Dan's Blog


Friday, July 20, 2018

This week we look at a few of the strange things going on in the wine world, before finishing on a brighter note.

IRONY:  We all know that too much CO2 is a significant part of the global warming problem, yet ironically Europe (according to Beverage Daily), currently has a CO2 shortage as several production plant have closed either for maintenance or due to technical issues. The UK seems to be suffering the worst with only one significant producer still operating.

Meantime, Coca-Cola “suspended” production in the UK due to the shortage. So, instead of shipping gas into the UK to produce Coke, they are going to bring European bottled Coke into the UK – I wonder what the impact will be on their “carbon footprint” and if this can be blamed on Brexit as well.

ALL HAIL:  After a disastrous vintage 2017 (the smallest French vintage since 1945) growers were hoping for kinder weather this year, however, that seems not to be the case. At the end of May violent hail storms swept through Bordeaux causing severe damage to thousands of hectares of vineyards. It would appear that around 1,000 hectares in the Médoc and 4,500 hectares across the Côte de Blaye and Côte de Bourg regions were affected.

Cognac took a pasting as well, with around one-seventh of its vineyards having been hit to some extent or another, with reports that some vignerons had lost all of their crops.

WHAT THE HECK:  Bizarrely, last year the Indian Federal Government passed a law banning the sale of alcohol from any establishment within 500 metres of a State or Federal highway. Presumably this was their idea of a measure to curb/reduce the incidences of drink-driving.

The unintended consequence was that this measure affected quite a number of five-star hotels as many of them are situated on the main roads/highways in the major cities. These establishments generate considerable amounts foreign currency for India, in exchange for which they are allowed to import wine without paying the 148% import duty, up to the same value as the foreign exchange they generate. Not quite a “level playing field”.

It wasn’t too long before the court system, in this land of contradictions, created a way around this law by allowing the State Governments to downgrade the status of highways where they pass through their cities, thus the Hyatt’s, Hilton’s, Taj Group, Sheraton’s, etc., could go back to business as usual.

I believe that the Indian Government is definitely anti-wine due to its strong links with the whisky industry. India consumes a mere 160 millilitres of wine a year per person. This is less than 1.0% of all alcohol consumed, yet it is the biggest whisky consuming country in the world.

Imagine how much safer the Indian roads would be and how much better off their health system would be, if they drank more wine and less whisky.

Now to finish on a more positive note:

CELEBRATION:  Since I first tasted Aldi’s Champagne Monsigny a few years ago, I have been singing its praises. Thus, it was pleasing to read that the International Wine and Spirits Challenge has just awarded the Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut No. III a silver medal in their world renowned competition – not bad for a <$25.00 a bottle champagne.

For those of you who live in the parts of Australia that have civilised liquor laws (not South Australia, which is alas still in the dark ages), I would strongly suggest nipping into your local Aldi liquor store and grabbing a bottle so you can see what all the fuss is about. I think it is gorgeous!!

Cheers and have a great vinous week!


As those who know me will attest, I am a ‘nut’ when it comes to Durif.

In my early days in the wine industry I worked for Orlando Wyndham and had the great pleasure to get to know both Mick and David Morris and their stellar Durif wines.  In fact, I have a bottle of the 1969 Morris sitting patiently in my cellar waiting for its 50th birthday next year. On top of this I have had the joy of tasting several vintages of the stunning Warrabilla Parola’s Durif, especially the mind blowing 2009 vintage.

So, it is high praise indeed when I say: “I’ve found a smashing new Durif to adore!”

This week’s wine of the week is the ATZE’S CORNER ‘THE GIANT’ 2016 BAROSSA VALLEY SINGLE VINEYARD DURIF.

Wow! What a wine!!! “THE GIANT” by name, and giant by nature!  It starts out with deep and inky black/purple colour; a svelte berry and oak bouquet and then assaults your palate with masses and masses of divine, big, ripe fruit flavours that smoother your palate before finishing ubber tightly.

Patience is the key word as this wine will live for decades. Or, if you lack that much patience, double-double decant it a while before you plan to drink it and it will reward you greatly for having done so.

This is truly a wine of monumental (or epic) proportions that will stun and amaze in years to come when it has blossomed into a breathtakingly rich and delicious wine.