It started in the early 1980s. Young twenty-something Australian winemakers watching ‘The Flying Doctors’ on a Tuesday afternoon waiting for something exciting to happen. While September is desperately quiet for southern hemisphere winemakers, it’s a different story altogether in Europe and North America. Thus came about the flying winemakers, making Dr Callaghan look even more cool.
As Jancis Robinson pointed out in one of her recent Wine Course publications, Italy, our featured country for these cold winter months, was one of those country’s largely affected by this influx of young talent. Before this dose of reinvention, Italian whites were considered quite bland and unexciting. Now we have world class examples of international grape varieties. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and the long established Pinot Grigio are being made with real distinction.
Shortly after this trend began, winemakers from the United States and then Europe started to migrate south in their quiet time. This interchange of ideas and techniques has done nothing but help raise the standard industry-wide, but I don’t think either side should gain all the plaudits. Instead of being at each others throats about who makes the best wine, the best producers have struck the right balance between the traditional “let the terroir do the talking” and the more modern take involving making it happen in the winery.
Italy produces more wine than any other country in the world, but don’t let the bland, volume whites that used to plague our supermarket shelves (and which sadly still do) put you off. The real treasures of Italy’s white wine making exploits are found in their indigenous grape varieties. Farnese Trebbiano, Poggiobello Fruilano and Casale Vecchio Pecorino are three our customers reach for tentatively at first… and then come back for six or twelve.
Picture sourced from Amazon.co.uk, from where, you’ll be delighted to know, you can find the full series.
[…] February to April mark prime time for the annual grape harvest in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Chile, but those countries landing north of the equator in the northern hemisphere, the North Americans and the Europeans, typically harvest at the end of their summers and into the autumn. This grants winemakers the opportunity to travel during their quiet time and acquire additional experience and share ideas. See The Flying Winemakers. […]
[…] here are proud of their traditions. There has been minimal outside influence from flying winemakers and foreign technology, and no one is too keen to jump onto the varietal bandwagon that the world […]