Australian Cabernet Sauvignon Insights

According to Wine-Searcher, Australia produces seven of the world’s top 10 value Cabernet Sauvignon. Based on wines with at least a 90-point rating + and dividing the rating by the wine’s price, Cabernet Sauvignon from Australian regions Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Langhorne Creek and Margaret River out-performed wines from international competitors Napa Valley and Bordeaux.

This comes on top of Australia’s strong performance at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards. Of the 27 gold medals awarded to Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia received the most with seven golds ahead of France and South Africa.

Gold medals awarded to Cabernet Sauvignon at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards:

Australia 7
France 4
South Africa 4
Chile 3
China 3
USA 2
Italy 1
Romania 1
Bulgaria 1
Israel 1
Total 27

Did you know that Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s most planted grape variety?

According to IWSR, Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s largest selling variety with 163 million cases (9-liter case equivalents) sold across the globe in 2018. Cabernet Sauvignon is Australia’s second most planted red variety behind Shiraz.

In 2019, while the overall Australian grape-crush declined by 3 percent, the Cabernet Sauvignon crush increased by 3 percent to just over 250,000 tonnes and reflecting growing demand, the average purchase price of Cabernet increased by 14 percent to $846 per tonne. Reflecting the premium nature of Cabernet Sauvignon, 12 % of the Cabernet Sauvignon purchased by Australian wineries was at prices above $1500 per tonne (vs 7 % for all grapes).

Australian Cabernet Sauvignon is shipped to over 114 markets around the world, with China and the United States the two biggest export destinations with a combined 70 percent value share.

The premium status of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon is also evident in the latest export figures. Exports of Australian single variety Cabernet Sauvignon averaged A$6.71 per liter in 2018–19, well-above the total average for all red wines of A$4.54 per liter. Australian Cabernet Sauvignon was destined for 114 markets

According to IRI Worldwide, in 2018–19, sales of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon grew 6 % in value in the USA’s off-trade market, double the overall Cabernet market growth rate of 3 %. For Australia, the strongest growth is coming at US$8–14.99 per bottle and, albeit off a small base, above US$25 per bottle.

The Clones
Wine Australia is also investing in R & D into Cabernet Sauvignon. The South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) is currently into the final year of a three-year project, ‘Cabernet Sauvignon trials to evaluate response to climate and management.’ Three field sites of Cabernet Sauvignon plantings will be established in contrasting climates and soils. Each will contain at least 10 Cabernet Sauvignon clones that will be selected in collaboration with the sector and monitored to ensure that vines are well-established.

In the future, clone performance will be evaluated via a range of parameters including vine phenology, vegetative and reproductive growth, water relations and berry traits. The construction of the trial will allow comparison between different clones at the same site and between the performance of each clone in different.

SARDI
https://pir.sa.gov.au/research/about_sardi

Wines Australia
https://www.wineaustralia.com/

Eight New Masters of Wine Announced

August 30th, 2019 The Institute of Masters of Wine announced eight new Masters of Wine. There are now 390 Masters of Wine, based in 30 countries.

The new members of the IMW include: Julien Boulard MW (PR China), Thomas Curtius MW (Germany), Dominic Farnsworth MW (UK), Lydia Harrison MW (UK), Heidi Mäkinen MW (Finland), Christine Marsiglio MW (UK), Edward Ragg MW (PR China) and Gus Jian Zhu MW (USA).

The new MWs have proved their understanding of all aspects of wine by passing the Master of Wine examination, recognized worldwide for its rigor and high standards.

The MW examination consists of three stages and culminates in the submission of a final research paper, an in-depth study on a wine-related topic from any area of the sciences, arts, humanities, or social sciences.

In addition to passing the examination, all MWs are required to sign the MW code of conduct before they are entitled to use the initials MW. The code of conduct requires MWs to act with honesty and integrity and to use every opportunity to share their understanding of wine with others.

There are 14 Masters of Wine in the ‘2019 vintage’, as Edouard Baijot MW (France), Nicholas Jackson MW (USA), Brendan Jansen MW (Australia), Jonas Röjerman MW (Sweden), Harriet Tindal MW (Ireland) and Jonas Tofterup MW (Spain) were announced as MWs in February. They will all be formally welcomed to the IMW at a ceremony in London later this year.

