Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WBW 49: Special Release

Wed 17 Sept 2008

This month's Wine Blogging Wednesday is hosted by dhonig at 2 Days Per Bottle. I'm a lot scared, because this month's topic is a bit political and here at Eating Leeds we stay off politics (unless it's directly related to food). We have been asked to choose the wine with which we'll toast the end of Bush's 2 terms in office.

I'm going to start with the wine and perhaps you'll stick around for the politics at the end (hopefully brief, but I'm not making any promises).

My wine of choice this month is De Bortoli's Willowglen Shiraz 2006, from the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia. In the UK (possibly elsewhere) the region for this wine is labelled as "South Eastern Australia". My bottle cost £5.99 and came from Latitude Wine in Leeds.

The wine is ruby red, with a pale rim and of a medium intensity. The nose is clean and quite pronounced, although not nearly as fruit forward as I was expecting. It's a surprisingly complex nose, with some black fruit, earthy and green vegetal notes, with touches of vanilla and aniseed.

The palate is (almost aggressively) fruit forward, dominated by red fruit and a touch jammy. The alcohol is a little unbalanced - the wine finishes a little too hotly which probably contributes to the jamminess. Again, some really green flavours are evident and the vanilla is present, with a hint of chocolate. There is some acidity for a bit of backbone but the tannin is surprisingly low. The length isn't bad but it's alcohol dominated and the flavours aren't complex and they don't develop.

Drinking this is a bit like drinking a 'fruits of the forest' jam. I suspect that the green notes might put a lot of people off if you were serving this without food.

For £6 this isn't bad value. It's actually surprisingly complex for a relatively cheap wine. However, fans of a bigger, more aggressively grippy Australian Shiraz may be disappointed. I'd buy this again if I were going to a BBQ. It's an unpretentious, clean, well made wine that's happy to do it's job.

So, why I have I chosen this wine?

The wine comes from the Riverina in New South Wales. This is one of Australia's bulk wine production areas and it is also one of wine producing areas in the world hardest hit by drought. Apparently 2006 was a pretty bad year (things aren't improving) - and I suspect that the wine's greenness is a product of this.

Now, I think that the Bush administration has failed the American people on many issues. The world is not a safer place than it was eight years ago. The people of America have been let down by their government at times of crisis (yes, I'm talking about Katrina/New Orleans, and I'm sure there are other examples that didn't make the world stage). The American economy is in tatters.

I do think that these are all really serious issues that need to be addressed by the next administration. But the big issue? The massive issue? The issue where not only the American people but the population of the world have been let down is the environment.

I am not a geologist or geophysicist so I can't dazzle you with science. What worries me is that when we have concrete proof of man's effect on the environment it will be too late to do anything positive.

In life, as in medicine, prevention is better than cure. In the last eight years America, the world's largest polluter, has lost the opportunity to become a real world leader. America could have shown the way forward, invested in research and renewables, assisted developing nations and made real inroads in cutting domestic emissions.

But it hasn't. No individual driving a 4x4 is responsible for the drought that grips much of southern Australia. But every individual is responsible for his or her decision to vote, or not bother to do so, or to vote on emotive or short term or local issues, rather than taking a slightly broader, long term view. And frankly, when only 64% of the population turns out to vote*, then there's 36% that needs to take a good long hard look at itself.

In the mean time, I'd encourage anyone who's got this far to make sure they turn off their mobile phone charger when they're not using it, to catch the bus or take a walk to the shops once in a while and consider buying more energy efficient products. When you come to replace your car, buy something smaller and cheaper to run. Guys - you'll save money and maybe lose weight! I believe that grass roots action can make a difference and that it might be the only way to make politicians take notice - especially when so many of them come from big (polluting) business backgrounds. Oh, and VOTE! I can't say I don't care who you vote for but I'd rather the next presidency be one which is truly representative.

Otherwise in 20 years time we could all well be sitting in a room chanting 'drill, drill, drill' - and, environmental concerns aside, that kind of mob mentality really scares me.

More WBW and Shiraz on Eating Leeds: WBW48 (Peter Lehmann Shiraz) or Mitolo Jester with a good steak.

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Blogger winesleuth said...

Good luck on the next election being truly representative. Let's just hope that they don't vote in the Republicans again but I think it will be awhile before my fellow Americans really realize what's going on and even then find it hard to fathom.

10:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alex for president! Ooops.

1:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We already have the proof. It's the pirates fault.

3:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the use of cars as the example, what's your policy on aviation damaging the climate?

3:21 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Nice post Alex - I love the connection between the wine from Riverina and "green" matters. Very imaginative.

12:13 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

Well, winesleuth ... we can but hope!

Humorous anonymous comments aside (!) anyone who knows me will know that my personal carbon footprint is greater than I would like thanks to the fact that I fly to Australia on average every 18 months - even though I'm aware of the environmental impact of aviation. Call me selfish & irresponsible but I actually like seeing my mum and dad! However, I am opposed to airport expansion and I have no problems with airfares going up - particularly short haul European and internal flights.

And finally, thanks Colin! :)

8:37 pm  

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