Friday, July 30, 2021

This week is about just a few of the changes that are occurring in the wine scene across the globe.

GLOBAL WARMING’S FROSTY RECEPTION:  It is hard to believe that global warming is leading to more and more severe frosts and hail storms, yet it is true.

Rather than calling it global warming we should really be calling it CLIMATE CHANGE because as the globe heats up, the weather patterns become more extreme rather than just hotter. In April, France suffered through a series of devastating frosts which affected roughly 80% of their vineyards and wiped $2 billion of the value of this year’s vintage – that is roughly twice what we lost in sales to China, but the difference being that we still have the wine so we can sell it elsewhere.

The reason that the frosts are now having more impact is that due to global warming budburst is noticeably earlier than before, thus the vines are further advanced and more vulnerable when the traditional frosts arrive, hence the greater the damage.

NEW FRENCHIES:  Speaking of the uber conservative French wine industry, they have just approved four new fungal resistant grape varieties into their AOC system – subject to final approval by the government. They are in the whites, Floréal and Voltis, and in the reds, Artaban and Vidoc (names obviously generated by viticulturists and not marketers). They are crosses between Vitis Vinifera and other Vitis done in order to improve the fungal resistance of the new variety.

But don’t go out and try to find a bottle of Voltis or Artaban anytime soon, as they will no doubt be hidden in blends so that they can keep up the appearance of their region’s vinous purity, as specified by the mountain of rules that they have to operate under.

RUSSIAN IN THE CHANGES:  With typical Putin disregard for everything, Russia has passed a new law that states that for a wine to be called “Champagne” it must have been produced within Russia. Thus French Champagne must call itself “Sparkling wine” and not Champagne IF it wants to sell to Russia, which is a considerable market for French Champagne. The Champagnios are all up in arms and demanding that the French Government and the EU Government “do something about this, and fix it”.

It will be interesting to see whether in these hard times, the French accept commercial reality and re-brand their wines for sale in Russia, or stand on their indignation and stop selling to Russia. My tip is – keep an eye out for bottles of Bollinger, Moët, Pol Roger, Veuve Clicquot, etc. labelled, sparkling wine.

IT’S IN THE POST: Latest news out of the USA says that a law currently before their House of Representatives could allow the US Parcel Service (USPS) to deliver wine to buyers around the country. Currently the USPS can deliver guns across the breath of the land but it is forbidden from delivering alcohol because minors might receive it.

At present where state laws allow it, UPS and FedEx, can deliver wine from interstate to consumers – whilst USPS sits on the sidelines twiddling its proverbial thumbs. Even before Trumps hatchet men got stuck into the USPS it was losing money, even though shifting wine to consumers is BIG business. Amazingly H.R.3287 is being sponsored by a band of both Democrats and Republicans – who surprise, surprise come from the main wine producing states of California, Washington and Oregon. Who ever said that the Yanks were a weird mixed up mob?

Well that’s all for this week, I hope you found it interesting. Have a great week, stay safe and always #chooseaustralianwine and where possible drink #emergingvarieties.

This Week's Wine Review:

This week I am talking about an on the edge red blend. The TOPPER’S MOUNTAIN TOURIGA & TINTAS KVEVRI, is the wine I am talking about. This NEW ENGLAND 2020 blend is a mix of Portuguese and Spanish native red grape varieties.

The crew at TOPPER’S MOUNTAIN always do things a little different to other folks and the result is some really different and exciting wines. For example, this wine is a blend of the Portuguese, Touriga and Tinta Cao grapes, along with the Spanish Tempranillo A.K.A. Tinta Roriz.  In Spain, almost all of the Tempranillo is made and bottled as straight varietal, whereas in Portugal most of the red wines are multi-varietal blends.

The next difference is that this wine is made from a “field blend”, which means that all three types of grapes were harvested together and then fermented together, as opposed to the usual way of fermenting the varieties separately and then blending them.

Also this wine was wild yeast fermented and matured in Kvervi – the clay amphora that the Georgians have been using for several thousand years.

The basic way to make Kvervi wine is that the grapes (usually stems and all) are jammed into these amphora which are then sealed (often in the ground) and left until the next spring when they are opened and the wine is syphoned off directly to bottling – i.e. no oak, no chemical adjustments or anything. That is what you call real natural wine!!

OK so now to the wine. It has vibrant red colour with attractive purple hues, a complicated bouquet of red fruits, spices and dried herbs with a smidge of forest floor aromas. The palate is silky-smooth, rich and round with lashings of enticing flavours, great depth and a degree of complexity, with a nice tight, slightly grippy, lingering finish. This makes it a brilliant, rich food wine now or cellar it for a while until it rounds out and softens off a bit more. Either way it is a delightful, exciting and different wine, well worth discovering.

Actually, the whole wine range from TOPPER’S are exciting, slightly different wines that stimulate the palate and tickle the imagination so definitely well worth seeking out.

Cheers, have a great week, remember to #chooseaustralianwine and whenever possible experience #emergingvarieties.

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