What a week it has been.
Some weeks are busier than others and this was definitely one of those. There were stories of a university study isolating unique aromas in Valpolicella (but nothing very concrete in the reports); a truck carrying wine rolled spectacularly on Argentina’s RN7 road between Mendoza and Buenos Aires; a Beaujolais winemaker launched her Fleurie in cans (in a move triggered by the direct-to-consumer adaptation under Covid restrictions); and Finger Lakes announced the reboot of its Finger Lakes Wine Month in August.
There was a lot more too. But here’s a smattering of other news you might have missed this week:
Argentina launch dating app for Malbec
Most singletons will have a had an evening where they just wish that, with a swipe-right or the tap of a button they could get themselves on a hot date with a smooth, sophisticated but brooding Argentinian. Now, thanks to a digital initiative by Wines of Argentina, an app for the lovelorn is finally on its way. Only your date comes in a 75cL bottle and is made from Malbec.
According to Mendoza-based news outlet Los Andes, MeetMalbec is a “kind of Tinder” that seeks to banish heartache with a glass of Mendoza’s finest. While a “dating app matches people according to their tastes preferences and closeness, this new service aims to be the meeting place for Malbec fans”, said the broadsheet.
It’s okay, though, the Malbec isn’t fussy and it won’t judge you. “Where you live doesn’t matter – this covers everyone – gender, age or profession, all that is really valued is your passion for Argentinian wine.” The app is due out in the coming months.
Manga wine sells out on pre-release
A red wine based on that found in the cult manga series Attack on Titan (its final season is due next year) was always going to sell like hotcakes. The so-called “Marleyan” red wine (with a label reminiscent of Masseto) made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grown in Kobe, Japan, was up for pre-order last week and has already sold out – two weeks before the close-off in early July.
One of the best-selling manga series of all time, Attack on Titan, which imagines a distopian world of walled cities and human-eating giants, is due to air its final television episodes next year. The wine, which came in a fetching case with a specially engraved corkscrew, was produced by wine merchant Kurand in partnership with the show and was available for the equivalent of US$80 a bottle in Japan alone.
You’ll need to find a fan of the series to explain the role of the wine as the background is far too involved for this roundup. Suffice to say it involves soldiers, a boat and the spinal fluid of the Beast Titan. Bordeaux En Primeur eat your heart out.
Spanish region to push day drinking
The wine trade body (the Denominacion d’Origen, or DO) of Valencia in southern Spain is looking to extend wine consumption in the summer months outside of the usual mealtime glass of wine. A new promotional push to this effect, with the slogan “Hoy de vinos Por Valencia” (very roughly translated to the nebulous “Aftenoon’s Best Plan” for Anglophones in the area) will launch in the city next month.
“With a chilled glass of wine (always in moderation), find other times of the day outside lunch or dinner to enjoy a drink,” urged Valencian DO president Cosme Gutiérrez, explaining the push, which aims to bring in local tourism. “What better way to get to know the city, its surroundings, its natural spaces (beaches), than by enjoying the wines of our denomination of origin,” he added. If that really is the afternoon’s best plan, quite a few of us have been doing tourism all wrong.
France continues to be blasted by the weather
Just when you thought viticulturists in France might catch a break after a horrific frost episode in April and some wild storms earlier this month (which not only hit northern France but smashed vineyards in Spain’s Ribera del Duero with Vega-Scilia’s Alion partially affected), last weekend saw more violent weather lash French vineyards.
Wine writer Caroline Henry reported earlier this week that tropical-strength storms had been pounding the Champagne region since June 19, when a small tornado struck the vineyards in the Vallée de la Marne. Wind gusts of 80kmh (50mph) combined with heavy rain and hail balls up to 3cm across caused severe damage in several villages.
“Flying tree debris added insult to injury and helped to flatten complete rows, while the hail scarred the vines just when flowering was coming to an end,” Henry told Wine-Searcher. “The rest of the week has seen several more storms resulting in flood and soil slippage alerts. While the damage has been very localized, some winegrowers are in danger of losing a large part or even all of their crops. In the affected areas, all hands have been on deck to clean up the debris and lift the vines back up in the hope to save at least a bit of the grapes.”
Meanwhile French wine news website vitisphere.com spoke of a “nightmarish” weekend for French vineyards, with a powerful thunderstorm rolling across the Minervois, Saint-Chinian, the Hérault and the Gard departments, bringing further hail to some areas. The Drôme and Ardèche departments to the northeast (including the wider Côtes du Rhône) were also hit by storms, with localised hail and high-speed winds. The website also noted that Burgundy and Alsace were hit by storms and that localised hail fell in Bordeaux.
If that wasn’t enough, violent weather hit the Loire as well, with reports of 300 hectares (740 acres) in Touraine being hit particularly hard. Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil vigneron Anthony Pantaléon also filmed a small tornado in the vines – see video below (warning: contains a few choice French expletives). Let’s hope viticulturists and winemakers can enjoy a more settled period running up and into harvest.
Argentina launches country’s first 100 percent woman-made wine
Argentina’s first wine made entirely by women is about to hit the local market under the Apasionadas label. Grown, harvested, made, bottled and hand-labeled by the 21-strong Mujeres de la Viña, as they are known, the inaugural 2020 wines – a Merlot and a Malbec – are only available in very limited numbers (250 bottles of each).
According to Argentinian rural news outlet Infocampo, the group came together following a study by the Viticultural Development Center (CDV) that found numerous women working alone in the vineyards in Mendoza and the Uco Valley. Infocampo said the study found the women “shared the same demands, concerns, fears, prejudices and desire to remain and develop in the sector” and it was used as a catalyst to help connect the group.
The project has the backing Wine Corporation Argentina (COVIAR) and the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA). Should label prove successful, the group (which began forming in 2018) plans to increase production.
Dijon officially joins the jostle to house OIV
If you’re ever looking for the definition of parochialism, look no further than the unfolding scuffle between Reims, Bordeaux and Dijon to house the “UN of wine”, as it was dubbed by vitisphere.com. The moving of the headquarters of the OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine) from Paris into the provinces was covered by us a couple of weeks back but two recent headlines in the local French press really stood out. First came the Champagne region’s L’Union publication which proclaimed “Reims in a good spot to welcome the UN of wine.” Not to be outdone, a local report for La Tribune stated this week that “Dijon was in a good position to welcome the UN of wine.”
As pointed out by French wine publication La Revue du Vin de France, the latter’s bid – though fully expected – was only officially announced this Tuesday. Expect more of the same until the French government makes the call, although it is possible more will be revealed following an OIV meeting on July 11.
Popular Australian Shiraz recalled over broken glass fears
Zilzie Wines is conducting a product recall of their Meraki Shiraz, it emerged on Wednesday, over fears of broken glass inside the wine. According to national broadcaster Nine News, the wine is available across four states in the country: New South Wales; Queensland; Victoria and Western Australia.
The recall was due to a packaging fault in which the “presence of foreign matter (glass)” was a risk. The recall applies to lot number L20259. It is understood the wine was not exported and the New South Wales Food Authority is advising consumers not to drink the product.