Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The International Shiraz Alliance
What makes Shiraz the leading grape variety in the world at the moment? Why have consumers from New York to Newcastle, California to China, Oxford to Ottawa embraced the rich flavours of this historic grape? Where do the best Shiraz wines come from and what makes them special?

These will be some of the questions answered by hundreds of the world's leading Shiraz lovers at The First International Shiraz Alliance, a celebration of the variety to be held in the Barossa, Australia from July 30 to August 2.

The program for the four day event has just been released on the website http://shirazalliance.com/index.asp. The 12 page colour registration brochure is worth checking out.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Shiraz Loses Shine!
A piece in Australia's The Age notes that:

Shiraz represents not only this country's main wine export - some believe it drives the whole export bandwagon. Producers wishing to sell their chardonnay or sauvignon blanc must have a shiraz - preferably something old-vine and something with non-irrigated, bushvine Barossa Valley fruit - if they want to do really well.

The trouble is, there's more young-vine shiraz about than old-vine - shiraz production was up 43 per cent this 2004 vintage - and this growing tidal wave of wine is being sold at mostly fighting supermarket prices, not super-premium Grange prices. Shiraz now represents a quarter of Australia's national wine production.

Some of the comments seem a bit premature to me, especially as I'm not sure we've arrived that the point noted in the last part of the article (viz. "Is the world shiraz-ed out?" The answer is "not yet, but keep providing drinkers with less choice in style and suddenly cabernet sauvignon will begin to look more and more appealing".)
Two Buck Chuck: Vindicated Again?
The San Diego Union Tribune has conducted its own blind tasting to see if their panel could sniff out Two Buck Chuck. The six member panel tasted 6 wines and placed Two Buck in 4th place out of the 5 wines given scores; the sixth was found to be corked. What does this tasting say about Two Buck? Well the last placed wine was the Alexander Valley Vineyards 2001 Syrah. At ten times the price ($19.99USD) of Two Buck this wine shows once again that spending significantly more does not guarantee quality. Is it any wonder that wine novices gravitate to Two Buck Chuck?

Friday, June 25, 2004

Chateau Cardboard
Chateau Cardboard, the generic title given to wine in a box in Australia, seems to be making a run at popularity here in the US. "Once people taste wine out of a bag that's high quality, they're hooked. They love it," said Chris Indelicato, chief executive of Manteca-based Delicato Family Vineyards. Delicato is putting award-winning wines in boxes, including its shiraz, which was rated a very respectable 90 points by Wine Enthusiast. MORE>

If you are really serious about boxed wine then you must visit The Official Box of Wine Homepage.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Kalleske! Which Kalleske? Where? How Much!
Tasting notes on the 2002 Kalleske Shiraz have appeared on both sides of the Pacific. Australia versus USA. Who will get it right? Which Kalleske are they tasting? But more importantly why is a wine priced at $30-40AUD selling for $90USD?

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Two Buck Chuck in the Medals Again!
In The San Francisco Chronicle 2004 Wine Competition the Charles Shaw Winery 2002 California Shiraz, AKA Two Buck Chuck, was awarded a Silver Medal. And a price increase to $2.99!

Unfortunately Two Buck's 2002 Shiraz didn't win best red at the 28th Annual International Eastern Wine Competition. That distinction went to Alexander Valley Vineyards "Cyrus" 2000, a $50 wine. What an accolade for the Cyrus, to be able to say that they bested Two Buck Chuck!

Friday, June 18, 2004

Two Buck Chuck Rules Supreme!!!
I'm sure many of you have heard about two buck chuck. The (in)famous massive bottlings of wine under the label Charles Shaw that sell for $1.99 here in the USA. I must admit to having never tasted any of these wines, but I guess in the interests of the taste experience I will now have to do so. Why? Well the Charles Shaw 2002 Californian Shiraz has won double gold at the 28th Annual International Eastern Wine Competition. To be honest I've never heard of this wine show (I don't take much notice of wine shows in the US). But if you run down the list of participants you find some interesting names; 1999 Penfolds St Henri is in the shiraz costing more than $15 class. Only got silver! Guess I'd better throw all mine out and stock up on 2 buck.

The wines up against the two buck shiraz and how they faired are listed below.


Jacob's Creek (AUS), 2001 Shiraz Reserve, South Eastern Australia, 28600 cases, $12.99, 0.2 rs
Charles Shaw Winery (CA), 2002 Shiraz, California, $1.99, 0.4 rs
Woodbridge Winery (CA), 1999 Syrah Winemakers Selection, Lodi, 0 cases, $14.00, 0.08 rs

Barefoot Cellars (CA), Syrah, 2000 cases, $5.99, 0.3 rs
Black Swan (AUS), 2002 Shiraz, Southeastern Australia, $8.00, 0.47 rs
Cedar Creek Winery (WI), 2002 Syrah, American, 770 cases, $15.00, 0 rs
Coastal Ridge Winery (CA), 2001 Shiraz, $6.99, 0.35 rs

