jamie goode's wine blog: The Landmark Tutorial, Day 1

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Landmark Tutorial, Day 1

I’m now in the Barossa, staying at The Louise (www.thelouise.com.au; one of the best places I've ever stayed), and about two-thirds through day one of the Landmark Tutorial. It is already very exciting, and we’ve only really just got going.

Last night (Sunday) the twelve of us, plus some of the tutors, met for dinner at the Sparrow Kitchen and Bar in Adelaide. It was a relaxed affair, with really nice food and a good selection of wines that Tony Jordan chose off the list. This included the Innocent Bystander Pinot Gris 2008 (fresh, complex, interesting); Crawford River Young Vines Riesling 2006 Victoria (lovely expressive, pure style); Corinna’s Olive’s Taranga Vineyards Shiraz Cabernet 2005 McLaren Vale (dense and spicy with good definition); De Bortoli Pinot Noir 2006 Yarra Valley (quite green and savoury with bright cherry fruit); Spinifex Esprit 2007 Barossa (lovely meaty, pure dark fruits) and the Parker Coonawarra Terra Rossa 2005 (benchmark Coonawarra Cabernet).

It was early to bed, but in my jet-lagged state I slept only fitfully. This morning began with a session at the Australian Wine Research Institute where we were treated to a taste of one of their Advanced Wine Assessment Courses. These normally last four days, and judges’ scores are collected in and analysed. We had just a couple of hours, so did a mini-AWAC, involving two flights of ten wines each: the first all Riesling, the second all Shiraz. Interestingly, several of the wines were replicated in each flight (that is, we were given the same wine more than once), as part of the assessment process.

After we’d tasted, we all had to call out our scores. Some of the replicates were easy to spot – others were much harder. It’s a really useful exercise. Doing this sort of process helps you get to know how your palate performs in this type of setting.

We finished late morning, and headed off to the Barossa, where, after a light lunch, we began session 1 of the Tutorial. Led by Michael Hill Smith, Andrew Caillard and Tony Jordan, it was a look at Australia’s ‘regional classics’. The tasting component consisted of some very smart wines, but even better is yet to come. With dinner - which I have a feeling will be very special - we’ll be looking at ‘Australia’s Fine Wine’.

Enough for now. I’m feeling pretty tired and I need to make use of the wonderful bath I have in my suite of rooms before pre-dinner drinks at 6.30 pm.

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At 2:07 PM, Blogger Joe said...

You have a "suite of rooms?"

At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh P-L-E-A-S-E - what are you on mate? Some sort of witch-hunt to pinpoint every suggestion of unjustified luxury on Jamie's trip?
What exactly do you hope to achieve by this?

At 10:48 PM, Anonymous David said...

Jamie, interesting that you enjoyed this - what I like about the blog is that you're a very "contextual" taster - you usually drink (or share) whole bottles, and tell us what kind of day you've had, what the weather was like, sometimes (not enough) what you're eating - but the Australian show judging ethos is surely the completely opposite approach?

At 11:10 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Dear Anonymous:

I'm not your mate, although I am open to the suggest of become your mate.

I think it is disgraceful that a journalist go on a freebie, let alone such an extravagant freebie.

At 11:16 PM, Blogger Michael Pollard said...

For Joe: Yes The Louise has suites of rooms. What is your point? Its a retreat that is very centrally located in the Barossa and also provides great meals at its restaurant Appellation. Yes its luxury but truth be told its the ideal location for this event. Its a great place to showcase Aussie wine and well done Jamie for getting the chance to be a part of it. The 12 participants of the Landmark Australia Tutorial won their spots over about ten fold more applicants. OK, so Wine Australia is footing the bill but there is no secrecy about this, its all public. No one has been kept in the dark about it. Will the participants be biased toward Australia after their experience? Hard to tell. But one thing is for sure there will 12 more wine writers out there who will be to talk and write about Australian wine with more authority than a lot of other critics.

At 12:01 AM, Blogger Andrew Graham said...

