1 year ago

Vinexpo Daily - Review Edition

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  • Vinexpo
  • Wines
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  • Bordeaux
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  • Australian
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Dark and Broody: Meet De Bortoli’s New Shiraz… and Much More! The Australian winemaker goes from strength to strength in international markets On 13 th June, New South Wales Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton presented De Bortoli Wines with the state’s first Sustainability Advantage Platinum Project at a ceremony in Sydney. Awarded for outstanding environmental leadership and innovation, De Bortoli Wines is the only business in NSW to have reached this level in the Office of Environment and Heritage’s (OEH) flagship Sustainability Advantage program, which encourages and enables sustainable business best practice. This acknowledgement recognises “The De Bortoli Method”, a unique potassium Francis Aguilar General Manager, UK & Europe - De Bortoli Wines recovery system that turns the winery’s wastewater into an environmentally friendly cleaning agent that has the potential for commercial application for any business using caustic chemicals. Meanwhile here at Vinexpo, Francis Aguilar - General Manager UK & Europe - De Bortoli Wines hosted a very popular stand, where we met with him and asked about the key trends in Australian wines today… Mediterranean varietals such as Assrytiko, Tempanillo, Dolcetto, Arneis, Vermentino have been making waves either as straight varietals or blended alongside more familiar names such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Shiraz. Pinot Noir has seen great changes over the past years with many cool climates slowly perfecting this ever-challenging grape variety. From choosing the right clone to using winemaking techniques such as whole bunch fermentation, have all added to the slow and steady improvement over the years. Regions such as Victoria’s Yarra Valley but also other Victorian regions such as Gippsland, Mornignton Peninsula and Geelong have grown a lot in popularity. In general, there is a move towards more restraint and much more focus on tannin, character, and region rather than fruit, oak and so on. This you can find across all grape varieties -- even in Chardonnay and Shiraz. For an example, we have released a wine called Woodfired, which has been a massive hit in Australia. It’s a dark broody Shiraz from Heathcote, but it leaves a nice crunchy freshness on the palet which you would not have found in Australian reds years ago. How are Australian labels becoming more globally competitive up against famous French or Italian wines? Australian Wine labels remain at the forefront of the global wine market today with its shift from a brand reputational message to a more casual and alternative “look and feel” that provide the consumers an emotion that inspires or conveys a sense of relating to oneself. This is the next step. Labels that talk, make you laugh, give a pointer to how you can enjoy… all things easy from an Australian perspective, which has the end result that consumers have learnt to love from Australia: providing a friendly demystified wine tasting experience. How are sales of Australian wine progressing in China? Booming! 5 years ago, when the Chinese leadership changed, everyone was crying as sales plummeted following the new leaders’ commitment to stamping out corruption. However, that’s all history given the build of the “real” market. THERE IS A MOVE TOWARDS MORE RESTRAINT AND MUCH MORE FOCUS ON TANNIN, CHARACTER, AND REGION RATHER THAN FRUIT, OAK AND SO ON. Sales are rising on an annual rate of plus 40%, to today’s figure of $US540M worth; second in line to France. This says a great deal, given the reputation for the image conscious Chinese consumer. So, China has turned out brilliantly, diverse as they come, with a real enthusiasm and recognition for Australian wine. Originally, Australia was known for the Barossa and Hunter Valleys, however this is changing rapidly today, with the Riverina and other key growing areas emerging with quality product. What are the key trends in that respect? Indeed, Barossa and Hunter are 2 of the earliest wine regions to become famous. However, so many other regions are just the coolest places to be right now…whether it’s the 8,000-yearold Cambrian soils from Heathcote or the Upper Yarra sub region of Woori Yallock Australian wines of today are more about expressing the region or vineyard where they are from. Riverina is also interesting for botrytis, fortifieds and producing wines to a price. Organic is something which is growing in many regions • 16 VINEXPO DAILY / REVIEW EDITION / FRIDAY 30 TH JUNE

Peter Gago Penfolds Chief Winemaker I TRAVEL THE WORLD QUITE A LOT, BUT HERE, WE COME TO ONE PLACE AND THE WORLD COMES TO US, AND THAT’S THE BEAUTY OF VINEXPO IN BORDEAUX. The World Gets the Taste of Australian Wines Penfolds Chief Winemaker – Peter Gago – imparts his knowledge and wisdom at Vinexpo 2017 The custodian – amongst other things – of the legendary Penfolds Grange – chief winemaker for the Australian producer, Peter Gago was present at Vinexpo Bordeaux where he held a series of Master Classes. We asked him to tell us about the tastings… The great thing about Vinexpo is that we are able to show people from across the planet what we do – not just with the current releases, but with tastings across the decades. The tastings here have been on Saint Henri – a wonderful Syrah or Shiraz blend – and Bin 389, and we’ve gone back across five decades. Because there is an understanding that Australian wine can be good value for money and lots of fruit and flavour, but it’s only when you look at the older wines that the seriousness of the offer becomes quite prevalent. Having said that though, we have been very big proponents of Vinexpo going way back. I’ve lost count of how many Vinexpos I’ve had. For us, this is THE showcase for fine wine. The people we’ve been meeting with from every part of the world here, it’s just been amazing. We put on a dinner in a beautiful property in the middle of Bordeaux for our Chinese and other Asian guests. So, it’s an Australian winery, in Bordeaux, entertaining Asian clientele. When we were at the Cité du Vin the other day in Bordeaux, we saw Penfolds Grange and Penfolds Bin 28. That would not have happened 20 years ago. You have a world epicentre of fine wine here in Bordeaux that’s very positively, generously engaging wines from across the planet; and that’s such a professional and mature approach. We also met with Jacques Olivier Pesme from Kedge Business School of Bordeaux, as there is a lovely liaison between the University of Adelaide and the University of Bordeaux. And in fact, I am now officially the global ambassador for the Great Wine Capitals of which Bordeaux is one; Adelaide in South Australia is the second out of only ten across the planet, including Napa, San Francisco and Oporto. We have been meeting at Vinexpo to discuss links in education, in tourism, and obviously also in business. So, it’s not just about pouring wine. This is a great, great venue for talking about the world of commerce, the world of wine education, and so many other things. I travel the world quite a lot, but here, we come to one place and the world comes to us, and that’s the beauty of Vinexpo in Bordeaux. What is the feedback like from the people who have been tasting your wines? The first reaction was more or less of shock (laughs)… Humble Bin 389, which is not at the top of our tiers of portfolios, but is more mid-range. “Wow! How fresh is that 1989? Doesn’t that ’78 look good!” … Like surprise and shock. But also putting things back into perspective. Bin 389 has been released for 57 vintages uninterrupted. St Henri goes back to the late 1800’s. From a Penfold’s perspective, we resurrected it in the early 1950’s. People talk about Old World and New World, but when they leave this tasting, they no longer use the term New World, they use the term Newer World! WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE WINE How is the global perception of Australian wine evolving? There’s a big change in attitude. When I used to do tastings in Paris 15 or 20 years ago, we would invite 20 media. Two might respond, one might arrive. In September of last year, we invited 22 top people… and all 22 came. That doesn’t even happen in Adelaide! That shows the difference in the perception of Australian wine. Times have changed • Peter Gago is the winemaker behind the most expensive wine in the world – the Penfolds Ampoule Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, valued at over $US160,000. VINEXPO DAILY / REVIEW EDITION / FRIDAY 30 TH JUNE 17