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Day 44 of Clare Valley Vintage - Oenological Balance

Published:  23 July, 2008

G'day Folks. I'm constantly amazed by the wine industry - there's always something new on the agenda and when I recently read about the concept of oenological racism', I almost spilt my glass of vino.

Shocking stuff on both counts really. In the context of terroir from one country to another, it seems that our political correctness must now extend to dirt.

Now as you know I'm a big believer in the nuances of terroir and am excited about the vinous discoveries when tasting regionally distinct wines across the globe. So it got me thinking - have I fallen victim to such a horrible persecution? Or worse still - have I been guilty? With my obsession for Watervale Riesling, I suppose one could argue that I'm on the quest for white supremacy but it doesn't mean that I'm not happy to consider new things.

Throughout this vintage I've noted many differences about our soils, micro climates and farming practices and so I'm confident that when it comes to the wines from the Clare Valley, I've celebrated the whole melting pot. So when I think about my global tasting journey I just wonder if I've been as happy to celebrate the differences when outside my own turf.

Working vintage in Tuscany I made Chardonnay and Sangiovese which was a life changing experience. I definitely sat amongst the vines there and talked terroir. I've had fun with Gamay in Beaujolais which taught me some great winemaking lessons too. There was the time when I was backpacking around Europe and I walked rows with the pruners in Burgundy. I liked that dirt for sure. I've leaf plucked Merlot in California and I was so excited about the rocks in Bordeaux I acquired some from Cos. They still sit on my windowsill.

Some of the great memories have not necessarily been directly dirt related either. I've drank far too much Champagne in Paris, marveled at the blackest of black Zinfandel in Sonoma, savoured tapas and sherry in Barcelona and tasted Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with my friends in New Zealand (Hi Anna).

There's no doubt in my mind - thankfully I've not experienced oenological racism. Whilst I obviously have a healthy bias, there's still been plenty of celebration of the global wine world. The different shapes and sizes, colours and pedigree and of course the different origins all make the memories even more special.

I think Noah got it right. When it comes to making absolutely sure - I'd best take two of everything please.

Kerri Thompson is winemaker/director of KT & The Falcon