Old Bottle New Bottle

Friday, March 18, 2022

This week we are going to the Netherlands plus talking about new and old wine bottles.

NETHERLANDS:  In downtown Amsterdam there is a winery – Yes, a fully functioning winery!

Château Amsterdam was set up in 2017 by the father and son team of, Jos and Remy Herrewijn, who acquire grapes from a number of wine growing regions across Europe – see map below. They are transported in refrigerated vans to the winery for processing right through to and including the bottling.

In vintage 2021 they produced 80,000 bottles across several varieties and including a uniquely international wine made from German Pinot Noir blended with Italian Montepulciano. Another feature of the of Château Amsterdam is that they conduct bottling parties where for €30 people can come and be involved in the bottling of the wines, get a goodies bag including a tasting glass and have the opportunity to taste all ten of the different wines they make.

Also their wine labels are very avant-garde for Europe as you can see images below. All in all, viable fun!

OLD BOTTLE: We often hear of old bottles of wine being auctioned for a small fortune, or even a large fortune. For example, the 1907 vintage Champagne that was rescued out of a coastal freighter that had been torpedoed and sunk by a U-boat during World War I.  However, here is a new twist – an empty wine bottle recently sold at auction in England for the equivalent of €2,560.

Wow, that’s a heap of money for an empty wine bottle! Well, it turns out that it isn’t any old empty bottle. This one came from the collection of Lieutenant William Blight and was said to have been aboard the HMS Bounty when the crew mutinied in 1789.

NEW BOTTLES: Having successfully launched their “flat” bottle in Europe, especially in the UK, Garçon Wines are finally about to launch in the USA after a Covid-19 delay of nearly 18 months. A new brand from Ron Rubin Winery in Sonoma California called, “Flat Works”, will be launched. The initial offer will consist of a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon (California’s two favourite varieties) at US$15.99 a bottle.

The Garçon bottle is the ideal wine bottle in these times for a number of reasons. It has sooo much of a smaller carbon foot print than glass bottles, with a 10 pack of bottles (eight upright and two lying down across the necks of the 8) taking up the same space as a six pack of glass bottles and yet weighting less. Thus around a 50% lower freight footprint. Also it is much, much easier to carry their ten pack than 10 glass bottles – lighter and less bulky. Add the fact that the bottles are made from recycled plastic (which require significantly less energy to form them than what a glass bottle does), plus they can be recycled again.

In these “now” times that we are living in, the lightweight plastic bottle is not a hindrance, as 85% of all wine is consumed within 48 hours of purchase. Thus while the Garçon bottle is probably not appropriate to use for super premium wines destined to be cellared for a long time, such as Grange, it is perfectly suitable for most existing wine brands due to the wine’s early consumption. Another advantage for both retailers and consumers is that the bottles take up less storage space and do not need to be laid down on their sides. It is a “win, win, win” situation!

All in all, whichever way you look at it this is the next packaging revolution, after screwcaps that the wine industry has been in need of for quite some time. So I say, “Bring it on!”

An Australian launch date is yet to be advised, but I look forward to it with great enthusiasm.

That’s it for this week, so cheers and remember to #chooseaustralianwine and where possible enjoy #emergingvarieties. Oh and try a wine in a ground breaking Garçon bottle when you get the chance!

This Week's Wine Review:

This week I am talking about a “Bordeaux” style blend that isn’t pretending to be that.  The PARACOMBE ADELAIDE HILLS “THE REUBEN” 2016 is a blend of CABERNET SAUVIGNON, MERLOT, CABERNET FRANC and MALBEC.  These are four out of the six red varieties allowed to be used in Bordeaux, with Petit Verdot and Carménère being the other two permitted.

However, THE REUBEN isn’t emulating a Bordeaux claret, it has its own inimitable style and demonstrates the best features of these four varieties in a coolish climate.

I am also delighted by the fact that the current release is six-years-old in this “instant age” where even the mighty Grange is only cellared for four years before release. The wine has a deep, dense purple colour, gorgeous plum and red berry aromas on the bouquet with a dollop of vanillin oak. The palate is divine, silky-smooth, uber tasty with great depth of layered flavours and a tight, drying finish that lingers superbly for ages.

This is a sensational wine to enjoy with rich food now or decant a couple of hours before drinking. Alternatively, if you have the patience cellar it for another 3-5 years and it will reward you magnificently.

This is but one of the excellent wines in the PARACOMBE WINES range of cool-climate Adelaide Hills wines. It was a toss-up as to whether to make this wine or their brilliant Paracombe 2021 Chardonnay the “Wine of the Week” this week. Me being me, the red won, but it was a close call. So do yourself a favour and go to their website and check out their other excellent wines.

Cheers, have a great week, stay safe and enjoy great wines!

Winery Link: www.paracombewines.com.au