Dan's Blog


Friday, March 27, 2020

This week, here are a few bits and pieces that probably “snuck through to the keeper” during the week, but are interesting enough to warrant a mention.

JACOBS CREEK (JC):  The top ten Chardonnay searched for on the Wine-Searcher website in the USA included:

At #3 – Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay at US$74

#6 – Gaja Gaia & Rey Chardonnay Langhe, Piedmont at US$420

#7 – Jacobs Creek Classic Chardonnay (SEA) at US$6

The average price across the Top 10 was US$172.70.

The good old JC is batting well above its weight. For a long time I have been saying that the JC Classic Riesling is a great wine. That it is a brilliant wine, winning medals just about every vintage and even trophies more often than not. Some, like the 2002 and 2012 are legendary. It has to be the best value Riesling on the planet. Don’t believe me? Well go out and grab a bottle and try it for yourself!

TOPPERS MOUNTAIN WINES:  I have mentioned these guys several times since the disastrous bushfire roared through their place in February 2019. Most recently when I signed up to their “Adopt a Vine” scheme by sponsoring a Tannat vine which is now called, George.

Well, the latest news is that they have started the re-planting of some of the worst affected areas of the vineyard, but are still looking for more kind people to become involved in the “Adopt a Vine” scheme. I have gone through the benefits of this arrangement before so I won’t repeat myself here, but please consider it and go to the following link – it’s a great cause and you will get some excellent wine:

SINGLES DAY:  The 1st of November each year is, “Singles Day”, in China. When people give gifts to lovers, single friends or buy themselves a treat because they are single. I have reported on this amazing event in previous years, but 2019 set a new record with sales of US$38 billion. At the start of the day it took only just over one minute for sales to reach the first billion!!

Australia fared quite well in this frantic mayhem being ranked fourth overall behind Japan, USA and Korea. There are no figures available as yet as to what component of total sales were wine sales, but in previous years the online sales of wine reached and exceeded one million bottles on the day. That is the equivalent to 75 containers full of wine in total being sold online, in one day. This figure included Chinese wine as well as imported wine.

The Chinese have been “early adopters” of online buying. As research presented at a conference I attended last year showed almost 50% of Chinese in the “under the age of 50” bracket have bought online, whilst only around 20% of them had an actual credit card. They have already effectively skipped the credit card scenario and gone straight to the online scenario. Given that in tier-one cities most suppliers guarantee delivery the same day if goods are ordered in the morning, and they also guarantee delivery to anywhere in China within 48 hours (Could you imagine that here in Australia?), the percentage of online sales will only continue to increase.

I would venture to suggest that the advent of Coronavirus will only serve to further increase the level of online sales. Are you geared up for it?

There are a handful of Aussie wineries which have organised to have consignment stock on deck in China so that they can participate in this online buying boom, such as, Shaw Wines, in Canberra, which also has a magnificent cellar door and restaurant. Well worth a visit when next in the ACT.

Cheers and here’s to a quick recovery from THE virus. May the farce be with you & don’t run out of loo paper!!!


This week I am talking about the gorgeous 2016 St Hugo Coonawarra Shiraz. It has taken me a while to come to grips with St Hugo having a Coonawarra Shiraz. Why? From the outset St Hugo was only a Coonawarra Cabernet, and a brilliant one at that. Recently, I really enjoyed a bottle of the 1986 St Hugo Cabernet when celebrating our 34th Wedding Anniversary – this wine was still powering along.

So, it was with great interest that I approached the 2016 St Hugo Coonawarra Shiraz. Well, in keeping with the stature of the brand, this is a ripper of a wine. It has a beautiful purple/red colour as it flows into the glass. Swirl it around a few times and the attractive, elegant aromas of red berries and spices burst out of the glass along with a splash (pardon the pun) of dried herbs. On the mid-weight palate there are delightful, cooler-climate Shiraz flavours along with some really fine grained tannins and an excellent, long, lingering finish.

This is an as yet, tight, restrained wine which will open up and evolve magnificently over the next few years to become a classic Coonawarra Shiraz. A real class act!!