Dan's Blog

A Newsy Blog

Friday, June 07, 2019
This week I’m covering a smattering of bits and pieces from around the globe.

BHUTAN: This reclusive, land locked Kingdom in the Eastern Himalayas which has been recognised as the most peaceful and happy country on the planet has taken a further step along the road of happiness, by recently planting its first vineyards. They have planted a total of six hectares which includes Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Petit Manseng in the whites, and in the reds, Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Malbec. The idea that has turned into reality came from an American MW student who ran a marathon in Bhutan and wondered why there were no grapes. Now there are.

SOUTH AFRICA:  I am delighted to be able to advise that my recent article in WBM on Tannat has been put on the website of one of South Africa’s leading wine magazines, WineLand. The article can be viewed by clicking on this link:

WineLand magazine is published half in Afrikaans and half in English. Thus South Africa is now added to Australia, USA, India, Georgia, Austria and Chile where my ramblings have been published in one form or another.

MOROCCO:  Major Moroccan winery, Le Ferme Rouge (Red Farm), which has 300 hectares of vines planted (the youngest being harvested for the first time in 2018), is planning on focusing it production towards the Chinese market. Their aim is to sell most of their 2.5 million bottles of wine in China under fashionable, contemporary and eye catching labels.

The winery which has been around since 1908, is situated on a plateau at an elevation of 450 metres. Not surprisingly for an ex-French colony, it is planted mainly to French varieties, both white and red (including the ubber exciting Marselan – a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache) and of course has a French winemaker. Bon chance mon ami.

USA:  In what could only be considered to be a “bit of a beat up”, research group PIRC in the USA tested a number of beers and wines for glyphosate, the weed killing ingredient in Roundup and other weed killers. The results were that they found concentrations in almost all of the samples, including organic wines. They were found at levels of up to 52ppb (parts per billion). This report set off alarm bells in consumers and impacted on the sales of the brands named in the report.

However, at the levels detected during the research, a person would have to drink around 300 (US) gallons a day, every day, of that liquid, for the glyphosate to have any significant impact on that person’s health, according to a leading US toxicologist. As one organic winery said when asked to comment on the report: “..there are now traces of glyphosate in rain water, so it is impossible to avoid”.

Therefore in effect, consuming the wine or beer is only slightly worse in terms of glyphosate than drinking rainwater. I know which I would prefer.

Cheers and have a great week enjoying excellent wines cause life is too short to drink bad wine!!!


Unlike most wine drinkers, I have never fallen out of love with Chardonnay. Right from the early days I have loved it! Not the massive 4x2 planks of the late 1980s early 1990s, nor the crisp, battery acid of the early un-wooded Chardonnay, but rather the great, well-made, classy Chardonnay. This 30-year-plus love affair continues today not only with our local Chardy but having tasted some sensational Chardonnay in New Zealand, Austria, Rueda in Spain and more recently, in the Loire Valley France. I am truly a fan of lightly oaked, smooth, well rounded, elegant Chardonnay from around the world.

Well here is a wine that is firmly on the list of elegant, sophisticated Chardonnay. It is the SHAW + SMITH M3 ADELAIDE HILLS 2017 CHARDONNAY.

These guys have been making stellar quality Chardonnay for quite a few years, and improbable as it may seem, it just keeps on getting better and better!

This, about to be released wine is a cracker! It has lovely alluring, complex aromas and a divine, slightly buttery/toasty palate with plenty of stone fruit in the gorgeous, mouth-filling flavours. It is superbly structured and balanced with a refreshingly crisp, lingering finish. OH WOW! What a brilliant Chardy! This is near as damn it to my ideal Chardonnay.

Check out this sensational wine and the rest of their cracking range at