THAILAND: Recently at the annual tasting of Rosé wine in Phuket, Thailand, a panel of judges (including renowned American wine writer James Suckling) selected the Thai ‘Monsoon Valley White Shiraz 2017’ (92 Points) as the Best Wine, beating just under 100 Rosé from around the world, including many French Rosé. I was pleased to see that my good friends at GranMonte scored 91 points with their ‘GranMonte Syrah Asoke Valley Sakuna Rosé 2017’ a very creditable effort by these two classy Thai wines.
FRANCE: The French are up in arms that their sacred land of Bordeaux is being bought up by the Chinese! A bit like the cries in Australia in the late 1980s and early 1990s when the Japanese were buying up Australia after they bought Yeppoon. It would be interesting to see the stats as to how many vineyards/chateau there are in Bordeaux versus how many are now owned by the Chinese. I suspect that the number is minute and that they are mainly minor or unheard off chateaus, which were probably in deep financial trouble in any case.
Meanwhile, Chinese billionaire Peter Kwok has been quietly acquiring Bordeaux properties. So far this elderly billionaire has acquired seven chateau in Bordeaux and when interviewed recently at his latest acquisition said: “This beautiful farming property cost about the same as a luxury apartment in Beijing or Shanghai” – With that sort of mind set, I suspect that many more vineyards in Bordeaux and around the world will end up being owned by the Chinese.
CHINA: While not specifically wine related, it was recently announced that Chinese internet company, ‘TENCENT’ (owner of WECHAT), (which most of the western world has not even heard of) now has a larger market capitalisation that Facebook!! Tencent has a market cap of $530 billion making it the fifth largest corporation in the world.
The point being, that China has an almost endless capacity to surprise us and has massive, massive potential for smart professional Australian wine companies. Despite any temporary political glitches between our two governments, and with over five million of its citizens joining the middle-class each year, China has the future potential to buy all or most of Australia’s wine production. Already the “powers that be” are talking of sales to China climbing from $1 billion to $2 billion over the next few years. Tencent will be a part of that growth as it has a sales website very much like Amazon.
NEW ZEALAND: The UK’s Marks & Spencer chain has just listed Kiwi winemaker, Forrest Wines, naturally lower alcohol wines. The Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé are both under 10% alcohol naturally, without using the alcohol removal system that previous low alcohol wines relied on. It is the culmination of four years of ‘hush, hush’ work funded by New Zealand winegrowers and the NZ Department for Primary Industries.
It will be interesting to see how they go as the previous attempts where alcohol was removed were at best, very ordinary, and at worst, bloody awful.
Well that’s it for this week. Have a good week and enjoy great wines, wherever they come from (but preferably from Australia). Cheers!
THIS WEEKS WINE REVIEW:
This week we are looking at a new twist on an old favourite – CHARDONNAY.
I have always loved a Chardonnay that has had some oak exposure to add richness and complexity to it. Not the old 1980-1990s style that tasted like you were sucking a piece of 4’x2’ timber, but those where the oak enhances the wine rather than taking over or swamping the fruit flavours.
JACOB’S CREEK launched its first Chardonnay with the 1990 vintage. It was what is now called, Classic Range. From memory it was crisp, almost un-oaked, with just a smidge of oak character and very easy to drink.
Since then JACOB’S CREEK have gone through several iterations including the JACOB’S CREEK RESERVE from the Adelaide Hills. Now they have a new one – the first release of its JACOB’S CREEK DOUBLE BARREL 2017 CHARDONNAY. This is the first white wine in the “DOUBLE BARREL” range, in which the wines are produced the same way as normal, however, they are then “finished” in old whisky barrels (either Scotch or Irish) to add complexity and character to the wine. www.jacobscreek.com
2017 JACOB’S CREEK DOUBLE BARREL BAROSSA CHARDONNAY: Has a complex, toasty, oaky nose. It is a bit bigger bodied than their other Chardonnay, with a firm, tight texture and plenty of flavours.
At this stage, it asks for rich, creamy style food to accompany it, but with patience it will evolve into a softer, superbly tasty, ubber smooth Chardy – OH YUM!!