Monday, May 30, 2011

Wine Australia fact sheet Wine Regions

While Australia has about 60 wine regions, the following ten are among its most famous and diverse. From the rugged and isolated beauty of Margaret River in Western Australia, to
the historical home of Australian wine, the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, a journey across Australia’s wine regions is filled with a diversity of climates, soils, elevation and – ultimately – wine styles.
Barossa Valley, South Australia
Renowned for its Shiraz production, the Barossa Valley is home to some of the country’s iconic wines. Just one-hour north east of Adelaide, the region consists of gentle rolling hills and fertile valleys that combine with South Australia’s Mediterranean climate to produce full-bodied red wines and delicate whites. They include Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Merlot, while major whites include Riesling, Semillon and Chardonnay.
The Barossa was originally settled by Silesian Lutheran farmers in the 1830s and there are now more than 50 wineries and cellar doors in the region, ranging from small family enterprises to international companies.
Clare Valley
The Clare Valley is considered to be among South Australia’s most picturesque regions. It is also known as the home of Australian Riesling and with good reason – Clare’s consistency in making Rieslings of exceptional quality and style has won loyal consumers internationally.
Clare is not only famous for Riesling; it also produces award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz that vary dramatically in style throughout the region depending on vineyard location, soils and elevation.
Settlers from England, Ireland and Poland arrived in the region in the 1840s and wasted no time planting vines. Today visitors to the region can enjoy the popular Riesling Trail, a 27 km long sealed track that links the many small towns along the valley.
The hidden treasure of the Coonawarra wine region is its precious layer of limestone beneath rich terra rossa soil. The two combine to produce Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that are the envy of wine regions all over the world.
Founded by Scottish settler John Riddoch more than a 150 years ago, Coonawarra offers wines of intense and classic fruit flavours that have won the hearts of consumers the world over.
Most Coonawarra Cabernets will effortlessly cellar for at least 10 years, but that’s not the only variety the region is famous for. Other award winning varietals are Shiraz, Merlot and Chardonnay.
Rapidly raising the bar in terms of elegance and complexity, particularly with Shiraz, Heathcote’s climate and soils of this Victorian region are strongly influenced by the Mt Camel Range which creates a cooler weather pattern in the grape growing period from October to March resulting in wines of finesse and longevity.
More recently, Heathcote winemakers have planted Viognier, small proportions of which are blended with Shiraz to provide an extra dimension to the flavour spectrum. Heathcote Cabernet Sauvignon is another signature style of the region. Italian varieties Sangiovese and Nebbiolo are also taking to their new home and provide added treasures to the region’s reputation.
Aromatic white wine varieties such as Riesling, Viognier and Pinot Grigio display the underlining elegance and
fine fruit structure that is characteristic of the region.

Hunter Valley
The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region, with the earliest vines planted in 1825.
Since those pioneering days, the Hunter’s wine industry has flourished and now more than 80 wineries and cellar doors are open to tourist traffic en route from Sydney.
Winemakers in the Hunter have found success with varieties such as Shiraz, Verdelho and Chardonnay, but no other region has developed such an affinity with Semillon.
Semillons from the Hunter Valley have great capacity for graceful ageing, particularly in the years when the region defies its sub-tropical climate and turns on summer weather to bring on lime and citrus flavours.

McLaren Vale
A battle over the title of Australia’s best Shiraz maker is fought each year between the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. Set among pastures and orchards and located to the south of Adelaide, McLaren Vale’s rich soils and proximity to the gulf waters of St Vincent provide the perfect ingredients for intensely flavoured red wines and powerful but well-balanced white.
There are now more than 50 wineries and cellar doors in the region. McLaren Vale’s leading reds are Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Merlot, while whites include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.

Margaret River
Margaret River has quietly built a reputation for wines of outstanding quality in the past decade. While the region covers all the classic varietals, Margaret River winemakers have worked hard to develop a signature style of Cabernet Sauvignons.
The region has the added tourism drawcards of breathtaking coastal scenery and culinary delights to match its extensive range of wine styles, including Shiraz, Verdelho and the wonderfully herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc.

Nestled deep in the western slopes of New South Wales’ Blue Mountains, Mudgee is another historical player in Australia’s wine industry. Commercial planting occurred in the 1860s led by German immigrants, but the modern era of grape production really began in the 1970s.
A number of large national wine companies have set up shop in the region, complimenting the array of boutique wineries that offer a diverse range of wine styles.
Powerful Cabernet Sauvignon, with complex flavours and ageing potential, is a regional highlight. Chardonnay is the Mudgee’s most popular and highly regarded white.

