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Wines in the press - August 28 - 30

Published:  01 September, 2009


Victoria Moore asks Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio? A question that has caused a stir among wine writers and wine makers, she says.


Victoria Moore asks Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio? A question that has caused a stir among wine writers and wine makers, she says.

She explains the convention is that Pinot Gris is labeled according to its style which includes texture and florality, and Grigio for, "more invisible, glacial versions".

Moore says one guy said that when he was a supermarket buyer 10 years ago, they'd changed the label of a German Grauburgunder to Pinot Gris and the result was that sales trebled and when it was renamed again to Pinot Grigio sales went up even more, despite a price hike.


"There are so many stories about Wolf Blass that it's hard to know when fact shades into fiction," says Tim Atkin.

Blass's authorised biography Wolf Blass: Behind the Bow Tie (Fairfax Books) provides many insights into, "a small man with the energy of a Stakhanovite and an ego the size of Nicolas Sarkozy's", he says.

Atkin tells us Blass was born in East Germany in 1934 and worked as a winemaker in Europe before emigrating to Australia in his twenties. "The fact that he still speaks with a German accent has never stopped him being popular in Australia, in part because he has always been prepared to laugh at himself," he says.

Blass helped to change the Australian wine scene for ever, adds Atkin. "His genius was to create softer, oakier, fruitier, easier-drinking reds that were ready to drink on release."

Financial Times

On the subject of books, Jancis Robinson recommends; What Price Bordeaux? An "excellent new book," she says by Master of Wine Benjamin Lewin, and is "dense, thick with footnotes and liberally illustrated with graphs and charts".

But this is not to imply that the writing is dry, says Robinson. "Far from it. The text is eminently lucid and readable, even if some readers may stumble over such tables as, 'auction price of Le Pin relative to the average of the Médoc first growths (defined as 100 per cent) for the same vintage'".


Susy Atkins says there's always something that goes berserk in the vegetable patch, producing crazy amounts that need processing in a rush. "Surprisingly, perhaps, I had lettuce coming out of my ears this year," she says.

"It pays to think of interesting ways to enjoy them," and one way is to match them with brilliant wines, she says.

Atkins explains that ripe tomatoes are a natural friend to lemony Sauvignon Blanc, cooked tomatoes can take a richer version of the grape, for example a New Zealand Sauvignon and for that "classic glut dish", ratatouille, she prefers the riper, peachier flavour and fuller texture of Viognier.


Jane MacQuitty asks "what the heck do you drink for the last hurrah of a damp, grey summer?"

Her answer is a wine cocktail which she views as "the classy route to putting a house full of bored, grumpy holidaymakers in a suitably summery mood".

She recommends the best summery mixes as being made with either a good sparkling wine or champagne. "The most stylish champagne, or sparkling mix I've ever tasted is a French 75," she says. "You need one measure of Gin, the juice of half a fresh lemon, a dash of sugar syrup to taste, before topping up with cool fizz.

MacQuitty also recommends putting a coffeespoon-sized dollop of a fruit liqueur in the bottom of a glass of chilled, bland, dry white wine "from my favourite French house, Gabriel Boudier, is a speedy method of producing summer in a glass".