The 2019 crop shows the increasing internationalization of the IMW. The top six countries where MWs are based around the world are Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

Here are the new Masters of Wine

Julien Boulard MW (PR China) – Born in Alsace, Julien arrived in China in 2003 after studying Mandarin at university. After completing a master’s degree in international affairs, he worked for five years for a wine importer in Nanning, before setting up his own company Zhulian Wines, specializing in wine education. Unsatisfied with solely mastering an exotic language, he started to study wine and became an accredited educator of the Bordeaux Wine School in China in 2008. He then passed the WSET Diploma in 2012 and embarked on the MW journey in 2013. His fluency in Mandarin, both spoken and written, his reputation on Chinese social media (Weibo and WeChat), his wine knowledge, as well as his experience as a wine educator, enabled him to become a key professional on the Chinese wine scene. He is a judge for various wine competitions in China and Hong Kong and writes sporadically when he manages to find time between teaching, tasting and daughter-caring.

Research paper: Exploring the potential of Marselan production in China.


Thomas Curtius MW (Germany)
– Thomas is primarily a specialist in PR, digital communications and business development. He studied communications and economics at the University of Mainz and started his business career as a TV journalist for n-tv, the first news television channel in Germany. Later he moved into the automotive industry and joined the PR department of a premium car manufacturer in Stuttgart, Germany. After various positions in the passenger car division, he took over responsibility for events, trade shows and digital communication within global truck, bus and van communications. He heads a dedicated team which develops and manages communications projects, trade shows and product presentations around the globe. Thomas has also been intensively involved in the wine business for more than two decades. He sees great advantage in bringing his expertise in strategy, change management and digital communication together with his knowledge in wine. He concluded his WSET Diploma in 2010 and is now also a member of the WSET International Alumni Advisory Board. He works as a consultant, teacher and lecturer. He judges in wine competitions, runs wine seminars and masterclasses for professionals and enthusiasts and writes articles spreading his passion for wine. When not traveling or developing new ideas and concepts in business, Thomas loves to run in the vineyards around his town or work in his garden.

Research paper: Current opportunities and threats for ProWein, Vinexpo, Vinitaly and London Wine Fair: An investigation into ProWein exhibitors’ attitudes towards European wine trade shows.

Dominic Farnsworth MW (UK) – Dominic is a partner at the London law firm Lewis Silkin where he specializes in intellectual property. He is both a solicitor and a trademark attorney and his practice focuses on brand protection, advertising and sport. He acts for a number of businesses in the drinks sector. His interest in wine was sparked by walking past Lay & Wheelers’ shop on the route to school. It was more reminiscent of an antiquarian bookshop than a retail store and the rows of unintelligible labels only added to the mystery. Love of the taste of wine followed and was reinforced by finding that wine had a tendency to be produced in some of the most beautiful parts of the world by interesting people. He followed the WSET route through to the Diploma. Then, setting himself the goal of either climbing Himalayan peaks or passing the MW, he took what he thought was the easier option! He lives in South West London, married with two children, and his other interests include music, traveling and mountains.

Research paper: The threats posed by government regulation to the sale of wine in the United Kingdom.

Lydia Harrison MW (UK) – Lydia was born and lives in London, where she enjoys the diversity of wines available. She started officially in the wine industry after university by joining Majestic Wine where she worked for six years, culminating in the position of senior manager of the Battersea branch. During this time she completed the WSET Level 3 and Diploma with distinction and was awarded several prizes for her exam results: trips to Jerez and the Douro which cemented her love for fortified wines, and the Vintners’ Scholarship for the highest mark in Diploma in the UK trade, which she used to tour New Zealand and its wine regions. She joined WSET School London in 2013 and teaches all levels of WSET wine qualifications, specialising in Bordeaux, fortified wines and tasting technique at Diploma level. She also organises an eclectic programme of evening tasting events and is a Bordeaux Ambassador for the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB).

Research paper: Online wine education – comparing motivations, satisfactions and outcomes of online vs. classroom students.

