Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fermoy Estate 2010 Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc

Truth, Jimbo remarked on yesterday's morning walk, is stranger than fiction. We were talking music rather than wine at that particular juncture, which may have prompted my Or, to borrow the name of a Robert Wyatt album, Ruth is stranger than Richard. Jimbo has a brother named Richard, though I'm not sure whether his circle of acquaintances is a Ruth-less or Ruth-free zone.

This morning's brisk stroll around the Front Beach, however, returned to the subject of wine, and, predictably, given the fact that we wandered around impressions of Sauvignon Blanc with and without the addition of Semillon, that truth is stranger than fiction bit kicked in again, prompted by two items I sighted yesterday and cited in the course of the stroll.

For a start yesterday's Wine Companion newsletter had Mr Halliday describing the 1.62 million tonne 2011 grape harvest as  unexpected and profoundly shocking.

I'd been rash enough to opine that we might be looking at the end of the current grape glut, thanks to a mixture of factors including floods, mildew and botrytis in almost every region around eastern Australia. Talking to Steve Doyle at Bloodwood I was told he was one of the few producers in Orange who'd been able to pick anything at all, and I'd heard a similar report from Ken Helm outside Canberra, yet here we are with a crop that's nearly 25% bigger than the quantity needed, and, to quote Mr Halliday, it is certain that the extra 300 000 tonnes were very poor quality grapes sold for a song and destined for the bulk market.

Strange. We've got a glut, so we ensure that the situation remains in place by harvesting large quantities of crap grapes for the already over-catered for lower end of the market.

I've also noted that calls for a floor price for alcohol to counter, among other things, binge drinking in indigenous communities in the Northern Territory are greeted with claims that a steep increase in the price of a five litre goonbag would remove one of the few pleasures available to the Australian age pensioner.

Strange. We have an on-going health disaster in the Territory largely fuelled by the availability of vast quantities of industrially-produced ethanol but we can't do anything about it because of the impact on our pensioners, who deserve a far better deal than they're currently getting.

Based on the Carbon Tax debate, one would have thought that the extra revenue from a floor price (I'm assuming that this would be achieved by changing the way alcohol sales are taxed) could have been evenly split between expenditure on indigenous health and raising the age pension to the point where the elderly, who definitely deserve it, could afford to buy semi-decent quality bottled wine.

Then there was the article in the Sydney Morning Herald linked from the Daily Wine News that suggests that they're selling 3.4 million cases of Sauvignon Blanc per year in this country, and most of that seems to be sourced from New Zealand, where producers seem to be (and I'm quoting from the Australian Tax Office website here) entitled to a rebate of 29% of the selling price of the wine. There's more on the same subject here.

I'm not an expert on these things but it looks awfully like we've got a continuing glut due to sales of cheap imported wine that attracts what amounts to a subsidy. Strange.

Those matters might explain why I'm able to buy something like this rather good Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc for $7.50 (the '09 back in February) or  $10.85 (the '10 in an end of financial year sale).

Fermoy Estate 2010 Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc (4.5* $22 Sale $10.85) Another crystal clear pale straw number with bright aromatics that are a bit closer to the hay and curt grass end of the spectrum than I recall from the '09, this one hits the palate with sharpish varietal character, a balanced acidity and a tinge of sugar that rounds into a lengthy finish. Under my five point scale, 4.5* means I really need to buy this, while 4* equates to I should buy this, but with eleven bottles left in the box I don't need to buy any more, do I? On the other hand 4.5 means I'll be looking very closely at the '11, n'est ce pas?

No comments:

Post a Comment