WorldWine Newspool

8 and 20 Recipe: Indian-Spiced Grilled Chicken and Chardonnay (Wine Spectator) News & Features RSS - 14. Mai 2013 - 16:30
A warm side salad of wilted spinach and chickpeas rounds out the meal

French senator seeks support for wine tax increase

Decanter News - 14. Mai 2013 - 16:01
French Senator Yves Daudigny is looking for support for a new tax on wine sold in France.

Wine Forger's Handbook warns of dangers of fake wines

Decanter News - 14. Mai 2013 - 16:00
A new eBook warning of the dangers of counterfeit wines has just been published online.

Parker on bourbon – and bourbon writer on Parker

Dr Vino's wine blog - 14. Mai 2013 - 15:52

Robert Parker included some tasting notes on Bourbon in the most recent Wine Advocate. Over at the blog Scotch & Ice Cream, the author didn’t take too kindly to the fact that Parker put “his loafer-clad foot in our turf and has deigned to tell the masses what bourbon everyone should be drinking.”

I’ll leave you to discover the gems of the post yourself. But here’s one: “Apparently the wine world regards scarcity as a measure of quality.” Okay, and a spoiler: “The know-it-all wine critic has decided he is the arbiter of taste and quality on the American whisky scene while seemingly managing to not do even the most basic bit of research and self-education on the subject.”

FWIW: Scotch & Ice Cream thinks the Pappy Van Winkle 20 beats the snot out of the Pappy 23.

The post Parker on bourbon – and bourbon writer on Parker appeared first on Dr Vino's wine blog.

Mea Culpa, Willamette Valley OREGON

Wine Industry Insight - 14. Mai 2013 - 15:11
Yep, I was in too much of a hurry when I wrote this header for the May 13 issue of News Fetch: As the headline in the body clearly stated - Jackson Family Wines buys another Willamette Valley vineyard - the vineyard was in Oregon, not Washington. Having had a son at the University of Oregon [...]

Harvest Restaurant Brings Winter Warmth To The Table

Winetimes - 14. Mai 2013 - 15:00
With the onset of winter, the Harvest Restaurant, situated at the historic Laborie Wine Estate in Paarl, is ready to seduce your taste buds with its belly-warming menu. Beat the chill and join chef Matthew Gordon and his team for an unforgettable dinning experience, packed with local produce and seasonal ingredients. In November 2011, the [...]

The Red Table at Nederburg Now Open on Friday Nights

Winetimes - 14. Mai 2013 - 14:00
The Red Table restaurant, run from Nederburg’s historic Cape Dutch manor house, is now open on Friday nights from 18:00 till late from now until the end of September. On Friday nights, the bistro-style eatery offers patrons a choice between regularly-changing set seasonal menus, and à la carte dishes. Set menus offer two courses for [...]

Justin Bieber Drinks Beer On Instagram

Winetimes - 14. Mai 2013 - 13:00
Thirsty much, Justin? The 19-year-old singer posted a picture of himself and one of his BFFs kicking back with a cold one during his recent tour in South Africa. It looks like Justin Bieber has figured out one of the biggest perks for American teenagers traveling abroad — the legal drinking age is lower than [...]

How an electronic nose could change the wine industry

Winetimes - 14. Mai 2013 - 12:00
For winemakers (and wine drinkers), a keen sense of smell is essential. Without smell, one can taste little. Now researchers have devised what they call an “electronic nose” that they say detects fruit odors more effectively than the human sense of smell and could someday be used in the winemaking industry. Spanish and Swedish engineers [...]

Stein’s Law and the Coming Crisis in Argentinean Wine

The Wine Economist - 14. Mai 2013 - 11:00

Stein’s Law, named for famed economist Herbert Stein, holds that if something cannot go on forever it will stop.  Unsustainable trends ultimately yield to the inevitable in one way or another.

Stein’s Law seems to be simply stating the obvious, but you would be surprised how many people find a way to ignore the obvious when it is in their interest to do so.  As Upton Sinclair wrote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Argentina’s Inflation Problem

And so we consider the case of the Argentinean wine industry. It’s not just the wine sector, of course, it’s the whole Argentinean economy, but wine is especially affected.  Something’s going to happen according to Stein’s Law, because it can’t go on forever as it has up to now, but it is hard to know exactly what.