Heidi Mäkinen MW (Finland) – Heidi currently works in Helsinki as a wine ambassador for a Finnish wine importing company where her main tasks are on-trade wine education and portfolio development. At first, she studied theatre and drama research at university, yet after gaining her bachelor of arts she followed her bigger passion to work in hospitality and to learn more about wine. Before her current job she worked for 12 years on the restaurant floor, both in her native Finland and the UK. With her international work experience and knowledge gained from her success in national and international sommelier competitions she continues to help and mentor other professionals to develop themselves within the industry. Passionate and excited about food, wine and travel, Heidi is always looking at new opportunities to explore the world.

Research paper: A critical assessment of Finnish on-trade wine education – satisfaction levels and opportunities for development and improvement.

Christine Marsiglio MW (UK) – Christine is a Canadian residing in London, where she is a wine educator and program manager at WSET School London, and mum to a three-year-old and a one-year-old. She recently contributed to the development of materials for the newly released WSET Diploma and teaches all WSET levels. Before discovering her love of wine education, Christine was tastings executive at Decanter where she ran panel tastings and helped organize the Decanter World Wine Awards. During the course of her MW and WSET Diploma studies, Christine was awarded scholarships from the Family of Twelve, Freixenet, and the Derouet Jameson Memorial Foundation. She holds an MSc in oenology and viticulture from École Supérieure d’Agriculture d’Angers, France, where her thesis focused on the early detection of Brettanomyces in wineries. She also holds a BSc in chemistry and biology from the University of Alberta in Canada. Christine is a keen long-distance runner, cook, and traveler.

Research paper: The sensory effects of different lactic acid bacteria on wine.

Edward Ragg MW (PR China) – Edward co-founded Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting in Beijing with his wife and partner Fongyee Walker MW in 2007. Having read English at Oxford University, Edward began blind-tasting at Cambridge whilst writing a Ph.D. on American poet and Burgundy tippler Wallace Stevens. A former captain and coach of the Cambridge blind-tasting team, Edward co-wrote and revises regularly the Cambridge University Guide to Blind-Tasting. He has also published widely in international wine magazines, literary journals and has authored three collections of poetry. Formerly a Professor at Tsinghua University (2007-2017), he completed his WSET Diploma in 2012 and began the MW study program in 2015. Together with Fongyee, he is the other authorized tutor of the WSET Diploma in mainland China. Edward also has judging experience, serving as a guest international judge for the McLaren Vale Wine Show (2012) and Perth Royal Wine Show (2019), as well as judging in Chinese competitions. He is keen to expand his international judging experience and also make wine in the future.

Research paper: Portfolio management strategies of major Chinese wine importers: an analysis of the evolving mainland Chinese import market 2008-2018.

Gus Jian Zhu MW (USA) – Gus has become a seasoned wine educator under the tutelage of Fongyee Walker MW and Edward Ragg MW, the co-founders of Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting. He has combined his wine education resulting in an MSc in viticulture and enology from UC Davis, with practical winemaking experience at Napa Valley’s Cakebread Cellars, and hospitality and sales experience at the Hall Winery in Napa. Gus’ commitment to the academic field of wine is evidenced by his MW research paper about the sensory science of wine; and by co-authoring a review paper, A Quarter Century of Wine Pigment Discovery, published in the Journal of Food and Agriculture. Gus provides education and consulting services at Gus Zhu Wine Consulting. He works as an international consultant on wine education and is committed to sharing his knowledge as a certified educator for all levels of WSET qualifications in wines. Gus shares his expertise with global WSET Diploma candidates in the online classroom and as a guest lecturer at the Dragon Phoenix in Beijing and Napa Valley Wine Academy.

Research paper: The impact of acidity adjustments on the sensory perception of a Californian Chardonnay.

Osorno Chile has ‘Tremendous Potential’ for high-quality sparkling wine

One of Chile’s principal producers of sparkling wine, Miguel Torres Chile, is hoping to exploit the Osorno Valley’s “tremendous potential” for high-quality sparkling wine, according to winemaker Eduardo Jordan.

Jordan said he believed the area in the Los Lagos region of Chile was ideally suited to the production of premium sparkling wine.

