Charlemagne Wine Club - 2017 Tastings

Monday 17 January 2017

New World winemakers at M&S with David Carter

I don’t often venture into Marks and Spencer’s but recently I did, and I had a bit of a Jancis (Robinson) moment!
She observed, “Marks & Spencer's wine range fills me with frustration, almost rage. This is not because it is bad. If anything it's because it is so good, but M&S seems collectively determined to hide this fact from the consumer.”
Sure enough, as I scanned the labels a veritable who’s who in new world winemaking came to light: The Lane, Tyrell’s and Torbreck from Australia, (Torbreck’s ‘Runrig’ Shiraz could set you back £100 a bottle!), Nicolás Catena and Susana Balbo from Argentina, Alvaro Espinoza from Viñedos Emiliana in Chile, Paul Cluver and Adi Badenhorst from South Africa, as well as some serious names in European winemaking circles.
I have selected a range from winemakers I know in the southern hemisphere, comparing grape varieties grown in different regions. We will consider Shiraz from Australia’s Barossa Valley and Syrah grown in New Zealand’s premium red grape growing region of Hawkes Bay. Similarly a Malbec from Susana Balbo, one of Argentina’s foremost winemakers in Mendoza, Argentina, will be paired with the same variety grown in Australia’s Clare Valley, made by Bulgarian winemaker Elena Brooks and her husband Zar who I met in the Adelaide Hills nearly 20 years ago. Among the whites there will be some cooler climate Chardonnays and some Viognier/Roussanne blends.
So who is right? Jancis for being frustrated or M&S for hiding their light under a bushel?