Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Negociants UK Winemaker Tour blog

Published:  27 September, 2012

Aussie Louisa Rose, head of winemaking at Yalumba and Hill-Smith Family Vineyard, has been busy sharing her winemaking philosophy with the UK trade in The Negociants Winemaker Tour. She takes some time out to muse on what makes a great wine.

"In the nearly 20 years that I have been coming to the UK some things have stayed the same and some things haven't. To start with the easy bit - what's the same? Well I am of course, well apart from the eye sight which isn't 20/20 anymore and therefore can't see the odd grey hair, and the philosophy and why behind the wines we make hasn't changed either.

The seminar I gave during the tour highlighted this point well. In order of decreasing importance and influence in the glass let me try to sum up very briefly what I think makes a great wine great. Firstly it's about thought and philosophy - their reason for being if you like. Then it's about provenance or place (special places) - the region, the vineyard, the variety, the soil, the aspect and climate (terroir if you like).

Well after these two facets comes the how - the winemaking, the technical stuff, the conversion of the grape sugar into alcohol and the associated flavour and textural changes that are associated with this. I don't want to down play this part of the process too much as that's what I and my fellow antipodean travellers of the week do, but if the first two points line-up, the winemaking is only the icing on the cake.

Next time you are lucky enough to listen to a winemaker talking about a great wine - particularly if it's one with some history, listen to what they are saying and where their priorities are. I'm sure it will be about the why and the place, not so much about the how.

So what has changed then - OMG so much! The economy; the strength of the Australian dollar; the origins of, the number and quality of the competition; and the way that information flows. Social media means that there is a stage for many more wine commentators and writers. You can find out so much, quickly and effortlessly, and everyone shares what they have discovered with everyone else. It's mad but it's great, and in some ways the wine community is closer than ever.

The great wines of the world are timeless - despite all that changes around them, they remain as benchmarks that survive the generations."