My name is Mayer Bram and I have been involved in the Victorian Wine and Spirit Industry since before Christ was born! How do you think he got the "water into wine" idea? I have spent over forty years in retail liquor stores and during that time it has been my pleasure witnessing the legend of modern day wine making.
On this site I will present you with my thoughts and analysis on the Wine Industry and the changes that affect it. I will bring you news about new products and stories from my own work place. Please feel free to respond to any of my posts with your thoughts or suggestions or general feeback. Ask me for information on Wine, Spirits and Liquors - or ask me about Australian made Liquors and traditionally brewed beers!
This was first posted on my old web site on Wednesday September 26th, 2001.
Sometimes in my role as a wine retailer I will be asked for non alcoholic beverages. On some occasions, I have had younger store members come to me saying that there is a customer asking them for lemonade or milk products! They ask "Surely, we don't sell non alcoholic products, here, do we?"
I will ask them to take me to the client and introduce the client to a range of non-alcoholic tonics and sparkling grape juices, either of sweet or dry finishes, or a tart citrus based non-sparkling beverage (lime and lemon). I also have at my fingertips a range of low alcoholic wines (6% to 8%). Some are blended with fresh fruit pulp with a slight spritz to the finish.
The pure non-alcoholic juice of freshly crushed semi-ripe pinot noir grapes.
Garry Crittenden, the winemaker of Dromana Estate, has found a use for the Pinot Noir grapes removed from the vines prior to vintage, through the viticultural practice of thinning. Thinning involves removing bunches of grapes from the vine, thus allowing the remaining fruit on the vine to ripen, fully, without causing stress to the vine. It does give lower tonnage per acre, but delivers a better quality fruit. Normally, the discarded fruit would simply be ploughed back into the soil after vintage as mulch, but Garry Crittenden directs his workers to gather up the semi-ripe grapes in March to have them crushed, pressed and then bottled ready for sale.
The result is Verjus - a pure non alcoholic juice. Its vibrant translucent pink colour offers up a delightful blending of tartness and sweetness. This drink comes into its own in adding flavour to summer salads and sea-food dishes. However, be sure to try this as a refreshing drink over ice!
This product retails for about $8.00 to $12.00 a bottle. Product knowledge from the shop floor must be complete if the retailer can make the claim of being fully conversant with the product on offer to them! I have always been willing to go just that little bit further for my retail clients before sending them away from my store, without being given every chance of a choice of goods to contemplate buying!
Gamay is the red wine varietal propagated in two main wine districts of France. In the Loire valley, in Anjou it is used to create many styles of Rose. In the Beaujolais district it makes a delicious, light, fruity wine which is best consumed when young, although some of the more robust Beaujolais (crus) improve with cellaring. Gamay in Australia has been propagated in New South Wales, South Australia and in many regions of Victoria.
From the Vineyard estates of Tisdall, sourced from their Rosbercon vineyard at Picola comes this Gamay Vintage 2001.Viticultural techniques include early picked grapes, ensuring elegant fruit flavours and high levels of acidity and free run juice, removed from skin contact after only 72 hours. The wine is bottled with minimum levels of sulphur. The colour displays a light vibrant raspberry/crimson, with a lifted aromatic Gamay fruit aroma and flavour that lingers long after the clean steely crisp acid finish. The wine has been fermented to complete dryness but has layers of flavour that give it the appearance of "sweet musky" flavour.
The finished wine has a relatively low level of alcohol (11.5%), making it the perfect match for fresh fruit, soft cheeses, dried fruit platters or with an entrée of shell fish. Serve chilled as an aperitif or as a palate cleanser at the end of the meal. Look for a price of approximately $18 to $20. This product should be available from product orientated retailers or enquire from the Tisdall vineyard direct.
Did you know? In 1993 Mildara Blass purchased the Victorian producer Tisdall Wines. Reported at Winetitles.com.au.
Thanks for reading!
