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Dan's Blog

A MILLION POINTS

Friday, January 24, 2020

A MILLION POINT WINE:  Jim Boyce the creator of the sensational “GRAPE WALL OF CHINA” Blog, www.grapewallofchina.com and founder of “World Marselan Day” (Do you know what Marselan is?), recently published an article where he went past the 100 point system by awarding the following two wines:

Canaan Wines 2017 Riesling: 127 points,

Canaan Wines 2018 ‘Mastery’ Chardonnay: 152 points.

He then shifted his scoring scale up a few notches by giving the Canaan 2017 ‘Mastery’ Pinot Noir a score of 1.32 million points. He obviously preferred it to the Domaine Franco Chinois 2011 Reserve Blend because it only scored 1.12 million points.

Apart from giving me a good laugh, I think that Jim was making the point that the scoring system is all relative and that the 100 point system isn’t “the all and end all” of wine rating.

I never allocate scores to wines unless I am judging in a formal situation such as a wine show. Given that the same wine will taste different depending on what time of the day you taste it and/or what mood you are in, I firmly believe that words are more suitable to describe a wine than points. This is followed by the star system which can place a wine into a ball-park area rather than a precise (imprecise) spot as is the case with the 100 point system. So, for example the XYZ Shiraz is 3-stars while the ABC Shiraz is 5-stars. This indicates that the ABC is a better wine than XYZ without saying that it is seven or eight points better as it would be under the 100 point system.  

ALDI:  I have always been a big fan of Aldi Liquor since it first arrived on the scene with very drinkable wines at amazing prices. Some people have even suggested that I am in their pay, which I am most definitely not – I am just a huge admirer!!

The bottle shop section of its supermarkets is about the same size as the refrigerated section of an “Uncle Dan’s” store. They usually have just under 100 SKU’s (Stock Keeping Units) in their tight, compact range. This makes it easier for the average wine consumer to pick out a wine. The only sad thing is that due to still being in the Stone Age, my home state of South Australia does not allow them to operate here.

In 2019, Aldi Australia Liquor experienced double digit growth in sales across its 349 stores in those states (NSW, VIC and WA) enlightened enough to allow competition to the “Evil Duopoly”, of Coles and Woolworths, which currently control over 70% of ALL wine sales in Australia – which is a terrible thing.

During 2019, Aldi wines won over 150 medals, including three trophies, 18 gold and 32 silver – All this from a team of four people. Outstanding!

In England, Aldi UK has just launched its first English sparkling wine, “Lyme Block” N/V Brut Reserve (made in Devon England), showing that they are supporting the fledgling British wine industry.

So if you live in an “enlightened” state drop into your nearest Aldi Liquor store and check out the range of amazing value wines that they sell. You won’t find Grange or any flash $100 plus wines there, but you will find brilliant value, everyday drinking wines. I celebrated Christmas (thanks to a mate’s visit to Mildura) with a bottle of Aldi Monsigny Champagne – Yes, a delicious French Champagne for under $25 a bottle.

Cheers and enjoy great wines!

THIS WEEK’S WINE REVIEW – “FIRE ISLAND”:

Three years ago I first visited Kangaroo Island and discovered what a magical place it was, a combination of nature and divine produce. My article in Winestate Magazine ("The Island In The Sun", Jul-Aug 2017 edition) highlighted the quality of the artisan food and drinks producers toiling away on this little piece of paradise. The quality of the wines was proven in the same issue of the magazine when the vast majority of the wines submitted (almost all the wines produced on the island) scored 3-stars or more.

Today, it is with a heavy heart that I have to say that during the recent bushfires which burned a staggering half of the island, the great gang at The Islander Estate VINEYARDS, lost almost everything. All of their vineyards were destroyed, with only their Tasting Room being saved. Through good planning, they had shipped almost all of their bottled stock to Adelaide before the fire reached and ravaged their property.

The Islander Estate VINEYARDS was established by the affable Jacques Lurton in the late 1990s. Jacques is part of a wine family dynasty, the fifth generation of Bordelaise winemakers whose family winery is the renowned, Château La Louvière. He became a flying winemaker, making wine all over the world before falling in love with Kangaroo Island and setting up shop there. His business partner is Yale Norris from Colorado USA, making this a truly international and cosmopolitan business.


The re-planting of their vineyards will be considerably more expensive per hectare than other fire ravaged vineyards as in the European style, their vines are much “closer planted” than the average Australian vineyard.

Their wine range consists of sixteen eclectic wines, six of which have been rated at 95+ points by Halliday – with the others that were submitted scoring 90-94.

I haven’t tasted the current releases but going back on my notes of the previous two years, I liked all of their wines with my favourites being:

WALLY WHITE – Great name for the most sophisticated Australian SEMILLON that I have ever tasted.

MAJESTIC PLOUGH – A complex and divine Malbec wine which is closer to the Cahors style than the Argentine style. Brilliant!

THE INVESTIGATOR – One of the best Cabernet Franc wines made in Australia – deep, dark and brooding it is brilliant and extremely long lived.

THE CYGNET – a big powerful yet elegant and sophisticated Shiraz that is world-class.

THE INDEPENDENCE – Their Flagship Malbec that is delicious, delightful and brings back memories of the top wines of Cahors France where the variety originated from. This is a world-class Malbec.


They also have a preservative free range of wines cleverly called “So Far So Good”, which consists of a 2019 Sauvignon Blanc and a 2019 Shiraz. Previous vintages have been eminently drinkable and delicious.

So please go to www.iev.com.au and check out the sensational wines from The Islander Estate VINEYARDS and if you are at all able to support them by buying some of these superb wines, please do so as this is an extremely worthy cause. In my opinion The Islander Estate VINEYARDS is a world-class wine producer tucked away on the currently fire ravaged Kangaroo Island. If visiting the island, their Tasting Room is located at 78 Gum Creek Road, Cygnet River – between KI Airport and the Kingscote township.


Please also support any of the other produce makers and other businesses on the island. If you are in Adelaide please go to the Kangaroo Island Stall 17, in the Adelaide Central Markets and ‘spend a few bob’ on some of the island’s delectable produce thereby helping this minute community to get back on its feet.

Thank you very, very much!