The history of viticulture in Tasmania is quite recent when compared with the rest of Australia. While some planting occurred in the 19th century, it wasn’t until the 1970s that true winegrape planting began with the establishment of Pipers Brook.
Tasmania, known for its spectacular beauty, now has more than 60 vineyards and wineries, many of them just a few hectares in size.
Tasmania’s cool maritime climate produces elegant wines with excellent natural acid. Specialist varieties include Pinot Noir for sparkling and still wine, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

Yarra Valley
Victoria’s oldest wine region, the Yarra Valley is considered one of the world’s finest cool climate wine producers. Specialising in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the key varieties for sparkling wines, the Yarra also impresses wine judges with its more subtle Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon styles.
Chardonnay is the Yarra Valley's most widely planted
white grape variety due to its flexibility of style – from complex, oaked wines to elegant restrained styles, Chardonnay is often made using traditional winemaking techniques.
Other white wines produced in the Yarra include Gewürztraminer, Marsanne and Sauvignon Blanc, which is often blended with Semillon.

To learn more:
One of the  pillars of TheWineHub is Wine Tourism. Whether you are a wine maker, or a wine drinker, we all enjoy    having discoveries... TheWineHub exists to help you with that.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Life on the Douro (trailer 2) by Zev Robinson

This is the second trailer using material filmed during 23 days on my third and fourth trips to Porto and the Douro region. The fourth trip was with a For the Love of Port tour, arranged specially for my film. Due to be released in September, 2011, the film will deal with the three centuries and current situation of the region and its wines.

The Buzz on FB:
Zev Robinson: I forgot to mention a cameo, but important, appearance by Luiz A. G. Alberto

Luiz A. G. Alberto: Nah... I'm flattered! But mentions should be reserved for famous people... :)

Kayt Nelson: Exceptional storytelling. Kudos, Zev!

Zev Robinso:n ‎@Luiz But when you get famous, you'll ask me why I didn't mention you when you weren't.

Zev Robinson: ‎Kayt Nelson Many thanks. Now back to editing the full version, much more complicated.

Roy Hersh: I will lift a glass to your ongoing work, in your efforts to make a movie as compelling as this 2nd trailer. Brilliant!

Oscar Quevedo: I'm very much looking forward to see 1st and 2nd trailers together!! Luiz, don't forget you're a brave Port educator!

Luiz A. G. Alberto: That I am Oscar. And proud of it! :)

Luiz A. G. Alberto: I like your logic Zev... Do you play chess by any chance? ;)
2 hours ago · Like
Zev Robinson: I play enough chess to prolong the agony of being beaten by you. And when it appears that I may be winning once in a while, your iPad has a magic button that makes the game disappears. Why do you ask?

Luiz A. G. Alberto: I had a feeling you would have an answer that would make me laugh... :-))

Jamie Goode: great trailer - I've embedded it in my blog - look forward to the film

Roy Hersh: Like Jamie, I've done my best to spread this far and wide through social media and on our Forum and will publish the link in the upcoming FTLOP newsletter too.
As to playing that Brazilian guy in chess; all I can say is, Ouch! : )
 Carrie Jorgensen Congrats Zev! Great trailer. Next time, come take some pictures in the Alentejo, please!
Alejandro David Yashan I can't wait to see the full version keep up the good work
One of the  pillars of TheWineHub is Wine Tourism. Whether you are a wine maker, or a wine drinker, we all enjoy    having discoveries... TheWineHub exists to  help you with that.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The grapes of grappa. Another movie by Philly Bluepants
One of the  pillars of TheWineHub is Wine Tourism. Whether you are a wine maker, or a wine drinker, we all enjoy    having discoveries... TheWineHub exists to  help you with that.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It was great to be in Portugal again... (part 2) - Evening at the IVV (Instituto da Vinha e do Vinho)

On the first evening (still in Lisbon) we were invited to a fantastic tasting at the IVV* (Instituto da Vinha e do Vinho) where we had the opportunity to get to know some amazingly old (and great) Portuguese wines.

I would like to thank Roy Hersh – For The Love of Port  - for the tasting notes of the Madeira wines.

1943 Sercial do Estreito Madeira – Prior to this event, this bottle was part of the inventory cellared by the National Wine Institute of Portugal, used only for special occasions. This wine originated in the area of Estreito de Camara de Lobos and was bottled in January 1945. Slightly cloudy appearance with medium brown-amber color and a pale gold rim. High toned notes of citrus fruit, caramelized sugar, cooked onion, VA and pecan.  An initial sweet entry quickly fades to dry.  Light-bodied and soft with well defined acidity. Framed by flavors of grapefruit pith, walnuts, and toffee with a stylish finish of great length, leaving a jaw jarring dry impression.  I am not quite sure how this gained so much complexity with less than a year and a half in wood, nonetheless, the 1943 Sercial was an evocative elixir.  93 points ~ 5/9/11  

