A glance over the last few months of wine reviews reveals some trends in terms of which wine reviews are most read, and those that are “unloved” in this period. I thought I might share my thoughts on some of them.
In no particular order, Penfolds new releases for 2012, a Wynns flagship Coonawarra cabernet from a grand year, a Moss Wood Amy’s Cabernet Sauvignon from 2010, a Rockford Frugal Farmer Grenache Mourvedre from 2009, a couple of Jurançon wines, the Frank Camorra Tempranillo, Hahndorf Hill’s Blaufrankisch from 2010, Alastair McLeod Pinot Noir, St Huberts’ Cabernet Sauvignon from 2006, a Molly Morgan Semillon from 2011 and Ben O’Donoghue’s Pinot Gris, attracted the most reader interest.
Some themes are discernible. I’d suggest that they are well known labels (Penfolds, Wynns, Rockford, Moss Wood and St Huberts), celebrity (the celebrity chef wines) and I suspect strong reviews (Hahndorf Hill’s blaufrankisch, Molly Morgon’s semillon and the Jurançon wines). Although I taste a fairly wide range of wines these days, it’s a reminder that people like reading about wines they can actually find on the shelves or the internet. Or, happily, wines that I think are just darn good.
What’s less popular
In no particular order, the André Clouet Grand Reserve Brut NV, a Penley Estate Hyland Shiraz, the Sedona Estate Shiraz, the Xanadu Shiraz 2009, the Molly Morgon Rosé from the Hunter Valley, a Bream Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009 from Tasmania and a Reilly’s Dry Land Shiraz 2004 from the Clare Valley (although the latter was only recently posted) proved “readership impaired”.
A few of members of this list surprised me a bit – the André Clouet champagne I thought would be of general interest – it’s a bit unique in style and received some good reviews. Apparently it isn’t. The Sedona Estate shiraz surprised me a little too given its high quality, but its obscurity probably tells against it. The Xanadu shiraz is fairly easy to find and a good solid wine. But apparently shiraz from regions where it is not necessarily a flagship variety failed to ignite a lot of interest: at least three of the wines fell into that bucket. Perhaps then there is something in my view that Australian wineries should try their hands at fewer grape varieties and stick to the varieties that their (established) regions are best known for. (I read the same view in a nineteenth century text, so it’s not too revolutionary as a thought a couple of centuries later. I hope.)