Raphaël de Fonscolombe, head of Commercial Development at iDealwine (left) and Gaétan Turner from South World Wines (right).
In anticipation of our fixed-price sale of non-French wines, the iDealwine team got together to broaden their horizons and taste some exciting bottles from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.
Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming Gaétan Turner to the Paris office who brought with him some delights for us to taste from the New World. When it comes to wine, we French usually reach for a bottle of something local (who can blame us?), but even we must admit that there is a world of wine out there waiting to be discovered. It’s often hard to coax a French wine enthusiast to venture out of their home country but, being half Australian and half French himself, Gaétan was the perfect man for the job. His import house South World Wines was founded in 2006 and initially specialised in Australian wines. Today, he is a major player in New World wine distribution and sources bottles from all four corners of the world.
Globalisation has caused the wine industry to develop at a great speed, and although the first pioneers of New World wine may have found inspiration in the vineyards of Europe, today many Old World producers are also learning a thing or two from these new terroirs: some of the finest châteaux and grandes maisons have invested huge amounts of time and money in vineyards overseas, putting their savoir-faire to exciting use. As wine production becomes more regulated and transparent in the New World, the quality of wine never ceases to improve. While the tendency in these parts is often to approach wine in terms of grape variety, the notion of terroir is becoming increasingly significant. What’s more, having no history of winemaking tradition to adhere to, New World winemakers often go boldly where no vigneron has been before, taking advantage of modern advances. One of the most innovative (yet controversial!) examples is their use of screw caps. Fed up of Portuguese cork producers giving priority to their established European and American customer base, many overseas producers started to experiment with screwcaps in the early 90s. Whatever your position in this debate there are undeniable advantages to a screwcap including no cork taint and better preservation of aromas. Interestingly, a screwcap bottle will age much slower than a cork bottle. While the French wine drinker might need a bit more convincing, the UK market is certainly on board.
Here’s a look at what we had the pleasure of tasting with Gaétan:
GREYWACKE, Marlborough, New Zealand
The Marlborough landscape and Kevin Judd
Kevin Judd was the celebrated winemaker at Cloudy Bay. There since day one and 25 vintages thereafter, he has been hugely influential in putting Marlborough on the map and his wines are renowned for their minerality, balanced acidity and exuberant nose. In 2009 he and his wife Kimberly realised their dream and founded Greywacke. This Marlborough domain is situated in the far northern reaches of the South Island where climate conditions are favourable for growing grapes: this area receives more sunlight than almost anywhere else in the world and is sheltered from rain by the Richmond Ranges and cold weather by the Kaikoura Ranges. The name Greywacke refers to the river stones that are prevalent in the local soils. Judd’s domain produces many single vineyard wines as its vines (mainly Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir) are planted in various terroirs throughout the region.
Pinot Noir 2014: The vines for this Pinot Noir are tempered by the ocean breezes and are planted in clay rich soils. The nose is woody with a light perfume of black fruits and forest floor. In the mouth it is fresh and ethereal, yet structured. The finish has hints of cocao beans and smoke with a touch of bitterness.
Wild Sauvignon 2014: This Sauvignon is aged for 6 months in oak, giving the wine some cellaring potential. Vegetal and floral notes appear on the nose and the palate as well as citrus and white fruits (pear).
Bouchard Finlayson, Walker Bay, South Africa
Bouchard Finlayson was born out of a collaboration between Paul Bouchard and Peter Finlayson. Finlayson met Bouchard when he worked at Maison Bouchard et Fils in Beaune. After working in various vineyards in Europe and South Africa, Finlayson was the first winemaker to set up shop in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley and also the first to plant Pinot Noir grapes in South Africa. In this 160 hectares domain, only 19 hectares are planted to vines.
Galpin Peak 2012: This is the domain’s flagship wine. Light but woody and with good structure. As it ages it will gain spiced and cocoa notes.
Hannibal 2015: A blend of 6 grape varieties: San Giovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Mourvèdre. Light and silky in the mouth, it develops notes of stewed fruit and prunes.
Another of our favourite South African domains is Glenelly. This Stellenbosch domain never fails to impress at tastings. We recommend trying their flagship wine Lady May.
O. Fournier, Mendoza, Argentina
Alfa Crux Malbec, Uco Valley, 2011: The Alfa Crux Malbec has powerful tannins and good acidity. The nose has notes of wood, spice and liquorice as well as hints of forest floor. The mouth is full and balanced with a long finish.
Alfa Crux Blend, Uco Valley 2010: A Malbec led blend with Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. This domain was the first to plant Tempranillo in Argentina. It has a nose of black fruits and light floral notes.
Torbreck, Barossa, Australia
Founded in 1995 by Dave Powell, Torbreck is one of the iconic domains of the Barossa Valley. Being a lover of Rhône wines, Powell decided to plant Syrah, Grenache Mourvèdre, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne vines. In 2002, Torbreck acquired the Hillside domain and its one hundred year old Syrah vines.
The Struie 2014: The grapes for this wine come from two separate terroirs in the Eden Valley and the Barossa Valley. The resulting wine has black fruit aromas and spiced notes. It has a silky mouth feel and a long finish. Lie it down for at least 5 years.
Our non-French wines fixed-price sale is the perfect opportunity to try some of these excellent wines so join us, as we step into this brave New World!
See all wines from the New World currently on sale
See all wines currently on sale on iDealwine
Search for the price of a wine
Not yet registered to buy wines with us? Sign up here for free!
Other things to read on the iDealwine blog: