Tag: Brokenwood

Apr 04 2012

Cork versus Screwcap: Penfolds re-ignites the debate!

Posted on April 04, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

On the Cellarit Facebook page, I noted that Huon Hooke reported in the Sydney Morning Herald that Penfolds will now give people a choice of cork or screwcap. According to Penfolds’ chief winemaker, Peter Gago, “cork is a barometer of care.” It’s a better indicator of bad handling, heat damage or poor storage conditions, because the cork will leak or, if affected by heat, slightly push up into the seal. (Sydney Morning Herald, 10 April 2012)

David Hawkins of One Aussie Wines responded to my Facebook post with the following comment: “Peter Gago may be correct, but I’ve had plenty of wines with corks that were up or down and the wine was fine…unfortunately TCA doesn’t offer any clues and that’s a more relevant fault for most people. I’ve also had heat affected bottles where there was no leakage or cork movement.”

Penfolds’ move is certainly sparking a fair bit of controversy. Hooke followed up on his article in the Herald with a post on his website. He noted that for Penfolds one of the key factors behind the move back to cork is increasing exports to markets like China where expertise on how to store, transport and properly care for wine is still developing.

But whether reverting back to cork is the best answer to gauge whether a wine has been heat damaged is debatable. Ian Riggs, chief winemaker at Brokenwood, was just as skeptical as David about whether cork was a better barometer of care than screwcap. He told Hooke:

Why don’t they just admit that they have buckled to the demands of their export markets and gone back to cork? To state that it is a way of showing up badly stored wine reeks of April Fool’s Day. So now, wine from all over Read the rest

Oct 10 2010

Orange: NSW’s ‘Coolest’ Wine Region!

Posted on October 10, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

First Press reports that this year’s 2010 NSW Wine Awards is shaping up as a contest between the new emerging cool climate regions of NSW and the traditional regions of the Hunter Valley and the Riverina. The emerging cool climate regions of the Canberra district, Orange, Hilltops, Tumbarumba and the Southern Highlands took roughly half of the spots in the Top NSW 40 Wines, Cool-Climate Continues to Captivate Judges, First Press Newsletter 1 October 2010. The top 40 NSW wines were selected from over 800 entries by a panel of highly respected wine judges chaired by Huon Hooke.


The region of Orange has certainly emerged as a clear winner at this year’s Awards regardless of whether it picks up the ultimate prize of 2010 NSW Wine of the Year to be announced at the Awards Gala Presentation dinner at Guillame at Bennelong on Monday 18 October 2010. Five of its wineries are in the top 40 and its wines took out two of the nine trophies: Angullong Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2010 rrp $17 won the trophy for best young sauvignon blanc and Logan Cabernet Merlot 2008 rrp $25 won the trophy for best young red blend.

The Orange wine region is about 260 km west of Sydney. Noteworthy for its very high elevation, it is also one the coolest growing environments in Australia. Orange is dominated by the extinct volcano Mt Canobolas, which provides rich volcanic soils and moderates the hot summer temperatures to create one of the longest ripening periods in Australia – grapes are typically not picked until mid to late autumn. The combination of aged soils, high altitude, cool temperatures, ample sunshine, decent rainfall and long dry autumns, typically produce wines that have been recognised for their complexity, elegance and balance.

Wine critic Max Allen … Read the rest

Sep 09 2010

Australian Winemakers Embrace Unusual Varieties

Posted on September 09, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

I was at dinner on Tuesday night at a great new restaurant called 88 on the corner of Waratah Street and New South Head Road, Rushcutters Bay, Sydney. We were in the mood for a white wine, and the sommelier/owner recommended a bottle of the Bream Creek Schönburger 2008.

Schönburger is a very rare variety grown in Germany and the UK and pioneered in Australia by the Marion Bay, South Eastern Tasmanian winery Bream Creek. Basically the variety is a cross between pinot noir, chasselas rose and muscat Hamburg. This aromatic  wine was vibrant and fruity with a slightly sweet/tart taste reminiscent of a Alsatian Gewurztraminer. An excellent complement to my roasted salmon and citrus salad!

More and more Australian winemakers are either trialling or already having great success with a range of varieties beyond the usual selection of chardonnay, riesling, sauvignon blanc, semillon, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, shiraz and pinot noir.

Brokenwood has embraced nebbiolo, a red grape variety of the Piedmonte region in North West Italy and responsible for the famed wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. According to the winery, the qualities of the fickle nebbiolo were espoused by a series of young Italian winemakers who have had stints working at the winery over the years. Brokenwood’s nebbiolo is from their Indigo vineyard in Beechworth on the foothills of the Victorian Alpine region.

Rutherglen in North East Victoria has established an excellent reputation as a maker of durif. The durif grape variety was developed in the South of France in the late 1890’s and is a cross between Shiraz and Peloursin. The variety, which was planted in Rutherglen in the early 1900’s, produces full bodied dry reds with good bottle ageing potential.  The acclaimed Stanton & Killeen Wines makes a straight durif and a shiraz durif blend. Scion Vineyard Read the rest