The 'Naive' Wine Myth Sommeliers Wish Australians Would Leave Behind

Australians have a tendency to love our Shiraz... to the detriment of broadening our horizons.

Image: @youhadmeatbordeaux

In the world of coffee, a cappuccino is considered – by many – a ‘basic’ drink. On the other hand, drinks like long blacks and espressos tend to be drunk by those with plenty of miles on their taste buds.

When it comes to wine, Pinot Grigio draws the short straw. As Australian sommelier Sean McManus told DMARGE, “If you were looking for ‘the cappuccino’ of the wine industry you wouldn’t need to travel much further than Italy!”

“Pinot Grigio is always a deflating conversation when serving guests, having a diner party. Generally Pinot Grigio is regarded as the ‘factory farm’ of wines. Mass produced, sold relatively cheap.”

“Common misconception is that Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are different, they are not! Italians just call Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio like Australian and New Zealanders call Syrah, Shiraz! If you are a Pinot Grigio fan, broaden your horizons by trying Pinot Gris from places like Alsace in France, just near the German border.”

“It’s plush, lush and racy! Otherwise take a jump over the Italian boarder to Slovenia, where Pinot Grigio is aged in Slovenian oak and plays with gentle skin contact offering wines with flavours of yellow peach, coconut and loads of mouth watering elegance.”

Done with your virtual Pinot Grigio tasting? Good. McManus has more insights for you. Number one being: Pinot Noir, contrary to some of the cruel stereotypes floating around (mainly perpetrated by those that only really like punchy Shiraz of a Friday night and nothing else), is not always a bad choice.

“Pinot Noir is probably the most versatile grape on the planet. It can be translucent with delicate aromas of soft red underripe cherries and strawberries, or dark and dense, with opulence and bold flavours, structure that can be likened to a fighter jet taking off on a sea-bound aircraft… (‘I feel the need, the need… for speed!’)… these kind of bottles with such power and persistence can be exceptionally age-worthy and jaw-dropping to have the privilege to ingest.”

“I’ve had Grand Cru burgundy (Pinot Noir) bottles that have had more power and meaty-ness then Shiraz!”

“Anyone who thinks Pinot is out, is obviously drinking the wrong Pinot!” McManus added, advising anyone who doesn’t have faith to “ask your wine waiter/sommelier for assistance.”

“Not all Pinot Noir is made the same and not all Burgundy need to cost an arm and a leg!”

Put that in your glass and drink it.

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