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Pure thoughts

Published:  18 January, 2007

At my annual stint at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) I found myself partnered by three young Australian winemakers.

They kept up a highly technical dialogue of what levers had been pulled during the winemaking process, and what they would have done instead to correct each fault. At one point they even added a copper coin to one of the wines to demonstrate how easy it was to remove a taint.

I was most impressed, if a little bemused, by some of the Strine, such as the reference to a winemaker as a lipstick lesbian', which I gather is a follower of fashion for its own sake. At the end of an entertaining and very informative day, I felt that with this new generation of technologists the trade is in good hands.

It was only in the train going back to Salisbury, as I began to think of the work to be done in my organic allotments and realised how as gardeners we have moved away from the use of chemicals and reduced intervention to the minimum, that the contrast struck me. Although there is something here of the New World-Old World tension and, possibly, of the younger generation versus the older, my trade upbringing (Wine Society, IDV, Mayor Sworder) has led me to chose wines, for my own consumption, that are grown and made by the same person and preferably unfined and unfiltered.

Perhaps, in this brand-dominated age, the trade should develop a logo to be awarded to such minimum-treatment wines designating them as the purest expression of the winemaker's art', as opposed to his mastery of science'?

Mark Brandon

Wine Educator

via e-mail