Fine wine news round up: 14 - 21st August
Rioja joins La Place de Bordeaux, Wine GB unveils first accredited sustainable wines, and South America is ‘unanimously positive’ about 2021 vintage.
Willamette Valley Pinot Noir auction raises $705,000
The sixth annual Willamette Valley Pinot Noir auction – which included 85 one-of-a-kind lots – raised a total of $705,100 last week, with bids coming thick and fast from buyers both online and in-person.
The event netted an average $6,641 per lot – a 34% increase on the previous year’s average winning bid. The majority of the funds will be used for marketing and education efforts for the Willamette Valley Wineries Association (WVWA).
Highlights included: five cases of Adelsheim Pinot Noir ‘Cheers to 50 Years’, which sold for $17,500; five cases of Antica Terra Pinot Noir ‘Alder Creek’, which sold for $17,000; and 20 cases of Maison Noir Wines Pinot Noir ‘Lamb of God’, which sold for $16,000.
The WVWA has more than 230 members representing wineries, tasting rooms and vineyards throughout the Willamette Valley. The area has recently received formal recognition and protection through the EU’s Protected Geographical Indication system. Napa Valley is the only other similarly-protected appellation in the US.
La Place de Bordeaux accepts first blue chip Rioja
A single vineyard cuvee from the foothills of the Sierra de Tolono in Rioja Alavesa will become the first Rioja wine to be sold via La Place de Bordeaux.
Made by Telmo Rodriguez, just 7,000 bottles of the inaugural 2017 vintage of the wine, YJAR, were produced. It comprises a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha, Granegro and Rojal from old, high-altitude vineyards.
Speaking to the drinks business, Rodriguez – who did not reveal any specific details regarding the arrangement with La Place – said he hopes the development will strengthen ties between France and Spain.
“In the 19th century, a ‘Maitre de Chai’ from Margaux came to teach the brightest growers from Alava how to produce an exceptional Riojan wine,” he said.
“But the French never really demonstrated any interest in our terroir; as a result there are no premium French projects operating in Rioja today. I hope this first step will open the relationship between France and Spain – I really think many good things will happen in the future.”
Wine GB reveals first accredited sustainable wines
The first wines carrying the Sustainable Wines of Great Britain (SWGB) trademark are ready to go on sale, heralding a major step forward in the UK’s commitment to environmentally-friendly wine production.
The SWGB scheme was first set up in 2019 as a subgroup of Wine GB. A total of 61 members are now part of the initiative, accounting for 33% of the area under vine in the UK. They consist of major wine producers, growers, boutique vineyards and contract winemakers.
A total of 23 vineyards and eight wineries have now achieved SWGB certification, with 10 wines from four producers ready to go on sale. These include Gusbourne, Henners Vineyard, Three Choirs and Yotes Court. Others will follow shortly.
“I am thrilled to see the first wines bearing the SWGB logo hit the shelves,” said Chris Foss, chair of SWGB. “This is a highly significant event for the British wine industry, as it demonstrates that we now have a fully functioning national scheme that enables our wine producers to clearly demonstrate their commitment to the environment, biodiversity and climate change mitigation.
South America celebrates ‘superb, vibrant’ wines from 2021 harvest
Wines from South America’s 2021 harvest are vibrant and fresh despite the year’s challenging weather conditions, according to a new report on the region.
The report from Condor Wines and written by Alistair Cooper MW said that the wine from the 2021 harvest “should suit our UK palate down to the ground”, with those from Chile in particular potentially proving “one of the best vintages in recent times”.
After a decade of drought, Chile saw the highest levels of January rain in over 70 years followed by a cool, slow ripening period from February to April. Christian Sepulveda at Bouchon Family wines described it as “the best harvest I have seen for our dry farming area
In Curico, winemaker Vina Requingua noted that “the reds in general are outstanding”, whilst Diego Vergara at Hacienda Araucano in Colchagua described the vintage overall as “marked by elegance with crisp acidity as its backbone”.
“The wineries have been almost unanimously positive about the 2021 vintage,” said Condor Wines MD Lee Evans. “According to Alistair Cooper MW, the word he has heard repeatedly is ‘vibrancy’.”