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Wine shows, maps, tours, facebooks, prices, gifts
November 13, 2008

November Newsletter

Do one of your friends (and me) a favour. Please forward this newsletter on to a friend who may be interested. If you have received this issue via a friend you can visit to get your very own copy next time (without the dog ears)

In this issue

  • Alternative varieties wine show
  • Vinodiversity on facebook
  • Wine Country Maps
  • Canberra/Southern Highlands/Shoalhaven coast
  • New price finding tool
  • Reminders

The Australain Alternatives Varieties Wine Show was held over the week to Saturday November 7. This is the pinnacle of Vinodiversity's year. About 600 wines are judged in varietal classes by judges who are not distracted by chardonnay and cabernet.

  • Some highlights of the show from my point of view
  • Old and new winereis shared in the awards, Best white was won by the iconic Tahbilk, established 1860 and the Best red by Mayford wines, established 1995, with a Tempranillo made from vines planted in 2002!
  • The show has a stewards choice, like the packers prize at the Archibald. This year it was won by Coriole wines for their 2008 Fiano.
  • Four emerging white varieties have been coming along very well. I have written an article about them here
  • Two Zinfandels won gold medals, Grove Estates from Hilltops in NSW and Rusticana from Langhorne Creek. Will it become PC to drink 'American' varieties now that Bush is on his way out?

Vinodiversity on Facebook

If Barrak and Kevin07 can have a facebook page, can Vinodiversity do it too? Yes we can! see and just search for vinodiversity to become a fan.

Maps, you need them!

I've added a section to Vinodiversity on Maps. You can find details of Steve De Long's wonderful Iberian Peninsula wine map, or how to get a great wall map poster of Italy, that most complex place for sorting out what wine is where.

Regional wine organisations have been invited to include details of the maps they have available. Over time this sevice will help evryone planning a wine trip, in the real world, in an armchair or in cyberspace.

Canberra, Southern Highlands and South Coast Wine trip

Last month I took a trip to these three wine regions in Southern NSW. I managed to visit a few cellar doors.

Unfortunately we were in Canberra midweek, so we were a little restricted in our choice of wineries to visit. But we managed three beauties, Clonakilla, Mt Majura, and Pialigo. All are doing great things with alternative varieties.

Winemaking in the South Coast region is done under the constant threat of excessive summer rain, hence the use of Verdelho and Chambourcin. While these varieties receive scant recognition from most wine critics there are some very pleasant wines made from them. Coolangatta Estate have a very good Tannat, it scored silver at AAVWS, and they think the thick skinned variety Albarino has a future in the region.

The Southern Highlands Wine Region straddles the Hume 'highway' just a few kilometres to the west of the South Coast. The climate is very different, so much so that one vineyard reckons it's the place for Saperavi, known for its ability to thrive in Russia and Georgia. Centennial Vineyards are a major producer here. I was impressed by their Barbera, a variety that I feel is starting to overshadow Sangiovese in many regions.

As a moderate and restrained winelover I only visited a total of 10 wineries. I only do it for you dear reader! Nine were excellent and friendly, a couple went out of their way to be extra helpful. One was hopeless. It seemed that the only training the cellar door staff had received was to pour the tiniest tasting portions. I sometimes wonder about attitudes of some managers who see their frontline sales staff as a cost thta must be minimised.

Shopping for wine on Ebay

I've been looking into this lately. I suppose many people have some misconceptins and prejudices. I know I did before I looked into it.

It's not just a matter of a few leftovers from garage sales or somethiing discoverd in a deceased relatives cupboard. Many of the wine merchants using eBay have extensive histories of successful trading, with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of postive customer comments and virtually no negative reports.

You can buy all sorts of wine via these stores, from boxes of grange, to single bottles of chateau incognita. One store runs an interesting sideline in vintage minatures of Armagnacs, going back to the 1920's so you can get a wonderful milestone birthday gift for Uncle Bertie. If you haven't tasted Armagnac you should. It makes Cognac taste like sauvignon blank.

Some online stores to try

Is it safe? Much safer than driving in to Dan's. You won't have a road accident, you won't get mugged and it is probably quicker. You are protected by eBay's seller rating system and your payment is via Ebay, a secure payment system.

A new wine search tool

Vinodiversity is always scouring the net to find new tools for winelovers.

Buying wine online can be a bit of a risk, although I do it fairly frequently. I've only ever had one hassle about a missed delivery that was not made but an email and a phone call soon sorted the problem out.

But the real power of the net is the ability to find unusual wines and to compare prices from different merchants. I've just parnered up with a new service that has a massive database of over 8,000 wine outlets worldwide. So from one search box you can check out the availability, price and location of just about any wine that is on offer.

Try it out! Find arneis online


Fed square wine show features Gippsland and North West Victoria in December. There will be no Showcase in January.

See this page for the 2009 schedule. I have mine in the diary already, as well as the Tigers fixture of course.

Have you downloaded your "10 dishes with Sangiovese book" yet?

As a privileged subscriber to Vinodiversity news you can do so from this page

Albarino to Zinfandel is the world's only website for pairing alternative varietal wines with recipes recommended by Darby Higgs.

Please forward this newsletter to any friends that may be interested.

Your say: Remember you can give feedback to me by replying to this newsletter, or tell the world by making a contribution to Vinodiversity's Reader advice pages

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