This was first posted on my old web site on Satruday September 15th, 2001.
Welcome once again to the Big M Wine Promoter's newsletter. I have spent over forty years working on the shop floor in three of Melbourne's largest retail liquor stores and during that time I have gathered a great knowledge of the Wines, Spirits, Beers and Liquors of the trade.
The purpose of this newsletter is to offer comment on those products I have sampled and turn that interest into retail sales. I have never been afraid to go against perceived market trends and I will promote products that mainstream retailers, for whatever reason, will not carry or promote.
I have a passion for offering my clients a number of uniquely Australian Spirits and Liquors - at least three of which have been judged worthy Export awards, to South-East Asia, Europe, United Kingdom, and to the United States of America.
Do you like the flavour of Macadamia Nut? Are you aware that two years ago Queensland producers of this indigenous nut overtook Hawaii as the largest producers and growers of Macadamia? Why should we import Macadamia Liquor from Hawaii? For the last three years, I have been involved in offering my clients this Australian made product, with a great deal of success. On several occasions I have had Corporate Clients coming back to my retail store asking to buy a sealed case of the product for gifts.
750 ml, 18% alcohol. Patons Macadamia Royal Liqueur. The colour is water white, with a base of neutral cane spirit. The flavour comes from the oil of Macadmia nut, with no added sweetener to its flavour base. Around the neck of the bottle hangs a little cocktail guide offering serving suggestions.
I like to create a Champagne Cocktail by simply adding ten millilitres of Patons Macadamia Royal Liqueur to a champagne flute and top it up with a dry Sparkling wine! For those chocaholics who are reading this newsletter, Patons also have created chocolate dipped macadamia nuts, dipped in both white and dark chocolate. For a chocolate hit, a cup of brewed coffee, a glass of Macadamia nut liquor with the chocolate dipped macademia (don't think about cholesterol or calories and you will be fine). Retail price should be approximately $28. to $30.
Find out more about Patons and their products at their website: http://www.patons.com.au/.
Retail liquor sales has a long standing bias against the world of Australian Rose! It is often called "a wine for wimps", or "lolly water" or "a drink for girls" etc, ad nauseam! Since the early sixties, when I was introduced to Orlando Grec Rose, and Chattertons of Lyndoch, Barrossa, Chattertons was a dry style of Rose, and may have been created from Grenache? Both wines had a firm, clean crisp finish and were so much better than the Imported rose wines of Portugal or the Californian White Blush (Zinfandell).
My retail shelves carry some two dozen alternative light red wine styles and the noble red wine grapes Cabernet Sauv, Shiraz, Cabernet-Franc, Pinot Noir, Grenache and Merlot all feature in this role. Innovative wine-makers have also created light wine styles from the free run juice of red wine grapes and then blended into the tanks a percentage of some white wine juice such as Pinot-Grigio.
One of my greatest retail successes has been the Rose style of the Miranda family in Griffith New South Wales. This wine has been created from Shiraz grapes only. Pre vintage when on the vines, selected rows of Shiraz grapes with a higher than normal acid levels (an unripe green colour) are harvested during the cool hours of night by mechanical harvester.
The grapes are taken to the press and subjected to light pressing to capture the free run juice. This juice is without heavy tannins, nor does it take color from extended skin contact. The watermelon pink, translucent juice is fermented to display some residual sugars, with a slight spritz, while having a delightful dry acidity to the finish. The wine is presented as a true vintage Rose, packaged in a smart frosted bottle, with a window, displaying a logo on the back of the bottle!
Match this Rose with smoked salmon, white meat sea-food (lobster), Thai cuisine, noodles lightly spiced or even with a casserole of either veal or chicken, with a light creamy mushroom sauce! Retail price will be from $10 to $12. This wine has not been created with long tem ageing in mind, so if you wish to buy by the dozen, please drink this up over one or two years (short term).
Find out more about Miranda Wines at http://www.mirandawines.com.au/.