Tag: Dr Vino

Nov 11 2010

Chenin Blanc: A Worthy Alternative to Sauvignon Blanc!

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

Dr Vino recently interviewed South African winemaker Ken Forrester, Talking Chenin Blanc with Ken Forrester of South Africa, 29 October 2010. The article caught my attention, because Forrester has made chenin blanc a specialty at his eponymous winery in Stellenborsch. I had tasted the Redgate Chenin Blanc 2010 and the Voyager Estate Chenin Blanc 2009 at the Margaret River in Sydney event last week, so I was keen to learn a little more about this aromatic and lively white wine.

In the interview Forrester explained his relationship with the grape: “It is like a cat: when you call it, it looks at you quizzically, then an hour later he’s there rubbing your leg with a look saying, ‘you called’? Same with Chenin: you put it in barrel and taste it and it doesn’t taste like much right away. But when you come back in six months, it has transformed, leaving you wondering, ‘Gee, where did that come from?’ ”

Chenin blanc is the white wine variety of the Loire Valley in France, where it is also known as Pineau de la Loire. Its high acidity gives it great versatility. Wines utilising chenin blanc range from dry to semi-sweet to rich botrytised dessert wines and sparkling whites. Well made chenin blanc is any style typically exhibits floral, honeyed aromas, tropical fruit flavours and a zesty acidity that mellows as the wine develops depth and complexity with age.

Probably the most famous French expressions of chenin blanc are the Loire’s great sweet wines. Domaine le Haut Lieu (Gaston Huet) Vouvray, for example, makes sweet wines that are almost on the same pedestal as the fabled Chateau d’Yquem. These wines are renowned for their ageability, the best lasting decades or longer.

Outside of France chenin blanc has a spotted history. In South … Read the rest

Sep 09 2010

Promoting Greener Wine Packaging!

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

My earlier post  New Ideas for Preventing Oxidation in Opened Wine Bottles, 13 September 2010, mentioned a 23 litre demijohn of red wine that is becoming a familiar site on the counter-tops of many Sydney bars and restaurants.  It’s called Winter Twenty 10 by Voice of the People, and one of its advantages from a packaging point of view is that waiters can refill empty wine bottles from the demijohn.

Net Green News recently reported that an Idaho winery in the United States is working to reduce its carbon footprint by starting a refillable bottle program, Idaho Refills Wine Bottles, 19 September 2010. Pend d’Oreille Winery in Sandpoint, Idaho sells a 1.5 liter bottle of bistro rouge for $US25 dollars, which can be refilled for $US16 with the winemaker’s choice blend. So far the program, which was launched 18 months ago, is proving a great success with buyers who like the discount on the refill and the green message. By silk-screening the label onto the bottle, the winery has cleverly gotten around the problem of label peel when the bottle is cleaned.

The trend towards greener packaging of wine seems to be accelerating. Dave M’Intyre of The Washington Post reported that Owens-Illinois, the world’s largest producer of glass packaging, is taking several steps to reduce its carbon footprint. Soon it will begin manufacturing wine bottles that weigh up to up to 27 percent less than similar bottles in its current product line, and by 2017 it plans to produce 60 per cent of all new bottles from recycled glass, Wine to go greener: bottles get lighter, 2 June 2010. According to the company, every 10 percent of recycled glass used in producing new bottles cuts carbon emissions by 5 percent and energy consumption by 3 percent.

Liz Alderman … Read the rest

Sep 09 2010

What Makes a Great Wine Label?

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

As Dr Vino recently reported, Before the Courts: Cristal ($299) defeats Cristalino ($5.99), 3 August 2010, Louis Roederer, maker of Cristal champagne, recently won its trademark infringement lawsuit against J. Garcia Carrion SA over the misleadingly similar name and labeling of Carrion’s $US5.99 Spanish sparkling Cristalino.

While most wine lovers would concur with the old adage ‘that you can’t judge a book by its cover’, no-one can deny that a distinctive label gives a brand a strong visual identity and is the basis on which many consumers make their decisions. The phenomenal overseas success of Yellow Tail, for example, can be attributed in part to the eye-catching, wallaby on the label.

So what makes a great wine label?

I am struck by how much I liked the Dalwhinnie Moonambel label. (As few years ago I catalogued the wine of a collector who was a big fan of Dalwhinnie, so I handled a lot of them!)  No gold background or cute Australian fauna on this label.  Just elegant black lettering against a plain wine background! Even if I’d known nothing about this celebrated Pyrenees artisanal winery, I would have trusted the quality of the wine based on the quiet sophistication of the label.

But as Peter Bourne observes in his article, Willing  & Label, Qantas The Australian Way, August 2010, with over “2400 Australian wine brands vying for consumer dollars, … those with an eye-catching label are more likely to make a sale. And, assuming the wine is decent (and the majority of Australian wines are) a casual wine buy will become a dedicated consumer, which, after all, is the name of the (label) game.”

A few years ago, Alder Yarrow of Vinography: A Wine Blog wrote a very amusing post about the dangers of being seduced by eye-catching label, … Read the rest