G20, Bordeaux pricing, Cake wine, Australia – sipped and spit

jamieoliver SIPPED: English wine
Well, now that all the serious business of the G20 meeting is over, we can turn to what wine lovers wanted to know all along: what did they drink? Gone were the lavish dishes of last year’s G8 summit. Jamie Oliver, chef for the dinner at Downing Street, put together a menu showcasing the “best of British cuisine,” which was expected to include Nyetimber, a sparkling wine from West Sussex. (The spouses’ table seemed like the most laughs that evening–Joachim Sauer excepted.) [timesonline.co.uk]

SIPPED: a shot glass of sanity?
Chateau Angelus is the first of the top Bordeaux properties to release their 2008 vintage: 50 euros a bottle, or 40% less than the 2007, which was not a strong vintage in the region. Our previous discussion highlighted how mush pricing is relative and based on perception, rather than actual costs. And Simon Staples is back again, quoted as saying that he wouldn’t even be a buyer of Angelus at 30 euros. [Decanter]

SIPPED: wine in the USA
While worldwide wine consumption fell by one percent, Americans tacked on a 1.8% gain in wine last year, the fifteenth consecutive annual gain according to the new edition of Impact Databank.

SPIT: cakes!
On March 23, we laid out the Layer Cake/Cupcake confusion/silly naming. March 26, Layer Cake’s producer (One True Vine) sues the Cupcake producer (The Wine Group) for trademark infringement claiming the name is “confusingly similar.” [Wines & Vines]

SWIRLED IN CONTEMPLATION: Australia
Australian wine “has moved from being revered to being reviled” with tremendous speed, writes Jancis Robinson at FT.com. She asserts this is largely because of the success of “ubiquitous and vapid” low end wines and the high alcohol wines that receive big scores from the Wine Advocate. Then add a glut followed by a drought and fires, industry consolidation and a global recession and it’s not difficult to see why the sledding has gotten a little rough. I’m quite interested in the story of Australia, particularly the one that is not much exported to the US. That’s why I’ll be joining a group wine writers and sommeliers there in June for the Landmark Australia tasting.

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6 Responses to “G20, Bordeaux pricing, Cake wine, Australia – sipped and spit”


  1. Snaps for the Joachim Sauer reference!


  2. I’m a big fan of Jamie Oliver for his work with the community. His efforts to impart proper eating in public schools are something I wish I saw more of in the US. If you want to stop obesity, set the example from the beginning.


  3. Bordeaux prices are just what we all have said, they are absurd and need to come way down. I feel like they kept ’07 prices ridiculously high so that ’08, a crap year, would look like they were Robin Hood.

    Australia, also no surprise. Thought that Australia has been done for awhile. Who can stomach it? Those high-end Aussie fruit-liqueur wines were an intriguing taste for a moment, but not something to drink. I have never bought much, but what I have is only suitable to open in a huge crowd, so that everyone can have a small sip, as if it really were a liqueur. The real shame is what effect they all had on global fine wine, I think that there is little real doubt now (though fine wine denizens will still deny it vehemently) that this movement pushed ripeness and alcohol through the roof globally. As for the low end of Aussie wine, I suspect there will be a recovery, though drought and fire will probably make going rough for the giants for a couple of years, in the end they will still be able to offer relatively respectable plonk for the best price because of their ability to grow millions of barrels worth of fruit cheaply.


  4. Hey new reader and an Australian.
    I lived in New York for most of last year and have to say I was mortified at the quality of the Australian wine available and how it is perceived overseas. I have been doing some earnest reading-up on the way teh exports operate since.
    Part of the issue is the perception of the American market – large winemakers make ‘added sugar’ wines like Yellowtail for the American market owing to the belief (true or not) that Americans like sugar-sweet wine.
    The biggest issue, however, is the export tasting panel. Every wine has to be approved for export by a panel of ‘tasting experts’. However, this panel seems to be mostly made up of a narrow cross-section of tasters with a strong preference for exactly the kind of qualities which Australia finds itself so frequently criticised for overseas – over-oaking being a big one. They also have a strong preference for South Australian wines (and those that mimic them) leading to an almost total lack of representation in export from other regions. (I’m from the Hunter Valley, so I’m quite biased on that one!)
    There is some strong displeasure being expressed here about the panel by a number of winemakers – many well-regarded, well-reviewed and awarded wines have been rejected for export, often without any reason being given.
    Hopefully, the dissatisfaction will lead to some change soon!


  5. @ Mark – it was either him or Nestor Kirchner.

    @ Dylan – agreed.

    @ Michael – agreed. But it is a pity how other stuff from Australia has been squeezed out. Cool climate cabernet for example? Riesling to a large extent?

    @ Sophie – many thanks for that observation. If you have any links to that discussion, send them our way!


  6. [...] Landmark Australia, The Tutorial (see Jancis Robinson’s announcement from December and my previous mention). The group of participants is composed of sommeliers and wine writers from ten countries ranging [...]


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