Aussie Cult wines go through a turbulent period and the emergence of social media age may not help to restore the good image built over 30 years

(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr) I was recently reading a discussion between wine professionals on a social media website. In fact, networking is great on those social media sites and information you can pick may be very useful. The story started with a message posted a few days ago: "The Fine Wine Bank has a special inventory of Rare & Fine Wine thats storage at London City Bond is about to expire. We are looking for buyers for these 90+ scored wines please enquire for the list."
Then started a discussion and potential buyers (mainly from US) were showing strong interest and wanted to receive the whole list. A first major issue was rapidly raised: individuals in the US will have to pay to have it shipped & imported including taxes and this will greatly change the prices of the wines. But this did not discourage most of them as passion comes first.
Then potential buyers started receiving the list by e-mail and discovered that "the offer is all Australian wines" as one mentioned on the forum. "Prices with logistics make these wines totally uninteresting in the US. Aussie cult wines are in the dumper and can be snatched up very affordably (read CHEAPLY) all over the place." was written on the wall.
But at this stage my view had not changed: Passion comes first and Wine, more particularly exceptional wines (or cult wines if you prefer this wording) is a beautiful world full of emotions and passions. And as was mentioned by the person who initiated this discussion in the forum: "Great wine is still great wine and this wine list is about cult autralian wines."

In fact, each visit in Australia is a great opportunity to taste excellent wines. Red or white, great australian wines can show power and elegance with a lovely balance you would not expect if you still think about the big, powerful and mouthful Barossa Valley style you were served, most of the time, 20 years ago. Add to this, lovely and exhuberant aromas and it makes me call some of these wines unique. But Australia is going through a terrible crisis and its cult wines may suffer from this period. Fast replies and short texts make Social medias very severe in the way they send a message. On the same discussion forum, a wine professional replied to the preceding message: "Great wine is indeed great wine - but current pricing structures on given products that result from over supply and lack of demand in any open market are neither deniable nor are they reliant on a critics opinion. I wish it were not so & that Aussie cults were still worth their purchase prices from pre-Oct 2008 - but they are simply not in this market." In fact, Aussie cult wines are suffering from a general crisis in Australia where over supply is a major problem. At their best, some of the Aussie cult wines were compared to First Growth Bordeaux and prices were in accordance with this ranking. Now Prices for top Bordeaux wines have outreached, by far, those of the top Aussie wines. This is what we could call the short-term impact. But, to avoid the long-term impact, Aussie cult wines should be careful in the way they will communicate in the future. Why? Because, in the long-run, they may lose their lure and destroy 30 years of hard work to be among the most sought-after luxury wines in the world. (More wine news on www.vitabella.fr)


The day when top restaurants will propose an impressive wine list, a unique food experience and Grand Cru Coffees...

(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr) Having lunch and dinners with fine wine merchants, I am always amazed when we are served a poor coffee after having tasted first growth Bordeaux wines and Grand cru Burgundies. The experience is even more difficult after having spent 4 years as president of the Cafeology Academy of coffee, an academy that delivers prizes to the best coffees in the world.

Most of the time, between wine experts, we like to share experiences we had recently with some wines. At the restaurant, it is not uncommon you share these ideas with sommeliers who are in charge of making proposals for the wine you will be served with your food as well as preparing it (tasting, decanting...). It is a great enjoyment for wine lovers to share with these people as their knowledge is broad and updated. Sommeliers have the chance to taste on a regular basis a large range of wines from all over the world, to discuss with vintners, to visit properties and understand why the wine tastes differently here than in any other property.

After having made a tough choice between a large offer of wines (wine experts are always long to make a choice in restaurants, they do not agree about the vintage and so on...), you start tasting and sommeliers come to your table to give you some more information. They talk about the taste and move to terroir expressions, the fact that soils are very important and give a unique taste to the wine depending on which location the vineyard is. They explain that, plot by plot, the grapes can express different aromas and show a more or less intense minerality.

And then, after this lovely food and wine pairing experience, all this should end up with the proposal of having a "Ethiopia or Guatemala?" coffee. At this level of knowledge and understanding (from both side, sommeliers and wine lovers), you would expect more than "here is your coffee from Guatemala" sentence. No word about the terroir, no word about the producer, no word about the area and nothing about the vintage. Could we imagine today, in a top restaurant, being served a wine without knowing anything else than the country it comes from?

A team from the francogerman TV channel Arte came yesterday to Paris for a brilliant Coffee Grand Cru Tasting to which I attended. We tasted impressive coffees from Panama: one obtained 1st Growth level ranking according to the academy's criteria and another the 2nd Growth level. Like great wines, great coffees do not come cheap. The prices for these coffees go up to 300US$ per kilo directly from producers. And after tasting these coffees, the whole TV team was keeping asking: What are top restaurants waiting for to serve these coffees? (More wine news on www.vitabella.fr)


Should we believe Bordeaux Vintners when they will call 2010 a great vintage?

(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr) Most of you may remember the strong interest shown by international wine merchants in the 2009 vintage in Bordeaux. Most of the superlatives have been used by journalists to describe this vintage. In french, in english, in chinese and in thousand other languages.. It would be difficult to find new words if another great vintage comes to the market. In fact, this vintage could come very soon as we have to admit that, at a very early stage, 2010 appears to reveal a great to outstanding potential. It is not a matter of overstating but it looks like, after a tasting of "in process" wines, 2010 shows an extremely good potential. Too dry, difficult flowering, millerandage...All this does not sound like a great vintage. When compared to last year conditions, it is certainly different as Mother Nature gave the best of herself in 2009 with a "no worry" effect on vintners. This is not the case at all for 2010 but the tasting of grapes on vines, the look at analytical reports as well as the tasting of "in process" wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet franc) at some different stages show today a spectacular result. Lower yields compared to last year, very concentrated grapes and high levels of alcohol and acidity: this could be a short description of what happened in Bordeaux on 2010. In terms of colour, wines look great and do not show any weakness at this level. In terms of perfumes, grapes develop at the moment the delicious aromas they could offer during fermentation. In terms of tannins, we can see their high presence on an analytical level as well as we can feel them on the palate. The role of the winemaker here is to not overextract. In terms of alcohol, it is undeniably high and figures may show unprecedented levels for some parcels in chateaux. In terms of acidity, the level is higher compared to 2009 which could be a very positive point for making elegant wines. So as a conclusion, grapes are offering at this period of time an excellent potential for future great 2010 wines in Bordeaux. As usual, the role of the winemaker will be decisive as high potential of alcohol and tannins in 2010 may lead to unbalanced wines. But the "raw material" is definitely of a high level of quality and is giving vintners a potential to make great wines. So next time you meet Bordeaux vintners, don't be too sceptical about their view on the 2010 vintage. Yes believe them if they call it a great vintage. And then make your own opinion next year if you get the chance to taste them en Primeurs.(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr)