Friday, June 4, 2021

This week I am discussing the latest on thermochromic strips on wine labels and a quick update on the New Zealand wine industry…

THE NEXT STEP:  In 2000, when I was the General Manager of Yaldara Wines, we added a thermochromic strip to the back label of some of our wines. The strip had three different colour settings:  “too hot”, “right temperature” and “too cold”.

These colours were set at different temperatures for whites and reds. So for example with the reds, if the bottle was at 14 degrees Celsius or lower it showed the dark blue colour (too cold), at 15-19 degrees Celsius it showed the light blue colour (right temperature) and at over 20 degrees Celsius it went an off white colour to show that the wine was too hot. When Yaldara was sold by its corporate owners, this initiative was discontinued. This excellent consumer advice system has been disregarded by the wine industry until in more recent times, Taylors Wines, from the Clare Valley introduced a similar and very effective system on some of their labels, using different shades of green.

I have just found out that Californian icon winery, C K Mondavi and Family, for the celebration of their 75th Anniversary, have released a set of wines with a thermochromic front label. Each different variety changes to a colour when the wine is at its correct serving temperature, for example, the Chardonnay label turns orange, whilst the Pinot Grigio turns green. If the wine is over chilled the colour becomes really dark. This way one can see at a glance whether ones wine is too hot, too cold or just the right temperature.

This is a great step forward in making wine more consumer friendly/usable as people are less likely to consume their wines at the wrong temperature. Whilst this can prevent whites from being served too cold and thus neigh on tasteless, it is even more important with reds during the summer heat. At temperatures above 24 degrees Celsius the flavour compounds in the wine start to evaporate and the wine gradually becomes tasteless.

Hopefully over time other wineries will implement this system for advising their consumers when the wine is at its ideal temperature thus maximising their drinking enjoyment. It would be of great assistance at summer barbeques where red wines are often seen sitting on the table in the full sun on a 40 degrees Celsius plus day, making them tasteless and basically undrinkable.

SHRINKING KIWIS:  A recent report by Wine Intelligence Weekly shows that whilst New Zealand’s population has grown from 3.5 million in 2015 to 3.7 million in 2020, the number of wine drinkers in New Zealand is shrinking – down from 2.5 million in 2015 to 2.3 million in 2020. Over the same time “regular” wine drinkers (those who drink at least once a month – I would have thought “regular” would mean at least once a day or at the very minimum once a week) have declined by 300,000 people, while the vineyard acreage is still on the increase. Therefore, the Kiwi’s will have to export even more wine in future – maybe they should have a big push into the China market like we did?

Website Link:  www.wineintelligenceweekly.com

Have a great week, stay safe and enjoy great wines. Cheers and #chooseaustralianwine and when possible enjoy #emergingvarieties

This Week's Wine Review:

As my regular readers will know I have been a huge fan of DURIF since not long after I started drinking wine, back in Sydney way back in the 1980s.

Originally it was only Rutherglen DURIF but since the turn of the century there have been some cracker DURIF produced in other winegrowing regions. The first and most exciting one of these was the Riverina, centred around Griffith in NSW.

The great thing about Riverina DURIF is that it is drinkable at a much younger age which is perfect for today’s “now” society. Whilst most Rutherglen DURIF need a goodly 5-10 years from vintage to soften-off and round-out, Riverina DURIF can be eminently drinkable at 2-4 years from vintage.

Today’s wine is one such case, the CALABRIA FAMILY WINES THREE BRIDGES 2019 RIVERINA DURIF.  At a mere two-years-old it is but a pup, yet it is already extremely drinkable. The colour is so dense that it is almost black. It has a divine bouquet of blackberries, sweet plums and a hint of thyme. The palate is hugely mouth-filling, big, rich with lashings of complex enticing flavours and a simply divine finish. OMG, there is just so much flavour, depth and complexity crammed into this youngster! WOW!

So as to ensure that this wasn’t a once-off fluke, I dug out of my cellar a bottle of its elder bro, the 2007, and whilst it was maybe not quite as deep and dense as the 2019, the same inherent, diabolically divine flavours were there in spadefulls - just silkier, smoother and a bit older.

Congratulations to the team at Calabria! This is in my opinion a truly world-class wine and bloody gorgeous!

Winery Link: www.calabriawines.com.au

Cheers and remember #chooseaustralianwine and where possible drink #emergingvarieties