Sweetness & Pointlessness Of Life

Friday, April 22, 2022

This week it is all about some sweetness and pointlessness in life.

THE SWEETNESS:  First up this is the 40th vintage of De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon – “Big deal!” I hear you say? Well, it was a HUGE deal when it first came out. The 1982 vintage was the first Botrytis Semillon made in Australia. It blew everybody’s minds because up until then we had only been making sweet and super sweet, “normal” late picked wines with easy to remember and say names like Spatlese, Auslese and Trockenbeerenauslese.

It went on to win more gongs than anybody could have possibly imagined at the time and was still sublime 20 years later.

So any time you open an Aussie botrytis wine, you should silently say “thanks” to the uber adventurous folk at De Bortoli, in the Riverina, who created a whole new class/style of wine in Australia.

I have a bottle of the 1988 vintage tucked away in my cellar, which I will be reviewing later in the year.

POINTLESSNESS:  An American wine reviewer, sick and tired of the ridiculous 100 point system, has launched a new website/method of judging wines called, “101 Point Wines”, in which all the wines he reviews either don’t get a mention if he does not like them, they get 100 points if he likes them OR they get 101 points if he really likes them. SIMPLE!!

The 100 point system was really a 20 point system. With wines scoring only the 80-100 points being initially considered, but gradually over time became a 10 point system, with people refusing to consider a wine that scored less than 90 points. More recently it is becoming a 6 point system with wines scoring 93 or less starting to be overlooked by the score fixated consumers.

Given that wines will taste different depending on the time of the day, what one has eaten or is eating with it, etc., etc., maybe the 100 point system should look at mentioning in the review, what time of the day it was when the wine was reviewed, what the weather was and what coloured socks the reviewer was wearing? It would add new meaning and depth to this wine review system!!!

Imagine IF the next release of Grange only scored 92? Shock! Horror!  End of the world!!! Well, in the 1988 edition of Halliday’s Wine Companion, Penfolds Grange Hermitage scored 88 points, and in fact the only Australian wine to score 90 points in that edition was the Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay!! MON DIEU!!!

Well, with the 101 point system, no longer do readers/viewers have to worry whether a 94 point Shiraz is as good as a 95 point Shiraz and what’s the difference to a 96 point Shiraz that costs $100 more.

Or we could adopt the new Chinese system reported by “Grape Wall of China” a while back (as I mentioned in my blog at the time), where the really good wines score over 1,000,000 points. But then it becomes an issue of choosing between a wine that scored 1,112,000 points at $250 or a wine that scored 1,100,008 points at $100.

I always remember the way that the great British wine writer, Clive Coates, in his amazing magazine “The Vine” (mid-1980s to 2005) painted an enticing picture of most of the world’s greatest wines just with wonderful words. Maybe that is why I refuse to allot numerical scores to the wines I taste, unless I happen to be judging at a formal wine event. Or maybe it is because I can’t handle the stress of deciding whether the wine I am tasting now is more or less worthy of a 95 than the similar variety wine that I tasted this morning, or after lunch or yesterday. Is the quality 1 point better than those tasted previously or not?

To me words are more descriptive and less pointless than 10 point system which is in the process of becoming a 5 point system.

Well that’s it for this week, stay safe and #chooseaustralianwine.

Website Link:  www.101PointWines.com

This Week's Wine Review:

I have been banging on for years about how ‘experimentatious’ the Australian wine industry is. How we aren’t constrained by archaic rules written eons ago, and are prepared to “have a go” at all sorts of new and exciting vinous things. For a country with no native grape varieties we produce wines from 154 different varieties – oops now 155, and probably now 156, and still rising!!

Well this week’s wine is a case in point. It would be physically impossible to make this wine in Europe, as it is a blend of an Italian native varietal white with an Austrian native varietal white. Mon Dieu ce n’est pas possible!

No European could imagine the idea of blending two varieties from two different countries to make a wine.

Well here in the Adelaide Hills the good folk at LONGVIEW VINEYARDS have done just that with an awesome outcome.

The LONGVIEW 2021 ADELAIDE HILLS VISTA GRIGIO-GRÜNER is a fabulous blend of PINOT GRIGIO (Italian) and GRÜNER VELTLINER (Austrian). This is the first time I have come across this blend, but I am sure that it will not be the last, because it works ever so well.

It has a very elegant bouquet with dainty citrus and stone fruit aromas, leading to a gorgeous palate which at this young age is quite tight but with oodles of delightful, slightly complex flavours. It ends with a crisp refreshing finish.

One sip tells you that this wine is equally at home as an aperitif or accompanying all but the richest/spiciest of food dishes.

Yep this whipper-snipper is raring to go and will delight and seduce your tastebuds when you give it a go!!

Congratulations LONGVIEW VINEYARDS, on the experimentatious audacity and on the divine outcome.

Winery Link:  www.longviewvineyard.com.au