namely approachable and down to earth winemakers. Stephen Henschke of Henschke, Louisa Rose at Yalumba and Christie Schulz at Turkey Flat all proved generous with both their time and their wines, including some exciting barrel and tank work where we again looked at some very promising 2010 wines in the making.

 

After 300+ wines, nine regions, a wealth of masterclasses, innumerable visits, the chance to look at a wealth of 'new wave' varieties and style coming on line, along with the emerging and established classic Australian styles, and what could generally be described as a pretty full-on immersion in the current wine scene Down Under, the Regional Heroes delegates - Rachael, Robert and Matt - agreed that they had only scratched the surface in terms what Australia offers. But the depth and diversity of that offer was clearly apparent. All in all a great trip and some superb wines.

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Connoisseur Estates takes on Adelaide Hills producer

Published:  22 July, 2010

Connoisseur Estates has been appointed as the UK agent for Sidewood Estate from the cool climate Adelaide Hills region of South Australia.

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Gallo 'the most powerful wine brand in the world'

Published:  21 May, 2010

Gallo Family Vineyards, the American winemaker, has been awarded the title of the most powerful wine brand in the world - for a fifth consecutive year.

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New Taste

Published:  10 February, 2010

The first commercially available blend of Malbec and Torrontés and a sweet Kiwi Riesling are among the new releases reviewed by Claire Hu.

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Mumbai wine conference plagued by Indian customs issues

Published:  29 January, 2010


Up to 90 Spanish wines were removed by Indian customs on the second day of the three-day Taste food and wine conference held in Mumbai.

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Dragons Den star launches online wine retail site

Published:  20 November, 2009


Dragons Den entrepreneur, Peter Jones, is looking to attract one million people to his new online wine club and retail site, www.gondola.co.uk in its first year.

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Oddbins Winter Tasting

Published:  18 November, 2009

Carol Emmas gives her verdict on the Oddbins winter tasting.

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Fine wine company moves into Hong Kong

Published:  20 October, 2009

Online fine wine merchant and shipper Cellar Link is expanding into the Far East with the launch of a branch in Hong Kong.

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Fine wine company moves into Hong Kong

Published:  20 October, 2009

Online fine wine merchant and shipper Cellar Link is expanding into the Far East with the launch of a branch in Hong Kong.

 

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Fine wine company moves into Hong Kong

Published:  20 October, 2009

Online fine wine merchant and shipper Cellar Link is expanding into the Far East with the launch of a branch in Hong Kong.

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IWC winners announced

Published:  03 September, 2009

Marks & Spencer, Majestic Wine, Berry Bros & Rudd and Seckford Agenices were among some of the big winners at the International Wine Challenge awards held at London's Grosvenor House on Wednesday, September 2.

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Innovation in wine closures

Published:  11 August, 2009

A flurry of activity, mostly generated by customer demand for innovation, has seen several new closures on the market, both for premium and high volume wines. TCA has given way to OTR, new stoppers have been brought out for sparking wines, and marketeers are getting back on the act as closure choice becomes a way to differentiate brands.

 

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Wines in the Press, July 11-12

Published:  14 July, 2009

With everyone gearing up for their summer holidays the national critics this week turn their attention to what to drink over the hopefully hot summer months, plus tips on laying wine down for ageing, the merits of Australian wine and the peculiarities of vodka 


The Guardian
A lover of cava Victoria Moore is not. And, having read a Tom Stevenson
article, she thinks she understands why: "It seems blindingly obvious now.
The richness produced by autolysis makes those cava grapes look vacuous and
flat." On the other hand, the prosecco enthusiast says the bubbles produced
by the tank method "lets the fresh, lightness of the grape shine through",
as with various other cheap fizzy wines.

 

"Take, for example, the insanely cheap, pink, sparkling low-alcohol wine
Lambrusco Rosato NV (£1.92, Asda; 4% abv)," says Moore, which she describes
as the definition of low-brow, "but at that price I could make myself quite
happy on it."

 

At the other end of the spectrum is Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru
Champagne 2002 (£29.99 from Waitrose: 12% abv), with a creamy mouthfeel
Moores loves. "From a wonderful vintage, it's complicated and collected, and
just right," she says.

The Observer
"Keeping a wine is always a risk - leave it too long and it'll turn into a
shagged-out disappointment - but when you drink something with the right
amount of bottle age, it can be truly delicious," declares Tim Atkin, who
marvels at the statistic that nine out of 10 wines are drunk within 48 hours
of purchase - or rather at how the statistics are produced. No doubt by
people in white coats primed with clipboards at bottle banks, he thinks.

 

Since owning his own cellar, Atkin has become a man converted from his days
as a member of the DIY (Drink it Young) club. He recommends avoiding whites
(fizz, Riesling, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay excepted) and lighter reds for
ageing in favour of wines with flavour and depth of character.

 

He suggests putting three bottles of "the dense, chocolatey" 2007 De Martino
347 Vineyards Carmenère Reserva (£7.49, or £5.99 each for two at Majestic)
in your cellar, or cupboard, and trying one within 48 hours, one in two
year's time and one in five for comparison.

The Sunday Times
Arriving home from a holiday a couple of years ago, Bob Tyrer smelt what
seemed like the back end of a party. Closer inspection revealed broken
bottles in his cellar. Stricken, Tyrer salvaged what he could by soaking up
the liquid, straining it into a glass and drinking it.

 

It was a Pavlovian response, he explains - a response derived from his days
as a Ten Quid Pom in 1960s Australia. A time before Australia had discovered
Chardonnay, Tyrer recalls halcyon days when the country's exports consisted
largely of fortified wine and sultanas and they kept still wine from pioneer
vineyards for themselves.

 

On one particularly flush day, the young reporter ordered the most expensive
wine on a restaurant list to be amazed. "Blackberries, blackcurrants, mint -
they're almost commonplace in decent wine now," he says, "but I'd never
tasted anything like it. So my reaction when the same fragrance and fruit
wafted from my cellar floor decades later was Pavlovian."

 

Not necessarily enamoured by supermarket offerings from Australia these
days, Tryer says there are still bargains that show Australia at its best -
even if drunk off the floor. He recommends trying Penfolds' Koonunga Hill
Shiraz Cabernet 2007 (£7.99) and Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Barossa
Shiraz 2006 (£7.99).

The Times
Jane MacQuitty presents the first instalment of her Top 100 Summer Wines,
with the best buys on the high street for under £8. A slave to the Great
British public's palate, she reveals the perfect wines for all occasions.

 

She tackles difficult issues like when to drink good wine as opposed to
great wine, the best wine for drinking in "the great blustery outdoors,
which dilutes bouquet and removes flavour", as well as the "knotty business
of matching the right wine to the right palate."

 

Job done, first on her list of saviours is Majestic's 2008 Domaine de la
Tourmaline, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie, Gadais Père et Fils (£6.49 or
buy two for £5.99 each). "Summer white to enjoy with rich seafood and oily
fish," she says.

The Financial Times
Jancis Robinson MW spends time with Swiss entrepreneur Faure Beaulieu who has
tempted a handful of prized sommeliers to join his new company Sarment.

 

Members pay a heady £50,000 to join plus an annual fee of £12,000 "to have
their every vinous wish satisfied", says Robinson. Their personal sommelier
tends to their wine collection, takes care of the nuts and bolts of delivery
and storage, becomes a constant, trusted wine companion who provide stories
and information, reports Robinson.

 

"Selfishly," confesses Robinson, she would prefer Beaulieu's
"entrepreneurial skills harnessed to come up with ways to improve standards
in the wine business as a whole, rather than frittered away on 75
particularly well-heeled wine neophytes in emerging markets."

 

There may be no need to fret - membership might be limited to 75 clients,
with a maximum of 15 per sommelier, but the new business has yet to sign a
client.

 

The Telegraph

Jonathan Ray continues to be baffled by vodka, despite a day tasting with

experts Ian Wisniewski and Tom Innes. But it seems they're all perplexed in
the end, with Glen's winning their blind tasting test. "A supermarket
cheapy, distilled in Scotland from sugar beet," says Ray.

 

"I don't believe it!" exclaims Wisniewski. "Nor me," says Innes. "I've
always struggled to see value at the top end of the vodka range, which this
result vindicates. But I'm astonished."

 

So, Ray is left unconvinced, seeing vodka as "an efficient alcohol delivery
system, sold on the back of crafty marketing". Wisniewski, of course,
disagrees: "You can certainly get pleasure from neat vodka, but you have to
adjust your expectations. Compared to aged spirits such as cognacs or malts,
the details are much smaller."

 

The top three vodkas in their tasting are Glen's (£8.69), Russian Standard
(£13.29) and Absolut (£14.99). Bottom of the pile in ninth and tenth places
are Grey Goose (£30.79) and Smirnoff Black (£15.99).

 

 

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