A short one this week, starting with a red-white wine.
RED RIESLING: Have you heard of Red Riesling? No? Well I hadn’t either until recently when I read about it in the excellent European wine blog, wein-plus magazine. Researchers at the Julius Kühn-Institut, in Germany have just proven that unlike most mutations which go from the red variant to a white one, Red Riesling (Aka Roter Riesling) mutated from the white skinned, Riesling.
Although the name implies it is a red skinned variety of Riesling, it is not dark skinned like red wine grapes are. Therefore officially it is still a “white” grape variety. It is very similar in skin colour to Gewürztraminer.
No chance of finding it in Aussie bottle shops in the near future, but at least now you know it exists.
CAN IT: I have been banging on about wines in cans for quite some time now. Therefore I am pleased to advise that Hardy’s have just announced that they are releasing three wines in cans in the UK, in time for summer – Rosé, Chardonnay and Shiraz. They are releasing them so as to “tap into the on-the-go market”. Which probably means that they will be launched here fairly soon – hopefully in time for our summer.
Now that the technology is sufficiently advanced, Wine in Cans (WIC) is a brilliant and practical packaging solution provided that the winery puts good quality wine in the can like the way that some existing “canners” like, Riot Wine Company, do – their canned McLaren Vale Shiraz is excellent.
The practicality of WIC is outstanding for picnics, sporting events, social gatherings, beach parties, etc. And the “anti-tampering” considerations should not be underestimated as it is very difficult to put drugs into somebody’s WIC as opposed to a glass just sitting on the bar. Another benefit of drinking WIC is that it is easy for the drinker to calculate how much they have had to drink, against having to remember how many glasses of booze they have consumed.
SLIM AND TRIM: In my April 29, 2022 Blog I mentioned that the Packamama slim/trim/ovaloid (environmentally friendly), recycled plastic bottle has been adopted by Moët Hennessy for their, Galoupet Nomade Côtes de Provence Rosé. Well I have recently found out that it will become a part of both the Hardy’s Wines and Taylors Wines Australian portfolios, in the very near future. One would imagine a spring/summer launch for this consumer friendly, uber practical packaging. Watch this space.
RUSSIA: With all the western embargoes in place, it would seem that Russia is turning to China to source wine, so that soon the oligarchs will be sipping Ningxia Cabernet instead of Bordeaux. In the 1950s and 1960s Russia used to send tanks to China. Now in the 2020s it looks like China will be sending tanks (of wine) to the Russians!
Depending on the volumes involved, this could well be the saviour of the Chinese wine industry whose production has fallen by over 50% in the latter half of the last decade. So if the Chinese won’t drink Chinese wine, maybe the Russians might!
That’s it for another week, please stay safe and #chooseaustralianwine and when possible try #emergingvarieties. Cheers, Dan T.
This week I am talking about one of the most amazing wines in Australia, DE BORTOLI NOBLE ONE BOTRYTIS SEMILLON.
Why amazing you may ask? Well, until De Bortoli Wines made the first vintage of this wonderful wine back in 1982, there were no botrytis wines made in Australia. All the sweet wines such as Spätlese, Auslese and Trockenbeerenauslese were all made from increasingly late-picked grapes, but not from Botrytis Cinerea infected grapes. Don’t get me wrong there were some excellent wines like the McWilliams Mount Pleasant and Lindemans Hunter Valley Porphyry series – the 1975 of which was still drinking fantastically a few weeks ago.
This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the DE BORTOLI BOTRYTIS SEMILLON, now called “NOBLE ONE”.
Starting with the 1982 vintage, this wine has had a stellar career winning more medals than you can poke a stick at – many vintages ran out of room on the back label to list all the accolades they had received.
The first time I tasted this marvelous wine was the 1982 vintage, back in 1988 at a “Sensory Evaluation” class held at Roseworthy College while doing my Wine Marketing Diploma (no degree in those days). By sheer happenstance I ended up being the pourer, out of an unlabeled, 2.0litre flagon of the dessert wine for the class. Thanks to judicious pouring there was around 100-125mls left at the bottom of the flagon. We tasted the wine, had our minds blown, and then the lecturer revealed that it was the DE BORTOLI 1982 BOTRYTIS SEMILLON, and quoted the amazing number of awards it had received thus far. This was the last wine before lunch, so while everybody headed off to lunch, I sat in the lab and was quietly enraptured by the remaining wine from the flagon. This was followed by a little nap out on the oval and I was ready for the afternoon lecture.
I have enjoyed the 1982 vintage on a number of occasions since then, the last being about 10 years ago, and it had matured fantastically and was still divine. I suspect it will live almost indefinitely, like most quality Sauterne wines do.
To celebrate this Anniversary I dug out the one and only bottle of NOBLE ONE left in my cellar, the 1988 vintage. At 34-years-old it was almost brown in tawny colour. When poured the complex bouquet of dried apricots, raisins and honey effused out of the glass. The palate is so sweet, rich, complex, deep and superbly structured with gently drying acidity on the finish so that it didn’t cloy. In fact, it is still slightly tight on the finish. It is ever so utterly moreish and it is hard if not impossible to imagine being able to pack any more flavor into a wine than what this mana from heaven has. It is literally “breath-taking”! OMG! As some would say, “heaven on a stick” or in this case, “heaven in a glass”.
Whilst I haven’t tried the latest release, given the effort and TLC that De Bortoli put into the making of the NOBLE ONE, I am sure that the quality, deliciousness and ageability are there, like they have been since the very first vintage 40 years ago.
A huge thank you to De Bortoli Wines for creating this superb, seminal wine, which continues to delight and proves that we can match it with the rest of the world. FRICKING AWESOME!!!!!
Winery Link: www.debortoli.com.au