Current News

Friday, March 26, 2021

This week’s Blog covers some interesting current news from Australia and overseas.

CANBERRA INTERNATIONAL RIESLING CHALLENGE (CIRC):  This year’s internationally renowned, CIRC, will be conducted during October 11-16. It will be the 21st CIRC, which was set up by winemaker, Ken Helm, to benchmark Canberra Riesling against the rest of the country’s producers. Along the way it grew into a significant international event, with judges and entrants from around the world. The previous edition in 2019 had around 700 entries from nine countries.

Organisers announced that as from this year the event is changing from the traditional Gold, Silver and Bronze medal system to the following ranking system:

Outstanding:  95+ points

Excellent:  93-94 points

Premium:  90-92 points

Recommended:  85-89 points

Riesling producers around the country are encouraged to enter their wines in the only truly international Riesling benchmarking event. Entries open on June 1, 2021 and close July 31, 2021.

Website Link:

DEPOSIT ON WINE BOTTLES:  Scotland has announced that it will be introducing a 20p DRS (Deposit Return Scheme) which will include wine bottles. Industry giant Accolade Wines has thrown its support behind this scheme by becoming a Foundation Partner to the scheme.

While I am sure that most of us Aussie wine drinkers religiously re-cycle our wine bottles, one wonders whether wine bottles shouldn’t be a part of the 10c deposit scheme. Firstly, it would make us look more responsible in the environmental fight and secondly, it would mean an even higher proportion of the glass being recycled.

Food for thought as an extra 10 cents isn’t going to make a big difference to the price of a bottle of premium Shiraz or your favourite bubbly, but it will improve our “environmental citizenship”.

Your thoughts please – other than “too lazy to do it”. Thanks.

GOING, GOING, GONE:  Harper’s newsletter recently advised that in the UK nearly 12,000 licenced premises have closed their doors since December 2019. This equates to roughly 30 licenced premises a DAY shutting up shop for ever. That is a real shame and very sad!!

FALLING FOUL OF EVIL TYRANTS:  So far this year, in addition to the massive and unjustified tax increase on Australian wine, the Communist regime running China has also rejected entry to several shipments of Australian wine. First came a container load of wine from the Coonawarra’s Ladbroke Grove Wines, for supposedly “contaminated corks”. Then a winery called, Badger’s Brook Winery, in the Yarra Valley had a shipment rejected (reason not specified). Now a shipment of around 3,000 bottles of Penfolds Bin 28 and Bin 128 has been rejected over a “labelling issue” which seems to be about how the word Shiraz was translated into Chinese – Like this was the first time that Treasury Wine Estates translated Shiraz into Chinese!!!! Apparently there are three commonly used translations for Shiraz.

These actions clearly demonstrate that the Chinese Government is conducting trade warfare against Australia – pure and simple. Therefore, whilst we can’t do anything about the plight of our wine industry in this one-sided stoush, we should all cease, where possible, from buying any Chinese made goods and instead support other countries which are fairer and equitable trading partners to Australia rather than overbearing bully boys. Try Japan, Korea, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Philippines, just to name a few.

By the way, the WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) has ceased all activities in China as at the end of February. Whilst no specific reason was given other than, “administrative issues”, it has been suggested that it fell afoul of the Chinese Ministry of Education. The previous year they had 18,200 students/candidates.

Well that’s it for this week, stay safe and remember to #chooseaustralianwine and try #emergingvarieties.


This Week's Wine Review:

I have always been a big fan of Chardonnay since I first tasted Tyrells Vat 47 Chardonnay in the mid-1980s.

No, I did not like the lumps of 4x2 (over oaked) Chardonnays that prevailed between the late-1980s to mid-1990s, nor do I like the more recent uber acidic unwooded Chardonnays that are ‘wannabe’ Sauvignon Blancs. I love the moderately oaked, creamy ones with character, depth and finesse.

So, this week I am writing about a slightly austere, cool climate Chardonnay that is developing into my favourite, oh, so yummy, style of Chardonnay. Rather unsung, but the Orange region of New South Wales has been delivering plenty of elegant Chardonnays for quite a while now, and this is no exception – PATINA 2018 ORANGE RESERVE CHARDONNAY.

This wine has a superb, restrained but slightly creamy bouquet of limes and peaches, which is superb. The palate is rich and supple with lashings of stone fruit flavours and a hint of citrus. It is quite tight and acidic at present but starting to show a splash of toasty creaminess that is evolving over time and will make this wine truly sensational in another 2-4 years’ time.

If you like sophisticated, elegant and creamy Chardonnay and have a bit of patience, this wine is well worth searching for, or go directly to the Patina Wines website where they also offer a Chardonnay vertical pack – which includes this wine, its 2004 predecessor and a bottle of their current Patina 2019 Orange Chardonnay. Interesting!!

Cheers, enjoy great wines this week and always #chooseaustralianwine

Winery Link: