Dan's Blog


Friday, September 14, 2018
This week we are looking at some trivial but interesting bits of wine news from around the world.

PAYING THE PRICE:  A pub in England called “The Just Reproach” instituted a ban on mobile phones back in 2011, so that if anyone’s phone beeps or rings it costs that patron £1 in a fine. The aim being that the patrons talk to each other (part of the reason for going to the pub) and not to other people elsewhere in the world.

According to the Sun newspaper the pub has raised over £20,000 since then which it has donated to charity.

It is quite an event if a phone rings in that pub on a Friday night when it is jam-packed. According to one staff member, “There is a round of positive applause as it means someone’s got to donate”. The other trick that is played on unsuspecting visitors, is that somebody asks for their number and then a whole bunch of the people in the pub ring that number making that person cough up a few quid for the charity jar.

What a great idea, could you image fining/stopping the kids from texting in cafes, fast food outlets and restaurants? That could definitely raise enough money to house the homeless and teach the youngsters some manners.

SEEING BLUE: As I reported a couple of years ago, a Spanish wine company has started making blue wine. Yes! Wine that is blue in colour. They claim that the colourant E132 is natural and permissible in wine under the rules. Well surprise, surprise! The French National Institute of Agricultural Research says that this is not so. Therefore, the French version called, Vindigo Blue Chardonnay, cannot be called wine because it “was not made naturally”, so they are insisting that it must be called a “wine-based drink”. Well actually, Vindigo is now Spanish wine as the authorities created too many roadblocks for the company to make their blue wine-based drink in France.   

The “wine” has so far sold 35,000 bottles this summer in the port city of Sète in the south of France, where it is being trialled at a retail price of €12 a bottle (AUD20).   

One can only imagine that this vital name change will of course deter all younger people who are buying and drinking this Blue Chardonnay from doing so and that this abomination will disappear from the scene in no time at all – NOT!!

TAKEN BY THE CLEANER:   Just like in the great movie Johnny English II – you can’t trust the cleaning lady!!

In China, a Mrs Li (the cleaning lady for Guangzhou based businessman called Mr Zheng) has recently being nabbed for stealing around 80 bottles of expensive wine. This included a number of French First Growths, from Mr Zheng’s office wine cellar (which by the way he did not lock!!). They were worth around the equivalent of AUD500,000. The only reason the theft was discovered was because Mr Zheng organised for the wine to be moved from being stored in his office, to another location. The cleaning lady admitted to stealing the bottles one or two at a time over six months up to March this year after she realised that the cellar was not locked. So the moral is: “Don’t trust your Chinese cleaning lady!!”

Well that’s enough trivia for this week, so have a great week and enjoy some really great wines. Cheers!


This week I am talking about a most unusual and probably unique in Australia, white wine. It is the YANGARRA 2018 McLAREN VALE BLANC – Biodynamic.

Just the name raises questions. I can see that it is a white wine but what is it? Well, step 1 you can solve the “word find” on the front label and then go to step 2 where the back label tells the story. It is 35% Grenache Blanc (I’ll bet most people did not know that there is a white Grenache variety); 30% Clairette (Have you heard of this variety?); 20% Roussanne (Yep, heard of this one!), 10% Picpoul (You haven’t heard of this one?) and 5% Bourboulenc (What the????). So maybe they should have called it “Mystery Blanc”, “Blanc de Rare” or even “Blanc de Qué”.


You can see why I say that it is unique. As far as I know YANGARRA are only the third grower of Picpoul (brilliant wine for oysters) in Australia. So compared to the other varieties, Roussanne is very common or “mainstream”. Even the way it was made is different. Hand-picked, whole bunch pressed in a basket press, co-picked and fermented (other than the Roussanne which was done separately). Fermented, without acid addition or clarification in 675 litre ceramic eggs, matured on lees, with monthly stirring. 

OK so it is a unique wine, but as they say, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” or this case, drinking. So what does it taste like?

OMG! The first sip transported me back to Languedoc Roussillon, sitting in the bright sunshine by the side of a manicured vineyard sipping on the local white wine while the meat was cooking over a big open fire pit. The main difference is that the YANGARRA BLANC is a bit bigger (slightly higher alcohol) and crisper with clearer definition.  

It starts with soft gentle aromas, which are quite complex and alluring, followed by a divine palate, so bright with masses of complex flavours and a superb tight, bright finish that really lingers and refreshes the palate. Fabulous right now, but it will evolve even further over the next 12-24 months to become absolutely stunning. 

This wine is truly sublime! A world-class Aussie expression (improvement?) of the best of the blended white wines of Southern France. Vive le Aussie!!