Unmanned aircraft, satellite mapping and ground sensors controlled by tablet computers – not 21st century espionage but 21st century wine making.
Read the BBC's article on "precision viticulture" and the technology behind it.
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The results are out for Mr Halliday's Chardonnay challenge and there seem to be a couple of value choices in the winners.
$22 will grab you a bottle of Eden Road 'The Long' Road Chardonnay 2011. With a score of 96 it's bound to tickle your tastebuds.
Potentially even better, $21 can get you a bottle of 2011 Fraser Gallop Estate Parterre Chardonnay. At 97 points and described as being "more Chablis like", this one sounds very intersting.
Got over $100 burning a hole in your pocket? Then you can splash out on a bottle of the winner, Penfold's 2008 Yattarna Chardonnay. Maybe they're achieving their goal of producing a white wine to sit alongside Grange. If you're buying a couple of bottles then don't forget to invite me to the opening!
Links for UK purchases (not necessarily the same vintage, so beware):
I can't find these in the USA at the moment.
Pairing food and wine is centuries old, but now science is beginning to back up our hunches.
The Huff reports that findings published in the October 9th issue of Current Biology suggest that mouthfeel, the way food feels in our mouths, is responsible for the phenomenon.
Yes, you should pair astringent with fatty! It's true. They didn't test using wine, but instead used green tea, grape seed extract and aluminum sulfate - yummy! These all reduced the perception of fattyness in meat. It's the same effect that you get with tannic wines.
Personally, I think that this research needs repeating - this time with wines. Who's up for helping?
Read the original research here: http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(12)00945-1
As a side note - maybe this works for couples too. Astrigent, lean and bitter paired with fatty???
The long march to acquire not only wine assets, but good ones, continues from China.
A 13-hectare St-Emilion grand cru estate in St Laurent-des-Combes is understood to have been bought by a Chinese industrialist
Although the details of the deal have not been disclosed, a classified estate in the St-Emilion appellation would expect to sell for between €1 million and €2m per hectare. That's a lot of cash for those vines!
Bellefont-Belcier is the first classed growth Bordeaux property to pass into Chinese hands and joins approximately 40 other Bordeaux estates with Chinese owners. Many of them seem to be improving with a bit of new investment.
Halfpenny Green Vineyards, in Staffordshire, UK, has produced a wine with a staggering alcohol level of 15%!
Their Rondo, just being released now, uses grapes are from the 2011 harvest. Allegedly it's big, bold and plummy. It has been compared to an Aussie Shiraz, which is quite a turn up for a wine from Wolverhampton!
If you've tried it then please leave a comment.
The Daily Telegraph reports that drinking red wine could help you lose weight.
Resveratrol, a component in red wines, may help to suppress you appetite and prevent you from overeating, a study suggests. It certainly seems to turn bees off sugar water mixutres at least.
Maybe there is something more than taste to having a glass a day?
It took a three-year, six-figure study to figure out that consumers are clueless about Chenin Blanc. I could have told them that for free.
It can be a great grape, but it can also be dire rubbish. The biggest problem in the UK seems to be that the majority of the wine have been bargain-basement - and tasted like it too.
Read on to see what the rocket scientists think. Personally, I reckon that trying to sell better quality wine is the best approach.
Christie’s is hosting the 152nd Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction, the oldest and most famous charity wine sale.
Watch the video that takes you through what it is and what it does. I've attended and it's quite an interesting spectacle. One day I plan to go back and buy myself a barrel.
Wine production in France could fall 16% to 42.9 million hectoliters in 2012, due to chaotic weather.
The Ministry of Agriculture is forecasting a fall to the lowest level in four years. Heat waves and storms in the South and East has led them to lower their estimates.
At the same time Champagne production was affected by frost and particularly virulent attacks of mildew and other fungi. Even more dire predictions come from the Interprofessional Committee of Champagne (CIVC), who are predicting one of the smallest harvests in twenty years.
Fingers crossed that the quality is there for what little is left.
Drink Australian, think Australian, or so this wine show sings.
Live music was played during an Australian wine competition recently in an effort to get judges 'to think, feel and taste in a South Australian mindset'.
I love the Joe Wadsack quote about using music to stay upbeat when tasting 200 commercial Chardonnays.
Smoke taints wine irrespective of fuel type and hides in the berries.
According to this research, the type of vegetation burnt does not significantly affect the taint found in wines. What this means, quite simply, is that you don't want bushfire near vineyards, no matter how beautifully perfumed the smoke is.
I wonder if any wine makers have ever tried to use this "taint" deliberately?
Those amazing folks @real_ale have stepped up with another free tasting. This time it's not just beer, it's whisky. It's not just whisky...it's Compass Box whisky.
