Tag: Decanter Magazine

Oct 10 2011

Cork versus Screw Cap: Don’t Dismiss the Benefits of Cork!

Posted on October 10, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

At the NZ Wine Online tasting of New Zealand wines by Escarpment and Quartz Reef at Coast on Wednesday night I sat next to a gentlemen who was absolutely livid that one of the wines had a cork closure. The wine in question was the Escarpment Kupe Pinot Noir 2009 ($74.95), the second most expensive wine of the evening, and Escarpment’s top cuvee. (See Masterclass with New Zealand’s Escarpment and Quartz Reef, Cellarit Wine Blog, 1 October 2011)

Curious why Escarpment’s winemaker Larry McKenna was still sticking with cork in face of what looks like growing consumer resistance, at least in Australia and New Zealand, I asked Larry to explain his reasoning. He believes that for top flight wines, which require bottle ageing to properly evolve, cork is better than screw cap, as it allows the wine to breathe more.

When I got home the latest issue of Decanter was waiting for me on my IPad. Coincidentally, it included an interview with Giaconda’s acclaimed winemaker Rick Kinzbrunner, who told Decanter’s Andrew Jefford that he was unimpressed with what he considers Australian writers’ lack of objectivity about closures.

Like Larry McKenna, Kinzbrunner uses both cork and screw cap, and likes both for different wines. He was appalled by the response of one writer upon hearing that Giaconda’s nebbiolo is sealed under cork: “Now surely if there’s one wine that needs cork, it’s nebbiolo. The vitriol I got after that! ‘No, I’m not interested in your wine if you seal it with a stupid piece of bark.’ There’s this insane preference for screw caps in Australia; and I don’t think it’s objective.” (The Decanter Interview: Rick Kinzbrunner by Andrew Jefford, Decanter November 2011)

In Australia, Kinzbrunner is not exactly a lone ranger among fine winemakers when it comes to maintaining a … Read the rest

Nov 11 2010

Why Drinking Only Aussie Wine in January is a Great Opportunity!

Posted on November 11, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

My initial reaction to the campaign by McLaren Vale winemaker Stephen Pannell to ask Australians to pledge to drink only Aussie wine in January was phew! Well at least we can still drink French Champagne on New Year’s Eve!

As Rebecca Gibb reported in her article,  Aussie petition accused of protectionism, Decanter.com, 24 November 2010, Pannell has caused a bit of controversy with his online petition, All for One Wine, which invites people to pledge that they will only drink Australian wine from 1 January to 26 January 2011 (Australia Day!)

I can understand why the Kiwis aren’t happy about the campaign (Australia is New Zealand’s biggest export market for wine), but accusations that Pannell’s promotion amounts to protectionism are surely not justified. After all, he’s not asking retailers to pull the foreign stuff off the shelf, he is just advocating that consumers buy local wines for 26 days (not even a whole month)!

Shortly after I had read the article about Pannell’s campaign, I drove out to my nearest Dan Murphy’s to stock up on some Xmas grog! Not the biggest Dan Murphy’s in the country, but still numerous aisles of mainly Australian and, yes, New Zealand wines. Despite the impressive selection, however, I was actually struck by the omissions. Of the approximately 2,300 wineries in Australia, I’m guessing that only a couple of hundred at the most were represented!

So I really think Pannell has a point when he says that he sees the campaign as an opportunity for Australians to “discover incredible local wines, and celebrate the rich diversity and quality that exists in this country.”

Yes, New Zealand makes very fine sauvignon blanc, but so does Australia! Dandelion Vineyards, Geoff Weaver and Shaw & Smith are just a few of the dozen or … Read the rest