Last week, I had the very special opportunity to attend the Institute of Masters of Wine New World Bordeaux Blends panel discussion and tasting event in London. Representatives from three wineries in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, with Phillip Tuck MW presenting for a Chilean winery, discussed the nuances of their techniques and terroir that go into each of their interpretations of Bordeaux blends. There are only about 300 Masters of Wine in the world.
While most of the blends consisted of the classic combos of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and a smattering of Petite Verdot, the blends from New Zealand used Malbec as the prime grape. The wines from Australia also were Biodynamic, a discipline that, in addition to farming organically, follows the cycles of the moon.
Problems discussed included the need to continue lowering alcohol content and the role that Eucalyptus trees, when growing too close to the vineyard, play in adding a negative “minty” quality to the terroir. Only in Australia are Eucalyptus trees protected, like our oaks in California, thus forbidding Australian growers to remove the trees. Their removal was particularly aggressive around the Chilean winery that was represented.
Until next time…à votre santé!
Photos by Christine Humphrey ©2012