Jordan said: “The south is the future for sparkling wine. I think that the Osorno area has tremendous potential to produce high-quality sparkling wines since the cold weather and the mixture of volcanic and alluvial soils present the ideal environment for this type of wine.”

He recalled how the producer has been experimenting with sparkling wines made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the region since 2017 and the results “are well on track to-date”.

To make the wines, Miguel Torres Chile is working with a grower with which it has had a long-term contract. It has already released a wine from the area – a Sauvignon Blanc – which is part of its Cordillera range.

“It’s a vertical Sauvignon with a citric acid mouthfeel typical of this area and that which is difficult to find in other areas of Chile”, said Jordon.

Osorno, located at a latitude of 40 degrees – roughly the same as the North Island of New Zealand – it is one of the emerging wine regions in the far south of Chile, giving its name to a city, province and volcano in the region. With as much as 1,500mm of rainfall a year, it can be a challenging area to grow grapes, according to Jordan. It is mainly planted with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with a smattering of Riesling.

“Due mainly to climate change in Chile, today it is possible to plant vineyards in places that were unthinkable eight to 10 years ago, due to rising temperatures and lower rainfall in the summer months. Osorno is one of those places in Chile where today there are a small number of producers or wineries who have dared to plant vineyards”, Jordan added.

Miguel Torres Chile was founded in Curicó in 1979. Jordan said that temperatures are noticeably warmer now, with the producer, which sources grapes from many regions in Chile, noticing big differences in picking times.

“In 2007 we really started noticing that temperatures were changing. The sea temperatures were warmer and summer temperatures are now 1-2 degrees higher”, he said.

“When we were founded, Curicó was considered south, now it’s central. Itata and beyond is now referred to as the south.”

Source: Drinks Business

Wines on the Wing 2019 Results are in!

Just a few months ago, I was judging at the 2019 Wines on the Wing international airline wine competition, one of the world’s most respected wine award competitions for first class and business class on international flights throughout the world.

This year it was held at City Winery, New York back, along with twenty-three wine professionals.

The process:

To participate in Global Traveler’s competition, airlines throughout the world that operate long-haul international first-class service and/ or business-class service are invited to submit two white wines, two red wines and one Champagne or other sparkling wine currently on their wine lists, as well as the wine lists themselves. The same rules apply to our North America category, which includes airlines with first-class and/or business-class service beginning and ending in North America. All wines are coded and divided into flights, or categories, according to their type. For example, all New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc submitted would be judged together, as would all Rioja. Wines are presented to judges in code-marked glasses. Judges are told only the type of wine and, when appropriate (vintage Champagne, for example), the year. If judges feel a wine is flawed, a reserve bottle is poured.

Each wine is judged on a modified Davis 20-point scale. The judges’ individual scores for each wine are added and averaged, and the averaged scores of an airline’s submissions are totaled. Individual wines with the highest scores and the airlines with the highest total scores win Wines on the Wing awards.

The organization committee, which is chaired by my friend and colleague, Eunice Fried, tallies up the scores. American Airlines received the highest score among first-class international service for 2019.

“This award is a direct reflection of the investments we’ve made in the premium customer experience, and American is honored to be recognized by Global Traveler,” said Janelle Anderson, vice president, Global Marketing, American Airlines. “Together with our master sommelier, Bobby Stuckey, we focus on designing a wine list that will give our guests something new while also providing them with wines from their favorite regions.”

To achieve this honor, Bobby Stuckey and Intervine, the airline’s wine management partner, taste more than 1,600 wines from 16 countries each year. In total, the airline opens 1,320,000 bottles annually on its first- and business-class international flights.

Among American’s highest-scoring first-class wines were Champagne, Bollinger La Grande Année 2008; the whites Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet 2015 and Simonnet Febvre Les Clos Chablis 2014; and the reds RoseRock Pinot Noir 2015 by Drouhin Oregon, and Masi Riserva Costasera Amarone Classico 2012.

The highest-scoring airline among international business-class service entries was Etihad Airways. Its Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut tied for top place among business-class Champagnes, while its Château Moulin Haut-Laroque 2012 was the highest-scoring red wine in business class, and its Grosset Springvale Riesling 2016 finished among the highest-scoring business-class white wines.

