Dan's Blog


Friday, May 19, 2017

This week’s blog is a small smattering of the never ending stream of things happening in the wonderful world of wine. Nothing major, just interesting.

DRAWING A LONG BOW!! :  Recently I received an email from the online wine sales site, Get Wines Direct, advertising Basedow’s 2015 Barossa Shiraz. Great stuff, except that the blurb attached to the image (as listed below) was what could only, in my opinion, be construed as stretching the truth just a tad, as I have highlighted below in red.



WINERY IS WINNER OF AUSTRALIAS BEST AWARD THE JIMMY WATSON TROPHY in 1970 for their 1969 Cabernet Shiraz – hardly relevant



So in fact the sales blurb said absolutely NOTHING actually meaningfully factual about the wine they were promoting. You had to click on a button to get to the tasting notes before being able to get any information on the wine.

They might as well have added the following to the wine “information”:-

From the 227th vintage of wine made in Australia, or

From the Barossa’s 168th vintage

Made from Shiraz grapes grown in Australia

Made from Australia’s favourite red grape variety

All of which is true but equally irrelevant to selling the wine it was advertising.

The wine was shown as having been marked down from $30 a bottle to $11.99 – it would be very interesting to be able to find a retail outlet which is/was selling this particular wine at $30 a bottle. What are the chances??

Another interesting fact is that the Basedow website says:  “After a long and eventful period, in 2014 the Basedow brother’s acquired the BASEDOW’S brand and became the rightful custodians of their name.”

Therefore the claim** – “SOURCED FROM ONE OF BAROSSA'S OLDEST FAMILY OWNED WINERIES EST 1896” isn’t exactly true!  As all they got in 2014 was the brand name back; not the winery, nor has the brand been in their ownership continuously since “EST 1896”.

There is a very fine line between “sales puffery” and deception in advertising, so take people’s claims with a “grain of salt”!  In these days of instant everything, check-out these claims on the internet before you believe them. Remember:  BUYER BEWARE - BULLSHIT BECKONS!!!

RETRO:  As we all know there is quite a calling for Retro and Art deco things these days. Well, here is a new twist. Finnish entrepreneur and bar manager, Juki Kiippa, has come up with the idea of retro cans for beer and soft drinks and is trying to get the project off the ground.

As Juki says, his idea is for a: “ can, looks like already old, rusty and ragtag, but still it is new. That is part of can history and we have to remember and respect that...”

I wonder if one day we will see wine in a Juki inspired retro-can!  Doesn’t sound likely! BUT, then again nobody thought that Donald Trump would become President of the USA i.e. weirder things than this have happened.

MORE ORANGE WINE:  I have mentioned the progressive winemakers of New York State (NYS) on a number of occasions, especially in relation to Saperavi and Riesling, and also about their main man, the affable Jim Trezise, who is one of the international wine judges at the CIRC (Canberra International Riesling Challenge).

This time they rate a mention because a number of the wineries in the Finger Lakes district of NYS are producing, what by all accounts (as I haven’t tasted them myself yet) are some sensational Orange wines. There is one brand name in particularly that appealed to me from Red Tail Ridge Winery which called its skin-contact wine made from Chardonnay and Pinot Gris – MISCREANT. What a great name for an “out of left field” wine!

Orange wines should more correctly be called skin-fermented white wines, as the juice is left in contact with the skins for extended periods of time as opposed to the normal practice of pressing the juice off the skins as soon as the grapes are crushed.

The skin contact gives the resultant wine a deeper colour, often with orange hues, as well as added complexity.

This is the way that white wine had been made for centuries until last century, when oxygen free winemaking was introduced and took over completely.

So making “orange’ wines is in fact going back to more traditional winemaking techniques, just like fermenting wines in qvervi or ‘eggs’ is. It is widely held that orange wines are more food friendly than conventional white wines as they have less acidity.

Here in Australia we shouldn’t be naming these wines as “orange”, because we have the grape growing region of Orange in NSW. We should be calling them ‘skin-contact’ or ‘skin-full’ wines but certainly not “Skinny wines!!”

Have a great week and enjoy some sensational wines. Cheers!


When I moved down to Adelaide in 1990, one of the first McLaren Vale wines I tasted was the delightful d’Arenberg Burgundy, which underwent a name change in 1993 to become what we now know as, d’Arry’s Original. It was delicious way back then, and it still is today.

If one had a time machine to go back to those days and grab a three year old bottle and bring it back to compare with the current release at the same age, I would bet that there would be very little difference. Except that maybe the “old” one would probably be a smidge bigger bodied and heavier, as over the years most wine styles have become a bit less “big & bold” and are now more “elegant & sophisticated”. Other than that I am sure that we would find the same inherent quality and flavours in both wines.

The d’ARENBERG 2014 McLAREN VALE d’ARRY’S ORIGINAL – SHIRAZ GRENACHE continues the long line of vintages that provide the great, honest flavours that have made this wine a long-time favourite. Sure, there are bigger and flashier wines in the d’Arenberg line-up, many with almost unpronounceable names since Chester took over, but here is a classic wine that demonstrates the consistent, timeless quality that McLaren Vale can produce.

Gently crushed, open fermented and given lots of TLC – AWESOME, affordable drinking wine – thanks guys!!