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Copyright © Ric Einstein 2009
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Past Articles 2008
From the Mailbag and Other Things
An eclectic collection of bits and bobs to finish the year. None of the topics
covered justified a snippet or story in their own right but they are still worth
some coverage. Topics range from ludicrously expensive critter wine, through to
salt, voodooism, and Iberian wildlife. Something for everyone! They can be found
From the Mailbag and Other Things (21 December)
An eclectic collection of bits and bobs to finish the year. None of the topics covered justified a snippet or story in their own right but they are still worth some coverage. Topics range from ludicrously expensive critter wine, through to salt, voodooism, and Iberian wildlife. Something for everyone! They can be found here.
Grange – Keeping the Bastards Honest (27 November)
Penfolds Grange has enjoyed an unsurpassed reputation and is the flagship of the Fosters wine portfolio. When you fork out $500, or more, for a bottle of wine, you expect the company to stand behind its product. Under Australian law, if any product has a manufacturing defect, and cork taint falls into that category, or the product is not fit the purpose it was intended, the purchaser is entitled to a replacement. So, if you open a bottle of 86 Grange that should be in the prime of its life and a great wine, and its not, what happens? As this article shows, the situation is not always cut and dried for either party. More importantly, it exposes the absolute farcical process the wineries go through to determine if the wine is defective or sound. Not an easy problem to solve, and one without clear answers, never-the-less it needs to be exposed. It can be found here.
What Price Information?(16 October)
The availability of information on wine has undergone a radical transformation since I first became interested in wine all those years ago. If you were a guy, "the net" was something used to land fish, and if you were a gal, it was something to keep your hair rollers in place overnight. In those days, if you wanted information about a particular wine, you waited for "the" magazine to come out, or for a once a year book release. Or perish the thought, you tasted it yourself and made up your own mind, but I digress. The explosion of wine information on the internet is a dual edged sword. The professional wine scribes have had to innovate, change and adapt to survive. But will they survive against all the free information when they have to charge? This story looks at the progression of wine information and examines what these guys are up against. It can be found here.
Interesting Times (9 October)
The old Chinese curse "may you live in interesting times" holds true, especially for those in the wine business. Most wine lovers would be aware there was a huge wine glut a few years ago and that it has all but disappeared. The glut caused enormous strains of both growers and producers and many almost went to the wall. The glut being finished was great news for those in the industry; well it would be if it was true. Unfortunately it was not much more than a short reprieve. The excess wine lake is growing again, and if the industry forecasts are right, in two years from now things will be almost as bad as they were a few years ago. The article can be found here.
Expensive Bad Advice
When I wrote the article
There Is Still One Born Every Minute I sighted greed as the primary reason why
people were being stung by wine investment schemes. I recently had an email and
phone exchange which made me realise there were people out there who were not
greedy and had also been stung. This is the true story of an elderly man; how he
got sucked in, what has happened since, and the predicament he now faces. It
also shows the results of the callous and crook behaviour that these wine
investment concerns have caused. This is
James Hackers Story.
Expensive Bad Advice (2 October)
When I wrote the article There Is Still One Born Every Minute I sighted greed as the primary reason why people were being stung by wine investment schemes. I recently had an email and phone exchange which made me realise there were people out there who were not greedy and had also been stung. This is the true story of an elderly man; how he got sucked in, what has happened since, and the predicament he now faces. It also shows the results of the callous and crook behaviour that these wine investment concerns have caused. This is James Hackers Story.
Where’s The Paddle
Book Review: James Halliday 2009 Wine Companion (7 Aug)
The most eagerly awaited annual wine has just been released. When ever I pick up a publication like this one, my beady little eyes focus in a few things that make wonder if the author was smoking funny unfiltered cigarettes when they were tasting some of the wines. Then I question the use of the 100 point system and all sorts of other things. This book was no different, yet its still worth buying. Absolutely and without doubt! That may sound strange given my comments, but the article will explain why. It can be found here.
No, its no Irish but the Irish are involved. What's more, it looks like it could have been planned an Irishman. What has wine, sailing ships, Ireland, France and Australia, as well as a Pastor who runs a couple of Op Shops got to do with each other? Lots! Find out all about it here.
Cronyism (5 June)
When Robert Parker first started The Wine Advocate, one of the foundation stones he built his enterprise upon, was being a consumer advocate. He was highly critical of the British wine press in particular, for being too close to those in the wine business. The story, “Cronyism” looks at a couple of situations which have come to my attention and questions whether Robert Parker and his number one Australian reviewer, Jay Miller are guilty of not practising what Robert Parker originally preached. It can be found here.
Special: Pre-release Coonawarra Tasting Notes (5 June)
I am going to whet your appetite now with a special exclusive.
From August the 18th to the 27th the
Coonawarra Roadshow will hit
the capital cities of Australia, Many wineries take this opportunity to launch their new releases.
During our two days in Coonawarra we tried a large number of wines which have
not been released yet, but will be rolled out between now and the Roadshow. As many of these wines are highly sought after, or very
popular, or both, I am providing the tasting notes for these unreleased wines
before the rest of the Tour Diary, along with a few notes on Coonawarra wines
that have just been rolled out. Read this exclusive report
Dom Perignon Scam - Who is Responsible(8 May)
A reader sent me an update on the Dom Perignon Scam. What aroused my interest was that the scam email was sent under a name that came to my attention three months ago, and yet the guy is still operating openly and brazenly. How can this be happening and who is responsible? Those that read the original article will know that the UK police showed complete apathy and a total lack of interest in apprehending the can artists, but the problem goes deeper than that issue and there is another party that is also culpable in letting this situation continue. Read who that other party is here.
The Games They Play (2008) (8 April)
Scary Stuff (20 February)
Recently I was told by a winemaker that he thought I was anti screwcap and pro cork. Yet if you ask many others, they think I am anti cork and all for alternative closures. The reality is I don't think any one seal is a perfect solution for all wines. Some will present better under cork, but cork has very real reliability issues. Even the most one eyed cork lover will admit cork can have problems, the only question is how big is the problem. There are all sorts of claims and counter claims about the reliability, or otherwise, of corks and the failure rate. Since June 2001 I have been keeping track of all bottles opened that have come from my cellar or have been sent to me as samples. Over 3,000 bottles have now been recorded and the results analysed. If you believe the cork industry, the failure rate of natural corks should be decreasing but as my numbers clearly show, opening a bottle of wine sealed with a cork is still a risk, and a damn big one at that! The numbers contained in this article are nightmare material.
Be Careful What You Wish For (23 January)
Look at the web and its besieged with demands that alcohol in New World wine should be lowered. This article examines why these demands are being made, who is making them, and most importantly, why they may not like the end result if their campaign is successful. It asks questions that have not been asked before, and shows how this whole outcry is based on floored logic, and in its current format is a complete crock. It can be found here.