At my father-in-law's 60th birthday party last week, we all did our bit for Australia's ongoing wine glut. After Coopers Clear ale, bubbles and whites, the centrepiece of the impressive barbecue was the six magnums of 2000 Evans & Tate Lionel's Vineyard Cabernet Merlot Robert had laid down for the occasion: delicious, mature, claret-like elegance and textured silk with savoury bite. My wife's cousin Lesley was off to a bogan party immediately after. A bogan, says I?
Not a shot has been fired yet, nor a glass lifted in anger, pleasure or uncritical assessment, but the hype has begun. Welcome to Bordeaux 2009 en primeur and the annual circus that now seems routinely to surround a new Bordeaux vintage when there's a sniff of something interesting in the air. And there's no doubt that Bordeaux 2009 looks like being every bit as interesting in its own way as the other three successful vintages of the noughties, 2000, 2003 and 2005.
Was it just coincidence I wonder that on the same day Vini Portugal put on a tasting in London of ‘50 Great Portuguese Wines’ chosen by Sarah Ahmed, the news from Lisbon was that researchers are working at finding a practical new use for cork: making the wings of a plane from compressed cork as a response to losing market share (to 70 – 75% from 90% in the 1990s) to screwcaps and plastic closures. Not that there was a screwcap or plastic closure on one single bottle of the 50 selected for the tasting.
If you know your Italian wines (but don’t worry if you don’t: a recent survey found that even 70% had no idea where amarone was from), you'll know that amarone is the third and perhaps least well-known of Italy’s triumvirate of great reds: Chianti Classico/ Supertuscan and Barolo / Barbaresco being the other two.
I am away in Italy for the tasting of the 2006 vintage of amarone (on which more soon), so meanwhile, instead of the usual weekly blog, here is my piece, Amazing Malbec, for Preferred Hotels Magazine, Vol V, Issue 2.