Thursday, 31 January 2013

Never trust an itinerary! Mimi in Argentine Day 2

Left at 7.30 am, how can one have jet-lag with only a three hour time zone difference!?

Drove to Clos de Siete, where we were meeting Marcelo Pelleretti Beautiful winery very smart, architect built rather than winemaker, therefore lots of aircon even though the roof is vineyard!

Met a citarish guitar player, who was there to have a blend made especially for him, to go with his music.

The tasting showed Marcelo's style of  big blockbuster tannin driven wines. Chardonnay (oaky), torrentes, the more recent vintage was lovely and fresh. The malbecs were big. Marcelo was beginning to use cabernet franc in blend. Giving freshness and a herbaceous aromatic and palate nuance.

Then the long drive to San Raphael, with the oddest of picnic lunches.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Mimi Avery in Argentina... Day 1

Mimi Avery is blogging for us from Argentina...

After queuing for 2 hours just to leave Buenos Aires International Airport we crossed town to get to the domestic airport. Had lunch over looking the river plate, in the airport, a beautiful sunny day.

Landing in Mendoza we were whisked off to the Hyatt hotel, which was being staked out by the supporters of the river plate football team, who were holed up in the hotel prior to the match with Boca Juniors (the two biggest teams in Argentina).

Our first meeting was at 7pm, in the courtyard, a discussion on the bulk market from an international bulk wine supplier, very interesting, but not something that we are interested in at the moment. Then off to dinner for the first of many meatfests.

Monday, 28 January 2013

South of France...

By Madeline Mehalko

After my visit to the Languedoc the other week, I am much more familiar with the more entry-level side of the region - I've tasted a lot of varietals which were well made and of good quality, but my feelings remain that blends of local varieties are the main key to unlock the character of the region. It was good to taste the 2012 vintage in tank – quality is high, and quantities aren’t as catastrophically small as we were led to believe - so fear not, there will be no shortage of Southern French wine at Averys this year! I came across several examples of astonishingly light and elegant Faugeres - even ethereal at times, especially the Abbotts & Delauney Faugeres ‘Boreas’; a real departure from the robust, herby, often gamey wines I am accustomed to. As in so many regions, it's the usual battle between modern and traditional. Traditional is special... though not always to everyone’s tastes. This was illustrated perfectly by a discussion I had during the week with a couple of winemakers firmly in the 'modern' camp - they stated that they had never had a good bottle of Chave's Hermitage, that every bottle they had had was reductive or riddled with brettanomyces. Perhaps my years working nearly exclusively with more traditional producers makes me less bothered by 'brett', and call me crazy, but nothing says 'Rhone' like a big whiff of farmyard. And reduction... I almost expect it of good Syrah! Stick it in a decanter, swirl it around, no problem (disclaimer – this more applies to wines I might drink than wines I might buy for the range!). Of course both of these things are within reason... I do draw the line at manure on a hot day, or rotten eggs.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Meeting Juan Pelizzatti of Chakana Wines…

It takes a brave man or woman to set up a winery. As many winemakers will tell you, the only way to make a small fortune in wine is to start with a large fortune and then invest in a winery. So what compels someone to start from scratch with their own wine business and how do they succeed when so many others fail?

Juan Pelizzatti set up Chakana wines in Argentina’s Lujan de Cuyo region in 2001 at the height of Argentina’s financial crisis. He produced his first wines in 2002 and his wines are now exported all around the world.  Last week he came into the office to show the buyers the new vintage wines and I took the opportunity to ask him a few questions. Here’s what he had to say…

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

In conversation with... Mario Pablo Silva of Casa Silva

Casa Silva was the first winery to be established in Colchagua Valley in 1892 and has since pioneered many sub-regions including ‘Los Lingues’ and most recently ‘Coastal Colchagua’ – with the Paredones ‘Cool Coast’ Sauvignon Blanc. The team are world leading experts on Carmenere but perhaps their most exciting project to date has been the microterroir research done in partnership with local universities. We met up with owner, Mario Pablo Silva, to find out more about these and other exciting Casa Silva projects…