Today I went to a lecture organised by the Wine Communicators of Australia - a varied group of wine trade, spanning everything from producers, right through to wine PR agencies. I am only a recent entrant to the club, but I can highly vouch for the high calibre of the functions organised. I urge others in the trade to consider it - winecommunicators.com.au
Today's lecture was given by the inimitable English wine writer Jancis Robinson - a figure who I have the utmost respect for, particularly given the quality of her website jancisrobinson.com. Pertinent then that todays lecture was centred on the relevancy of wine writers and the changing face of wine writing. I won't go into the details (as I was listening and not note taking), but it was most interesting to see the reactions of others in the room when she voiced her opinions on the future of wine writing. So many in the trade sat there wide eyed and ignorant when she begun talking about blogs, forums and price comparison engines. Winelibrarytv, that bizarre American daily video wine blog, provoked the most 'wow' discussions, which actually served to emphasise how little many of our 'wine communicators' know about the way wine is being sold & promoted on the internet around the globe. Perhaps it was just my side of the room, but nobody seemed au fait with any of it.
In some ways it was fantastic to feel like I was one step ahead of the proverbial wine pack on this front - I am only 28 (tomorrow) and have spent just a decade in the industry, so feeling like a wankerish young turk with all the answers was a great ego boost. It was, however, also a disappointment. The combined wine experience in that room absolutely monsters my own, with people there that have forgotten more about wine than I know, and can sell, educate, write and talk about wine far more impressively than I can. Yet I doubt whether many of them could even name an Australian wine forum (not to tar everyone with this brush, Halliday and several other notables with strong web presences where there, it was more a reflection on much of the reactions from those around me).
Ultimately the takeup of new technology within our industry is painfully low - very few wineries have websites that look good and work properly, fewer still have up to date information, tasting notes and bottle images. Even our top wine critics have very limited internet presences - think Hooke, Bourne, Kyte Powell, Faulkner, Jordan, all of them, languishing behind their markets whom are all on line, reading about wine online and buying wine online.
This is a situation that the industry must really address now if it wants to stay relevant in my Generation Y opinion (An automatic qualification).
Anyway, enough ranting, onto the wines (which were all selected on Jancis's suggestions)
Hardys Arras 2001
What a wine this is - full golden in colour, with richness, depth, delicate acidity, complexity, the works. Its a very good Aussie sparkling, from our best sparkling maker, drinking at its peak. I think its $75 RRP price now is just plain excessive, however at this wines release price (which was closer to $50) this would blow most NV Champagne away. 18.5
Peter Lehmann 'Margaret' Semillon 2002
Who said only the Hunter makes great Semillon in Australia? This lovely, light straw coloured, toast-meets-citrus style is simply delicious. Vibrantly fruity, nice development, really well balanced and varietal. I think I preferred a bottle consumed about a year ago more than this one, but still a top shelf wine. 18.2
Songlines Estate Leylines Shiraz 2006
If a wine could typify the generosity of McLaren Vale Shiraz it would be this wine - big, full, round and juicy, with real black fruit sweetness. The 15% alcohol is a distraction and I think this fruit bomb is already quite close to its peak, but gee its drinkable, and at $20 its unquestionably fine value. 17.1
Talking trade: 23-29 Jan
9 hours ago