On the Plus Side of Wine News

Friday, April 9, 2021

This week we have look at what’s happening on the plus side of wine news both from here at home and the USA..

HANDPICKED WINES: which produce premium and super premium wines from around the country have recently opened a very up-market, multi-purpose cellar door in the heart of Melbourne. Located at the 80 Collins Street precinct, where “curated dining meets luxury retail”. The three story area includes a retail wine and premium cheese shop, a charcuterie and wine bar. There is also an ‘experience room’ for wine education and wine tastings.

The venue will showcase 50 different wines that the group make. The range of wines and provisions offered is augmented by select additions from Italy and Spain.

It is great to see companies making such positive moves, especially into the luxury retail end of the spectrum, in these troubling times. Handpicked Wines is also in the midst of converting its vineyards over to being Organic.

Winery Link: www.handpickedwines.com.au

USA:  E & J Gallo Winery, the world’s largest wine company has bought 600 acres of land in the state of South Carolina so as to build its second glass bottle making plant. It is the only wine company in the world that has its own bottle making plant (in California).  The company is now planning to spend $US400 million on its second bottle plant, so as to service the East Coast with locally made bottles, rather than trucking the finished product right across the USA. That is, they will freight bulk wine across the country and then bottle the wine in South Carolina. This is significant as around 70% of Gallo’s sales are in the eastern half of the USA. The new plant will include a packaging facility that is capable of packing various sized bottles, wine casks, cans and small plastic bottles.

While there has been no announcement as yet, one would envisage that all the bottling for its considerable exports to Europe would also be done on the East Coast.

This is a massive investment in reducing their carbon footprint.

McWILLIAM’S WINES:  Having gone into administration in January 2020 and with a failed purchase attempt late last year, one could be forgiven for thinking that things are looking very bleak for this 140+ year-old family winery.

However, the management are very optimistic that a new buyer will be found for the slimmed and trimmed down company, which is busily getting on with vintage 2021 across the land. As Covid-19 recedes new and exciting opportunities are opening up for the company, which lead the management to believe that it will not only survive, but in time will thrive and regain its rightful place as one of Australia’s top wine companies.

I first came across McWilliam’s in the early 1980s when I cut my wine drinking teeth on McWilliam’s Elizabeth Semillon (released at about six years of age) and McWilliam’s Phillip Hermitage – both of which were $1.99 at my local bottle shop. In 1986, we visited their Mt Pleasant winery in the Hunter, for the first time and there you could still buy 1975 vintaged red and white wines for a reasonable price. I bought a few bottles of their 1967 Sparkling Hermitage which was stunning. I consumed the last bottle in 2001 and it was still bloody amazing. One of the best two dessert wines I have ever tasted was the McWilliams 1946/1966 Sauterne (no botrytis) – released in the mid-1990s made from Muscadelle and I think Semillon. The 1946 component (about 65-70% of the blend) was made by the legendary Maurice O’Shea with the 1966 component toping up the original wine. It was bright orange in colour and utterly divine!!

Back to present day, McWilliam’s has an excellent range of wines from:

► the great value of the ‘Hanwood Estate’ range,

► the still sensational Mt Pleasant range,

► the McW 480 Estate range from the new ‘cool’ area of Tumbarumba,

► the McW 660 Reserve range from Canberra,

► the McW Alternis range of emerging varietals,

► and of course its renowned fortified wines.

So when you are looking for something ‘new’ to drink, please consider the excellent wines from McWilliam’s Wines – they won’t let you down and you will be helping in the survival of an Australian wine legend. Please Consider!!

Winery Link:  www.mcwilliams.com.au

Cheers! Have a great week and always #chooseaustralianwine and sometimes #emergingvarieties

**STOP PRESS**:  It has just been announced that Riverina based Calabria Family Wines has purchased McWilliam’s – full details not advised as yet.

This Week's Wine Review:

As I have said a number of times before, I love Saperavi, the big Georgian native red variety. Ever since I first tasted the Patritti Wines 2008 Barossa Saperavi I have been smitten. So much so, that I have written two articles on the variety, conducted a tasting of USA vs Australia vs Georgian Saperavi and assisted in getting every Australian producer (at the time) to enter the 2017 SapPrize competition run by the Georgians to find the best Saperavi made outside of Georgia in the world. By the way, Australia won with the Cirami Estate 2015 Riverland Saperavi.

Today’s wine is the LINO RAMBLE 2020 McLAREN VALE ‘SIMON SAYS’ SAPERAVI. This is an ideal wine for today’s “now” world, in that it needs no cellaring so as to be eminently enjoyable. It is a big wine with deep, inky purple colour, attractive aromas of stewed beetroot with just a hint of fresh violets and a smidge of spice. It has a gorgeous, big, rich, round palate with lashings of delightful flavours and a gentle enough, yet lingering finish to make it raring to go. So enjoyable, with or without food. OH YUM!!

This divine wine and the rest of the Lino Ramble range can be found on their website (see link below) or at their recently opened cellar door at 148 McMutrie Road, McLaren Vale. Cheers!

#chooseaustralianwine #emergingvarieties

Winery Link:  www.linoramble.com.au