The problem begins with Argentina’s high inflation rate. The official statistic puts the annual increase in consumer prices at around 10%, but this number is viewed with disbelief by the international economic community. The Economist magazine quit publishing the official figure in 2012, saying “Don’t lie to me, Argentina” to the officials there. The most commonly cited estimate of the actual inflation rate is 25% per year.

Inflation is a sensitive political issue in Argentina as it is in every country that has ever experienced a hyperinflation crisis (think Germany, for example). Some in Argentina go to great lengths to deny the obvious reality of inflation.

The story (which may be true) is told about a McDonalds restaurant in Buenos Aires that displayed all the usual products on its big backlit menu board except the signature Big Mac. Where’s the Big Mac? Oh, we have that price hidden around the corner so that no one will see it — especially the people from The Economist magazine who use it to estimate the purchasing power of the peso in their Burgernomics index!

Inflationary Squeeze

As a recent article on The Drinks Business website suggests, high inflation is putting the squeeze on Argentina’s wine producers. (The squeeze is made worse,  I understand, by government policies that restrict imports of products used in wine production as part of a general policy to control foreign exchange reserves). Production costs (grapes, labor, etc.) may have doubled over the past four years, putting a squeeze on margins.

It is difficult to pass these peso costs along to consumers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Brazil, the main export markets. Consumers are price sensitive and while the average export price of  varietal Cabernet and Merlot wines have risen by 7.2% and 24.8% respectively in the past year, this provides only limited relief from rising costs since Malbec takes the lion’s share of the export market and its dollar export price has risen by just 1% in the last year and by an average of only 2.8% per year since 2009.

Purchasing Power Inaction

The textbook remedy to this situation is for the foreign exchange value of the peso to fall to achieve what economists call Purchasing Power Parity. In a system of market determined exchange rates, according to the PPP theory, a 25% fall in the domestic purchasing power of the peso due to inflation should result in a 25% decrease in its foreign exchange value.

And indeed the peso has depreciated, but not by nearly enough to overcome the inflation difference between Argentina and the four main export markets. The peso has fallen in value by about 20% in the last two years, if we look at the official exchange rate, so each dollar of export earnings brings in more pesos,  but inflation-driven peso costs have increased by much more.  That puts a real squeeze on margins. This can’t go on forever — something has to give.

[I'm told that the black market exchange rate is 8 pesos per U.S. dollar, far below the official rate of about 5 per dollar. Such a big differential is often an indicator of crisis to come.]

Something’s Gotta Give

What happens when a country gets itself caught in a squeeze like this? Well, the conventional wisdom is there needs to be a sharp currency devaluation followed by monetary tightening to control inflation. This is a painful process and Argentina has been through it before. What if the government ignores the conventional wisdom? Internal adjustment must eventually take place to restore competitiveness if external adjustment through the exchange rate is ruled out.

A recent Wall Street Journal article about real estate prices in Buenos Aires shows one pattern of adjustment. The dollar prices of luxury apartments have tumbled as owners seek to cash out of their real estate investments and buy into the more credible U.S. currency.  The WSJ reports that

In May last year, Argentine President Christina Kirchner strictly limited access to U.S. dollars and other foreign currencies in a bid to stem capital flight. With the Argentine peso facing about 25% annual inflation (government figures, widely discredited, set the rate much lower), and an unofficial exchange rate that has effectively devalued the peso sharply, demand is high for dollars.

These days, the main feature that foreign buyers say they look for in a Buenos Aires property has nothing to do with closet space or a wide terrace. It is a seller with a bank account outside Argentina to which they can legally wire funds. This is a way to get around having to convert any dollars wired into Argentina into pesos at the official rate, after which it is nearly impossible to convert back into dollars at the official rate.

Something will have to give in the wine industry, too, if the exchange rate doesn’t adjust and the currency controls continue. In the meantime, I think every effort is being made to control costs and to keep margins out of the red. But, as Herb Stein might say, this can’t go on forever so somehow it will stop.