  1943 Listrão Madeira – What makes these bottles from 1943 even more unique is that during WWII, Madeira production was so limited and the harvest of ’43 so small, that it’s nearly impossible to find any bottles from this vintage in the marketplace, even on the island.  Interestingly, bottles can be found of the vintages bookending this one. The 1943 Listrão, (bottled in January 1946) is even scarcer than the other Madeiras at the IVV tasting, as Listrão was rarely bottled on its own. Today, very few bottles of Listrão exist since this large, hard-skinned grape -- which is typically sweet, but occasionally quite dry -- is virtually extinct on the island. The only Listrão that I know of can be found in the adega owned by the Olim Brothers’ at their Barros e Sousa property in Funchal (ABSL).  The grapes for this bottling are thought to have originated in Porto Santo, an island adjacent to Madeira.  Dark brown coffee color with an apple-green edge and laced with panoply of torrefacted aromas along with almond paste, saline and a distinct smoky nuance. Medium-bodied and exhibiting just enough acidity to keep this in synch, with its sweet impression; smooth, delicately textured and elegant mouthfeel.  The mid-palate presents modest depth with candied nuttiness and lemon-lime flavor.  The finish is persistent, rich and long, but overall I found this wine tasty but rather simple.  Nevertheless, it was a distinct pleasure to try this ultra-rare Madeira. 89 points ~ 5/9/11  

  1943 Malvasia Madeira – Bottled in January 1946. It has a cloudy appearance, is medium maple in color with a golden meniscus.  This 1943 was literally just opened and it had an inexplicably odd and indescribable nose that seemed beyond normal bottle stink.  However, whatever it lacked aromatically, it easily made up for on the palate.  I’m pretty certain that with proper decanting, for several days or even a week, the fragrance would have been far more pleasurable.  The palate immediately offered succulent sweetness, but only to the level of Bual and blind, I’d never have guessed it to be a Malvasia.  Extremely rich and concentrated with tension and cutting acidity, the ‘43 presented itself as a deceivingly youthful wine, despite its accessibility, compared to any of the other bottlings in the flight.  Medium-bodied and focused, featuring nectarine and praline flavors that were followed by a remarkably long, tangy finish.  Aromatics aside and focused solely on taste, the 1943 was an endearing, seductive sipper.  94 points ~ 5/9/11  

  1943 Tinta Negra Mole Madeira – In the 1940’s it was quite rare to find a Madeira that was labeled 100% TNM as back in the day there was little respect for this grape which is small, soft and possesses a black exterior and green pulp. Today the grape is known as Tinta Negra, which encompasses 80-90% of the total Madeira production and it also happens to be a red grape; a rarity in terms of the other cultivars grown on the island.  Like the other bottlings selected for this tasting, there was little known about the producer of this wine or its exact origin.  Medium-full weight, the crisp lip smacking acidity immediately provides precision and intensity.  Seemingly Bual-like upon entry and impeccably balanced, this ‘43 is packed with orange marmalade sweetness, fresh lemon-lime and dried peach flavors, leading to an intriguing sweet vs. sour counterpoint.  The VA adds an extra element of warmth and complexity that I liked, along with the extraordinary length and dry finish of this Madeira.  A unique experience and a brilliant bottle of Tinta Negra Mole.  Although I’ve tried young versions labeled Tinta Negra, this was my first older bottling.  92+ points ~ 5/9/11  

  1900 Madeira – The 1900 was poured after all of the 1943’s. No information was known about the cultivar, location or producer of this particular Madeira.  It spent sixty three years in wood prior to being bottled; thus, it was unlike the preceding four samples all of which were from the identical vintage and bottled within three years; so it was hard to understand how they developed such beauty in the bottle with so little time in wood. Medium amber-tawny color with a golden/greenish meniscus.  Not only was the producer’s name not known, but this was the only bottle which did not include the name of a grape.  It fell in the range between a slightly “sweeter” Sercial and “drier” Verdelho, but beyond my own sense, there was no way to know. Cachaça (distilled sugar cane) was used as the fortifying spirit for this wine which was sensationally concentrated and possessed excellent structure.  The saline and mahogany notes which prevailed initially were joined by scents of mandarin orange and torrefacted nuances. Full and chewy, with a density beyond any prior bottling on the table, what struck me is how young this Madeira seemed. Unctuous and silky soft, the intensity was ratcheted up by the lively, crisp acidity.  Flavors of golden raisins, figs, ripe nectarines, pralines and caramel delivered a bitter-sweet and tart profile which was like going for a thrill ride. Punctuated by vibrant, sharp acidity the balance was superb as was the length of the finish.  Too bad this was not for sale!  95 points ~ 5/9/11

IVV (Vine and Wine Institute) is a public institute created in 1986 with the purpose of adapting the existing organisations to the new Community directives.

Besides being an organization that manages and values the Portuguese wine heritage, IVV has political competencies in the wine sector. Among all the organisms related to the wine sector, IVV is the one closest to the European Union and ensures the functioning and presidency of the Comissão Nacional do OIV (OIV National Committee) (OIV – International Organization of Vine and Wine).

IVV ensures the fulfillment of the statutory scheme for vine culture, coordinates the national and Community programs for vines and guides and regulates the wine market.

This organization is also responsible for the official control of wine products and of the certification systems used by the interprofessional organizations that approve VQPRD (QWPSR) and Regional wines.


Instituto da Vinha e do Vinho
Rua Mouzinho da Silveira, 5
1250-165 Lisboa

Tel.: 21 350 67 00
Fax: 21 356 12 25

Here some of the pictures that were taken that evening..


Luiz A. G. Alberto

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