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Your Questions

Q

Do you think there could be better regulation around how a rosé is labelled given any red grape variety can be used to produce the final product?

Angela Vescovi, Cairns, Qld

A good question, but not sure it will make much of a difference. We are used to seeing varietally labelled wines, but it may be a barrier to purchase if you saw a rosé made from a grape you don’t normally like. After all, Provence rosé is popular because the pale colour and dry taste have wide appeal and I’m not sure many drinkers are interested in the specific varieties used. And some rosés are blends and by not listing them, this may allow producers to experiment and try different combinations of varieties each vintage?

Q

Frequently when opening a new screwcap sealed bottle (not sparkling) I hear a ‘pop’ as if there’s excess pressure in the bottle being released. Consistently, these wines have a sharp, bitter edge to them. Do you have any idea what it could be?

John Cotton, Sunshine Coast, Qld

Wine being prepared for bottling can pick up oxygen, which would be detrimental the final quality. It is important to minimise both the dissolved and headspace oxygen so wineries bubble inert gas through the tanks (known as sparging) prior to bottling to help keep the wine fresh. When you open a bottle, this gas can make a sound as there is a release in pressure, hence the ‘pop’, and sometimes you might see tiny bubbles being formed, too.

I wouldn’t expect this to have any effect on the taste of the wine. Assuming the wine isn’t too old, which can lead to bitterness as the fruit fades, I would pour it into a jug or decanter to it give it a chance open up and release any dissolved gas. Then it should taste as the winemaker intended.

Q

Why is it that I seem to get more pleasure from light ‘smashable’ reds at a reasonable price than I do from iconic expensive bottles from the big names in Australian wine? What am I missing?

Alex Baros, Melbourne, Vic

Not sure you are missing anything. Who doesn’t just enjoy the sheer drinkability of these juicy, fruity styles? With (usually) lower alcohol levels, crisp acidity and an absence of oak, these reds, served slightly chilled, are perfectly suited to warm summer days. With an emphasis on immediate appeal, no requirement to cellar, and a cheerful price tag, what’s not to love. Though don’t forget to carve out a place for ageworthy, bigger-framed expensive wines somewhere in your future!  

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