The AWE Blog

The AWE blog is a collection of posts from AWE members.
  1. Heather Dougherty

    East meets west at Olivier Dauga dinner

    By Heather Dougherty
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      Olivier Dauga, the internationally renowned wine consultant and self styled “faiseur du vin”, is a colourful personality in more ways than one. He was in London recently to show wines from two of his clients – Kolonist Winery in Ukraine and Domaines Rollan de By in Bordeaux. Kolonist winery in Odessa,is a recent project with the vineyard dating from 2004 (post-revolution), with Olivier’s involvement starting in 2008. It was a rare chance to taste wines from Ukraine, though ironically I had judged Russian and Ukrainian wines at IWSC just a few days before, so was not surprised that Kolonist’s Bisser bottle fermented Chardonnay was nicely done with pretty, ripe fruit. The estate’s reds, a Cabernet Merlot blend, were also impressive. The Ukrainian wines created most of the talking points on the evening, but they also served as a counterpoint to the classic Bordeaux wines of Rollan de By, which showed particularly well. Château Greysac 2011 impressed with its Médoc “bite” – a lovely combination of ripeness of fruit and refreshment. Available from Justerini & Brooks for £15-20.     Over dinner, paired with both Kolonist and Rollan de By’s wines, it was the Bordeaux part of the partnership that...
  2. Lindsay Oram

    Dream Creation

    By Lindsay Oram
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    Creation Wine Dinner High Timber Restaurant London Monday 5th September 2016 Carolyn and Jean–Claude Martin, both coming from winemaking families, clearly have wine in their blood. Carolyn was brought up in the South African Cape while Jean Claude originates from Switzerland. It was unsurprising a forgone conclusion, therefore, that they would make and sell wine together. The dilemma was, perhaps, in which beautiful country it would be, Switzerland or South Africa. One of the key differences, and perhaps the deciding factor, between both countries is regulation. When Jean–Claude wanted to plant Sauvignon Blanc in a certain area in Switzerland strict regulation and the courts prevented him from doing so. Switzerland’s loss was South Africa’s gain, and in 2002 the couple decided create a wine estate in the beautiful area of Hemel–en– Aarde in the Overberg district of South Africa, and Creation Wine was born. Regulation here on grape plantings is far less restrictive, resulting in what could be described as a ‘rainbow nation of grapes’ being planted. At the Creation vineyard Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon live in harmony with Merlot, Syrah, Grenache and Petit Verdot. Nonetheless not all varieties wanted to come to the party with Cabernet...
  3. Lindsay Oram

    Diversity and Longevity at Stellenbosch Vineyards

    By Lindsay Oram
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    Diversity and longevity You are always made to feel most welcome when visiting South African Wineries, but no more so than when you arrive 24 hours early for a visit at Stellenbosch Vineyards. I guess my excuse is my enthusiasm for the South African wine industry.   Stellenbosch Vineyards were the first cooperative in South Africa to form a wine company and since 1998 it has been a public company. Nonetheless this is not a new venture as the original Welmoed farm, where the current business is located, dates back to 1690.       In true professional style I am welcomed by Jonathen Ralph, who is responsible for sales in the U.K and parts of the European market. Jonathen explains that currently South Africa produces more wine than it consumes, as is true of many markets. So what are the solutions for a company that produces more than 1 million bottles annually? To export of course, this is the key to commercial viability. Certainly Stellenbosch vineyards have a strong export focus, having a fully staffed export department and strong distributor network. While these are crucial for export, in themselves they do not equal success. To succeed you must provide...
  4. Sarah Rowlands

    Bodega Chakana

    By Sarah Rowlands
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    By Sarah Rowlands, The Wine Diamond wine.diamonds Sept 2016 A wine tasting from a pioneering Argentinian winery that has moved from conventional through organic to biodynamic winemaking.  Arranged in conjunction with the Circle of Wine Writers and Planet Thirst, and given by Gabriel Bloise, winemaker and general manager. Chakana is based at the heart of Argentinian winemaking, in Agrelo, Lujan de Cujo Valley south of Mendoza. Though only established in 2002 the friendly and knowledgeable Gabriel admits that he has changed the whole concept of his wines and the way he manages the 180ha estate. Originally conventional methods were used in the vineyards and the winery. This involved herbicides etc. and blocks of grapes were harvested at the same time. Selection then took place to decide, by tasting, which grapes were ripe and characterful enough for winemaking involving ageing and oak, and those destined for early drinking fruit forward styles. In the winery, wines were moulded using the saignée method to concentrate them, they were inoculated with yeast and acidity adjustments made to maintain freshness. Aiming to make better quality wines, the vineyard soils were studied in detail. The concept of the wines is now origin based.  Vineyards were surveyed...