“The future success of cool-climate winemakers will depend on how well they handle these riper years”by Barry Smith / March 14, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in April 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
Have you heard of Danish wine? Neither had I until my recent visit to wineries in Zealand and Jutland. Though winemaking is a fledgling industry in Denmark, some vineyards have picked up international wine medals.
More than 20 years ago, Sven Moesgaard, a chemistry teacher who had made his money from vitamin supplements, began the long road to securing permission from the European Union to grow vines for wine. Now SkaersØggaard, his state-of-the-art winery near the coastal city of Aarhus, produces a range of award-winning wines. While tasting the range with him, I suggested he was engaged in extreme winemaking. “Not so much,” he said. “People forget that such a northerly latitude comes with longer evening light in summer where the grapes undergo prolonged photosynthesis.” He may be right. Alex Hunt, a Master of Wine, told me, “light may be the hidden variable in wine making.”
Seasons matter in Denmark and one vintage is profoundly different from another. On early showings, 2016 appears to be a very good year with ripeness and concentration, but the real trick is how to handle acidity.
Moesgaard is keen to experiment with production to create fresher or richer wines, where the latter are treated to prolonged periods in expensive new oak barrels. However, his fresher whites and sparking wines made the greatest impression.
Delicate, clean and distinctive, the 2014 Orion Classic using the Orion grape and a little Zalas Perle was a revelation. Imagine something between Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Blanc—pale and floral with a clean, fresh finish. A favouri…