7 Apr 2013

New site

If you have found your way here via another site, welcome! This blog was created as a chronicle of my 16 month trip around the world back in September of 2011. I have returned home to Melbourne and am continuing to write about a great many things vinuous, but have started a new site which you can find here.

Don't worry, I have transferred the entire library across and it will now be much easier to find different articles and tasting notes from one site. If you have been a follower for some time, many thanks for joining me and I look forward to welcoming you on the new site. Don't hesitate to contact me and ask me about anything, and of course comment and follow as often as possible.

Best regards,
James Scarcebrook
The Intrepid Wino

25 Mar 2013

Where's the beef?

Being an Australian wine traveller gets you in a lot of doors around the world. For one thing Australians have been loved as travellers a long time as they tend to be open-minded, fun, aware and generally up for a good time. I'm concerned that this positive image is starting to lose its sheen but that's another topic. As one of the world's major producers and the largest exporter outside of Europe you would struggle to find anyone in the global wine industry that isn't aware that Australia makes wine.

In fact most are aware of the meteoric rise of Australian wine in the '90s in Europe and North America thanks to the strong marketing and communications of varietal labelling. Not to mention the major strides made in large-scale commercial production reducing costs whilst making clean fruit-driven wines. Australia became the number one country imported into the United Kingdom and in many cases second only to Italy or France. It's brands seemed indestructible.

Undoubtedly with a certain amount of glee the rest of the world has watched Australian wine fall from grace over the past five or more years. Numerous experts both within Australia and without have looked at figures and attempted to explain this incredible reversal of fortune. Having made some of the most important advances along with the United States in the '70s and '80s, Australia has seen other wine-producing countries in South America, Europe and Africa beat them at their own game in terms of value/quality and cost.

15 Mar 2013

Mornington Peninsula - 10/3/2013

When I was young my grandparents owned a holiday house that our family made use of at least twice a year, particularly during summer. The house was pretty old, the beds weren't very comfortable and worst of all there was no television. In spite of this I always looked forward to holidays there. The house was in Rye on the Mornington Peninsula between Rosebud and Sorrento, and I have fond memories of beaching, fish & chips and the summer carnival. They sold the house when I was in my early teens and suddenly there was a hole in my heart where those experiences used to be. Once I became interested in wine that hole was filled in a different way when I discovered it as a wine region. Over the years I was introduced to many other wines and regions in Australia, especially in the Yarra Valley where I worked for quite a while, but Mornington always remained my favourite region in Australia. So it seems fitting that the first region I visited since my return was to the Mornington Peninsula.

At Main Ridge Estate, my favourite producer in the world

7 Mar 2013

Felton Road

Back in 2011 not long before I left for my trip I attended a media lunch at Vue de Monde with Blair Walter from Felton Road, by accident. I should have been there the day before at the trade lunch but got mixed up, and somehow was able to stay with the illustrious likes of James Halliday, Jane Faulkner, Jeni Port, Dan Sims, Ben Edwards, Matt Skinner and a number of other Melbourne-based journalists and educators. Feeling very guilty and intimidated I then had the fortune of sitting next to Blair himself for the tasting of the entire range of new releases and then the insane lunch prepared by the Vue staff on the hundred-and-whatever floor of the Eureka Building. Over the many courses we were all regaled by tales from the god of Australian Wine James Halliday working the classic 1983 vintage in Burgundy, which not only put me further in awe of his legacy but also look forward to my trip in the hopes I would have even half the experience. That surreal afternoon will stay with me and created quite the connection with Felton Road wines. This week I had the chance to catch up with Blair again as he was in town for the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, and taste a few of the wines.

Blair Walter