Herbert Stein may be best known today as father of Ben Stein, the actor, law professor, and columnist, but he was ever so much more famous in his day as a chairman of the president’s council of economic advisers

Little known fact: the Pabst beer company held an economics competition in 1944 (the year of the Bretton Woods conference)  for the best plan to sustain high employment in the post-war era. Herb Stein’s plan was named the winner from among the more than 36,000 entries. He was 28 years old and the prize was $25,000 — the equivalent of $330,000 today.

Fairview releases a Méthode Cap Classique

Winetimes - 14. Mai 2013 - 11:00
Fairview is delighted to announce the release of their very first Méthode Cap Classique (MCC). Rare across the world and the debut of its kind in South Africa, the Fairview MCC is a Rhône-style blend produced from Viognier (36%), Grenache Noir (34%) and Grenache Blanc (30%). As part of the Fairview Winemaker Selection Range, the [...]

Sweet relief from winter chill

Winetimes - 14. Mai 2013 - 10:00
Maybe you’re planning to take advantage of the cold to spend some quiet cuddle or reading time beside the fire. Don’t forget to pour yourself a glass of something sweet while you’re at it.  Dessert wines come in different forms, but all have one thing in common — they are sweet. Some are sweeter than [...]

Support Jordan Wine Estate’s Charity Winter Drive

Winetimes - 14. Mai 2013 - 9:00
Support Jordan Wine Estate this winter by bringing your old clothes and swop it for Jordan Wines to help make this long cold winter a little bit warmer for some! Shoes, blankets, pets food and tinned/non-perishable foods are also welcome! As we are offering quality wines, we expect the clothing to be in an acceptable [...]

The 2013 Diemersfontein Pinotage on Tap

Winetimes - 14. Mai 2013 - 8:00
The Diemersfontein Pinotage on Tap, South Africa’s most anticipated wine event on the annual calendar is set to take place for the ninth year running on Saturday 12th October 2013 at Wellington’s Diemersfontein Wine Estate outside Cape Town. Diemersfontein will also bring this event to Johannesburg and Durban, on the 7th September 2013 and 21st [...]

Pairing at Pinotage: Cheese and South African wines in Beijing

Grape Wall of China - 14. Mai 2013 - 7:10
By Jim Boyce I’m not the biggest fan of wine and food pairing given that many people tend to take it too seriously and that individual tastes differ. But with a group of friends in can be fun and that goes when using beverages from single malts to pale ales and foods from tofu burgers [...]

Vin de garage à l'Italienne - Il vino del giorno | Pubblicato in DoctorWine N° 2

Doctor Wine by Daniele Cernilli - 14. Mai 2013 - 1:01
Vin de garage à l'Italienne - Il vino del giorno | Pubblicato in DoctorWine N° 2

Il Sud non è solo il luogo dove il sole splende. Sul Vulture d’inverno nevica e non sempre il tempo è clemente. Da qui proviene uno fra i migliori vini rossi d’Italia, l’Aglianico del Vulture, e il Titolo di Elena Fucci è oggi fra i più apprezzati. I lettori di Doctor Wine già conoscono questo vino, l'anno scorso ne abbiamo pubblicato una piccola verticale (

Doppia mini-verticale a Montecucco - Note di Degustazione | Pubblicato in DoctorWine N° 2

Doctor Wine by Daniele Cernilli - 14. Mai 2013 - 1:01
Doppia mini-verticale a Montecucco - Note di Degustazione | Pubblicato in DoctorWine N° 2

Quella del Montecucco è, tra le "giovani" doc toscane (è stata istituita nel '98), una che fa parlare di sé. Siamo in Alta Maremma, in quella fascia di terra che geograficamente si trova tra le denominazioni del Brunello di Montalcino e del Morellino di Scansano, in una zona che si è dimostrata ideale per il sangiovese (non a caso, nell'ambito della denominazione, la tipologia Montecucco Sangiovese ha ottenuto nel 2011 l'ambita "g" della denominazione controllata e garantita). Per molti, Montecucco è la sorellina di Montalcino, magari senza raggiungere quelle profondità. Si tratta di un comprensorio relativamente piccolo, inizialmente solo poche decine di produttori, che sta crescendo ed è arrivato ad una produzione di circa un milione di bottiglie. Certo, rispetto ad altre è una cifra minima, ma all'esordio erano poche migliaia.
Abbiamo avuto modo di fare una piccola verticale (solo quattro annate) di due dei migliori vini della zona: il primo di uno dei produttori "storici", Leonardo Salustri con il suo Grotte Rosse, il secondo del produttore che più sta facendo da traino per far conoscere questa doc: Collemassari con la sua riserva.
La famiglia Salustri si dedica all'agricoltura in questa terra da generazioni e cura i vigneti con il metodo biologico (certificazione Icea), nella convinzione che sia così che si è sempre fatto da queste parti. I primi vigneti sono stati piantati all'inizio del novecento, poi nei decenni successivi al dopoguerra e quindi recuperati negli anni '90. "Un grande vino nasce solo da viti vecchie," afferma Leonardo Salustri, "ho recuperato queste viti una per una, con pazienza e passione, per essere certo della qualità delle mie uve". Il Grotte Rosse è un cru di solo sangiovese (nel clone selezionato con l'università di Pisa sangiovese Salustri) che deriva dall'omonimo vigneto di oltre 50 anni di età, con rese molto basse (55 quintali per ettaro). Fermenta in tini di rovere da 22 ettolitri e matura in botti di rovere da 25 ettolitri per 24 mesi.
Dall'altro lato l'azienda che, creata nel 1998, ha un po' rivoluzionato la zona per l'impostazione moderna e rigorosa: Castello ColleMassari, 1200 ettari di cui 110 di vigneto, 60 di oliveto, 400 ettari di seminativo e la restante parte di boschi. Anch'essa segue i criteri della coltivazione biologica garantita e certificata dall’Icea, anch'essa crede soprattutto nel sangiovese, anch'essa si è affermata prepotentemente per l'alta qualità della sua produzione. La Riserva è prodotta da 80% sangiovese, 10% ciliegiolo, 10% cabernet sauvignon e parte delle uve proviene da vecchi vigneti. La vinificazione è in acciaio e la maturazione di 18 mesi in barriques e tonneaux, di cui metà nuove.
Le annate degustate coincidono solo parzialmente: del Grotte Rosse abbiamo sentito 2004-2006-2008 e 2010, del ColleMassari Riserva 2005-2007-2008-2010.
Partiamo dalle annate più vecchie, in ordine cronologico alternando i vini, fino ad arrivare alle due annate in comune, la 2008 e la 2010.

Rupert Murdoch buys LA vineyard

Dr Vino's wine blog - 14. Mai 2013 - 0:19

Rupert Murdoch, vintner? It’s true. Unlike fellow billionaire Warren Buffett who has invested on the less glamorous (but more profitable?) distribution side of the wine biz, the media magnate is going for the glitz–near Hollywood, no less. He’s buying what may well be the only winery in LA, the 16-acre Moraga Estate in Bel Air that was listed for $29.5 million. Murdoch broke the story on Twitter of all places; now the story has been picked up real estate blogs, which have abundant photos. The seller is Tom Jones, former CEO of Northrop Grumman.

I wonder if the wine will now have a certain, er, foxiness to it? If he were to rename it, what would it be called?

Moraga Vineyards

The post Rupert Murdoch buys LA vineyard appeared first on Dr Vino's wine blog.

Ultimate wine tourism

Daily Wine News - 13. Mai 2013 - 23:15
Two Margaret River wineries are being used to beef up international tourism to Australia. Leeuwin Estate and Xanadu Wines have been selected as two of 11 wineries nationwide to participate in a new Tourism Australia initiative called the Ultimate Winery Experiences of Australia. The project aims to bring together some of the country’s top wineries to raise the profile of Australia as a leading wine tourism destination.

Varietal variety

Daily Wine News - 13. Mai 2013 - 23:15
In the heart of the Riverland, a region known for producing the most winegrapes in the country, one group is working to introduce some new varieties into the mix. The not-for-profit Riverland Vine improvement Committee is a nursery for some unusual varieties of winegrapes. The RVIC's manager David Nitschke says the development and sale of both the traditional vines and new varieties is a core part of the group's operations.