Aussie wine traditionally puts on its best strides on Australia Day, and the word on the street after its showcasing of 1000 plus wines was that Oz has boomeranged back. Not that it actually went anywhere unless you’re of the whingeing Jeremiah persuasion. 14 trophies and 40 gold medals at the most recent Decanter World Wine Awards is proof that the Australian wine success story has remained consistent despite, admittedly, an Achilles heel of excessive discounting and a failure to communicate the value of its fine wines.
I was barely off the plane when Terry Dunleavy, the then New Zealand head wine honcho, accosted me. ‘Should we stick to sauvignon or diversify?’ Too jetlagged to think, I muttered something inane to the tune of if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it. 25 years on, sauvignon blanc remains New Zealand’s bread and butter at more than 20,000 hectares planted, but 14,000 hectares of pinot noir, chardonnay, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and aromatic white grapes testify to a much tastier wedge of jam in the sandwich.
It's a shame that Greece has been tarred with the retsina brush for so long. While it may not yet have achieved the Olympian heights to which it aspires, Greek wine has unquestionably embraced modern civilisation, with refreshing whites and fine reds making waves from expressive indigenous varieties such as Xinomavro, Agiorgitiko, Liatiko and Mavrotragano.
London’s Burgundy week and the buzz it engenders kick starts the wine year like no other. This January was even crazier than usual with 19 wine merchant tastings in three days and throngs of consumers waving cheque books like Union Jacks at a Royal wedding. Why? Because 2014 has been heralded as a great vintage for whites and a good one for reds, thanks to beautiful Spring weather, followed by a cool August and then an Indian summer.