Newsletter March 2009

This the (approximately) monthly Newsletter of Vinodiversity. If you subscribe you will get an email reminder and summary of each newsletter and be eligible for some bonuses like the fabulous eCoookbook 10 dishes for Sangiovese

Welcome to the March edition of Vinodiversity News.

The Albarino Controversy

Comment by Darby Higgs

There is doubt about the identity of some of the vines in Australia which were thought to be Albarino may in fact be Savagnin, an entirely different variety, or perhaps an unusual clone of Albarino.

This is the hot topic in the vareital wine scene in Australia. On the one hand there is the arguement

"If it makes good wine who cares what it is called"?

On the other hand the issue has ramifications throughout the industry. My understanding is that the vines were grown by nurseries using material obtained from the CSIRO. The CSIRO obtained the material from Spain.

I'm sure that there is plenty of work being done checking the procedures along that particular supply chain

Well Why Does it Matter if it is Really Savagnin?

Let's start at the beginning. Mistakes do get made but the fact that this one has taken some years to be discovered has exposed a certain vulnerability in the system. It is very expensive to plant a vineyard and the costs of grafting over to the correct variety can be quite high.

Many orgainsations and companies will come out of this with a damaged reputation. In fact the whole integrity of the Australian labeling regulation gets a black mark. The system is meant to build consumer confidence and scandals like this put a little dent in that confidence.

The worst thing that could happen is if we end up with a feeding frenzy of lawyers or a heavy handed response by regulators. As an industry we need to sort out what went wrong, fix any problems and move on.

Which IS the best variety, Albarino or Savagnin?

I know I've tried Albarino but I'm not sure if I've tried a dry white Savagnin. Ive tried several Australian "Albarinos" and I think they are great wines. As a consumer I'm not too worried about how this might affect the wine I drink, but the wine industry doesn't need a mess like this when it is facing problems of drought, climate change and contracting world markets.

See more about Savagnin and the Albarino controversy here

Cabernet Franc

Is this an alternative variety? The AAVWS says not. It's main role is as a minor component in Bordeaux style blends but it is also used as a varietal. In France it is the variety behind the light to medium bodied Chinon wines from the Loire Valley. There are quite a few wineries making varietal Cab franc in Australia but I haven't collected any data on them. Here is a brief article on Cabernet franc

Anyone got a favourite varietal Cab Franc? Reply and let us in on the secret.

Ask Vinodiversity a Question

Vinodiversity readers often ask me about wine related matters. Sometimes people who find my site via Google (about 200 visitors per day find my site this way) ask questions. I am happy to help and I usually send off a quick reply.

But sometimes a question sends me onto a research mission and I feel the results are interesting enough for more general readers as well as the original inquirer. Also other readers may wish to contribute to the answer or even contradict me.

I have built a new section on the website Ask Vinodiversity to share these questions and answers around. You can see what questions have been asked and answered, ask one yourself or join in the discussion.

This Month's Recipe: Raw Tomato Sauce for Pasta

Another way to use your lovely ripe tomatoes. And basil. And anchovies if you like. And of course a red wine made from an Italian variety, perhaps Barbera. Yum!

Raw Tomato Sauce for Pasta Recipe. These are fairly easy to make

Vintage 2009

Vintage reports continue to roll in. Winemakers have been invited to let vinodiversity readers know how this year's vintage is going. Olivers Traranga in the McLaren Vale have reported that they are doing well Tempranillo, Fiano Sagrantino coping with the heat.

To see the reports, add your own or comment click here for Vintage 2009 reports.

Thus far I have reports from

  • The Granite Belt
  • McLaren Vale
  • Swan Valley

with more to come.

Winemakers are most welcome to post a short report, others may browse reports and add comments or questions.

Californian Wine Map

For the past couple of years I have been the Aussie distributor of De Long's Wine Grape Varietal Table.

The latest release from De Long Wine Info is the Wine Map of California. There's more to it than the Napa Valley and Sonoma. As usual the thorough research and quality of the graphics shines through.

Check the map out here

Tim's Button

A top Aussie Tempranillo for under $20. Wow, this one has pedigree. Cascabel are making great Rhone and Rioja Style reds.

Please do not press this button unless your name is Tim, or you know someone called Tim!

TIM'S BUTTON: Special Offer Just for Tim and Friends

Some recent wine articles by yours truly. Finally: Come and say hello at the Vinodiversity stand at Victorian Wine Regions Showcase on April 1 and 2. Macedon Ranges and Sunbury this month.

Copyright© Vinodiversity 2009.