August 28, 2020

This week I am reporting briefly on a spot of wine news from around the world which I am sure will interest you.

VINE TRAINING IN JAPAN: As reported in The Drinks Business online news website (see link below) - The railway station in Shiojiri situated in the Nagano prefecture is unique in that two of its platforms have viable grapevines growing there.

Back 1988, in order to promote to visitors the districts four wine growing regions, they planted Merlot and Niagara vines on platform’s 3 and 4 and pergola trellised them. The railway staff have maintained and nurtured these vines and until last year they gave the grapes to tourists as a reminder of their visit. However last year, to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Shiojiri being upgraded from a town to a “city”, and with help from local winemakers, they actually made wine from these vines, producing around 100 bottles. There is no word yet on what the wine tastes like, but knowing Japanese efficiency it will have been reasonably good.

Only in Japan could this be done, as nobody there would even consider stealing any of the grapes as they ripen.

Article Link: https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2020/08/japanese-train-station-to-release-first-wine/?fbclid=IwAR08msu5jQvUjts93ssAbDOrEAfSbdoMhl5WxJ9e7Bfk4wfZ06MhiyUPu9k

FRENCH SPIRIT:  The French government has just pledged a further €80 million to help save the wine industry from a significantly growing wine glut. This brings to €250 million (that’s just over AUD410 million) that they have committed to buying and distilling surplus wine. They will pay €0.78 per litre for AOC and IGP wines. It is understood that so far nearly 5,000 winemakers have applied to have around 330 million litres of wine distilled – which represents around 25% of Australia’s 2019 vintage.

Can you imagine that? A quarter of our wine being distilled? What a scary thought that would be!!

At the same time Champagne producers say they have been worst hit by the lockdowns enforced by Covid-19, with the cancellations of many if not most, of the occasions when people drink Champagne. They are reporting a loss of one-third of their total turnover which amounts to around $2 billion and is the worst drop in history – even worse than that of the Great Depression in 1929.

FLAT PACK:  I have mentioned the Garçon flat bottles a few times in my Blog, as I am excited by their practicality – heaps less weight, fully recyclable plastic, ease of stacking, etc. Well, global wine giant, Accolade Wines has launched the Hardys brand in these flat bottles over in Finland where the sales have far exceeded expectations so that a UK launch is now on the cards.

Hopefully they will be available in Australia soon. Who will be the first to use this new innovative packaging? Any guesses?

The big question is, who will be the first Aussie brand to jump onto this environmental band wagon and dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of their wine whilst aiding the consumer by making wine so much easier to carry and store?

Personally I can’t wait to see/touch/feel/taste the first wines in this brilliantly innovative and environmentally friendly packaging - BRING IT ON!!

NEW OLD ITALIANS:  Last November Italy added six “new” varieties to their list of registered native varieties.

The five reds, Orisi, Inzolia Nera, Vitrarolo, Usirioto, Lucignola, along with the white Recunu, are ancient varieties that were grown on the side of Mount Etna (Europe’s most active volcano) which had just about disappeared before being rescued and brought back to life by a couple of avid local vignerons. It will be interesting, in time, to see what these wines taste like.

Well that’s it for this week, have a great week, enjoy fabulous wines and stay safe.

Cheers! Dan T.

This Week's Wine Review:

Today we are heading down to Langhorne Creek to talk about a wine named after one of the area’s pioneers – Frank Potts. He arrived in 1836 after having sailed around the world, settled in the area, clearing the red gums off the land he bought and establishing a vineyard and winery. The massive press in the winery was made from the huge red gums he had cleared – that press is still capable of functioning today and is used on very special occasions.

The winery was named BLEASDALE and the fifth and sixth generation of the Potts family are working there today.

So the BLEASDALE 2018 LANGHORNE CREEK FRANK POTTS is what we would call a “Bordeaux blend” if we were allowed to (which we are not under EU regulations). It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec – with the only major Bordeaux variety missing being Cabernet Franc.

This wine is a deep inky-purple almost bordering on black in colour. It has a delightful bouquet of red and black berry aromas with a splash of spice and just the merest hint of fine vanillin oak. The palate is supremely tasty, rich, unctuous – truly delicious with a svelte, long, lingering finish making it AN ABSOLUTE RIPPER!!

With the superb balance that it has between fruit and tannins, this wine will continue to evolve and round out over the next 3-5 years and be divine for many years thereafter if one has the patience to wait.

This is a bit of a tease, because it won’t be released until October, but when it is I strongly recommend that you buy a bottle (or 6) and check it out. It won’t break the bank at a mere $35 a bottle, a real bargain for this level of quality.

Cheers! Dan T.

Winery Link: www.bleasdale.com.au