Vineyard soil and geology have never received as much attention as they do today.
This book is well written and researched, a pleasure to read and Walters argues his case persuasively.
Pyramid Valley Earth Smoke Pinot Noir 2015, North Canterbury, NZD $120
Melbourne-based wine importer Bibendum recently staged a tasting unlike any other. Entitled “Dots and Bubbles”, it was a mini-exhibition of Champagnes from six small houses including two of the rarest and most extraordinary, Jacques Selosse and Jerome Prevost – and the winemaker/proprietors themselves were there, pouring their wines. It has to be said that people like Anselme Selosse and Jerome Prevost are seldom seen, and for Bibendum to persuade them to travel to Australia and conduct exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne was extraordinary. The bad news is that it was for the trade only – although substantial numbers took advantage of the opportunity.
Vouvray is one of the world’s most exceptional wine regions. Its ancient vineyards on the north bank of the Loire River near the city of Tours grow in a kind of limestone known locally as tuffeaux. Some of these vineyards date back to the sixth century, when monks tended the vines. Into the cliff-like bank of the river the locals have dug tunnels which penetrate deep into the tuffeaux. Trogglodytes once lived there, although the 80 to 90 per cent humidity probably didn’t do their lungs much good. Later, they used the tunnels to house their animals on winter nights, or to store stock feed and farm implements. Today, some of the wine companies such as Marc Bredif use the old tunnels and galleries to store their bottled wines at an ideal 12 degrees Celcius.
The All For One Wine pledge initiated by Adelaide Hills winemaker Stephen Pannell and joined by 470 co-pledgers, to drink only Australian wine from January 1 to 26, created quite a stir. The pledgers comprised 304 winemakers, 61 grapegrowers, 22 restaurateurs and sommeliers, 61 merchants and 22 from the media. The exercise will probably be repeated next year, according to Pannell, although I’m not sure it should. It attracted a number of critics, notably Melbourne-based wine wholesaler Rob Walters, of Bibendum. His exhaustive analysis can be read on the allforonewine.com website or Bibendum’s site.
Chablis. One could almost argue that the chardonnay-based wines of Chablis must be related to the riesling wines of the Mosel Valley way over in Germany. At their best they are similarly transparent, translucent and pure. They reflect the soil they spring from and the rocks that form that soil. They express their terroir so honestly. A better way to put it might be that Chablis is to chardonnay what the Mosel is to riesling: its most pristine, most subtle, most delicate and hauntingly beautiful expression.