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Austrian classics

Normally Austria would have been the subject of one of our comprehensive tasting reports, last year already, as it had been for nearly every year in the last decade. But, although I tasted the bulk of 300+ wines during the second half of December I didn't succeed in finishing the job before the end of the year. "Austrian classics" was the motto of my call for samples and 100 of the best producers between Danube and lake Neusiedl sent their Rieslings, Veltliners of 2012, their Zweigelts and Blaufränkischs of 2011 and 2010 ...

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Champagne season

It was an unusual number of tasting samples from Champagne which arrived in my office during this summer and late summer. Although I should have known that, considering the growing difficulties in Britain and even in France, Champagne producers would be trying harder on the rest of their export markets, the amount and the quality of bottles were quite a surprise. I therefore seized the opportunity and asked the German Champagne office to organize a more comprehensive tasting ...

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Syrah - Next big thing?

Well, this was none of our usual tastings. No tasting for which we had defined a theme, inviting everyone whose wines "fitted" to submit their samples. At the origin of this tasting was a conversation during the last South African road show in Berlin, when Mike Mundt of Pacific Wine Company, a German importer of New World Wines, asked me if I would like to taste some of the Syrahs / Shirazes which he imported. Of course, was my spontaneous answer, but I added that I would have liked to "invite" some of my Old World favorites in order to compare the different styles, a request which he readily accepted. A sportsmanship which not many of his collegues would have shown in similar situations ...

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Green, green Sauvignon

Somehow the wines reminded me of the fact that I had planned, that very morning, to cut the lawn a last time before winter setting in: Grass, green bellpeppers, unripe gooseberries ... these were the dominant aromas of at least the first series of wines which I was able to recently taste during a presentation to which Wines of New Zealand had invited in Hamburg ...

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Searching for Markets

Rio and the Amazon are far, instead of Carnival they celebrate the Oktoberfest, fog and rain are common weather features, unemployment seems unknown, the average income is twice as high as in the rest of the country and the sweet and oxydized stickies of the past have been at least in part replaced by wines made from noble European varieties. Brazil's South is different. And: It's the home of the country's viticulture. As for the present, Brazil's wine industry, hardly woken up from a long and deep slumber, is trying to get at exports. On markets though which of course have not exactly been waiting for new producers and new wines. Does the world really need these wines ...

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Baden - Red Pinots

I had already announced this tasting last June, when ENO WorldWine published its report on white "Burgundies" coming out of Germany's southernmost winegrowing region of Baden. Quite like for the whites, the echo on our call for red samples was very positive, even if some producers whose wines had done well in the first tasting, this time mysteriously missed out on the appointment. Did they not dare to compete with their reds? Or had they expected higher ratings for their whites ...

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Samba and Bossa Nova

Brazil's advance onto the international markets which I have discussed in a separate article, of which the English version will be published on these pages in a couple of days, is under way. During a press trip, to which ENO WorldWine was gratefully invited by Wines of Brazil, I had the opportunity to taste more than 100 wines from 15 winemakers. Some of the wines were outstanding, some much less so ...

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South Africa - Tim's list

Britain's Tim Atkin, one of the country's most outspoken wine journalists, has published a comprehensive report on South Africa's wines, some weeks ago. In this report he compiled a list of wineries which, in his opinion, are the country's best. Already, when I came across his piece for the first time, I was quite disappointed ...

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Baden - White Pinots

Baden is THE German region par excellence for Burgundy varieties and this was certainly not compromised by the fact that, in our recent Riesling-Challenge organized at the beginning of this year, a wine from that region came out as one of the best three, far in front of some prestige crus from the Rheingau, the Mosel or the Palatinate. This is why, during the ProWein show at Dusseldorf, we agreed with the regional marketing body upon the organisation of comprehensive tastings of these varieties ...

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Just Sangiovese? Far from it!

Just Sangiovese, nothing else! This is, if you trust a vast majority of wine critics, vintners and oenologists, the only valid philosophy of winemaking in Tuscany, Italy's prestige region. At La Massa, one of the absolute top estates in Panzano, they took the opposite road. With amazingly succesful results, as was proven by a small tasting of recent vintages, organised in Hamburg a few weeks ago ...

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Piedmont 2013

Piedmont is always worth the journey. Evidence of this was provided, just a week ago, by close to 500 wines from Barolo, Barbaresco and their surroundings, which we were able to taste during the annual Nebbiolo Prima, which we had been invited to attend by the Albeisa association. Well, the vintages were not the happiest ones: 2010 for Roero and Barbaresco and 2009 for Barolo. Nonetheless we found a great number of truly outstanding wines ...

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China - End of dreams?

China reduces its imports of expensive Bordeaux wines - this or similar headlines and comments appeared quite frequently in printed or online media, during the last weeks and months. They were fuelled by two current developments: Firstly, the new leadership unter general secretary and state president Xi Jinping has summoned the political and economical elite of the country to put an end to their ostentacious life style, super expensive red wine bottles included. Secondly, the economic growth of the country has substantially slowed down ...

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Italians don't drink wine ...

Not only the French, the Italians too, Europe's second biggest wine producers, drink less and less wine. Whilst the world wide consumption has been stable at about 244-245 m hl, during the last years, the Italian consumption went down by a significant 17.5 % since 2006, reaching 22.6 after 27.3 m hl, a level only slighly higher that that of Germany with its 20 m hl ...

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Tuscany 2013

No, it was no real pleasure to deal with these cork taints. I had just written, some days ago, that the "real", the "hard" cork tastes had become fewer, that cork taints showed in a more subtle way, as Tuscany proved me completely wrong. During the "Anteprima"-tastings in february I had not noted an unnormal level of corky wines, but those bottles obviously had already been "filtered" by the serving sommeliers. All the more salient were these stinking bottles among those 80+ samples which I had asked the producers to send to Hamburg, among them many of the absolute top wines of Tuscany ...

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ProWein pickings

The just finished ProWein trade fair at Düsseldorf was not only the biggest, best visited and most international of the last 20 years according to the official statement of the organisers, it was also an opportunity for good and intensive meetings and discussions. Among others we were able to agree upon three new big tastings for the next months and will give more detail about these as soon as they are definately confirmed ...

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