Jefford on Monday

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Jefford on Monday: Lucky Us

Christmas truce Jefford

The wine was bright and translucent, despite its walnut hue. Vapoury and perfumed, as we all hoped, though the notes varied by taster: crystallised violets, dried fruits, citrus. Rue, for me (that shrubby herb Ruta graveolens, so powerfully scented as to asphyxiate its garden neighbours; here, happily, just a hint).

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Wines of France poster

My home département of Hérault has had a short crop this year. Normally it produces twice as much wine as the entire nation of New Zealand, but this year it’s a mere 4.5 million hl (or 1.8 times New Zealand’s large 2013 crop).

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Swartland vines

Every wine culture needs an avant-garde, a revolutionary fringe or a dissident rump. Even a self-questioning, 'divinely dissatisfied' establishment will do the trick: the important thing is to keep chafing at boundaries, interrogating fundamental precepts, and dreaming of the beauty which lies just out of reach.

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Jonathan Maltus

The Hess Group's recent sale of Barossa-based Peter Lehmann Wines to Casella was shocking: over half of the value of the company, it would seem, had been axed away in little more than a decade. And not just that. Lehmann is a respected leader from the nation's best-known wine-producing region. To see a company like that discounted from high-end international ownership to a domestic giant whose growth has been built on 'value' wine does not look like a happy regional omen.

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Jefford on Monday: Chardonnay Songs

Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa

In 1970s South Africa, the thirst for Chardonnay among the country's young generation of winemakers could only be assuaged by smuggling. The 'suitcase clones' which arrived illicitly back then made Chardonnay the avant-garde variety of choice (though not without collateral damage: some of the Chardonnay later proved to be Alsace's Auxerrois).

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Jefford on Monday

jefford

Award-winning writer Andrew Jefford's Monday column on Decanter.com

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