A SMACKREL OF NEWS!

JULY 24, 2020

This week I have a smackrel of items from around the world which may be of interest to you.

TOP SHOP: In a recent Wine Enthusiast article (see link below) they listed their selection for the top ten “World’s Most Iconic Wine Shops”.

It was no surprise to see London’s Berry Bros & Rudd (est 1805) on the list, nor Paris’ Caves Auge (est 1850) but the really pleasant surprise was to see Melbourne’s Prince Wine Store included on the list. The article said: “Founded in 1997 by sommelier Philip Rich and the Van Haandel family, Prince Wine Store is now owned by Michael McNamara and Alex Wilcock. The two set out to make the shop one of the best places to buy wine Down Under. Each bottling is tasted and approved by their team of six experts before it’s offered for sale. Prince’s selection now features more than 3,400 labels, a few imported exclusively for their stores. In 2013, the Melbourne locale expanded with an in-store restaurant, Belotta.”

Not having visited the store since the ‘Wine Australia’ exhibition in Melbourne in 2000, I will certainly be visiting it on my next trip to Melbourne.

Incidentally the other top 10 stores were in New York, Amsterdam, Mexico City, Madrid, Rome, Barcelona and Berlin.

Article Link: https://www.winemag.com/2020/06/15/iconic-wine-shops/?utm_source=dotmailer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2705336_WEM%20Top%20Shelf%206%2F29&utm_content=hero&bxid=586336570&leadsource=EMAIL1&dm_i=219S,1LZG8,9P386Y,5GO4O,1

LEADING THE TASTING WAY:  Dr Konstantin Frank Wines in the Finger Lakes District of New York State, who make some superb wines (particularly their Saperavi – see Saperavi Sensational WBM March-April 2017) have come up with an excellent $10 per person post–Covid 19 tasting program, which is structured, educational and offers tasting choices while at the same time being safety conscious.

“The Progressive Tasting Experience: Your individual pre-booked group of less than 6 people will travel through an instructional guided tasting of 5 wines all while learning the production of sparkling wines, how our founder changed the course of winemaking in the Finger Lakes, the differences between Keuka and Seneca Lakes, innovative winemaking techniques, and stories of our generations. At each of the 5 stops, guests will have one choice from a selection of 3 wines. A Dr. Konstantin Frank branded GoVino glass is included with your tasting.”

The only Aussie creative/clever tasting that comes to mind, for me, is the Hahndorf Hill Winery, Wine & Chocolate tasting, which people tend to rave about. Surely there must be others out there in our creative and progressive industry. So If you come across any really excellent, structured cellar door tastings, I would ask you to please let me know.

Winery Link: www.drfrankwines.com

STUCK IN THE DARK AGES:  Here in Australia we can’t imagine not being able to buy wine just because the seller is in another state. Say for example, people in Queensland were not able to buy wine directly from a winery in Canberra. However, this is still the case in much of the USA.

This year marks the 15th Anniversary of the federal courts in the US allowing direct to consumer (DTC) sales across state borders in the USA. However, there are many states that have barred it in an attempt to uphold the 100+ year-old political compromise of the “three tier system” of alcohol sales and to ensure that the state gets its sales tax on every bottle of booze sold. The current scorecard (after 15 years) is 13 states plus the District of Columbia allow DTC, 11 ban it completely and the other 26 have strict rules and varying degrees of impediment.

So much for “The land of the free” which has more rules on selling wine than does Communist China!!!

Well that’s me for another week. Please stay safe and enjoy some brilliant wines from wherever you buy them from.

This Week's Wine Review:

This week I am talking about a Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The Clare has long been famous for its Cabernets, as well as its Rieslings. Different in style to Cabernets of the Coonawarra, in that the Clare ones often have just a delicate hint of eucalyptus on the bouquet and on the palate, making them quite distinctive.

Today’s wine is the MITCHELL WINES CLARE VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON, which they have been making since 1975, giving them a great track record for quality and consistency. To make this review very special, they very kindly sent a bottle of their 2013 vintage (the current release) – how brilliant is it that a winery will wait seven years before releasing a wine so as to make sure that it is at its best when consumers first taste it? They also sent a bottle of their 2003, so that I was able to see/judge the effects of cellaring the wine for another ten years.

MITCHELL WINES 2013 CLARE VALLEY SEVENHILL VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON: At seven-years-old this current release wine still has some attractive purple hues on the meniscus, a gorgeous bouquet with aromas of plums, a splash of dried herbs and a smidge of vanillin oak all melding together. The palate is rich and luscious, it has oodles of divine flavours in several layers and a gorgeous after-taste, which really lingers. IT IS EVOLVING INTO A CLASSIC CLARE CABERNET!!

MITCHELL WINES 2003 CLARE VALLEY SEVENHILL VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON: This museum wine is brick red in colour, just starting to head towards browning, has a subtle, complex bouquet with little primary fruit left but some delightful, bottle maturation characters and just a hint of eucalyptus. The palate is silky-smooth, crammed with delicious flavours, some complexity and a still slightly tight finish, making it great on its own or with tasty food. This wine is “Drop dead gorgeous” and will continue to provide great drinking pleasure for many, many years to come. MAGNIFICENT!!

So to check out these classy Clare Cabernets or any one of their other wines, including their Riesling, Shiraz, Sparkling Shiraz and the latest addition their Grüner Veltliner – the sensational native Austrian white variety, visit their website – well worth taking a look and try.

Winery Link: www.mitchellwines.com

Cheers and enjoy great wines over the week!