“These prestigious awards give us the opportunity to showcase our innovative beverage portfolio,” said Linda Celestino, vice president, Guest Services and Delivery, Etihad. “Our boutique inflight cellar focuses on Old- and New-World wines with a range of both subtle and intense flavors, ensuring we offer wines to delight all palates.”

Singapore Airlines did remarkably well, with high-scoring wines in nearly every category. It ranked among the five top-scoring first-class airlines, while its Champagne and a white wine finished among the best in their categories. It is also one of the highest-scoring business-class airlines, its wines among the top Champagnes and red wines.

Our commitment to the traveler is at the forefront of our in-flight wine program, and it gives us great pride to be named one of the top five scoring airlines in Global Traveler’s airline wine competition,” said Betty Wong, divisional vice president, Inflight Services and Design, Singapore Airlines. “We want to keep the palates of our frequent flyers excited with a new label delivered on board every few months. Our wine consultants source small-batch wines, many previously unavailable in flight. We are particularly pleased to see the fine showing of our Meursault and Château Tour Haut-Caussan wines.”

Judges included:

CESAR BAEZA is an oenologist and a consultant for the wine industry. A native of Chile, he studied winemaking there and in France, Spain and California and worked at several wineries. For 20 years he was wine master and co-owner of Brotherhood Winery in New York.

JOHN BRECHER is senior editor of Grape Collective. He and his wife, Dorothy Gaiter, were wine columnists at The Wall Street Journal from 1998 to 2010 and are also the authors of four books on wine.

J. SCOTT CARNEY, MS, is the dean of wine studies at the International Culinary Center. The center has schools in New York City and in Silicon Valley, California.

BETH COTENOFF, DWS, a senior vice president at R/West, has 20 years’ experience in wine and spirits. She worked in Paris and with Sopexa/Food & Wines from France. She earned the WSET diploma in Wine & Spirits and is a certified wine instructor.

JOHN FANNING is general manager of Hakkasan, New York. He has been wine director and/or general manager of other restaurants in New York including The Lambs Club, SD26, Accademia di Vino, Il Trulli, Beppe, Felidia, Coco Pazzo and Palio and in Rome, Bramante and San Michelle.

FRED FERRETTI is a wine and food writer whose articles have appeared in many national publications. Formerly a New York Times reporter, he was also a columnist for Gourmet magazine for many years.

XAVIER FLOURET is owner of Cognac One, LLC., a national wine importer and New York wine wholesaler. The company focuses on sustainable and organic privately owned wine estates throughout the world that specialize in the best expressions of terroir and wine appellations.

DAVID FRIESER, the fine wine purchaser at Park Avenue Liquor Shop in Manhattan, is a frequent wine lecturer and has been professionally involved with wine for more than 30 years.

DOROTHY J. GAITER is senior editor of Grape Collective. She and her husband, John Brecher, were wine columnists at The Wall Street Journal from 1998 to 2010 and are also the authors of four books on wine.

CURTIS GREEN is president and founder of TenFolk Enterprises, a wine education and marketing company created to broaden interest in wine among African Americans. He also publishes SlitelyChilled.com, the online magazine geared to the African- American wine drinker.

DAVID LECOMTE is chief winemaker at City Winery. A native of France’s Rhône Valley, he earned degrees in viticulture and winemaking in France and worked in French, American and Chinese wineries before making wine in the heart of Manhattan.

As president of the Wine and Spirits Program, HARRIET LEMBECK has taught consumers and wine trade personnel for 35 years. She is the author of the 6th and 7th editions of Grossman’s Guide to Wine, Beer and Spirits and is a contributor to Beverage Dynamics Magazine.

GILLES MARTIN serves as the winemaker and director of operations at Sparkling Pointe Winery on Long Island, New York, and as a consultant to many other Long Island wineries. French-born, he studied winemaking at Montpelier and has worked at Roederer Estate and Delas Frères.

DAVID MILLIGAN is president of David Milligan Selections, representing fine French producers. In the wine trade for more than 30 years, he began his training in England. He also served as president of Seagram Chateau & Estate Wines.

