The date of picking the first grapes of the season is one of the most important decisions to make in wine. Pick too early and you’ll have mouth stripping acidity and no flavour, too late and you’ll have a mouth full of syrup and be gasping for a glass of water. Generations of winemakers, through a bit of science and a lot of trial and error, have come up with regional guesstimates of when you should start, but this year is very different. Just ask the Germans.
The German Wine Institute have released their intention to start picking their early ripeners by this weekend. That’s right folks, the 3rdof August! That’s nearly a month before they’d usually start. And it’s all down to the heatwave that’s held Europe in its grip for the last few weeks.
At the minute there’s a lot of push to change the thinking about certain wine regions. For example, somewhere like Bordeaux wants you to know they can do good bulk brands as we’ve seen with Mouton Cadet. On the flip side, somewhere like Australia wants you to know that they do fantastic premium wine, and they’re not just the big brand wonders that we all have in our heads.
Right ladies and gents, here’s the first thoughts on a mixed case that was sent to me to have a try of by the fine folks at Lidl.
Now then, here’s a tricky one to judge. I’ve drunk so much Riesling in the past that it’s never gonna happen now for me to be able to try a German Riesling without holding it up in the same light as the ones I’ve had before.
Well as I mentioned yesterday we’re in for a bit of fun with some asian food this week. Go enjoy yourself. If you’re a wannabe chef, get down those food markets and cook up a storm. If you’re not a cook, get the takeaway menus out. Chinese, Indian, Malay, go for it! Just remember if you’ve picked a dry style of wine to try, then try stick clear of any chilli heat. You’ll need a slightly sweet wine to cope with that.
Everyone know what Marmite is? It’s this black spread that complete weirdo’s stick on toast and pretend to absolutely love. Well, that’s what I think anyway. They have a phenomenally successful marketing campaign based on the slogan “you either love it or you hate it”. And you do. There is no fence to sit on. I’m a hater I’m afraid, it’s right up there with people who stop suddenly when they’re walking infront of you as things I’d like to banish for eternity.
I remember a few months ago I was off for a road trip with my dad. We were sat in the car at Dover waiting to drive onto the chunnel, and we got to talking about wines he drunk back in the 70s and 80s. I remember him almost physically shuddering when he mentioned Riesling! I couldn’t work out why for a while, but then I realised that what puts so many people off German Riesling is that they buy a bottle and have no idea what it’s going to be like!
Starting this week with a big congrats to Germany for their World Cup triumph. Let’s be fair, not the most impressive final I’ve ever seen, but they’ve done it, they’ve won it, and (most importantly) they’ve earned their country’s most famous wine export a place as NWTW’s Week 28. Boys and girls we’re off to Germany for Riesling!
Austria had always been a great place to drink wine. Back in the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for example, the wines graced the tables of the finest banquets seen in Europe, so despite the sluggish reaction on the export markets outside of Europe, the potential had always been there.
In 1986 a wine law was introduced to limit yields on the vines. This means that each vine had a maximum number of grapes you could produce from it. This usually has the effect of concentrating flavours and raising the possibilities for the standard of the resulting wine. And it worked.
Most wine drinkers in the UK will have had a bottle or two from Chile. Over the past 10 to 15 years they’ve absolutely nailed the export market with low cost, solid quality wines. Lots of investment in the 1990s in both production and the governing laws has led to a really smooth system to produce wines up and down this long thin country.