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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Friday, 21 May 2010 11:20

Australia to take on Kiwis with new White Wine

Known for its success in growing Semillon both  as a varietal and a blend, Australia Semillon Blanc is one wine that if promoted well can give run for the money to the NZ Sauvignon Blanc and with the new offering  from Australian Vintage, the wine just might well compete with the NZ Sauvignon Blanc import which has made severe dent in  world  markets including  Australia.

The wine has been crafted by Neil McGuigan, the interim CEO of Australian Vintage and last year’s IWSC Winemaker of the Year. He was keen to create a competitor to Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, which has been eroding Australia’s white wine market share both in its home market and abroad.

After several discussions, McGuigan realized Australia already had the perfect comeback varietal- Semillon. The only problem was that in Hunter Valley, the traditional home, the grape is expensive. It offers longevity, low alcohol and no oak, but for the general consumer, there’s not enough oomph.

Outside Hunter Valley however, he has been able to source cheaper grapes with more weight, and as a result, has created what he calls a “Sauvignon Blanc killer,” which is “fresh, full,” and with the latter grape’s “zip and zest”.

Using fruit from 25 year-old vines in mid New South Wales and Sunraysia, McGuigan has found Semillon which was previously use for blending. He also employed specially selected yeasts to accentuate mouthfeel and aroma, allowing McGuigan to craft a Semillon on steroids, in a manner of speaking.

He is planning the Semillon Blanc initially for the UK market only. He hopes it will eventually lead the consumer into the more traditional style. McGuigan says that  the wine has a goo length an the alcohol level is also low at around 11%. Tesco has already agreed to list it from this summer at £6.99 with a promotional price of  £4.99.

The label on the bottle will say, “New wine style” with a description explaining why the wine is different and what you can expect from it. He added that Australian Vintage’s marketing investment for the year ahead will centre on the Semillon Blanc and it will be the headline wine at every UK wine festival.

While McGuigan has made a gamble with the new wine, other producers will be watching the performance with interest in order to counter the Kiwi attack of white Sauvignon Blanc.


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