Winelander – May 5, 2023


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With the Italian night coming to The Bribie Island Golf Club in June the wine on arrival will most certainly be a Prosecco and almost certainly be one from Italy. At the moment the rise and exposure of Prosecco in Australia reminds me of the 1970’s and 1980’s when pretty well every Australian sparkling wine was labelled Champagne and it took legal action from the French winemakers of Champagne in conjunction with the European Union to stop the use of the term Champagne, failure to do so would result in Australia being stopped from exporting wines to countries within the Union which included our huge market in the United Kingdom. The reason was twofold, firstly Champagne is a district in France and even wines produced a stone’s throw outside this district cannot use the label Champagne even if they use the same grape varieties. Whilst not only were we outside the area but we used any grape variety we could lay our hands on as long as it sparkled, also Champagne is made within the bottle you finish up buying whereas most of our sparkling wine in those days was made by the adding of carbon dioxide in much the same way as a fizzy soft drink.

The reason I mention this because at this moment the Italians are trying to stop Australian wineries from using the term Prosecco with the support of The European Union, however firstly there is no region in Italy called Prosecco which is actually a grape variety, having been renamed from its original name of Glera in 2009, however the wine is made with the regions of Veneto and Fruili Vernezia regions of North West Italy exclusively. The problem is as I see it is that any banning of this name would cause severe problems to the Australian wine industry as so many wineries have jumped on the band wagon producing a Prosecco sparkling wine, whether they are using the true grape variety is debatable and are just cashing in on the name. I do believe however that as the E.U. has to support its member countries, especially on trade, and every bottle of Australian Prosecco sold is one less Italian and that in due course the E.U will use its might and threaten some form of embargo on Australian wine if Australian wineries continue to use the term Prosecco.

Let’s have a look at what alternative white wine grape varieties are now moving into the market place and give a brief description, Sauvignon Blanc only became the successful wine it is by consumers looking for something different to Chardonnay and Riesling in the mid 1990’s. Instead of Prosecco try Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava from Spain this wine is one of the world’s largest selling sparkling wines and is available in most liquor outlets.

Dry white wines

Pinot Grigio, Albarino, GrunerVetlinger, Muscadet, Gewurtztraminer, Vihno Verde, Fiano, Marsanne, Richer white Varieties Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Vermentino.

Red Wine

varieties Lighter styles Cinsault, Gamay, Lambrusco, Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir Medium Bodied Grenache, Carmenere, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Merlot, Montepulciano, Zinfandel

Big reds

Tempranillo, Malbec, Mourvedre, Pinotage, Petit Syrah, Tannat Having said that several wines from Tuscany use the Sangiovese grape and can also be classed as big for example Brunello and Chianti Classico. Super Tuscan wines use non Italian varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

Like in France where outstanding wines are submitted to a panel to be classified as Appellation Controlee which give consumers confidence when deciding which wine to buy, Italy have two grades of classification that is DOC and DOCG which is shown on the neck of the bottle by a paper strip, again wines carrying this paper strip should be amongst the best produced, however because Super Tuscan wines are made with ‘foreign grapes’ they can’t carry this label. Enjoy something different this week-end.

Philip Arlidge

It amazes me that many of the sayings included in these articles go back hundreds of years here are couple.

George Herbert
penned this in 1651 Gaming women and wine While they laugh they make men pine.

In 1818 Lord Byron wrote
Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter. Sermons and sodawater the day after!

From an anonymous author and no doubt one of many

Formerly I was rich, but three things made me bare. Dice, wine and love, by Winelander these I am destitute!