Last year, my prize for the wine name which didn’t transfer so well to the UK market went to a Brazilian wine. It was a 2005 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tannat from the excellent Miolo winery, and I liked everything about it except the name – Gran.
This year is still not much more than halfway through, but in my pile of wines to be tasted is a Riesling that looks set to take the 2009 crown from Peter Lehmann. This renowned Barossa winery now forms part of Donald Hess’s wine portfolio, along with Glen Carlou in South Africa, Colomé in Argentina and the Hess Collection of California. However, it’s Doug Lehmann (Peter’s son) who remains in day-to-day charge of the place, and the wines still speak in broad Aussie. Ask Doug the secret of the winery’s success and he’ll probably first talk about the excellent network of growers he works with in the region. But it probably won’t be long before his conversation will turn to his winemaker Andrew who’s been part of the Lehmann team for more than 30 years, and who’s surname appears on this Riesling now on my rack. It’s name? Wigan.
Now I hope I won’t come across as being Wigan-ist here, but I have a feeling that Brits will struggle to see the appeal of a wine with the same name as a town that was the birthplace of both George Formby and Northern Soul and which each year hosts the World Pie-Eating Competition. Wines called Scunthorpe and Peterborough would probably be similarly off-putting, as would ones named after that town in Austria that thanks to its unusual name keeps having its road signs nicked – you know the one I mean.
But yes, Wigan. Fortunately, I have several other Rieslings on the same samples rack, so when I get around to tasting Wigan, its identity will be concealed within a plastic bag and the name won’t put me off. Expect the verdict later this week.