Again, as Michael said, this 'freebie' trip was won by Jamie & its a great opportunity to try both Great Australian Wines & wines of the world.
Have a look at the website before you go blasting the deserving Jamie

At 2:35 AM, Blogger Joe said...

It doesn't matter that there is full disclosure of Jamie accepting a free junket from the Australian wine industry, complete frills. If Jamie discloses he was paid off, is that also ok because he had a full disclosure of accepting a bribe?

The point is a free junket paid a trade group is money stuffed into the journalists pocket. Jamie disgraces his profession by not only rejecting a critical independence, but celebrating the fruits of his sell-out.

The fact that there was a competition to win a junket is no excuse. Tyler Colman and Jamie are self-proclaimed journalists who could have paid their own ways to go to the event. The event is a cheering rally for Australian wine to regain position on world markets.

The independence of the press is essential to evaluating their reportage.

Both Jamie and Tyler are going to say they "call it as the see it."

Similary, most people in jail never committed a crime.

At 6:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JOE - why, on earth, are you filled with such rage?

You are so clearly insanely jealous it is PATHETIC.

- are you French? You seem to have a very poor command of written English.

At 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say, it would be interesting if Jamie was looked after in such a luxurious way, then slated wine after wine.

I bet he wouldn't be invited back.
But then again, he only ever seems to give wines a score between 80-95 anyway, so he never goes out on a limb anyway.

At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous" Remind me how many wines Robert Parker rates outside of 80-95? Since you clearly do not respect Jamie's success why do you continue to slate him?

At 8:22 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Thanks for all your comments.

Joe, your contributions are welcomed, but could you be a little more positive. You clearly have a problem with the practice of wine journalism as it currently stands, but you don't present a viable alternative. That's OK, but you are repeating yourself. Yes, we have clearly heard your position a number of times.

I'm communicating my interest for and passion about wine - in response to anon, have you seen the list of wines we're being presented with? It's hard not to be enthused by most of them. We've had a few I didn't really like, and I've said so in my yet to be published notes. But most are wonderfully interesting.

There's no sense that I'm only allowed to say positive things about (a) australian wine in general; or (2) the specific wines that have been chosen for the tutorial.

At 8:23 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

David - you are right, and I'm not really a fan of the Australian show judging approach. I think it may have helped Australian wine in some ways, but it has also hindered it.

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This whole exercise still reads like one big PR puff for the Aussie wine industry.

Not much actual "journalism" going on, is there?

At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Murray Almond said...

"Tyler Colman and Jamie are self-proclaimed journalists who could have paid their own ways to go to the event."
No they couldn't.

The Wine Tutorial was set up for this specific purpose of showing the world Australian wine in context. I have no problem with it at all. In Australia we also have the Len Evans Tutorial, which you similarly can't by a place into, but have to earn a place into. Likewise the Vin de Champagne Awards here run by the CIVC. Such opportunities should be lauded.

Jamie has always been upfront in declaring any largesse (large or small) and I have no problem with his integrity.

At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JOE - and "anonymous" - perhaps you are the same person? Anyway this is HILARIOUS - you are both - particularly "JOE" so obviously insanely jealous it is very very funny.

At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello "Anonymous" - no, I'm not Joe.

Stunning logic you have applied there. Anyone who disagrees with or challenges Jamie on any topic is merely "jealous".

Never mind that all he's doing is swanning around posh hotels and getting pissed, without actually writing anything meaningful on his site!

There is far too much PR fluff like this that passes as journalism. Wine writing is about as far removed from proper journalism as it gets.

At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah...so "anonymous"....you are a disgruntled journalist are you? You really are a fool - do you expect the guy to write up detailed "journalistic" (whatever you mean by that) notes day by day....give the guy a chance to get back. Also, you clearly have no idea whatsoever of what you are talking about - ever heard of "spitting"? How do you think a pro gets through the day if he or she is necking it back all the time. What a fool you are.

At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, "Anonymous", he's doing blog entries, you stupid tit - what do you call that, if it's not journalism?

You're seriously telling me that wine writers don't go out in the evening and have SEVERAL glasses of wine? What planet are you on? Idiot.

