‘Considering how long it’s taken Europe, the Australian wine regional map has come rapidly into sharp focus in just two decades’. Pontificating on the remarkable progress of Australian wine, I was taken aback when one student asked me if this progress was down to good PR. After just attending the Australia Day wine tasting, the answer was an emphatic no. True, Australia’s PR has been an asset, but the tasting underlined that Australia’s success in becoming the UK’s favourite wine country, with sales of nearly 19 million cases last year, is based on substance rather than form.
I was intrigued by the announcement last month that London’s first specialist Italian wine merchant had just opened with the biggest selection of Italian wines in the country. I could hardly believe it was London’s first. Then I realized that even independents with great Italian selections like Lea & Sandeman and Philglas & Swiggot by no means focus exclusively on Italy.
If you stick to buying your wine in supermarkets, chances are you haven’t yet tripped over a great Burgundy. Burgundy is not something supermarkets tend to excel at. Its small scale, artisan products can be pricey, infuriatingly inconsistent, and difficult to pin down, but the idea that you have to be on a city slicker’s bonus to afford it is wide of the mark.