The World Is Going Bonkers!

Friday, March 11, 2022

This week a few items that make one thing clear, that the world is going bonkers!

BONKERS IN BRITAIN:  Britain’s oldest pub, “Ye Olde Fighting Cocks” (which has been around for nearly 1,300 years), is facing closure as the consortium that owns it has gone into administration. So PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are calling for the establishment to change its name and convert over to a full vegan menu as part of a “21st Century revamp”. They say that this move would make the establishment, “more inclusive, kinder and environmentally friendly”.

The locals aren’t having it, as one said: “Bonkers! Why is it even any of their business?”

BONKERS IN HONKERS:  Global drinks giant, Pernod Ricard, has asked its Hong Kong (HK) senior staff to re-locate to other Asian countries as the Chinese Authorities implement their toughest Covid-19 restrictions yet. As the fifth wave hits HK, the authorities have re-introduced tough social distancing rules, including closing all bars and clubs, no dine-in service between 6pm and 5am and flight bans from nine countries, including Australia. This is added to the mandatory 14 days hotel quarantine upon arrival in Hong Kong, taking it into a virtual lockdown.

Therefore, Pernod Ricard has asked its senior staff to temporarily operate out of other Asian countries so that they can continue to service customers and have the ability to visit head office in Paris if needed.

This is seen as the start of a trend as there is no flexibility in the Chinese Authority’s regulations. Luxury hotel group, Mandarin Oriental, have just followed suit and relocated their top executives. It is expected that other multi-national corporations will do likewise, as overall conditions and freedoms wane in HK.

Given this, plus the ongoing civil unrest (which is into it’s third year), one must wonder if HK’s days as the business and power centre of Asia might not be on the way out in favour of more “stable” environments such as Singapore or Japan.

BONKERS AGAIN IN BRITAIN:  So the poms left the EU to be more independent, etc. Yet they are now buying 30% more French Champagne than they did before, despite all the extra red tape to get the stuff into the country. Sacré Bleu!!

The Poms are also bonkers in that they signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Australia which would make it easier and cheaper to import Australian wine and then re-jigged all their wine duties and taxes so that the net effect is that Aussie wine will cost around the same as before, IF not perhaps a bit more. One wonders whether the review was conducted by “the Barmy Army?”

STILL IN BRITAIN – came the recent news that the Royal Palace is launching its own brand of Sparkling wine for the Queen’s upcoming Platinum Jubilee instead of the usual practice of appointing a champagne supplier for the event.

The sparkler is a blend of the three traditional varieties – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Made in the “Methode Traditionale” from grapes grown in West Sussex and Kent. At £39 a bottle it will only be available online and from appointed stockists.

Well that’s it for another week, in this weird old world of wine that we live in.

Have a great week, remember to #chooseaustralianwine and when possible drink #emergingvarieties.

This Week's Wine Review:

I have been a big fan of Riverland wines ever since I worked up there during 2001-2004. While there I came to realise that apart from being “Australia’s export engine room” and producing mega-litres of commercial wine, there are a growing number of premium boutique wineries in the region which are producing some extraordinary wines – especially using emerging grape varieties (as I wrote in my article, The River Rising, WBM July/August 2021 – please refer to link below).

Today I am looking at a unique blend from one of the “younger” rising boutique Riverland wineries – STARRS REACH VINEYARD.

STARRS REACH VINEYARD has been owned and operated by the Mason Family since 2010. It is made up of three distinct vineyards which grow over 5000 tonnes of wine grapes from over 210 hectares of vineyard. In addition to the vineyards, the properties also produce almond and citrus crops. Rather large for a “boutique” winery one would say, but it is small parcels of their best grapes that are kept and made into their exciting wines, whilst the rest of the crop is sold to other wineries as grapes.

Their first releases were Grenache, both as an outstanding full-bodied wine and as a delightful Rosé. Recently they have added to their range by releasing the STARRS REACH SINGLE VINEYARD RIVERLAND 2021 MATARO DURIF. This is the first such blend that I have tasted and wonder why nobody else is making this fantastic blend. I have tasted a few different blends with Durif in them, such as the wonderful Morris Rutherglen Sparkling Shiraz Durif, but until now never a Mataro Durif blend. The two varieties work very well together to produce a delightful wine.

This wine has a medium depth of bright, attractive purple/red colour. A very appealing bouquet of cigar box cedar, ripe blackberries and a smidge of dark chocolate. The palate is sublime with lashings of blackcurrants, red berries and a smattering of cherries. It is silky-smooth, with a long, lingering, attractive finish.

This is a delightful wine that is raring to go with food, or open the bottle and pour out a glassful a while before you plan to drink it, so that it can breathe a bit and show at its best.

A fabulous wine that helps to demonstrate why/how the Riverland is becoming one of Australia’s most exciting wine regions.

Cheers, have a great/safe week and please remember to #chooseaustralianwine and when possible try #emergingvarieties.

Winery Link: www.starrsreach.com.au

Article Link:  The River Rising