The forest of spiral-topped bottles in front of me attested to just how fast things can change. It seems like only yesterday that a twist-off was a rare thing to see on a wine bottle. The sight cheered me up so much I grabbed my video camera to share my joy.
Kim Longbottom, who started Henry's Drive in Padthaway, Australia, with her husband, Mark, recently stopped by for a visit and brought along some of their first wines to show me how they are developing.
As I was tasting through a very impressive range of Australian Chardonnays and Rieslings this week, I couldn't help thinking how elegant and refined these wines were. Granted, these were mostly wines that had scored well in the past with me, such as Leeuwin Estate Art Series from Margaret River, Shaw and Smith M3 from Adelaide Hills and Giaconda from Victoria, with several ringers to keep me honest.
I recently got a preview taste of the first wines from Oatley Estate. I wrote about this project last year after sharing a few drinks with the principals, owner Robert Oatley and executive deputy chairman Chris Hancock.
Constellation Brands announced this week that it wants to sell three of its Australian winemaking facilities and lay off about 350 workers there. The announcement makes a lot more sense in the context of a conversation I had about a month ago with James Mariani, family proprietor of Banfi Vintners.
When it comes to sweet wines, Australia might be best known for what used to be known as liqueur Muscat and and Tokay. Those are fortified wines, now simply known by their correct varietal names, Muscat and Muscadelle.
Charlie Trotter is out and Jean-Georges Vongerichten in at the One & Only Palmilla, one of the top luxury resorts in Mexico, but that's only half the story. A terse announcement earlier this week from Palmilla, the posh resort in Los Cabos, said that Trotter's five-year contract to run C, the featured restaurant there, would not be renewed when it expires in September.
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