Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Wanted: One Jamie Oliver Wannabe To Be Australia's Wine Idol
The Wine Idol contest aims to bolster Australian exports, writes Valerie Lawson.

We've had Pop Idol, American Idol, Australian Idol, but wait, there are more drops of idolatry on the horizon: Priest Idol, to be broadcast on British TV next year and now a new Australian production, Wine Idol. What makes Wine Idol stand out, however, is that its producer is the winemaker Hardy's, which has a quarter of the British wine market. British contestants will compete to be the face of the Australian wine brand and have until the end of the month to enter the race to become the next Jamie Oliver of wine. Entrants must be between 25 and 35 and a "wine whizz", not a "wine bore". MORE->

Interested? Here is the entry form.

Powerhouse Australian Shirazes
Twelve classic-rated wines top this year's reds from Down Under
Tuesday, September 28, 2004 By Harvey Steiman Wine Spectator

"Australia's best regions have already released a raft of exciting wines from the 2002, 2001 and 2000 vintages. Now, as the longer-aged marquee wines reach our shores, those years are looking even more impressive.
An even dozen wines, all made from Shiraz or blends thereof, earned classic ratings (95 points or higher on the Wine Spectator 100-point scale) in this report, which includes all the Australian reds tasted since last year's annual report (Sept. 30, 2003). In all, I reviewed close to 600 Australian reds in the past year, rating 130 of them outstanding (90 points or higher), the most ever.
" MORE->

Check out the listing of Top Wines, Smart Buys and Best Values, and then do your self a favor and search out the Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Shiraz 2002.

Friday, September 24, 2004

874 Wines Challenge Judges
Panel of experts tackles record number of entries at Fountaingrove Inn tasting with strong, often divergent opinions. Thursday, September 23, 2004 By PEG MELNIK in THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

"When the judges sipped a glass of merlot Wednesday at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair's wine competition, they tasted a banquet of flavors: cherries, strawberries, cranberries, mint and chocolate.Quite a spread contained in an 8-ounce glass." MORE->

The Fair is a big affair. You can taste the wines by varietal on Friday or from the wineries on Saturday and Sunday. MORE-> One of our favorites, Russian Hill Estate Winery, is in the competition. How will they do?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The Vintage of the Century Nightmare
"None of us imagined where the thirst for "concentration" was leading the wine industry in America, how it would influence the distribution network, winemaking style, and the prices you pay. We didn’t imagine how a single palate preference could give birth to the artificial concentration and chemical alteration of what we had always considered to a craftsman's expression of a natural agricultural product. We couldn’t imagine how the maniacal search for concentration could fuel winemaking fraud and deception. Looking back with perfect hindsight, we never could have imagined that the Vintage of the Century could have been the embryo of the international crisis facing artisan winemakers across the globe." MORE->

by ADAM GOPNIK (The New Yorker)
What do we talk about when we talk about wine?
.......As Calvin Trillin explained in these pages a while ago, if you simply put red food coloring in white wine, even experienced drinkers can’t tell it from red wine. And, according to scientists who study smell and taste, that’s just the beginning. Rachel Herz, a professor of psychology at Brown, conducts research into the effects of “frames” on the perception of smells. (Wine tasters are “noses” first of all.) Smells, she reports, “are so malleable when it comes to verbal context that when reasonable verbal information is available it will override and even replace the olfactory information.” The effect is pronounced when the smells are, in some way, ambiguous—tell people that they’re smelling vomit, and they’ll smell vomit; tell them that the same smell is Parmesan cheese, and they’ll smell Parmesan cheese. With wine, the most basic verbal categories (it comes from France, it comes from America, it’s cheap, it’s expensive) seem to be able to throw even an educated nose off track. The illusions, Herz suggests, “work the way, in a familiar illusion, arrowheads either going in or feathering out extend or shorten straight lines. Word labels on smells are the same kind of context effect, and these context effects are markedly more powerful with nose sensations than they are with other kinds.”............MORE->

Monday, September 20, 2004

"I'm not drinking any merlot!"
Any movie with that line gets me in the audience. Although I plan on being upright about it! Check it out! Go LARGE here.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Robert Parker Jr. Predicts The Future of Wine
Robert M. Parker, Jr., the world's foremost wine guru, makes 12 bold predictions about seismic changes that will influence how we'll shop, what we'll buy and how much we'll pay. MORE->

I particularly liked number 2 "The wine Web will go mainstream Internet message boards, Web sites tailored for wine geeks and state-of-the-art winery sites all instantaneously disseminate information about new wines and new producers. Today the realm of cyberspace junkies and hardcore Internet users, these sites will become mainstream in 10 years. A much more democratic, open range of experts, consultants, specialists, advisors and chatty wine nerds will assume the role of today's wine publications."

10 years!! Uhm, I think we are there already Bob!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Clare Valley Shiraz
SOUTH Australian winery Jim Barry Wines has won the best shiraz award at the International Wine Challenge in London.The winery at Clare Valley in the Mid North was acclaimed for its 2002 Lodge Hill shiraz, which retails in Australia for about $20. Defeating more than 9000 shiraz entries to take the gong, the winner was sourced from wines at a 133ha Lodge Hill property, purchased by the Barry family in 1977. MORE->

My Tasting Notes, and some further discussion.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Buyer Beware
"Pity the Sydney wine investor who bought $32,400 worth of wine two years ago. Today it’s valued at just $18,000 ......................... You have to ask yourself whether unknown wines of little pedigree (for the moment), which rely chiefly on the good name of the winemaker or whether he has made wines favourably reviewed by Robert Parker, is reason enough to spend thousands of dollars as an investment." MORE->

At least with Grange,” Langton’s Stewart Langton argues, “they are getting an article of substance. It has substance; it has history.” And that folks, is the good oil!