Bits & Pieces

Friday, June 24, 2022

This week includes wine news from around the globe starting with:

MEXICO:  Amidst severe water shortages, a group of machete-wielding farmers stormed Mexico’s oldest winery (425-years-old), Casa Madero in the Valle de Guadalupe wine region and stopped the irrigation system. The winery’s staff fled and the intruders only left 24 hours later when they heard that the police were on the way over.

Trouble has been simmering since 2018 when amid lower rainfall a massive sale of water rights occurred to a corporation from outside the region. The local farmers are claiming that the irrigation canals are down to 30-40% of their normal levels and in some instances the levels are too low (below where their pumps are built in) so they cannot pump any water. Many farmers have been unable to plant their crops this year because of this water shortage. At present almost 60% of Mexico is classified as drought stricken and global warming is expected (by the Government) to reduce rainfall by a further 10-20% over the next decade.

There is a lesson in this and hopefully we manage our water/river systems better than this and thereby avoid confrontations of any sort.

ANOTHER PACKAGING FIRST:  Cognac firm, A. de Fussigny, will be launching the world’s first plant-based bottle next month.

Made from flax fibre braiding and plant resin they say that their 2050 composite bottle combines lightness and rigidity. Whilst this bottle has a significantly lower carbon footprint than a “normal” glass bottle, it does have RPET (recycled plastic) lining and is described by the manufacturers as a work in progress. At this stage in the development of this technology, one would suspect that although the bottles are cost effective for high value products such as Cognac, they would not be viable for table wine, for some time to come.

So when you add this to the other alternative packaging options which are currently emerging, wine will have a plethora of packaging choices in a few years’ time. Whilst the glass bottle will remain the main preference for wines designed to be cellared, Grange et al, given that 85% of wine is consumed within 48 hours of purchase, the paper bottle, Packamama oval plastic bottle, this vegetable bottle, cans and casks will, in my opinion, command a rapidly growing proportion of the wine market – especially with the environmentally conscious wine drinkers. Progress at last!

A ROSIER SHADE OF PINK:  Despite wine buffs disregarding Rosé wine as a serious wine due to the lack of the characters that are extracted from the skins during fermentation, Rosé is on the rise around the globe. Recent figures show that Rosé now accounts for 13% of wine sold in Riesling-loving Germany. In fact the German Wine Institute’s new motto is “Drink Pink”.

The quality, volume and price of Rosé has been steadily rising over the last decade and a half. So much so that the Gérard Bertrand “Clos du Temple” Languedoc Rosé sells for €200 a bottle – quite inconceivable not so long ago.

Like most countries (including Australia), Italy has got on the Rosé bandwagon and in 2020 officially approved/permitted DOC Prosecco Rosé. The next year almost 12% of all Prosecco made was Rosé!!

Meanwhile the folk in Provence have bizarrely been lightening the colour of their Rosé so that may these days are closer to light-yellow or even clear – which to me means that it is no longer a Rosé, but I guess that they can’t call the wine Yellow or Clear!!

**STOP PRESS**:  For one weekend only, starting on Friday, July 8, is the brilliant, CELLAR DOOR FEST WINTER EDIT at the Adelaide Convention Centre. The winter edition of the Cellar Door Fest (which is held in February each year) is a brilliant opportunity to sample the wines from a plethora of South Australian cellar doors (plus distilleries and micro brewers) all under the one roof, as there are over 80 exhibitors. I wouldn’t miss it for the world! Check it out at the link below:

Website Link: cellardoorfestival.com

Well that’s it for this week, so have a great week, stay safe and #chooseaustralianwine plus where possible enjoy #emergingvarieties. Cheers, Dan T.

This Week's Wine Review:

Hand’s up those who have heard of ARINTO? No? Well this week I am talking about this exceptional, native Portuguese white variety that is just starting to take off here in Australia.

In Portugal, it is the most widely planted white grape variety. It is used both as a varietal wine and in blends to add steeliness, zip and acidity to the blend. It is one of the key components of Portugal’s famous “Vinho Verde” – the very young, crisp, zingy white wine that is paired with seafood.

As of now there are twelve producers of ARINTO here in Australia. They are mainly located in the warmer areas of South Australia, other than one in the Adelaide Hills and two in Heathcote Victoria. At present the Riverland leads the way with three producers followed by McLaren Vale with two.

McLaren Vale seems to be an ideal home for this exciting emerging Portuguese white variety as the outstanding, LINO RAMBLE DOT TO DOT McLAREN VALE ARINTO 2021, demonstrates. It is steely, dry and crisp, with enticing citrus aromas, great citrus flavours and a tight, steely backbone forged with plenty of zingy acidity, making it a brilliant accompaniment for seafood, antipasto and most entrée dishes, or to slake a raging thirst on a hot summer’s day.

This is a delightful wine and part of the exciting and enticing range of wines from LINO RAMBLE.

Check out the outstanding LINO RAMBLE range, including the ARINTO and their smashing Grillo at the website link below:

Winery Link:  www.linoramble.com.au