At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the contrary "anonymous" YOU are the idiot and are clearly terribly unsuccessful at whatever it is that you do otherwise you wouldn't be so full of rage. What a fool you are.

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To "Anonymous": A pathetic comment with no "added value" at all.

You still haven't addressed my point regarding your accusation. Are we actually allowed to criticise Jamie on anything, or will all attempts be met with the tiresome "jealous" response?

At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree.

You are clearly diseased with jealous regret.

Amused to see you use the term "added value" - did you used to be employed in marketing before they found you out?

Also amused to hear you make such worthless points in any case given that ALL you seem capable of doing is criticising Jamie's success at every turn.

My point remains as valid as ever - you really are a truly pathetic individual.

At 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JOE DRESSNER - what a load of complete CRAP you talk.

At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My point remains as valid as ever - you really are a truly pathetic individual.Dear "Anonymous" - I have tried to make some valid points.

You, on the other hand, have ignored all of them, and merely gone on the offensive.

Your constant sucking-up to Jamie shows that you are incapable of independent thought, and someone who believes in suppressing free speech, as well as debate.

You are a grade-A douchebag.

At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Grade A-douchebag"???? - what an absolutely pathetic American playground insult - what a FOOL you are. Having said that you undoubtedly feel life has dealt you a hard blow being an unsuccessful American Wine critic or importer or whatever you are.....go away you sad, sad individual. You are such a JOKE and everyone is laughing at you.

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Style Scanner said...

This post has been removed by the author.

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Wine Splodge said...

This isn't closed down by just saying "jealous jealous jealous", you may as well say "nah nah na na nah I'm not listening".

I'm a big fan of Jamie's blog, even the videos (though please Jamie, less spitting into clear glass). However, there is an inescapable debate here about journalistic integrity. If someone receives hospitality, even if they declare it, how can readers avoid thinking this may have influenced what they write? There is, after all, no way of knowing unless you were at the same event. The seed of doubt is sown.

Journalism's biggest hurdle is always access. The question is, how far should someone be willing to go in order to secure it? Where the line is drawn probably dictates whether you are in fact a journalist or just a writer. Regardless, readers will decide.

At 5:43 PM, Blogger Nick Oakley said...

Come on guys, blogs are just that, blogs. Jamie can't be accused of not being a proper writer/journalist, as his Wine Science book (and the main wineanorak website) prove. Added to which he has weekly column in the Express newspaper.
Travelling as a wine writer is necessarily a funded activity - or none of it would ever take place. I can recall a blog entry where Jamie was really quite critical of the wines shown to him by a UK company that had paid his flights and hotel. They wanted his critical appraisal of their range and they got it! Of course you can make your own judgement about his impartiality, but all I see on his wine critiques is honest comment

At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hear, hear, Wine Splodge, I totally agree with you.

What the other "Anonymous" repeatedly fails to answer (in his haste to defend Jamie to the hilt) is the inability to criticise someone for fear of the pathetic "you're just jealous" response.

That logic just does not stand up.
A pity he hasn't the balls to address the question like a man.

At 6:30 PM, Blogger Joe said...

I have no idea who anonymous is. It isn't me. I've signed all my contributions.

Joe Dressner

At 7:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's worthy comment and then there's just childish "slagging-off" and immature criticism - the "Wine Splodge" fan - YET AGAIN - fails to admit that he rips into Jamie for the slightest reason - deeply ironic that he uses the term "like a man" when he acts like a jealous child himself. THE POINT IS that he is SO OBVIOUSLY jealous all his/her comments are laughable!!! What a joke he is - perhaps he will care to ADMIT what he does in life?...although I think we can all guess......

At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, "Anonymous" - can you try that again, but in English this time?

And instead of a stream of vitriol, might you actually dare to answer one of my points?

At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your points are all screwed up simply because all you do is criticise the guy. If you give a balanced view then we'll take you seriously - up until then you're just an immature and obviously jealous time-waster who brings no value to this site whatsoever.

At 12:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You lose again.

Reason no. 1:
If you give a balanced view then we'll take you seriously - I suggest you speak for yourself, and not for others. How incredibly arrogant to assume what others are thinking.

Reason no. 2:
You deign to criticise me for using the term "added value". Yet you just said this: who brings no value to this site whatsoever.

You've just proved your ignorance again. Unlucky. You lose, thicko.

At 6:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dera "Anonymous" Loser,

Well done - you must be so proud of yourself.

Think of what you've acheived here!!!

This must be one of your best life acheivements isn't it?

At 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OOOOhhhh - look - I wrote "Dera" instead of "Dear" - quick!!! - say that I'm a "Thicko" again.

One question which you have never answered might be "why are you filled with such rage" and second "what do you do exactly?". How do you fill your day? Clearly you have been unsuccessful at your wine writing job or perhaps you are a wine maker who has received a bad review from Jamie in the past? Please tell us - we are all wondering why exactly you are such a loser in life?

At 8:58 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

C'mon on anons - please play nice. It's worse than watching my kids fight...

Please try to keep things positive round here!

At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear "Anonymous", what I do for a living is none of your business.

If Jamie creates a website with the facility of leaving comments, then he should expect criticism from time to time.

Why you always leap to his defence, and simultaneously go on the attack, baffles me.

In answer to your question, I'm not filled with rage; merely offering my opinions on the content of Jamie's website. You seem to resent that - why?

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point is "Anonymous" that all you do - the only thing you do - is leave critical, negative commentary on Jamie. You boast of your intelligence and of your right to "free speech" yet, in reality, you CLEARLY have a problem with Jamie's success and, ultimately, there is only one plausible explanation fot that - namely that he has attained something that you have not.

At the end of the day, what irritates us all most about you is your unwavering focus on attacking him without due cause. The fact that you refuse to admit that you are involved in the wine trade in some way, shape or form, clearly underlines the fact that either you have a grudge to bare against him or you are (in a very childish manner) jealous and for some immature reason, this jealousy forces you to attack him.

THE REASON I will not put up with your attacks is that they are (a) without good reason (b) clearly motivated by a personal grudge of some sort and (c) that you have been firing off nasty little one-liners for a few months now and you are - quite clearly - for us all to see - a very sad and bitter individual.

Oh - and by the way - I have got quite tired of replying to your attacks so do whatever you want - I, for one, shall not be wasting time on you anymore. Goodbye and (hopefully) good riddance.

At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear "Anonymous", I love the way you keep using "us" and not "I", as if you have appointed yourself spokesperson for this site.

Here's a tip: speak for yourself. My opinions are honestly held, and are not malicious. And, judging by Joe's comments, I am not the only one who occasionally has a problem with some of the content on here.

Heh, and I see you can't kick the habit of using capitals for emphasis!

And one final thought: what's more irritating? Someone who believes in challenging what is written, if there's a genuine point to be made, or a toady who just pretends everything's wonderful all the time?

I know what I'd rather read.

At 6:28 PM, Blogger Nick Oakley said...

..........and so to bed. (Samuel Pepys)

At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So long "Anonymous" - until your next rant that is..... Honestly, I have some serious advice for you - GET A LIFE!!!!!

Oh - by the way - the reason I put a few comments in C-A-P-I-T-A-L letters is that you are clearly a bit - shall we say - "special". Goodbye and yes - we all hope - good riddance. By the way - are you not aware that a whole new website blog has been set up which derides your laughable obsessively critical comments. Let me guess...you are unmarried as well as a loser in this business...and perhaps life in general?

At 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello "Anonymous". You said you wouldn't be wasting your time by replying - but I guess you just couldn't keep away.

And having read your utterly incoherent response, it's clear that you're conceding defeat.

Ah well, it was only a matter of time.

Your offensive remarks regarding your use of the term "special" have been noted. What a lovely person you sound; not a person encumbered by political correctness.

And I really do hope this exchange has been noted on another blog - I'm sure people will make their own minds up as to who has tried to start an intelligent debate, and who has stooped to typing in capitals like a three-year-old.

