Wisdom and Wine

Fine wines from France
Education, wine events, consultancy

Wine News

2013 Besson Chablis 1er Cru "Montmains"

"Lovely definition of stony fruit, very juicy with a long citrus finish."


- Gerard Basset, Decanter Vintage 2013 Preview

Sussex by the Glass?

"The Times" of London that a group of winemakers from Sussex in the UK is applying to the European Union for protected designation of origin status.


"The Times", 5 March 2015

2013 Champagne Exports

There were 304,973,710 bottles of Champagne produced in 2013. Of those 136,640,110 were exported ie 44.8%.


Australia is the 6th largest market for Champagne with 6,0230165 bottles shipped to Australia, an increase of 11.4% over 2012.


Source: "The Drinks Business"

World Wine Production 2012

World Wine Production by Country 2012


Rank Country Liters 000 % of Total
1 Italy 4,082,900 15.87%
2 France 4,047,700 15.74%
3 Spain 3,150,00 12.25%
4 United States 2,760,400 10.73%
5 China 1,381,600 5.37%
6 Argentina 1,177,800 4.58%
7 Australia 1,155,00 4.49%
8 South Africa 1,086,500 4.22%
9 Chile 1,001,000 3.89%
10 Germany 890,300 3.46%




2011 Vintage in Burgundy

Clive Coates:

  • “The 2011 Red Burgundies are delicious”
  • “They have a purity of fruit”

“The Underground Wineletter”:

  • “The 2011 Burgundy vintage is a BIG surprise”
  • “The best are succulent, lush and intensely fruity”
  • “The 2011s are beautifully balanced and remind us of the very reliable 2000 vintage”

Bill Nanson “The Burgundy Report”:

  • “The 2011 vintage is very good”


“Decanter Magazine”

  • “The 2011 Red Burgundies are very transparent"
  • “They have distinctive shape and a wonderful mouthfeel”
  • “Overall, they are generous, finely textured and elegant”

Alex Gambal Purchased "Les Batards Montrachet" Grand Cru

According to a report in Decanter, Alex Gambal has become the first non-Frenchman to own land in a Montrachet site with his purchase from Philippe Brenot in 2011. Stephen Brook has described Alex as having "... patiently created a small, high-quality négociant company. Whites and reds are equally good, and prices are moderate."


2010 Vintage in Burgundy

The 2010 vintage in Burgundy is highly regarded although the quantities are reduced as compared to 2009. Barrel tastings last year demonstrated excellent quality.


Alex Gambal has commented:


"For me the 2010 vintage is very good. I actually prefer it to the 2009s. It has a bit more acid and less fruity which for me is more balanced. Of course the 2009s are very open expressive and easy to drink- nothing wrong with that. Howver I can almost guarantee you will not be disappointed with the 2010s."

    • Yabby Lake Vineyard






    Yabby Lake Vineyard recently opened their cellar door on the Mornington Peninsula.


    Owned by the Kirby family (Village Roadshow) their wines have always been very classy. The Yabby Lake 2009 Pinot Noir showed up very well at a recent Pinot Noir Benchmark Tasting.


    The cellar door offers tasting of the Yabby Lake wines as well as those from Heathcote Estate.


    This is a friendly and interesting winery to visit.

    • Waratah Hills Vineyard





    Neil and Judy Travers took over this beautiful vineyard about 18th months ago. It is located near Fish Creek, only a few kilometres from Waratah Bay in South Gippsland.


    It was orginally planted under strict instructions from Phillip Jones as a source of grapes for Bass Phillip Wines. However, this never eventuated.


    The majority of the vines are pinot noir and chardonnay and they are no producing high quality wines that are well worth looking for. The cellar door is welcoming and worth a visit - it is open every weekend.



    2008 Domaine Alex Gambal Puligny-Montrachet

    Opened Alex Gambal's 2008 Puligny-Montrachet recently for a first taste. Outstanding wine from a passionate n?gociant

    in Beaune. The grapes came from old vines in the heart of Puligny. Alex kept back the picking for a week after most others in the village. The result is a wine of great structure with fine acidty, lovely fruit and oak balance and excellent length. A wine to savour!

    2009 Hurley Wines, Balnarring, Mornington Peninsula

    Kevin Bell released his 2009 Pinot Noirs over the first two weekends of November. Once again, the wines are outstanding but the quantities are down. The Garamond was particulary fine with excellent fruit, structure and balance. The Hommage showed up well and the Lodestone showed some elegance and fine acidity. In total, he made only 350 cases of wine. See .

