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June 2010

At last, after a seemly interval, I have put up a report on McLaren Vale, South Australia, a region I visited as the International Judge last October. I cover what this vineyard zone south of Adelaide is doing with its Rhône variety grapes, which hold a big say in the area`s future. McLaren Vale is reminiscent of parts of California in being coastal, breezy, and its food and wine scene is moving towards a more organic, more enterprising approach - a far cry from the old "lager only after 5 pm, mate", mentality that existed in the past. See the left-hand tab McLaren Vale.

Look up Veterans Corner for a duo of shapely 1980s Côte-Rôties - the 1985 Gilbert Clusel La Viallière and the 1988 Bernard Burgaud. Drunk in Oslo with my old friend the importer extraordinaire to Norway and Sweden, Christopher Moestue. One sole, careful owner, and a healthy Nordic climate brought out the best in these two old stagers.

Also a trio of old white Rhônes - the rain-sodden 1993 vintage features - and also for a magnum of 1979 red Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Les Cailloux. This was my contribution to a Wine Trade luncheon held in the  august, historic surroundings of the Directors Dining Room at Berry Brothers in St James`s Street, London, with original William Morris wallpaper lining the top of the wood-panelled walls.

STGT: note the Ermitage Le Pavillon red 2001 from M.Chapoutier. Also a brace of Beaumes-de-Venise reds from two family domaines, Chiniard and Grangeneuve - an encouraging sign for this still young red wine appellation.

w.o.w. note the Vieille Ferme 2009 Ventoux from Perrin & Fils - a real winner this year.