Talking Wine – February 2018

Jesse Katz is a winemaker to the stars and he recently created a 2015 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from California. He works with some of the best wineries and appellations and makes wine specifically for the likes of Justin Timberlake, Alice Cooper and Blondie – among others. The wine in question was commissioned by Shep Gordon, a Hollywood agent, who donated a bottle to an auction – thus making it an extremely valuable collector’s item. The wine fetched $350,000 and has become the most expensive wine ever sold. The world has gone crazy!

So Scotland is adopting the 50p per unit minimum pricing following a Supreme Court ruling. It is thought that over 500 lives will be saved as a result of this legislation and I would be keen to see England adopting the same policy – although some years ago David Cameron’s attempt at getting a 40p minimum price was not successful. However remember that the smoking ban started in Scotland and was soon adopted by England. I see the ban as an advantage to smaller businesses as it will prevent companies promoting wines as a loss leader at ridiculous prices that only encourage binge drinking and threaten to undermine smaller retail operations.

The oldest evidence ever found of human wine making has been discovered in Georgia. Clay jars have been unearthed in a recent dig which suggests that wine was made 6000BC rather than the 5000 BC originally thought. The jars carried 300 litres and analysis suggests that grapes had been fermented. They also found grape pollen, starch and remains of fruit flies but no pigments as to suggest the colour of the product. Georgians have always claimed the crown for the oldest wines and now have some validity attached to their “cradle of wine” claim. However China currently holds the claim to have produced the oldest alcoholic beverage found – it is thought they produced a fermented rice, honey and fruit beverage some 7000 years BC !