KATHERINE MOORE, FWS, is general manager of Union Square Wine & Spirits, a large retail shop in Manhattan.

President of her own company, Cornerstone Communications, MARSHA PALANCI has managed media relations emphasizing wine for 20 years. Previously she served as vice president for Schieffelin & Co., where she worked with Dom Pérignon, Moët & Chandon and Marqués de Riscal.

LIZ PALMER is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Champagne. She is also a wine journalist and global wine judge, founder of UPSocial Wine and Spirits Agency, President of Les Dames d’Escoffier Ontario, and on the board of FIJEV – Paris.

On the staff of Heights Chateau, a wine shop in Brooklyn Heights, for more than 20 years, JUDITH RUNDEL takes part in wine-buying decisions, coordinates the Wine of the Month Club and writes the shop’s website. She also conducts wine tastings and classes.

ARNO SCHMIDT has been the executive chef of New York’s Waldorf Astoria, The Plaza and other famous hotels. In that capacity, he has organized numerous wine and food events. Born in Austria, he has worked in hospitality since 1946.

BOB SHACK is owner and president of HB Wine Merchants/R. Shack Selections and of Clos Robert Winery in Sonoma, California. Formerly he served as vice president and manager of the Premiere Wine Merchants Division of Rémy Martin Amerique for 20 years.

WILLIAM SHORT is regional manager, New York, for Dreyfus Ashby & Co., a fine-wine importing company. At 36 years, he is the longest-tenured salesman in the company’s history. Before joining the wine field, he taught school for 10 years.

AYELE SOLOMON is the winemaker and a pioneer in honey wine at his company, Bee D’Vine, in California. As well as still honey wine, he recently released the world’s only sparkling honey wine.

PAMELA WITTMANN is the principal of Millisime, Ltd., her 17-year-old public relations and marketing firm specializing in helping foreign wineries enter the U.S. market. With degrees in oenology and in business, she has worked in wineries and wine sales.

Here is a list of the winning wines, which were recently announced:

TOP INTERNATIONAL FIRST-CLASS WINES ON THE WING
1. American Airlines
2. All Nippon Airways
3. Air France
4. Singapore Airlines
5. Etihad Airways

TOP INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS-CLASS WINES ON THE WING
1. Etihad Airways
2. United Airlines
3. Aeromexico
4. All Nippon Airways
5. Tie: Air Tahiti Nui
Singapore Airlines

TOP CHAMPAGNES INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS
1. Krug Grande Cuvée (Air France)
2. Bollinger La Grande Année 2008 (American Airlines)
3. Tie: Krug Brut 2004 (All Nippon Airways)
Krug Brut 2004 (Singapore Airlines)
4. Tie: Lanson Black Label Brut (Delta Air Lines)
Charles Heidsieck Brut 2006 (Etihad Airways)

TOP CHAMPAGNES INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS
1. Tie: Jacquart Brut Mosaïque (Aeromexico)
Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut (Etihad Airways)
2. Tie: Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve (Air Tahiti Nui)
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve (Singapore Airlines)
3. Tie: Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut (Aeroflot)
Laurent-Perrier Brut (Air New Zealand)
4. Ayala 2009 (United Airlines)
5. Lanson Black Label Brut (Delta Air Lines)

TOP FIVE WHITE WINES INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS
1. Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault 2016 (Singapore Airlines)
2. Joseph Drouhin Chassagne- Montrachet 2015 (American Airlines)
3. Simonnet Febvre Les Clos Chablis 2014 (American Airlines)
4. Domaine Laroche Chablis 2014 (All Nippon Airways)
5. Domaine Verget Pouilly-Fuissé 2017 (All Nippon Airways)

TOP FIVE WHITE WINES INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS
1. Bouchard Père et Fils Mâcon 2016 (All Nippon Airways)
2. Grosset Springvale Riesling 2016, Australia (Etihad Airways)
3. Domaine Verget Mâcon-Villages 2016 (Air Tahiti-Nui)
4. Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 2017 (United Airlines)
5. Casa de Compostela Alvarinho 2017, Portugal (TAP Air Portugal)

