As Grape Observer passes its second year, and approaches 700 posts, I thought I’d ask some questions. Specifically, I wondered, looking back over the last couple of months, which posts were of most and least interest? Are there any observable trends of note? And there were some interesting finds. Not as controversial perhaps as the law suits brewing in the northern hemisphere over certain Spanish wine reviews, but interesting nonetheless.
I’ll start with the so-called popular posts (on the basis of what Google tells me has been read the most), which are as follows:
10. Antinori Cervaro della Sala 2006, Umbria IGT.
That articles on wine, rather than wine reviews, should occupy positions number one and two, does not surprise me. I thought as much. These are the types of pieces that I like writing (and reading) most, but inevitably are the hardest and take the longest to write. I am somewhat pleased therefore that the hardest pieces are also, apparently, the most read. I have quite a few more pieces planned for the new year.
What though about the wine reviews which have proven better read than others? Are there some common themes? I think there probably are. Many of the most read reviews relate to wines that feature a well known brand, benefit from wide and deep Australian retail and restaurant distribution, are from well established and recognised wine regions (read the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale) and are mostly in the $12 to $25 price bracket. This is perhaps not remarkable, except that it probably adds to the already long list of issues that face lesser known wine regions and producers. Another observation is that wines with very high scores appeared to have attracted some interest of themselves. I refer here to the Antinori Cervaro della Sala, an Italian chardonnay which I would hardly describe as freely available, and the glorious Sandalford Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from 2007 that, in my opinion, is worth double its asking price. Perhaps most interestingly though, there is not a French wine on the list, yet a couple of wines from Spain and Italy have appeared. A look back over earlier reviews confirms this trend. So, as much as I like Bordeaux and other French regional wines, it is perhaps not an interest that is widely shared in Australia, with the possible exception of Burgundy, which has probably deep rather than wide interest. I would also suggest that there is another eminently practical reason for this apparent lack of interest – French wine (other than Champagne) is audaciously priced (and taxed) in Australia compared with, I think, conservatively, anywhere else I have ever travelled in the world.
As always, any feedback is appreciated.