Reports Of Australian Wine’s Death Hath Been Greatly Exaggerated, My Lords

Vinted on December 15, 2011 binned in crowd pleaser wines, kick-ass wines, wine books

Australian wine has become the red-headed stepchild of the fine wine world. But the ginger brat is still alive and kicking, people.

I can hear the Aussie wine biz calling out from the cart, like the old man in the “Bring Out Your Dead” skit of Monty Python’s Holy Grail: “I’m not dead!… I think I’ll go for a walk… I feel haaaapy!!!”

[ Editor’s note: speaking of Python, anyone remember their old “Aussie Table Wine” bit, based on the idea that fine wine being made in a place like Australia was so laughable that it could be used as premise for a comedy skit? Who’s laughing now? ]

The general zeitgeist of the wine cognoscenti (at least lately) is that Aussie wine (particularly the much-maligned Shiraz) consists of overly-dense, brutish, syrupy, overblown, Port-without-the-charm and generally overpriced vino on the high end, and sugary, soda-pop-wannabe plonk on the low end.

Like most myths, Aussie wine’s death is based in some semblance of truth – but I am growing increasingly convinced that it is exactly that: a myth. Why? Because increasingly I am running into Aussie wines that are anything but plonk, and are a far cry from charmless saccharine plum-sauce.

Sure, Australia pumps out plonky, low-end crap by the Brobdingnag-esque tank-load (literally) – but name me one major wine-producing country that doesn’t do that. As for the high-end, the gems – the wines that truly speak of place and do have charm to spare – well, they are there, you just have to know where to look for them (just as you have to do in every other wine-producing card-carrying U.N. member country).

So what happened? Why are consumers and critics alike turning away from Aussie wine faster than a wombat would turn away after catching a whiff of a stark-raving-mad and starving dingo on the hunt? According to some, the stigma for Aussie wine is mostly Robert Parker’s fault; or, rather, the culpability rests with an industry that got too greedy and built production – and prices – up too fast after Parker anointed a few heady styles of Aussie low-production reds with near-perfect scores while at the apex of his influence in the 1990s. That’s the premise behind Campbell Mattinson’s excellent Thin Skins: Why The French Hate Australian Wine

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Winners Of The ZAP 2012 Giveaway Announced (Along With The Zins Now On My Review List)!

Vinted on December 14, 2011 binned in giveaways, wine industry events

Wow!

You people sure do like your ZAP. Or you sure do like your Zinfandel. Or both, probably.

Between the comments, retweets, Facebook Likes, e-mails, and other versions of time-sucking on-line virtual social water-cooler spots, my giveaway of tickets to some of the ZAP 2012 events generated a few hundred reactions (with over 100 coming in the form of comments alone). That is, by far, the the biggest response to a giveaway in 1WD history! A huge THANK YOU to all of you who made the giveaway so awesome – a special shout-out to reader Leilani Carrara who put us over the 100 comment mark, and in doing so was awarded an impromptu prize (in the form of a free copy of the 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide ebook).

For those who have been playing along at home, you know that the giveaway also determined at least two Zinfandels that I will now be on the hook to review – not necessarily an easy task, since I live in the Communistwealth of PA and so do not necessarily have easy access to the wines demanded by the giveaway winners (attention PR folk: if you have samples of any of these winners, I’m willing to talk!).

And so… the winners of tix for two to a pair of way-cool ZAP 2012 events… aaaaaand their Zin picks, which I now need to get my grubby little hands on to review, are…

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The Top Three Reasons Why I’m Not Talking About The Latest Wine Advocate Scandal

Vinted on December 12, 2011 binned in wine news

Before you flame me, Yes, I am already aware of the irony of today’s title.

I realize that some of you might have been trapped for the last several days under your collapsed wine racks and several hundred bottles of your collected vino. Or maybe you are just coming off a severe wine bender, Rip Van Winkle style, one where the hangover lasted for a few weeks. If you’re in any of those camps, I offer the following recap of some recent wine news:

[Editor’s note: at least skim the above links, or the rest of this is not gonna make much sense.]

I can’t tell you if the pay-to-play allegations are true, but I can tell you that the Spanish wine biz seems to be quite relieved by the news of Miller’s departure, based on private correspondences I’ve had with people in the biz there (most of which amounts to them thinking that Jay was “terrible” – names withheld for obvious reasons!).

I’ve been conspicuously absent in saying anything about any of this stuff here on 1WD. Why? Because I don’t really give a rat’s ass, and feel compelled to talk about it now only because I’m getting asked why I’m not talking about. So before the irony gets infinitely recursive, here are the top three reasons why I haven’t been talking about it

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