Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Australian wine industry is a dynamic entity

You can say that again and Darby Higgs has just done so with his 3rd edition of 'Emerging Varietal Wines of Australia'. The diversity is breathtaking. We are sure it surpasses that of South America, South Africa and possibly even North America but until a US version of Darby goes to the immense trouble of documenting varieties to be found there, we will never know. In fact, every winegrowing area needs such an inventory.

When we had the good fortune to meet Darby Higgs a year ago in Melbourne he described the present difficult situation concerning the importation of new varieties into Australia. Whereas in the past this had proceeded slowly but surely, it had now ground almost to a halt due to the unfortunate case of Albarino/Savignin mis-identification which has left the body concerned somewhat paralyzed by the fear of repeating the mistake; one which could have repercussions of course.

The task of cataloging not only the varieties grown in Australia but where they are grown and their history and character must have been immense: a lifetime's work it would seem except this is just one of Darby's endeavours.

Favourite nuggets include a couple of very succinct little articles at the beginning - models of concision and clarity on 'What is a Grape Variety?' and 'Why do Grape Varieties matter?' and some ueber-obscure varieties he has found such as

1893 (a white grape seemingly imported in the 19th century and unrelated to anything found elsewhere)
Russola nera

There is even the St. Macaire we have previously encountered; a Bordeaux variety now probably only to be found in Australia.

Keep up the good work, Aussies and don't forget to share some of your interesting stuff with us up top as you might say (geddit?).

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