TOP FIVE RED WINES INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS
1. Château Léoville-Barton 2012, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux (All Nippon Airways)
2. RoseRock Zéphirine Pinot Noir 2015, Drouhin Oregon, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon (American Airlines)
3. Château Giscours 2011, Margaux, Bordeaux (All Nippon Airways)
4. Château Lynch-Bages 2008, Pauillac, Bordeaux (Air France)
5. Masi Riserva Costasera Amarone Classico 2012 (American Airlines)

TOP FIVE RED WINES INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS
1. Château Moulin Haut-Laroque 2012, Fronsac, Bordeaux (Etihad Airways)
2. Tie: Bramare Malbec 2013, Argentina (Etihad Airways)
Château Rauzan-Ségla 2006, Margaux, Bordeaux (Singapore Airlines)
3. Château Haut-Caussan 2015, Médoc, Bordeaux (Singapore Airlines)
4. Petit Castel 2017, Domaine du Castel, Israel (EL AL Israel Airlines)
5. Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Sonoma, California (Aeromexico)

BEST NORTH AMERICAN FIRST CLASS/ BUSINESS CLASS WINES ON THE WING
1. American Airlines
2. United Airlines
3. Aeromexico
4. Delta Air Lines

BEST NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPAGNE/SPARKLING WINE
1. Jacquart Brut Mosaïque (Aeromexico)
2. Ayala 2009 (United Airlines)
3. Mionetto Prosecco Brut (Delta Air Lines)
4. Lanson Black Label Brut (American Airlines)

BEST NORTH AMERICAN RED WINE
1. Battle Creek Cellars Pinot Noir Reserve 2017, Oregon (Alaska Airlines)
2. Château Villotte 2016, Bordeaux (United Airlines)
3. Antica Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa, California (Delta Air Lines)
4. Tie: Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Sonoma, California (Aeromexico)
Hall Merlot 2015, Napa, California (American Airlines)
5. RoseRock Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir 2015, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon (American Airlines)

BEST NORTH AMERICAN WHITE WINE
1. Joseph Drouhin Saint-Véran 2017, Mâcon, Burgundy (American Airlines)
2. Decoy Chardonnay 2017, Sonoma, California (Aeromexico)
3. Gravelly Ford Chardonnay 2017, California (United Airlines)
4. J. Hofstätter Pinot Bianco 2017, Alto Adige, Italy (American Airlines)
5. Rued Chardonnay 2018, Sonoma, California (Alaska Airlines)

BEST ALLIANCE WINES ON THE WING
1. oneworld
2. Star Alliance
3. SkyTeam

Chubut – Argentina’s New Emerging Wine Region

With just 65 hectares of vines, the emerging wine region of Chubut in Patagonia is Argentina’s most southerly region.

Patagonia encompasses over 50% of the total landmass of Argentina, which is 5% of its population. The area consists of four main wine-producing provinces: La Pampa, Neuquén, Río Negro and Chubut. Despite its size, the region only has 1.88% of the country’s vineyards. While the first winery opened, in Río Negro, in 1909, much of the rest of the GI is relatively new, particularly Chubut.

Just 65 hectares of vines are planted in Chubut, 50ha of which are controlled by Bodega Otronia in Sarmiento. These are among the southernmost vineyards in the world, occupying a latitude of 45°. With winds as high as 110kmph and rainfall as low as 200mm per year, Maximo Rocca, commercial director of Otronia, describes it as a totally “new way of winemaking in a new world of wine production”.

“Our winemakers decided not to talk about terroir but micro-terroir,” he says, noting how from the start, the producer’s vineyards have been divided into blocks. Achieving just half a kilo of grapes per plant, Otronia has invested in a series of different-sized untoasted foudres, as well as concrete tanks and eggs in which to age its wines.

With two traditional method sparklers made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the pipeline, Otronia has released just two wines: a white blend made from Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay; and a single varietal Chardonnay, made from a blend of two blocks.

“It’s going to be a word-of-mouth project,” says Rocca. “It’s difficult to explain what we’re doing in just one sentence.

Praising the support of the local government, he says the winery aims to work with sommeliers to create “a team of ambassadors to communicate what Chubut is doing and tell the story”.

Moving northwest, around the towns of Trevelen and El Bolsón, rainfall is higher and conditions are less blustery, but frost is a near-constant threat.

With the majority of producers having just a couple of vintages under their belts, this is a region still finding its feet, both in terms of the grapes that can be grown and the style it should produce.

Sparkling experiments

Like Otronia, Casa Yagüe is also experimenting with sparkling, having also released a Sauvignon Blanc and two single-varietal Chardonnays, one with oak, the other without. “We want to do a lot of things, but we’re going step by step,” explains Juli Yagüe, head of PR and trainee winemaker, who recounts how the winery has an automatic sprinkler- and frost-prevention system, which is triggered when the temperature drops below 0ºC. The winery has just planted Pinot Noir and has the potential to produce a maximum of 20,000 liters.

Moving further north, red varieties are more prevalent, with Pinot Noir and Merlot particularly finding favor.

At Nant y Fall, based on the curiously named Valle 16 de Octubre outside of Trevelen, Pinot Noir is the most planted variety. Having released two wines – a still red Pinot Noir and a rosé Pinot Noir – the producer hopes to launch a Riesling and a Gewürztraminer in December.

Family member and winemaker Emmanuel Rodriguez says: “Summer temperatures here range from -2ºC to 35ºC, and all four seasons are extreme.”

With the aim of producing 17,000 bottles once all 2.5ha are in production, Rodriguez is experimenting with his first oak barrels, as well as using different yeasts in his Pinot Noir to enhance both the structure and the aromatic profile.

Two hours’ drive further north, fellow family-owned producer Chacra Adamow has had its fair share of hardships. Having been assured that its site was frost-free, the producer lost 60% of its first crop in its first year. Proving resilient, it replanted its damaged vines and is aiming to hit the 10,000 mark in order to be “commercial”.

Overcoming problems

Planted with Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, Pedro Adamow, the owner of the estate, says: “We were excited by the result we achieved in 2015, but we know there are still many problems to overcome. The goal is to keep 10,000 vines alive then build our own winery. Our dream is to have an oenotourism business with a restaurant, hotel and tasting room.”

At such an early stage of proceedings, and without viticultural knowledge of the area, Adamow describes each vintage as “a silver bullet”.

“You only get one shot then you have to wait another year to correct any mistakes that you made,” he says. “It can be frustrating.”

Adamow’s wines are made by Camilo De Bernardi of Familia De Bernardi, just over the border into Río Negro by the town of El Bolsón.

Another producer that is overcoming challenging conditions and using them to its advantage is Familia Ayestarán, which produces wine under the Oriundo label. Winemaker Darío González Maldonado said that he’d made what he believes to be Argentina’s first ice wine. Made from 100% Gewürtztraminer, Maldonado explained that he harvested the grapes when temperatures hit -8 degrees Celsius and followed the regulations that govern ice wine production in Canada and Germany. Argentina has no guidelines for this type of wine.

The resulting 11% ABV wine contains 50g/l of residual sugar, with only 300 bottles made in total. Having taken control of an abandoned 17-year-old vineyard in El Hoyo back in 2014, Familia Ayestarán had its first proper vintage in 2017 and also produces a Merlot, white blend and sparkling wine.

Biodynamic hopes

With two hectares of vines, including Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc, De Bernardi hopes to one day become biodynamic.

“I’m focusing on getting the acid balance right at the moment,” he says, confessing that he is still not completely satisfied with the style of his wines.

However, despite struggling with frost, he noted that his reds were able to achieve almost 14% ABV – much higher than other wines in the area.

Plans are afoot to help local restaurants stock wines from Chubut, while the government is organizing a press trip to the region for journalists based in Buenos Aires.

As things stand, Otronia’s Rocca notes: “Chubut’s wines need to be consumed with knowledge. There’s a trend for wine production in cool and extreme areas, but we’re all still learning because it’s all so different from how they do things in Mendoza. You’ve got to bear in mind that we’re 2,000km further south,” he says.

That distance, however, is also a blessing. Argentina now has a new region capable of producing aromatic white varieties and fresher, light reds, while the acidity achieved in grapes provides an ideal base wine for sparkling. Chubut’s potential, therefore, is far-reaching.

Source: Drinks Business