Overseas Spot News

May 30, 2020

This week Dan reports on some interesting and somewhat bizarre news which has recently come to light in the wine industry overseas.

AUSTRIA:  Wachau (the drop dead gorgeous wine growing area that runs alongside the Danube in Austria) has just been added as the 15th region to the DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus) Register, similar to a DOC in France. A most deserved recognition.

I visited the enchanting Domaine Wachau in 2018, where as part of the experience we stood in an underground cellar which was dug by monks some 22 years before Australia was discovered. We also cruised down the Danube sipping various Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines as we drifted past the vineyards that supplied the grapes for these wines. Then followed a tasting of Domaine Wachau whites going back to 1973 – an amazing experience. Brilliant wines from a brilliant place!

A limited number of their excellent wines (Grüner Veltliner, Riesling and Zweigelt) are available here in Australia through Dan Murphy’s.

USA:  In early May in California, (and this could only happen in the USA) a wine tanker driver noticed a man trying to get his attention as he drove down the highway. Thinking that the man had spotted something wrong with the tanker, the driver pulled over. The man pulled his car over as well, then jumped out of his car dressed only in his underwear and ran towards the tanker. Seeing this, the tanker driver took off fearing high jacking and re-joined the highway. A few minutes later the tanker driver pulled over again after he noticed that his gauges were showing a loss of wine. When he hopped out of the cab he saw the same man clinging underneath the tanker trailer with his mouth against one of the wine outlet valves that he had managed to open. The guy was busily swallowing as much wine as he could as it poured all over him. The offender was arrested by the California Highway Patrol. The truck lost around 4,000 litres of wine. How bizarre!!

FRANCE:  A recent meeting of ministers has signed off on the Government funding a €140 million scheme to distil 200 million litres of wine into alcohol due to the wine sales slump caused by Covid-19. This means that a litre of wine is worth €0.70 to the grower, to sell to the Government, to turn into pure alcohol. It also means that France will be distilling the equivalent of one-sixth of Australia’s total wine production as surplus wine. Wow!!

UK:  Majestic Wine Group have just signed up with Deliveroo to deliver wines from 80 of their stores (so far) to customers. This enables consumers to have not only their meal delivered by Deliveroo, but also the wine to accompany that meal. Another small step forward for the totally “online” world of tomorrow.

IRISH WINE??:  Yep! They are making wine in Ireland these days. Despite being too far north for most Vitis Vinifera to prosper, not to mention the dampness, Ireland is making small amounts of wine. It is made mainly from hybrid varieties such as Rondo – a Czechoslovakian red variety created in 1964, which is a cross between the Austrian St Laurent and a Vitis Amurensis variety called, Zarya Severa. There are also minute amounts of Gewürztraminer, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grown, but these are grown in hot houses rather than in open air vineyards.

In Lusk, a village just north of Dublin is Luscā Wines, who grow late ripening varieties under a synthetic cover – which helps to keep the heat in on the vines, as well as keeping out much of the rain. These wines are so far only available locally but there are plans to expand sales into England.

So, one day you might find yourself in an Irish pub in the UK drinking Irish wine as well as or instead of Irish Beer or Whiskey.

Well that’s it for another week. Stay safe and enjoy great wines wherever they come from. Cheers!

This Week's Wine Review:

This week we are back in the Barossa with a wine that has almost as many “o’s” in it as Woolloomooloo has – well, 6 rather than 8. It is the SCHILD ESTATE 2017 MOOROOROO BAROSSA SHIRAZ. Due to be released at the beginning of August, this is a cracking, big, Barossa Shiraz. It is not a monster like some Barossa Shiraz are, but she’s pretty big and bold and oh, so delicious.

Based on some of the Barossa’s “Ancestor Vines” – some of the oldest Shiraz vines on the planet, four rows that were planted in1847 – making them 160-years-old at the time of this vintage!!

It is a big, concentrated wine made with lashings of TLC from very, very low yielding ancient vines. At the time of writing, this wine had just been judged by Halliday and scored 99 just like the previous two vintages did. That is a pretty impressive track record. I don’t know that three successive vintages of Grange has managed to score 99. So even if like me you are not overly fussed by numerical scores, it’s enough to make one sit up and pay attention.

The wine has a rich bouquet of cherries, spices and a good dollop of vanillin oak. The palate is mouth-filling, rich with lashings of blackberry flavours, along with a hint of spice and dark chocolate. The tannins are fine grained and elegant making this a superb fruit first, classy wine that is a joy to drink now and with some aging will become a classic Barossa Shiraz.

The wine is open fermented and matured in new oak.

This magnificent wine is part of the excellent range of SCHILD ESTATE wines that you can check out at: www.schildestate.com.au