Soap Box News

Friday, June 11, 2021

It is soap box time again! There are some mighty silly things happening in the world of wine and here are a couple which may be of interest to you...

BLACKED OUT:  OMG! Following on from the ridiculous situation where Coon Cheese had its name changed so as to become more PC (Politically Correct) and less offensive to black citizens – over the last few years, as Italian wines have become even more popular in the USA, there has been a movement gaining momentum to change the name of the native Italian grape variety, Negroamaro, (which means ‘dark and bitter’ or ‘black and bitter’) because it can cause offence to African American wine drinkers.

Oh Lord, please help us to see “common sense”! The name clearly describes the taste of the grapes (How many other varieties do that?), nothing more, so how can it cause offence to “reasonable” people?

If it isn’t changed, then will the variety be blackballed, blacklisted or just simply blacked out?  Come on, do we have to get rid of every reference to ‘black’, in our vocabulary to keep the political wowsers happy? Give me a break!!!

REALITY: In the latest rankings of worldwide wine brands, Yellowtail was rated as number one for the “Most Powerful Wine Brand in the World”, with Spanish Castillero del Diablo in second and Jacobs Creek in at number three. I saw a number of rants in the media from people saying how this is terrible and sends the wrong message to wine drinkers about Australian wine, etc., etc.

Well, I say it gives exactly the right message to wine drinkers, because the people who buy the top ten wine brands are not the people who buy Grange or First Growth Bordeaux. They are ordinary, everyday people who have a glass or three of wine with their meal. I for one am delighted that they pick an Aussie brand over an American or French brand. The only thing that would change IF those brands hadn’t worked so hard to get to where they are today, is that a lot less people would be drinking Australian wine and thus Australia would be making a lot less wine. It also means that significantly less people would have heard of Australian wine and less would be able to contemplate trading up from these huge yet humble brands to other higher quality, regional and varietally specific wines.

The top of the pyramid where Grange, Hill of Grace, etc., reside would be dramatically smaller if the massive base of the pyramid wasn’t there to support and nurture the whole pyramid.

When I started drinking wine in the 1980s I started with the likes of Jacobs Creek, Hardys Stamp Series, etc., at around $1.99 a bottle. There would have been no way that I would have gone and lashed out $26 on a bottle of Grange if the “cheapies” hadn’t have been there. I would have just kept on drinking beer and wouldn’t have converted hundreds of people over to wine since then. A few of my friends and “converts” have gone on to drink some of the most amazing super-duper, uber premium wines that the world has to offer, but many of these people still enjoy an “everyday quaffer” like, Jacobs Creek, that is washed down with a meal, without thought or analysis and it is just an integral part of the meal.

So, if you criticise these mega brands and their role in the big, wide world of wine drinking, then, in my opinion, you are nothing more than a wine snob.

By the way I have tasted and enjoyed many of the world’s greatest wines from Grange to DRC, Château d’Yquem and Latour, Ridge Vineyards, Opus 1 Dr. Ernst Loosen, and I am still chuffed to have a glass of Jacobs Creek at a picnic or BBQ with good friends.

Here’s to the Big Guys who make the path smoother and easier for the rest of the wine industry.

Cheers! Have a great week, stay safe and enjoy great wines and remember to #chooseaustralianwine and where possible #emergingvarieties

This Week's Wine Review:

In recent times there have been quite a number of wineries located in one region, offering up a wine from a different region as part of their portfolio. I am not sure whether they do this to show their versatility/skills or simply to broaden their portfolio by having a greater range to offer in these uber competitive times.

I have found in a number of instances the wine from the different region isn’t quite up to the standard of their “home grown” version, of the same variety. Say just for example, a McLaren Vale winery with a Barossa Shiraz as well as the Shiraz that they make from their own vineyard, or vice versa.

This week I am talking about a sensational Barossa Shiraz made by Clare Valley stalwart, Reillys Wines. Their Clare Valley Shiraz such as the Dry Land Shiraz, RCV Epitaph and “Old Vine” Stolen Block Shiraz are cracking wines. So when they released the REILLYS WINES 2017 MOON VINE BAROSSA SHIRAZ, the expectations were pretty high, given the quality of its Clare peers.

I am delighted to say that the 2017 MOON VINE SHIRAZ lives up to expectations. It is deep, almost impenetrably coloured, with a really appealing bouquet of plums, dark fruit, pepper and a hint of meatiness.

The palate is luscious, rounded, full-bodied, redolent with concentrated fruit flavours, almost massive yet still tight and grippy on the finish, making it a superb wine to be enjoyed now with rich food or if you have the patience to cellar it for three to five years and it will be divine on its own.

An absolute ripper Shiraz, really worth seeking out.

Have a great week enjoying outstanding #chooseaustralianwine

For the full range of Reillys Wines excellent wines the website link is: