Sonntag, 27. Juni 2010

Closing Remarks

Lynne Sherriff MW: Forging Links - it was all about making contacts and keeping our great community alive.

Dr. Josef Schuller MW: It is all about people, great spirit that we felt here!!!
And we so much appreciate everyone's help and support to make the institute work - especially passing on their experience and advice to the 240 MW students out there at the moment.
And everybody helping to organize this symposium.

Fiona Morrison MW: Beware of your students - it was my former student Jacques Lurton who suggested that we shall take care of organizing this Forging Links Symposium in Bordeaux! It was hell lot of work - but we so much enjoyed doing it!
Thanks to everyone for the fantastic jobs they did to making this happen.
(Personal introduction of the key figures).

And thanks so much for coming, looking forward to seeing you again soon!

More reports to follow shortly...

Modern Legends: Fame, Fortune and Lessons to be learned

Life from Master of Wine Symposium, Bordeaux

(picture courtesy of

Moderated by Jean-Michel Valette MW (JMV)
Speakers: Paul Draper (PD) - winemaker at Ridge Vineyards Peter Gago (PG) - chief winemaker at Penfolds
Alvaro Palacios (AP) - winemaker from Spain, with bodegas in Priorat, Rioja and Bierzo
Paul Pontallier (PP) - general manager Château Margaux

Panel went along with tasting of 4 wines (for tasting notes, better check out assessments of any MW present in the tasting ;-), I concentrated

1. 1995 Ridge Monte Bello, Ridge Vineyards, California, USA

Winery is determined to improve quality constantly (you can always do better). Climate allows to try to make the best vintage ever every single year. The 1995 vintage is great to drink now, but it one aim for the subsequent vintages was to get the tannins soften and get in balance with the fruit at an earlier stage.

2. 2006 La Faraona, Descendientes de J. Palacios, Bierzo, Spain

Estate is AP's second "baby" (after Priorat), this wine makes him happy.

3. 2004 Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet, Penfolds, Barossa Valley, Australia

Expect the unexpected - not a Shiraz, but a Cabernet. Not a blend, but single vineyard, vines planted in the 1880ies, partly trellised on single-wire, low yielding. Barrel-fermented, no post-ferment maturation at all.

4. 1996 Château Margaux, 1er Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, Bordeaux

Difficult vintage, which turned out to be great for Ch. Margaux and one of PP''s favourites. Take challenges, they will make you grow.

Lessons learned, advice:

PD: If you dream about making a wine, but don't feel comfortable about oenologic knowledge involved, go for it anyway, hands-on / practical approach, PD went for natural wine-making according to 19th century techniques, "mould is good". Make the best of what you have and can do.

PG: Decisions made not only by ourselves, but also influenced by others (spouse, friends, companies), flow along and make use of the chances life brings along. JMV: "Aha, so so what your spouse wants."

PP: Never stop thinking that you can do better! There's always something to learn (fields of viticulture, social interaction, ...).
The best thing that can happen to a fermentation is for it to finish. But if something goes wrong or does not work as it ideally could - invest some extra work and time to get a great end result anyway.

Important mentors in your lifes:

AP: in the beginning many, and they encouraged me to be passionate, be strong, have values and never give up fighting.


PP: A lot of factors change with time, except for terroir, which remains the same (well, mostly, with climate change, even that will get affected). But everything else has changed and will change again. Or rather evolve. Be open to new ideas, don't be too traditionalist, let evolution happen. Let the wine express terroir, but try to make great wines of today, don't imitate great wines of the past.

PG: Bad times follow you, you may sell them eventually, but they will remind you of (your) faults for a very long time. Great quality is made in the vineyard, in the grapes.

Do great wines require demanding markets?

PD: Was always lucky enough to be in the position to make wines that HE liked, and which were always appreciated enough to sell well. But that was fortunate.
Great personalities will give their best under all circumstances, even if the market works against them.

PP: In order to achieve excellence, demanding markets are needed. Market forces push you to make the best possible.

PG: Bottom end more influenced by fashion and market, but high end is all about excellence.

What do you think how people will remember you after yoou died:

PG: The person who made too many mistakes.

AP: will be probably forgotten within a few days, but hopefully they will say that I was a nice guy.

PP: Certain pride in being forgotten, as long as achievement is not and remains.

PD: People will hopefully remember my wines (except for vintages when my children were born, very distracted those days!!!)

Any self-doubts or serious mistakes made?

PP: A couple, probably many I am not even aware of.
Sometimes disappointed by people who work for him and who are not enthusiastic enough - that can be due to mistake made by company before.

PD: Frustrated by people who do not understand my wines, he has to remind himself that this not meant personal. No big mistakes made, only small regrets.

JMV: Many thanks for sharing your views with us today!

Samstag, 26. Juni 2010

Panel Discussion - Forging links between the Asian markets and the international wine industry

right, guys, finally arived at the symposium, yeehah!!! and here's my first life blog (still without pics, I'm afraid...). Moderated by Jeannie Cho Lee MW (JCL), participants: Singapore based wine writer Poh Tiong Ch'ng (PTC) and Moses Tsang (MT), chairman of various Asian councils and major foundraiser for charity events. Focus will be Hong Kong, mainland China and Singapore.

Background presented by JCL: As Facebook and Twitter are banned from China and rest of internet carefully watched by government, wine industry need to find other ways of communication. Enourmous bureaucratic efforts necessary to establish yourself. Layers of reality (what u see and what u don't see).
Japan one generation ahead, can give you an idea about where China is heading to (with some differences in regards to demography etc.). Chinese consumers are becoming more sophisticated and aware of quality now. But for most of Asian consumers, wine is a luxury product, when economy is doing well (or personal circumstances allow it), they will buy wine, if not, they will substitute it with other alc. beverage (plenty of options).
Hong Kong in a fantastic position now, with government entirely behind it, opposed to rest of market (with bureaucracy, anti-alcohol campaigns etc.).
Hong Kong's = wine hub? 93% of wine exports go to mainland China and Macao - a hub should be multidirectional, should it not? But HK's links within Asia actually not that strong. So do not over-estimate HK's powers to get you anywhere else, at least for the time being.
Majority of sales done during gift giving seasons (Chinese New Year and moon festival). Only time will tell, if new consumption patterns are coming up, supported e.g. by posh western restaurants promoting it.

PTC: Good news: China has stopped adding Sprite and Coke to their wines. Assumed reason: Quality of Sprite and Coke has improved ;-) When are westerners going to stop adding milk and sugar to their tea?
Average Chinese person today has lived 2 entirely different lifes (2 lifetimes in a lifetime), from Mao to modern, fast moving culture, strong survival instincts. Most Chinese do not really care about having a lot of background information before drinking sth., e.g. Cognac, they are masters of adapting any product to their personal needs, based on their own experience / judgement.

MT: sustainable development important on all levels. Applies to long-term relationships, objectives of joint business projects and, increasingly, enviromental aspects.
Investments and hopes of international winemakers so closely tied to continuous growth of Chinese economy, what is the forecast? MT: Consolidation seen and starting in some places, but many places like e.g. Chongqing incredibly growing.

Consumption trends? PTC: Premium wines still used for official purposes and show-off (daily basis). And: more and more Chinese consumers actually ENJOY wines, and even get gradually more interested (particularly the younger ones).

Threat of China to compete on export markets like US? JCL: wine is seen as luxury product (see above), luxury market for this growing soooo much, so far all locally produced quality wine is absorbed by local market. Chinese wineries rather facilitating things for foreigners on the Chinese markets, by educating consumers and making the market. So see them as an opportunity / colleagues rather than threat / competitors.

Closing the panel, JCL said something I love and can entirely identify with: Let's use the term "empower the consumer" (on eye level) instead of "educating" them, which tends to be quite top-down.

Sent life from MW Symposium / Bordeaux

Freitag, 25. Juni 2010

Certified WSET Educator

I proudly announce to be a certified WSET Educator now, yippieh!!!!! Having passed the presentation and tasting assessments on Wednesday, I can be booked by APPs from all over the world now on a freelance basis!!!! Looking forward to hearing from you ;-)

Stolz verkünde ich, dass ich nun eine vom WSET zertifizierte Kursleiterin bin, yippieh! Nachdem ich am Mittwoch die Präsentations- und Verkostungsprüfungen bestanden habe, kann ich ab sofort von APPs weltweit gebucht werden!!! Ich freue mich auf Ihre Anfrage ;-)

Breaking news: Will I ever make it to the Master of Wine Symposium in Bordeaux?

Oh, what a disapppointment getting to Gatwick aiport yesterday - all flights to France cancelled!!!! (Well, not right away, but after checking in , dropping off baggage, going through security and waiting for the gate no. - all of the sudden: rien ne va plus). And the Master of Wine Symposium I have been looking forward to for months starting last night. Boooooah, was I upset!!!!!!

Luckily, with the French Airline staff no longer on strike, I am finally en route for Bordeaux. But: direct flights are all fully booked, so we got detoured via Lyon. That's where I am now, waiting for my connecting flight (many thanks to Peter Gago from Penfolds for getting us into the VIP lounge!). Only missed out on Champagne Bollinger reception, dinner with Bordeaux's mayor, morning session, lunch organized by Sauternes and Barsac producers,... weeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Hope to make it in time for the last bit of the afternooon session, buuuuha.

Sonntag, 20. Juni 2010

Wines of India Masterclass at LIWF

My last report from events at this year's London Wine Fair features a tasting organized by the Indian Grape Processing Board (IGPB). This government-led body is set up to develop India's wine industry by research projects & knowledge transfer as well as international marketing activities.

The majority of wineries is based in India's 'wine capital' Nasik, which is one of the country's fastest growing cities. The key regions for growing grapes destined for wine production are concentrated in the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka in India's south west. The climate is tropical and vines do not go dormant in the winter. Unlike other countries with tropical viticulture (working 2 harvests per year, like e.g. Brazil), a single pre-summer harvest is general practice here. Although the true potential of Indian terroir is yet to be discovered, many of the wines presented at LIWF were very good, among them the following:

- Tiger Hill Brut Rosee Sparkling from Indage Vintners, with small bubbles of long persistence, a creamy mousse on the palate, aromas of strawberry, brioche and yeast, and a good length.
- Sula Dindori Reserve Viognier 2009, from Sula Vineyards, very aromatic with floral and white peach aromas, ripe apricot and lychee flavours, mineral notes and well balanced by medium+ acidity.
- Zampa Sauvignon Blanc, in a typical New World style, with pronounced tropical fruit flavours, herbaceous / grassy notes and vibrant acidity.
- La Reserve 2008, a 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Shiraz blend from Grover Vineyards (consulted by Michel Rolland). The wine is well structured, with red berry fruit, spicy vanilla, oaky and nutty aromas. It has a high level of grippy, but ripe tannins, which need a high protein red meat dish to go with.
- Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 from Four Season's Barrique Reserve Collection. Their winemaker used to work at Grover's, so his style is also influenced by Michel Rolland. The wines showed intense and complex aromas, with cassis and spicy vanilla dominating, and mint, leather and smoke underlying, balanced by medium acidity and a medium level of well-integrated, soft, ripe tannins.

India's recent focus on quality instead of quantity has increased drinkability (and enjoyability!) of its wines immensely. But recent times have also "witnessed plummeting grape prices, wineries in financial stress and growers uprooting vines" (IGPB). A big drawback for India's domestic market are high taxes on trade across states. Internationally, of India as quality wine producing nation needs to be improved, or even better, a USP needs to be established, in order to not only make Indian wines accepted by high end consumers, but unique, desirable and special - an ambitious, but in my opinion realistic goal for this dynamic, thriving country.

Samstag, 12. Juni 2010

Chateau Musar - 80th anniversary tasting at LIWF

This year, Lebanon's Chateau Musar celebrates its 80th anniversary, having been founded by Gaston Hochar in 1930. On this occasion, the Hochar family organized a masterclass during LIWF, hosted by Serge Hochar, Steven Spurrier and Bartholomew Broadbent.

Situated in high altitude Bekaa Valley, Chateau Musar produces wines in a region with more than 6,000 years of wine-making history, started by the Phoenecians. The Hochar family arrived there in the 12th century, as crusading "Preux Chevaliers" from France. Today, it is Gaston Hochar's grandsons continuing the traditions of this prestigious estate, with their father Serge (Decanter Man of the Year 1984) remaining not only charismatic head of the family but also chief-winemaker.

Chateau Musar produces its flagship Red from low-yielding Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan vines, and small quantities of an oak-aged White from the indigenous Obaideh and Merwah grapes. During the anniversary event, we were lucky enough to taste the 1991 vintage of the white, which was of deep gold colour and a fantastic aroma complexity of tropical fruits, oaky vanilla, roasted cashew nuts, toffee, honey and some minerality. Vintages featured from Chateau Musar's were 2003, 1999, 1981 and 1977 (tasting notes of these available upon request!)

Very characterictic for the estate's wines is the high level of volatile acidity in both the reds and whites, usually polarizing quality assessments from "distinctive, oustanding" to "faulty, poor". When Serge asked during the event: "Tell me the truth, who among you did not like our wines the first time you tasted them?", I did hesitate and thought back to the accordant WSET Diploma session some time ago. The 2000 Chateau Musar was savoury, gamey, full of ripe fruit, with notes of coffee, liquorice and 'sous-bois' for sure, but also quite oxidized and reminiscent of nail varnish remover. I really wonder if I had enjoyed it so much without the explanations of our WSET tutor. But I did not answer Serge's question, and the rest of the audience did not either, everybody probably following his or her own train of thoughts and memories in silence. Serge's personal conclusion about how people tend to react towards his wines is that great wines should be either loved or hated.

Chateau Musar's viticulture is organically certified, and their winemaking philosophy is non-interventionist. It takes the grapes up to 10 days to arrive at the winery after harvest, and there is no addition of SO2 at this stage. It is a hot, dry climate and fermentation starts on the way, adding distinction and complexity (for those who love the wines) versus a strong brettanomyces character (for those who hate the wines). In the winery, SO2 is also added very little (below 10mg/litre), and no other additives are used. Serge: "When you are a winemaker you have the luck to work with something that is alive and you should never kill it."

For more information, please see

In diesem Jahr feiert Libanons Chateau Musar sein 80-jähriges Jubiläum seit Gründung durch Gaston Hochar im Jahr 1930. Aus diesem Anlass organisierte die Familie Hochar eine Masterclass während der London Wine Fair, welche von Serge Hochar, Steven Spurrier und Bartholomew Broadbent geleitet wurde.

Chateau Musar produziert seine Weine im hochgelegenen Bekaa Tal, eine Region mit einer über 6.000 Jahre währenden Geschichte der Weinherstellung, eingeleitet durch die Phönizier. Die Familie Hochar siedelte sich dort im 12. Jahrhundert an, nach einigen erlebten Abenteuern als Französische Kreuzfahrer. Heute sind die Enkel von Gaston Hochar unter Leitung ihres charismatischen Vaters und Kellermeisters Serge Hochar (Decanter Mann des Jahres 1984) für die Fortführung des traditionsreichen und renommierten Weinguts zuständig.

Für den Premium-Rotwein des Weinguts werden Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault und Carignan-Trauben von alten Rebstöcken mit geringen Erträhen verschnitten. Die kleinen Mengen an eichenholz-gereiftem Weißwein stammen von den einheimischen Sorten Obaideh und Merwah. Im Rahmen der Jubiläumsveranstaltung konnten wir den 1991er Weißwein verkosten, der sich mit einer intensiv goldenen Farbe und fantastischen Aromenvielfalt von tropischen Früchten, Holz & Vanille, gerösteten Cashewnüssen, Karamell, Honig sowie feiner Mineralität auszeichnet. Vom roten Chateau Musar wurden die 2003er, 1999er, 1981er und 1977er Jahrgänge präsentiert (Verkostungsnotizen von diesen gerne auf Anfrage!)

Ganz charakteristisch für sowohl die Weiß- als auch die Rotweine von Chateau Musar ist ein hoher Grad an flüchtiger Säure, welche die Verkoster in der Regel polarsieren, und Aussagen von "unverkennbar, hervorragend" bis hin zu "fehlerhaft, schlecht" nach sich ziehen. Als Serge während der Veranstaltung die Frage stellte: "Seien Sie ehrlich, wer von Ihnen mochte unsere Weine nicht, als Sie sie zum ersten Mal probiert haben?", da zögerte ich schon und dachte zurück an die entsprechende Unterrichtsstunde beim WEST-Diploma-Kurs vor einiger Zeit. Der damals verkostete 2000 Chateau Musar präsentierte sich zwar einerseits herzhaft-animalisch, mit reifen Früchten, Noten von Kaffee, Lakritz und 'sous-bois', war aber andererseits auch sehr oxidiert und erinnerte an Nagellackentferner. Ich frage mich schon, ob ich den Wein ohne die Erklärungen des WSET-Tutors auch so sehr zu schätzen gelernt hätte. Aber eine Antwort bekam Serge an diesem Tage leider nicht, weder von mir, noch von einem anderen Teilnehmer. Seine eigene Bewertung der gewöhnlichen Reaktionen auf seine Weine ist, dass große Weine entweder geliebt oder gehasst werden sollten.

Chateau Musar betreibt biologischen Weinbau, und gemäß der eigenen Weinbereitungsphilosophie wird auch im Keller so gut wie gar nicht interveniert. Es dauert bis zu 10 Tagen, bis die gelesenen Trauben im Keller ankommen. In dem heißen, trockenen Klima beginnt die Gärung unkontrolliert auf dem Weg dahin, was zu Komplexität und Einzigartigkeit beiträgt (sagen die Liebhaber) bzw. zum starken Brettanomyces-Charakter führt (sagen die Gegner). Auch im Keller wird SO2 nur ganz geringfügig eingesetzt (weniger als 10mg/Liter), und andere Zusatzstoffe finden gar keine Anwendung. Serge: "Ein Winzer hat das Glück mit etwas Lebendigem zu arbeiten, und dies sollte er niemals töten."

Mehr Informationen gibt es unter

Donnerstag, 3. Juni 2010

Friuli Venezia Giulia presents Ramandolo and Picolit

In a series of various LIWF tastings organized by Turismo Friuli Venezia Giulia, Peter McCombie MW hosted a fabulous seminar on sweet wines or Vini da Meditazione, as they are known in Italy. The guests were also invited to taste the different wines along with some local cheese and biscuit specialities to experiment on food and wine matching combinations.

Ramandolo and Picolit are both sweet wines produced the Passito way, by drying grapes which are traditionally harvested late (thus being very ripe) and then left to dry on mats before pressing. With a lot of the water evaporated from the berries on the mats, the aromas and sugars in the extracted juice are highly concentrated.

Ramandolo is a very small (50ha) DOCG northeast of Udine, producing Passitos made from the Verduzzo grape variety. I found the 2007 BERNARDIS Ramandolo Laetuso to be particularly good, a wine of pale amber colour, with a youthful, fruit-forward nose and aromas of fresh apricot, tropical fruits, honey, sweet spice (ginger), along with a high level of acidity. It was excellent with the hard cheeses served and is also recommended as match for blue cheese.

Picolit is a Passito made from the eponymous grape variety in DOCG Colli Orientali del Friuli-Picolit. Since the mid 1980s, oak maturation in small barrels is often used here, adding vanilla as well as caramel and toasty notes to the flavour profile. My favourite wine tasted in this flight was the 2007 ERMACORA Picolit. It is of deep gold colour, with concentrated stone and tropical fruit aromas, floral notes, toasty oak, sweet spices (vanilla, cinnamon) and a high acidity level for good balance. It is recommended as perfect match for apple tarts and other fruit-based desserts.

For more information, please visit

In einer Reihe verschiedener Verkostungen, welche vom Tourismusinstitut Friuli Venezia Giulia während der LIWF organisiert wurden, leitete Peter McCombie MW ein tolles Seminar über restsüße Weine der Region oder auch Vini da Meditazione, wie sie in Italien genannt werden. Die Gäste waren auch dazu eingeladen, die verschiedenen Weine mit regionalen Käse- und Gebäckspezialitäten zu verkosten und mit möglichen Kombinationen zu experimentieren.

Ramandolo und Picolit sind beide restsüße Weine, die nach Passito-Art hergestellt werden, wobei Trauben, die i.d.R. spät gelesen werden, also sehr reif sind, auf Matten ausgebreitet und getrocknet werden, bevor es ans Keltern geht. Da während des Trocknungsprozesses ein großer Anteil des Wassers aus den Trauben verdunstet, konzentrieren sich Aromen und Zucker im extrahierten Saft.

Ramandolo ist mit 50ha eine ganz kleine DOCG nordöstlich von Udine und stellt Passitos aus der Rebsorte Verduzzo her. Mir hat der 2007er BERNARDIS Ramandolo Laetus ganz besonders gut gefallen, ein blass-bernsteinfarbener Wein mit einer jungen, fruchtbetonten Nase und Aromen von frischen Aprikosen, tropischen Früchten, Honig, süßem Gewürz (Ingwer) und ausgewogener Säure. Der Wein hat hervorragend zu den angebotenen Hartkäsen gepasst und wird auch zu Blauschimmelkäse empfohlen.

Picolit ist ein Passito, der in der DOCG Colli Orientali del Friuli-Picolit aus der gleichnamigen Rebsorte hergestellt wird. Seit Mitte der 80er Jahre werden die Weine hier häufig in kleinen Eichenholzfässern gereift, und dadurch das Aromaprofil um Vanille-, Karamell- und Röstnoten ergänzt. Mein Liebling in dieser Reihe war der 2007er ERMACORA Picolit. Er ist von tiefgoldener Farbe, mit konzentrierter Aromen von Steinobst und tropischen Früchten, blumigen Noten, kräftigem Holzton, süßen Gewürzen (Vanille, Zimt) sowie einer hohen Säure, die für Harmonie mit der Restsüße sorgt. Dieser Wein wird als perfekter Begleiter zu Apfelkuchen und anderen fruchtbasierten Desserts empfohlen.

Weitere Informationen sind unter zu erhalten.

Mittwoch, 2. Juni 2010

Montana's Marlborough 'Icon' Sauvignon Blanc project

A rather scientific approach to creating a new premium Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc was presented by Montana's Chief Winemaker, Patrick Materman, in a masterclass during LIWF, organized by Pernod-Ricard. The research project was launched two years ago, and in co-operation with Denis Dubourdieu numerous viticultural and vinification trials were conducted since, in order to better understand and explain how some key components in the grapes contribute to the characteristic flavour profile of Marlborough's signature grape variety.
The studies were based on Dubourdieu's previous research results, identifying two major flavour compounds in Sauvignon Blanc grapes: 1. a group of methoxypyrazines (yes, guys, we are really getting into chemistry here!), which contribute the herbaceous, grassy, green pepper, tomato leaf and asparagus flavours, and 2. thiols, which contribute the passion fruit, grapefuit, gooseberry, tropical fruit flavours (and sweaty or cat pee notes, where applicable).
The two key components tend to be in natural balance in Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs and thus generate its typical flavour profile (as opposed to e.g. South Africa or Chile, where the methoxypyyrazines tend to have a higher share, resulting in greener flavour profiles of the wines).
But Montana and Dubourdieu digged deeper and found that actually there were substantial differences of compounds in grapes grown in different subregions within Marlborough or even neighbouring vineyards, resulting in entirely different aroma profiles if vinified unblended, last but not least due to the two key components being less in balance. This had quite an impact on the winemaker's ability to influence wine styles and also to maintain consistency. It was already known to Montana that Marlborough comprises different terroirs (e.g. Rapaura with its warm microclimate and infertile, well-draining soils generates wines with pronounced tropical and gooseberry aromas used mainly for Stoneleigh, whilst Awatere's cool microclimate and semi-fertile soils bring out Triplebank's tomato leaf, nettle and cut grass characteristics.)
But the key targets for Montana's Icon Sauvignon Blanc are set higher than expressing terroir. The research is hoped to help creating the best Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc of all time, with palate weight and ageing potential - it is hoped to become the pinnacle of Montana's winemaking skills.
So next, benchmark Sauvignon Blancs from all over the world were tasted and analyzed for their individual combinations + effects of methoxypyrazines and thiols (in much more detail as described above). Then grapes from many different plots were handled separately (hand versus machine harvest, stainless steel versus oak, indigenous versus cultivated yeasts etc.), to form a wide range of base wines for blending. Some of the base wines were on the table for tasting, and the final blend of 2009 vintage (to which 6 of the base wines had contributed) was also presented: it is restrained, elegant and has good palate weight, well done! Personally, however, I would actually prefer it to be a bit more aromatic, distinctive and reminiscent of what Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is famous for.

Ein eher wissenschaftlicher Ansatz zur Entwicklung eines neuen Premium Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs wurde in einer Masterclass während der London Wine Fair von Montanas Kellermeister, Patrick Materman, präsentiert (diese Veranstaltung wurde von Pernod-Ricard organisiert). Vor zwei Jahren wurde in Zusammenarbeit mit Denis Dubourdieu ein Forschungsprojekt gestartet, in dessen Rahmen zahlreiche Versuche in den Bereichen Weinbau und Kellertechnik durchgeführt wurden. Ziel war es, die Wirkung von Schlüsselkomponenten, welche zum charakteristischen Aromaprofil von Marlboroughs Signatur-Rebsorte beitragen, besser verstehen und erklären zu können.
Das Projekt basiert auf Dubourdieus früheren Forschungsergebnissen, welche 2 hauptsächliche Aroma-Verbindungen in Sauvignon Blanc-Trauben identifiziert haben: 1. eine Gruppe von Methoxypyrazinen (ja, Leute, ich hoffe, ihr habt den Chemieunterricht aus der Schule noch in bester Erinnerung!), welche die Aromen von Kräutern, Gras, grüner Paprika, Tomatenstrunk und Spargel beitragen, und 2. Thiole, welche für die Maracuja-, Grapefruit-, Stachelbeer-, tropische Früchte- (und gelegentliche Schweiß- und Katzenpipi-) Noten verantwortlich sind.
Diese beiden Schlüsselkomponenten sind in Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs tendenziell sehr ausgewogen, wodurch das typische Aromaprofil gebildet wird (im Gegensatz zu beispielsweise Südafrika oder Chile, wo die Methoxypyrazine tendenziell überwiegen und so zu grüneren Aromaprofilen führen).
Für Montana und Dubourdieu ging es zunächst darum, näher zu untersuchen, inwieweit Weine einzelner Subregionen innerhalb von Marlborough oder einzelner Weinberge doch hin zu einer der beiden Aroma-Verbindungen tendieren. Damit könnte das Geschmackprofil der Weine vom Kellermeister bewusst gesteuert und über einen längeren Zeitraum konsistent gehalten werden. Gewisse Unterschiede waren Montana bereits bekannt: So wachsen in Rapaura mit seinem warmen Mikroklima und unfruchtbaren, gut entwässernden Boden die Mehrheit der Trauben für den intensiv an tropische Früchten und Stachelbeeren erinnernden Stoneleigh, während im kühlen und halb-fruchtbaren Awatere die Triplebank-Weine mit ihren Aromen von Tomatenblatt, Brennessel und frisch geschnittenem Gras enstehen.
Das Ziel für Montana's Icon Sauvignon Blanc ist noch höher gesteckt als einen weiteren Wein zu schaffen, welcher seine Herkunft, sein Terroir widerspiegelt: Die Studien sollen helfen, den besten Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc aller Zeiten zu kreieren. Der Icon Sauvignon Blanc soll vor allem mit gehaltvollem Gaumen und Alterungspotenzial versehen sein - der krönende Gipfel von Montana's Weinbereitungskünsten.
Als nächstes wurden daher Sauvignon Blancs aus aller Welt, die auf ihre Weise Maßstäbe gesetzt haben, verkostet und auf die jeweilige Kombination + Wirkungsweise von Methxypyrazinen und Thiolen analysiert. In einem weiteren Schritt wurden daher die Trauben vieler einzelner Parzellen separat und mit unterschiedlichsten Kombinationen von Techniken vinifiziert und gereift wurden (Hand- versus Maschinenlese, Edelstahl versus Holz, wilde versus Reinzuchthefen usw.). Einige dieser Grundweine konnten im Rahmen der Veranstaltung verkostet werden, und auch der endgültige Verschnitt des 2009er Jahrgangs, der sich aus 6 Grundweinen zusammensetzt, wurde präsentiert: Dezent, elegant und vielschichtig, gut gemacht! Für mich persönlich jedoch hätte er noch ein bisschen aromatischer sein können und charakteristischer für das, was er ist - Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Dienstag, 1. Juni 2010

Wine Intelligence presents: Who drinks Fine Wine?

On 19.5., Wine Intelligence, a consulting, branding & market research company, held a seminar during LIWF named "Fine Wine Intelligence: Who drinks Fine Wine?" Members of the team presented their results on a research project on expensive wine, with 3,900 regular wine drinkers surveyed in UK, US and Switzerland. In this context, fine or luxury wine was defined as follows: UK GBP 10+, US $25+, Switzerland CHF 25+. Here are some of the facts (more details available via
- Only 12% of luxury wine consumers buy regularly (with regular being defined as monthly or more, and the remaining 88% buying occasionally=yearly to bi-monthly). But the regulars buy 60% of luxury wines by value, are highly involved and have (unsurprisingly) a high income. The potential of a wine to age is important to them. Further factors motivating them:
1. Heritage (history of the estate and the wine itself)
2. Provenance (wine needs to signal a sense of place, reflect terroir) - countrywise France enjoys highest appreciation, followed by Italy
3. Hand-crafted
Encouragingly, critical acclaim is not the top factor motivating consumers, whilst rarity is only important in the collectors' world.

Im Rahmen der LIWF hielt Wine Intelligence, eine Beratungs-, Markenbildungs- und Marktforschungsfirma, ein Seminar zum Thema "Fine Wine Intelligence - wer trinkt edle Weine?". Die Meinungsforscher präsentierten dabei ihre Ergebnisse einer Studie über teuren Wein, für die 3.900 regelmäßige Weintrinker in Großbritannien, den USA und in der Schweiz befragt worden waren. Teurer bzw. Luxuswein wurde dabei wie folgt definiert: UK GBP 10+, US $25+, Schweiz CHF 25+. Hier sind einige der Fakten (mehr Details sind über zu erhalten):
- Lediglich 12% der Konsumenten von Luxuswein kaufen regelmäßig (definiert als monatlich oder häufiger, während die übrigen 88% gelegentlich = jährlich oder im 2-Monats-Rhythmus kaufen). Aber die Gewohnheitskäufer repräsentieren 60% aller Luxusweinkäufe nach Wert, sind stark involviert und haben (nicht überraschend) ein hohes Einkommen. Das Potenzial eines Weines zu Reifen ist ihnen wichtig. Weitere Faktoren, die Konsumenten zum Kauf vvon Luxusweinen motivieren:
1. (kulturelles) Erbe, Tradition: (Geschichte des Weingutes und des Weins selbst)
2. Herkunft: (Wein muss Besonderheiten des Terroir oder zumindest der Region widerspiegeln)
3. Handfertigung
Ermutigenderweise sind es nicht Kriken und Auszeichnungen, die den Hauptausschlag geben! Und Seltenheitswert gilt nur in der Welt der Sammler als motivierendes Element.