Waitrose Take the Gutsy Move to Stock Indian Wine…
Indian wine is breaking into the UK market, with Waitrose becoming the first UK supermarket to stock wines from the sub-continent.
Waitrose is featuring Ritu Viognier and Zampa Syrah as part of the Waitrose World of Wine Showcase.
Waitrose describes Ritu Viognier as a ‘crisp, aromatic white wine with floral and peach aromas.’
Both wines are produced in the dry, tropical climate of the Sahyadri Valley, in Maharashtra, south of Mumbai on the west coast of India.
Waitrose wine buyer Matt Smith told Decanter.com it was only over the last year that he had seen ‘a real jump in quality’.
How much of a “jump in quality”, though I have to ask? I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve tasted it, but I can’t say my expectations are set very high.
I don’t think the biggest challenge will be getting the taste past consumers; modern wine-making methods should be able to take care of that. I think the main obstacle Indian wine will face will be that of the preconceived ideas by the consumer. I can’t even imagine how many marketing $’s they’re going to have to throw at Indian wine to make that stigma go away!
Rare Inglenook Wines up for Auction.
Inglenook, the estate built by Gustave Niebaum at the turn of the century, which Francis Ford Coppola bought in 1975, spending the next 40 years reconstructing and restoring, was until the 1970s one of the most renowned Californian wines.
Since then the Inglenook name has passed through several owners and the Inglenook brand became synonymous with the lowest-level jug wines.
Earlier this year Coppola acquired the Inglenook name and now intends to restore it to its former reputation.
Now he is auctioning a bottle of Inglenook 1935, estimated at US$600-800, from what Christie’s terms ‘the golden era’ of winemaker John Daniel Jr, and two bottles of the 1941 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon, estimated at US$8-12,000.
American critic James Laube described the 1941 as ‘one of the greatest red wines ever made, and Christie’s suggests it ‘can take its place’ alongside such wines as 1945 Mouton, 1982 Lafite and 1961 Latour.
Fine and Rare Wines, Featuring Inglenook from the Private Collection of Francis Ford Coppola takes place on 24 September at Christie’s Rockefeller Center, New York
In order to mix things up a little, I think they should throw in some of the current release Inglenook offerings, just to see what kind of bids they get!
I can hear the Christie’s auctioneer now;
“…so to our next auction….lot #1634. I have in my hands a magnum bottle of Inglenook 2011, California Chablis, with a handle. Let us start the bidding at $4.99. Can I get $4.99? Any takers at $4.99…..? “
<Someone raises his hand.>
“SOLD!!! Inglenook 2011 Chablis, to the homeless guy at the back of the room for $4.99!”
Winery Looks Outside of Mexico and Hires U.S. Jobless for Harvest
Taking a page from the United Farm Workers Union, John Salisbury, president of Salisbury Vineyards in San Luis Obispo County, opened his picking crews to anyone interested and capable of performing the labor. He was happily surprised at the response to his “call to arms.” He’s signed on 16 pickers, and calls keep flooding into the 12,000-case winery, many from people who’ve never before performed physical labor.
In June 2010, the UFW issued a challenge to those hoping to curtail the use of migrant labor in United States agriculture: “Take Our Jobs,” famously publicized on Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report,” didn’t draw many takers last year. Offering $12.50 per hour with a guarantee of $80 per day for six-to-seven hours’ work, Salisbury announced his plan on a local TV station and said, “My phone hasn’t stopped ringing.” Citing California’s current 12% unemployment rate, the lifelong farmer said he wants to do the right thing by hiring struggling locals to supplement experienced crews that normally come in after the strawberry harvest in Santa Maria Valley.
Not that it’s easy work, but $12.50 an hour is an extremely reasonable wage for picking grapes! Not that I want to get too deeply into a political debate here, but in my honest opinion, you’ll never find a harder worker than a Mexican immigrant!
Some Like it Hot: Consumers still Dubious about Lower-Alcohol Wines.
Consumers are still wary of lower-alcohol wines despite a mini-boom in the fledgling sector, according to new research.
A study commissioned by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association found that 55% of red wine drinkers and 51% of white wine drinkers have concerns about the taste of lower-alcohol wines.
Forty-one per cent of red wine drinkers and 36% of white wine drinkers have worries about the product quality of lower-alcohol wines.
The findings emerge from the YouGov Omnibus Panel and are based on a sample of 1,693 British adult drinkers.
WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles said: "While there’s plenty of evidence to suggest consumers are interested in lower alcohol drinks these findings suggest there’s work to do to convince drinkers about the taste and quality of products coming onto the market."
That’s kind of worrying. But let’s remember, there’s “lower alcohol” wines (i.e. German Mosel Riesling), and there’s “zero alcohol” wines (i.e. Fre by Trinchero), the latter of which I’m still “dubious” about!
No Merlot in zi Montalcino!
Rosso di Montalcino, the so-called baby Brunello, will continue to be made from 100 percent Sangiovese. Montalcino’s wine producers have rejected two proposals that would have allowed blending other grape varieties—up to 15 percent—into the Tuscan wine. Members of the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino met Sept. 7 to debate the idea after several months of study by Consorzio staffers, and 69 percent of the votes were against the proposals.
"Only with the 100 percent Sangiovese can we have a very strong identity of our terroir and be different from other wines," said Andrea Costanti of Conti Costanti, who voted against the plan.
Though historically a few producers blended other grapes into Brunello, the wine and its younger sibling Rosso have been pure Sangiovese since the appellation rules were written for Brunello in 1968 and for Rosso in 1984. But some producers have been pushing for several years to allow a small but significant percentage of grapes like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
I very-much agree! The lines are already blurred with Super Tuscan’s, let’s not confuse things anymore by allowing blending of other grapes into Rosso di Montalcino.
I think they’ve made the right move, and this will definitely help maintain “a sense of place” for the wines of Montalcino.