If you're looking to get a bottle of something for the festive season, or for that scotch loving friend of yours, then you should get your butt along to this tasting and sample some of the best and most affordable whisky going.
29th November 7.30pm at Real Ale's shop, 371 Richmond Road, Twickenham, TW1 2EF
Ah, if only I still lived round the corner...then I'd be there!
He's always an entertainer, Richard. Here's his unique way to remember the 1855 classification....Chateau Margaux, Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Mouton....
Via Vitabella Luxury Wine / Twitter @Vitabellawine / Also check www.vitabella.fr
71% of wine shoppers are looking for a bargain. It seems that price and perceived value are of more importance every day.
Leo Burnett's SocialShop report delves into how most of us are buying on price and how social media influences our decisions.
So, what can we learn? Lots. If you're marketing online, whether it be wine or something else, then you really need to understand what your different consumers groups need.
How are you influencing the different groups to make your product the one that they want? If it's wine, how are you pushing out the message about your value and deals? What are the comaprisson sites saying about your products?
Food for thought. @drinksbusiness and eMarketing Mixology have quite different takes on it.
There's the main presentation and there's also one to help categorise the different types of shopper: http://www.slideshare.net/LeoBurnettWorldwide/peopleshop
There's also a prettier, more graphic version of the report: http://www.slideshare.net/LeoBurnettWorldwide/social-shopping-12931723
Read and keep.
L’éclatement d’une bulle de champagne comme vous ne l’avez jamais vu !
Want to see a Champagne bubble exploding? This is cool!
Filmed at 5,000fps, this little movie shows the moment of a bubble bursting. You can see it catapulting droplets of Champagne into the air, setting the aromas for the wine free.
It's not often that I post up offers, but this one really is worthwhile at $12 per bottle (Aussie $).
OK, so it's not usually $35 like the advert says, more like $23, or even $20 on offer, but certainly not $12. So, it's around about half price, which is good, but I do hate the way that companies feel the need to exagerate the original price, as if we can't use Google.
So, what's it like? I have no idea, as I've never tasted it. Bob Campbell MW, who knows a bit about Kiwi wines, reviewed the 2009 and says: "Fresh cherry and plum fruit flavours with a hint of spicy oak. Appealing sweet fruit and a smooth texture are this wine’s greatest assets. Great value at this price [~$20]." Sounds like a Martinborough Pinot, rich dark cherries backed up with a touch of new oak. Yum.
The winery are currently on the 2010 vintage and this is the 2009, so it's probably a clearance line. That shouldn't be a problem with a Martinborough Pinot, as long as it's been stored well.
I've grabbed myself a case and maybe I'll find time to review it when it arrives.
Let me know if you decide to buy any. I don't get any referral fees, but I'd like to know.
Four wheels, two arms, six cameras, GPS and an artificial intelligence system to learn the vineyard and recognise plants' features - this robot is one mean pruning machine!
French developed Wall-Ye V.I.N. is about to be trialled at Bordeaux’s Chateau Mouton-Rothschild. He'll be put through his paces in one of the world's most expensive vineyards, but at $32,000 you'd have to be making some special wine to afford a toy like this!
A Chinese industrialist is to purchase the 13ha Chateau Bellefont-Belcier, a Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classe.
It seems that the Chinese really do have a taste for Bordeaux, particularly the Right Bank's Merlot dominated blends. They are a bit easier drinking, after all.
How long before Chinese industrialists own as many of the estates as the French insurance industry does? Hopefully they'll continue to bring fresh investment and modernisation with them.
Via Vitabella Luxury Wine / Twitter @Vitabellawine / Also check www.vitabella.fr
UK workers toil 3 times harder than US counterparts to earn a beer!
How long does it take to afford a beer? Less than 10 minutes if you're in the USA.
The Economist has figured this out this vital calculation in minutes worked, based on the local price of a beer. Genius.
In India people have to work for nearly an hour, while in the USA and Czech Republic it's less than 10 minutes. Thankfully Australia, where I'm based now, fairs slightly better than the UK.
Anybody up for a wine version of this work?
Amid the unease that recently came with a Chinese purchase of Château de Gevrey-Chambertin in Burgundy, it appears that the Chinese are buying in the Côtes du Rhône too.
French-Chinese trader Champ Dong Créations Industries is reported to have purchased the Domaine Bouche estate for a rumoured €2m.
Located in the Vaucluse département, the estate has an annual output of up to 150,000 bottles of mid-range red and rosé wines. That's big, but not massive, but it's bound to raised a Gallic eyebrow or two.
Using information from the Wine-Searcher database, Rebecca Gibb reviews the new Saint-Émilion classification.
It's a nice take on the controversial re-working of this structure. I particularly like the bang-for-your-buck analysis. So, what's the best value in the new classification? Read on to find out.