Dan's Blog


Friday, May 04, 2018

Thirty years ago when I started in the wine industry, Sydneysiders on the whole drank mainly NSW wines. Usually from the Hunter with a smattering of Mudgee and Griffith thrown in. The “outsiders” came mainly from Coonawarra and the Barossa with the occasional Grange.

Today, not only do most wine consumers drink wines from right across Australia, but also increasingly from overseas. Since the turn of the century we have gone from drinking 5% imported wines, to nearly 25%. Yes, much of that number is Kiwi Sav Blanc, but there is a genuine growing interest in all sorts of wines from across the globe.

In keeping with this, I conducted a global wine tasting a while ago for some mates who help me judge wines, for the articles on Emerging Varieties that I write for WBM Magazine.

The wines we tasted were:

GRANMONTE VERDELHO 2017 – Asoke Valley, Thailand:  Thailand is not a country that comes to mind when thinking of wine and yet despite its proximity to the equator there is a flourishing wine industry up in the mountains. GranMonte wines are made by a charming Adelaide University oenology trained young lady, whose father set up the winery and tourist resort in the mountains some years ago. 

This wine has more body and depth than most of the Hunter Valley Verdelho as the grapes were picked riper than in the Hunter where they early pick so as to make very crisp wines which are designed for longevity.


CASERÍO DE DUEÑAS 2014 VERDEJO – Rueda, Spain:  Verdejo is the star of the high altitude (700 metres) Rueda region of northern Spain. Verdejo can make a variety of delicious wines, from zippy sparkling wines, through crisp minerally wines and rich, luscious, buttery wines to sensational dessert wines. 

This is the flagship of the house and is a delightful, complex wine with masses of flavour. A Class act!

CÔTES d’AVANOS 2011 NARINCE-CHARDONNAY – Turkey:   Narince is a native Turkish white variety that has plenty of character and when structurally supported by Chardonnay produces a delightful medium-bodied, long-lived white wine that is most enjoyable. Turkish winemakers have more than their fair share of challenges, as their government gradually becomes less secular and more religious. ALL forms of advertising of wine, including signs showing where your cellar door is, are banned in Turkey. More and more the winemakers are having to export their wines, as domestic sales become more challenging. So if you see a Turkish wine anywhere, try it as the majority are bloody good wines.


CHANTER 2013 MUSCAT BAILEY-A PLUS – Hosaka, Japan:  This is a hybrid variety which was created in 1923 to be able to withstand severe cold winters whilst still producing a light ‘Nouveau’ style wine. It fits the bill perfectly – a nice, elegant, light, dry red that is very easy to drink.


BOUTARI 2009 ‘NAOUSSA’ XINOMAVRO – Greece:  Xinomavro is the leading native Greek red variety, which can be made in several styles. It can be compared to Pinot Noir or if riper and more solid, to a Montepulciano. 

This wine was as good as it gets – light, bright with nice soft flavours. At its peak. I wonder how long it will be before we see an Australian Xinomavro. Not long I hope as native Greek varieties seem to me to be ideal for our warm/hot climate.

GRANMONTE 2016 DURIF – Asoke Valley, Thailand:  Wow! This is a cracker of a Durif, which reminds me very much of the De Bortoli or 3 Bridges Riverina Durif – in that like them it has masses of great flavour without the big tannins of a Rutherglen Durif. Therefore this wine does not need to be incarcerated for years before becoming smooth and drinkable.


A couple of weeks ago, I was in the French Mediterranean wine growing region of Languedoc-Roussillon and tasted several hundred of the local wines – most of which were very good and some that were sensational!

I mention this so as to encourage you to have a crack at tasting wines from all different parts of the world. Yes, a few will be disappointing but the majority will be good to great and help to broaden your wine drinking experience. Go on, hava go!  Try something completely different from overseas!!!