    • 2009 Streicker Chardonnay

      This wine is rarely seen in Melbourne. The vineyard is owned by New York based John Streicker. The Ironstone Block Old Vine Margaret River Chardonnay showed how good Australian chardonnay can be. An excellent structure with fine acidity, elegant fruit and a firm finish with restrained oak. Outstanding - can only look forward to trying this again in a few years.

      2009 Buckshot Zinfandel

      Good to see the 2009 Buckshot Vineyard The Square Peg Heathcote Zinfandel rated as "Outstanding" with 94 points in "James Halliday's Wine Companion" Launch Issue. I recently put the 2008 on at a tasting and it showed up really well. Rob Peebles is making some excellent wine.

      Oh What a Wine!

      A 1970 Chateau Latour opened in magnificent condition last night. Wonderful colour, elegant boquet, long, drawn out and rich palate, redolent of cigar box, cassis and great cabernet. It was a reminder of the old adage "There are no great wines, only great bottles." This was surely a great bottle!

    2011 Jimmy Watson Winner

    It was a surprise to see teh Jimmy Watson Trophy at this year's Royal Melbourne Show go to a Tasmanian Shiraz. Congratulations to Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers  with their winning wine - MON PèRE Shiraz  2010. Congratulations also to Yabby Lake for winning the Victorian Government Trophy for Best Victorian Table Wine with their Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2010. Here is a link to the show results: .

    Inter Clubs Wine Challenge

    The University House team known as Team Hofeins won the Annual City Clubs Wine Challenge from another University House team with the RACV Club in 3rd place.  Their ability to score well on an old vine grenache from the Barossa and a Heathcote tempranillos took them to victory. We look forward to resuming the challenge at University House in 2012.

    Great White Burgundy

    I was reminded how good aged white Burgundy can be when we opened a bottle of 1982 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet. The bottle opened in magnificent condition and the richness and ripeness of the fruit together with the fine structre made an unforgettable, outstanding wine. Remington Norman and Charles Taylor describe the wines of Leflaive as "...of immense depth and concentration, raw power combined with great complexity"  in their book The Great Domaines of Burgundy, 3rd edition .

    NZ Wines Aground off North Island

    Decanter has reported that that some 4,000 cases of wine are aboard the container ship that has run aground off New Zealand's North Island. It has an approximate value of over $600,000 AU.

    Decanter rates Australian Shiraz

    The November 2011 edition of Decanter rated 253 Australian Shiraz wines. The top five wines were:

    Two Hands, Samantha's Garden, Clare Valley, SA

    2008 St Hallett Wines, Blacwell, Barossa Valley, SA

    2009 Mitolo, GAM, McLarenvale, SA

    2009 Chateua Tanunda, Terroirs of the Barossa, Greenock, Barossa Valley, SA

    2009 Chateua Tanunda, Grand Barossa, SA

    Interestingly, the tasters rated McLaren Vale the best region for shiraz. One commentator said "It's always been thought of as a lesser version of the Barossa but it stood head and shoulders above; the wines were purer, more transparent and more exciting."


    We toured a number of important wine districts in France during May.

      Chateau Filhot

      The property of Chateau Filhot was founded in approx 1705. It is the largest in the Sauternes district and includes farm land as well as an oak forest. The wine is made up of semillon (60%), sauvignon blanc (36%) and muscadet (4%). It has quite a high percentage of sauvignon blanc which helps to keep the wine fresh and clean but less sweet than some other from the area. Tasting the 2008, we were impressed by the high quality of fruit with a lusciousness coming from a high botrytis year.

      Chateau Pontet Canet

      Chateau Pontet Canet, one of the largest classified growths in Pauillac, is now certified biodynamic. In some parts of the vineyard they are using horses rather than tractors. In all, four horses are being used.

      House of Fleury

      The House of Fleury is a biodynamic Champagne house in the small town of Couteron in the Cote de Bas. This is the southern part of the Champagne district and is closer to Burgundy than the northen regions around Reims. The wines are outstanding, full of flavour, chewy but still elegant.

      Chablis Wine Market

      The Chablis Wine Market is held on the first Saturday in May every year. It gives smaller winemakers the opportunity to show their wines.


      The wines of the Cote D'Or are amongst the finest in the world. We have been exploring the wines of the Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits whilst enjoying our time in Beaune,