All posts filed under: wine

Wine laurels

From the archives. Shortlisted  for the Young Wine Writer of the Year Award  in 2013. Driving along the winding ‘Old Road’ due south from Heraklion to Peza; I’ve just rushed past a deserted ostrich farm. Which Cretan wine would go well with ostrich meat, I wonder. I stop by a hillside monastery in the car-sized shade below an unkempt Cypress tree. The 3G signal is strong. Perhaps ostriches run deep, I think, and type “Minoan ostrich” into my device. Between three and five thousand years ago, the ancient Cretans (called Minoans) were Europe’s most advanced civilisation. My cypress-shaded googling reveals that the ostrich/wine pairing is as ancient. Minoans imported ostrich eggs from Egypt and fashioned them into drinking vessels called rhytha. Here I am, on the way to my first Cretan winery and the first thing I know about Cretan wine is that it was served in Egyptian ostrich shells. I enter the monastery with an overwhelming desire for a taste of grape product. Early grape catches the bird The central square is tidy and silent in the mid-day heat. Walls are adorned …

The bits in wine

From the archives. Shortlisted  for the Young Wine Writer of the Year Award  in 2012. See also the follow-on article:  “On the Information Content of Wine Notes: Some New Algorithms?“. During a recent comparative tasting for an Italian wine award, a young Nebbiolo – ‘red as copper, a spirit from the forest’ – stood its ground against a seasoned Chianti, ‘searing red ink with walnut shells melted into its sultry and sulky stream’. However, it was a racy Sangiovese that clinched victory. Swirling, sniffing and gulping with enthusiasm, one of the judges with his alarmed wine-writer wife in tow, declared: ‘she glimpses at me, shiny black leather, disappearing in the dark to a raven muss of hair. She’s been eating morello cherries and chocolate’ – the Sangiovese, that is. If the wine descriptions seem suspicious, it is because the Italian award never happened. The writing has been cobbled together. A dash of Australian wine journalism, a drop from an English baronet wine buff’s pen and a mystery ingredient: one of the three wine notes is an outright fraud. Fraud is a constant in …