2021 Wrap Up

Friday, December 17, 2021

This is our last Blog until mid-January so I thought it fitting that we do a wrap up of 2021 – “Annus Horribilis” – not exactly a good year for anybody.

Personally it wasn’t a good year healthwise and for the second year there were no overseas wine trips and only one interstate trip to Tassie in November, for the brilliant Effervescence Tasmania (Wow, they are making world-class sparkling wines and at half the price of a decent Champagne!). Surprisingly at a time when social media was the only way to promote wine, fewer wineries sent in their wines for review – down by 22% on previous years – go figure!!

The rest of the wine world didn’t fare to well either, with the dramatic weather events in the northern hemisphere causing 2021 vintage to be the  lowest or second lowest (final figures not in yet) in the last two decades. Roughly around 1.9 billion litres less than the mean average over the last decade. Out of the heavy hitters, Italy fared best with only a drop of 9% in volume, then Spain at 14% drop and finally France dropped by more than a quarter of their production at 27% – Ouch!!

In China both domestic wine production and wine consumption continued to decline. In terms of production, a few years ago China produced more wine than what Australia did, but over the last six years this volume has halved. Wine consumption started to decline after Xi Jinping criticised the consumption of imported wines. In the first nine months of 2021 imports fell by around 40% in dollars from the 2020 figures, in litres the drop was 17.7 million litres – or roughly 2,000 containers of wine. Here we could say “tongue in cheek” that it was due to there being no imports of Australian wine.

On a more positive note there were some absolutely sensational wines released in 2021, especially those made from some of the various emerging grape varieties that are becoming more prevalent here in Australia. I was that keen on the native Italian white variety, Pecorino, that I wrote an article on it and reviewed  the four Australian wines that I was aware of that were made from the variety. No sooner had the article been published that another four producers “came out of the woodwork” so that now there are eight Pecorino producers in the country.

There were also a number of exciting new wineries that have burst onto the scene adding to the diversity of our wine industry. At the Adelaide Wine Market Grenache Fest in November I came across seven wineries that I had not heard of before, most of whom are producing excellent Grenache and other interesting wines.

So whilst 2021 was a real challenge for larger wineries, especially those focused on exporting to China, it was also an exciting opportunity for the more creative small and new players in the industry to show off their wares.

Thus as always, “every cloud has a silver lining”. Here is to hoping that 2022 will be your excellent and successful year with great quality wines and outstanding sales!

From Vicki & me, have a happy and safe Christmas and may 2022 be a brilliant year for you and yours.

Cheers and remember to celebrate by #chooseaustralianwine and where possible enjoy #emergingvarieties.

**STOP PRESS**: I have just been offered 5 free double-passes to the Wines of Adelaide Mega tasting in Sydney, to be held at the Royal Automobile Club of Australia, on the afternoon of February 18, 2022.

This spectacular event will feature new to Australia, wines from Italy, Spain and France – focusing on the great wines of Alsace, Cahors and Languedoc. It will also feature some Australian wines courtesy of the Australian Wine Showcase Magazine.

This is a trade only wine tasting and is not open to the public, giving you a unique opportunity to taste some smashing wines, most of which I have reviewed enthusiastically on social media.

The first five people to email me with the heading, WINES OF ADELAIDE TASTING, will score a double-pass to this unique experience.

Not a bad way to kick off your vinous 2022!!!

Dan’s email link: dan@wineassist.com.au

This Week's Wine Review:

This is the last Blog for 2021 and therefore, like in previous years, I will list out my top 20 wines that I reviewed or enjoyed with friends during the year out of the 1,230 wines I tasted.

These are not in any particular order:

►Irvine Barossa Grand Merlot 1996

►Back Verandah Riverland Remnant Blend 2020

►Min Zeven Netherlands Bruut & Bruizend 2018

►House of Arras Tasmania E.J. Carr Late Disgorged Methode Traditionelle 2006

►Lino Ramble McLaren Vale Solitaire Grillo 2020

►Gumpara Barossa Mader Reserve Shiraz 2019

►Turkey Flat Barossa Shiraz 2019

►Soumah Yarra Valley Equilibrio Chardonnay 2019

►CRFT Barossa The Schmidt Vineyard Mencia 2020

►Dell’uva Barossa Carménère 2016

►Hahndorf Hill Adelaide Hills White Mischief Gruner Veltliner 2021

►Domaine Wachau, Wachau Austria, Grüner Veltliner Fedespiel 2019

►Dr Plonk The Good Doctor’s Tonic Tannat/Cabernet/Shiraz 2010

►Giribaldi Italy – Cento Uvo (132 grape varieties) 2015

►Morris Rutherglen Vintage Port 1990

►Giaconda Beechworth Warners Vineyards Shiraz 2000

►Decendientes de J Pallacios Bierzo Spain – Bierzo 2000

►Chateau Coutet Barsac 1975

►Rouge Homme Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 1985

►Bass Phillip Gippsland Old Cellar Chardonnay 2000