Mostly last week I have been judging wine. I was judging wine for the entire week in fact as one of the co-chairs, with Huon Hooke, wine correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald, of Australian wine at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Other journalistic friends and colleagues meanwhile were doing exactly the same thing across the capital at the International Wine Challenge, the UK’s other meaningful wine competition.
Oops, you have to feel a bit sorry for the poor Aussie winemaker who was doing very well with his dry white albariño until he found out that it wasn’t albariño after all but most likely savagnin blanc.
Albariño is the fashionable Spanish white grape variety of Rias Baixas in Galicia and when Damien Tscharke found that it might suit the Australian climate he went about sourcing some of the Spanish white grape variety in order to make a dry white wine from it.
With Lent done and dusted for another year, it’s no bad time to reflect on the pros and cons of giving up drinking wine. For anyone who’s used to drinking at least some wine every day, it may not be an easy task.
In my job, what is easy is to get into the habit of having a few glasses or a bottle of wine a day without a second thought. But alcohol is potentially addictive and if you don’t have a decent break from it every so often, how do you know whether you’re dependent, albeit mildly, or not, or what the effects are?
They say that it’s better than expected. How’s that for a surprise. They say that the 2008 vintage in Bordeaux isn’t half bad and that the wines may not be up to 2005 standards but that they’re better than 2007 and in some instances better than 2004 and 2006, both average to good but not startlingly good vintages like 2005. And they say that those of us who don’t go to Bordeaux have no right to pronounce on the vintage if we haven’t tasted it.
2008 Griottes Chambertin, Domaine Fourrier
Did you know that huge swathes of the greatest vineyards in Burgundy are not planted with vines? It’s the tractors. They need space to turn at the end of the vine rows, with the result that vineyards are robbed of their full potential due to a simple but inescapable mathematical necessity. Thus countless barrels of the finest grands crus are not available to the ever growing band of Burgundy enthusiasts.