Something cloudy or opaque has infected Australian wine writers.

By David Farmer

I spent an agreeable week in Melbourne and was able to sample and drink a few dozen wines of mixed interest and quality. While not surprised I still find it odd that so many bistro-restaurants concentrate heavily on imported wines.

There are likely many reasons though perhaps two main ones. A desire to express the talents of the sommelier likely accentuated by the food served, so Italian wines will feature in a restaurant with this food theme: and the continuation of a trend going back decades to have a different selection to that found in most bottle shops so customers are not annoyed by price comparisons.

The down side is very large as this allows a lot of basic at times poor, imported, ‘country wine’ to be sold at high prices. Watch that the enthusiasm of the staff to present the latest discoveries does not cloud your judgement.

About 10 years ago I stopped buying the many wine magazines and for that matter books on wine as a pattern of sameness had settled in and instead of learning, found I mostly disagreed with the writers views.

Plane travel is a good time to catch up so I flicked through the Australian trio of, Winestate, Gourmet Traveller Wine, and Halliday Wine Magazine and found the pattern was as expected.

I know these magazines must review the best wines they have tasted but finding dozens of pages with fabulous scores in the mid to high 90s may mean we are blessed or more likely that something cloudy and opaque has descended which leads to wishful thinking.

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