Can't wait for your next diatribe...

At 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is "three-year-old" hyphenated?

This clearly shows a lack of intelligence.

You really do need to get a life mate.

Good to see you throwing the towel in on your obsessive need to "win".

Your verbose and pompous monologue is, as usual, without any real meaning.

As usual, you have no credibility.

Good luck in your future endeavous in the wine trade because whatever it is you're trying to acheive at the moment it clearly isn't working. Given your obviously bitter and warped character, we can all understand why!!

At 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Ian S said...

FWIW Joe & anonymous(es) are continuing a web argument from elsewhere, triggered by the criticisms of WA critic Jay Miller.

Swipe and counter-swipe across various wine media... and straight into the argument here - hence the rapid descent - and why they may be seen as overly argumentative/abrasive.

Not great for the rest of us, to see such entrenched attitudes (here and in other places). Quite boring in truth.

It's clear this is a freebie (I did chuckle at Jamie's complaint about rip-off internet costs at the hotel - no sympathy here considering what you were getting for free!) and it was set-up to influence key wine commentators to notice the great diversity and quality in Oz. Sadly there are some very ignorant views around about Aussie wines (e.g. it's all big bad gloopy shiraz or critter wine or just simple sunshine in a bottle). Clearly the wines chosen represent both diversity and quality - I'm not surprised they went down well (with odd exceptions). This really does represent a genuine cross-section of fine Aussie wine, not just the caricature that has been pushed in some quarters. Nor is it tied to specific importers - rather the industry body set it up.

The wine writers would be expected to write up a big story on this - given the wines, I couldn't imagine anyone writing a bad story, but as a one-off they're not beholden to the Aussie wine industry. They can write what they like, but if they'd seen this lot as a pretty average bunch of wines, then I'd have doubted their palate as being of any use to me!!

You, I or the next man may fear bias or be jealous, but that is the reality of the wine biz and clear declaration of interests is all we can ask for - if we want to read about these sort of wines.

Still, I've personally read too much of this debate here and elsewhere, so I apologise for adding to it and promise not to add any more.

My comment to close, is that unless Wine Oz link this up with overseas promotion (public tasting events, exporter support etc.) the net effect might not be as positive as it could have been - if we can't get hold of these wines (Seppelts for instance has been a rare visitor to these shores, ditto fine semillons and fortifieds), then it's a wasted opportunity to build on this one-off tasting.



At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am struggling to see what Wine Australia really expects to achieve by flying a load of wine writers to Oz, and giving them a stack of top wines to taste.

I imagine every single response will be overly praiseworthy in the extreme, but what will it really do for the Australian wine industry?

It's great for the wine writers, but judging by some of the comments here, the merits of such an event appear questionable.

This is my problem with wine writers. They seem to get such good perks, that they will never say anything that might put such a lifestyle at risk.

At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So "Anonymous" - First question - what would you do exactly if you were the Australian Wine Industry to better promote yourself and your members?

Second question - Did it ever occur to you that if the Australian Wine Industry showcases geniunely fabulous wines that then, in that instance, they might actually deserve good feedback and commentary from the Wine Writers they invite?

At 10:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in answer to your points:

1) I would focus my attention on those wines that go that bit further, ie the $12 (£8) category. Everyone knows Australia does cheap well; the real trick is getting wine drinkers to take that next step, and to convince them that the country doesn't just produce drinkable but unremarkable wine.

2) I don't see the point in showing a load of wines that are either no longer available (ie they've all been drunk) or aren't available outside Oz. If no one else can buy them, what's the point?

It's all very well that Jamie and the other people on this trip have praised the wines, but if they all cost a fortune, most people will think "Yeah, great, so what?" Any country can wow people with some expensive stuff.

This is the acid test: having read Jamie's blog, is the everyday consumer more likely to drink Australian wine? I'm not sure.

At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please quantify what you mean by "expensive stuff"?

Plenty of the "wow" wines that Jamie has highlighted cost £30 to £40 a bottle - is that expensive for you?

At 6:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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