Forest Glen Winery (CA), 2001 Shiraz Oak Barrel Selection, $9.99, 0.4 rs
Hahn Estates (CA), 2002 Syrah, Central Coast, 7800 cases, $12.00, 0 rs
Ironstone Vineyards (CA), 2001 Leaping Horse Shiraz, Lodi, 10000 cases, $6.00, 0.37 rs
Jacob's Creek (AUS), 2002 Shiraz, South Eastern Australia, 156000 cases, $8.99, 0.1 rs
Kangaroo Ridge (AUS), 2002 Shiraz, South Eastern Australia, $7.00, 0.73 rs
Lindemans (AUS), 2002 Reserve Shiraz, South Australia, $15.00, 0 rs
Marquee (AUS), 2002 Classic Shiraz, South East Australia, 1500 cases, $11.95, 0.02 rs
McWilliam's Wines (AUS), 2002 McWilliam's Hanwood Estate Shiraz, Southeastern Australia, $11.00, 0.55 rs
Pacific Peak (CA), 2001 Shiraz, 5527 cases, $5.00, 0.29 rs
Post Familie Vineyard (AR), 2003 Syrah, Amer., 277 cases, $15.00, 0.5 rs
Rosemount Estates, Inc. (AUS), 2002 Diamond Shiraz, Diamond, $12.00, 0 rs
Round Hill Winery (CA), 2002 Shiraz, 8925 cases, $8.99, 0.12 rs
Six Hands Winery (CA), 2002 Syrah, Clarksburg Estate, 100 cases, $11.50, 0.02 rs
St. George Coastal (CA), 2001 Shiraz, California, 10000 cases, $7.99, 0.2 rs
WineHaven Winery & Vineyard (MN), 2001 Syrah, 220 cases, $14.00, 0.1 rs
Wyndham Estat (AUS), 2002 Bin 555 Shiraz, South Eastern Australia, 10000 cases, $9.99, 0.65 rs

Abarbanel Wine Co., LLC (FR), 2002 Syrah, Vins De Pays, DeL'aude, $16.50, 0 rs
Canyon Road (CA), 2002 Shiraz
Cellars Crest (CA), 2002 Syrah, Napa County, 2147 cases, $12.00, 0.12 rs
Chateau Diana Winery (CA), 2001 Shiraz, 353 cases, $4.99, 0.09 rs
Clos du Lac Cellars (CA), 2001 Syrah, Sierra Foothills, Amador County, 600 cases, $12.00, 0.25 rs
Gordon Brothers Cellars (WA), 2001 Syrah, Columbia Valley, 2700 cases, $14.99, 0 rs
J. Lohr Winery (CA), 2001 Estates South Ridge Syrah, Paso Robles, 12000 cases, $15.00, 0.22 rs
JW Dover Inc. Heartland Vineyards (OH), 2002 Syrah, 70 cases, $7.99, 0 rs
Kendall-Jackson Winery (CA), 2001 Vintner's Reserve Syrah, 200 cases, $12.00, 0.14 rs
Lindemans (AUS), 2003 Shiraz, Eastern Australia, $8.00, 0 rs
Madison (CA), 2002 Shiraz, 800 cases, $8.99, 0 rs
Redwood Creek (CA), 2002 Syrah, $7.99, 0.85 rs
Sterling Vineyards (CA), 2002 Vintner's Collection Shiraz, Central Coast, 25000 cases, $12.00, 0 rs
Summerfield (CA), 2001 Syrah
Turning Leaf (CA), 2002 Syrah/Shiraz, $8.00, 0.6 rs
Woodbridge Winery (CA), 2001 Syrah, 0 cases, $8.25, 0.01 rs

Don't worry about not being able to get any two buck. I hear there's enough for a couple of dozen for everyone. But it might cost you - like $2.20 or $2.50 per bottle. Why not $1.99? Well its going to be popular after this, isn't it! Its even featured on the eRobertParker.com forum.

What does the rs mean? percentage residual sugar.
More on the Kalleske Saga
Who actually determines the price of a wine? Well in the case of Kalleske wines it seems that its the winery, the agent, the reseller, and the grey market. Any more want to add their names to the list? You do! Then go here and do so.

Update: June 26, 2004. The thread has been removed from the Auswine Forum. But if you go to the June 26 post you will find more links to discussion on the Kalleske shiraz.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Aussie Shiraz + USA Wine Market = Greed
As noted here I've been trying to taste my way through the 2002 Aussie shiraz that are marketed here in the USA. Most of what I have been able to get has been reasonably priced. But there is one glaring example of outright greed. For the last month or so I have been trying to get some of the Kalleske Shiraz which I have been informed sold for between AUS$30-40/bottle in Oz – if you could get it! The shop that I buy most of my wine from has been looking for a source of the wine, found one, and put me down for a 6 pack. As the weeks have passed discussions as to when the wine would be available and its price have gone on and on. Finally today, while I was buying more examples of shiraz from the 2002 vintage I was told that the distributor for the Kalleske was asking USD$700/dozen wholesale!! What was going to be my cost retail, about USD$70 a bottle (about AUD$100). Fortunately the retail guys I deal with are no fools. Even if I am willing to pay USD$70 a bottle (which I am not), they are very unlikely to get the wine. Why? Well for a start they have so much Aussie wine to sell that a few dozen of one more shiraz, even if it’s a 100 pointer, doesn’t change their bottom line. What it does do however is hurt the Kalleske image, at least on the southern west coast as this type of greed gets discussed in the shop, at their wine tastings, wine dinners, and wine bar. And now in a wine forum. As they say over here “From little acorns……..

So all you distributors out there trying to sell Aussie wine into the USA if you want a solid reliable market for the future, take a reasonable profit. If you want us to turn to the rest of the wine world then be greedy, its not like we have a shortage of wine choices over here! For the cost of one bottle of Kalleske I could buy a bottle of the Bordeaux 2nd growth that showed me what great wine can taste like, plus a bottle of excellent Aussie shiraz.