Monday 19 November 2012

Chateau Chunder

I have to say that wine in general rather passes me by, but even so I found last week’s BBC4 documentary Chateau Chunder on the rise of the Australian wine industry extremely interesting. It was also refreshing to come across a TV programme about alcohol that made no reference whatsoever to the evils of drink, and put it across in a wholly positive light.

Australian wine made its reputation by portraying itself as “Sunshine in a Bottle”, and undermining the mystique and stuffiness of the established wine trade by offering bold, bright wines with distinctive yet accessible flavours. When the European winemakers complained about descriptions such as “Australian Claret”, they responded by instead using the name of the vine type, which sounds much classier anyway and has now become established practice in the wine trade.

What a pity, then, that Australia, once seen as a relaxed, happy-go-lucky country, now seems to have been pretty much completely taken over by joyless wowsers. How long before a bottle of Penfold’s sold in its native land will have to have a plain label dominated by a picture of a diseased liver?

Incidentally, the script of the Monty Python sketch about Australian wines that popularised the term “Chateau Chunder” can be seen here:

Quite the reverse is true of Château Chunder, which is an appellation contrôlée, specially grown for those keen on regurgitation; a fine wine which really opens up the sluices at both ends.


  1. Funny how nations with reputations for being free & easy and enjoying a good party have become nanny states. Scotland also springs to mind.

    Sadly, England is in the queue to join them.

  2. The best "local" example of this tendency is Ireland, of course. There has always been a strong Prohibitionist streak in Scotland.

  3. it's a sad state of affairs. When I lived there in the 70s, it really was a great place to live. Relaxed and ready to party at the drop of a hat. There was a slightly anarchic, anti-authoritarian streak which dominated. To see what it's become in such a short space of time is both staggering and depressing.

    I must say that as a wine aficionado I do like the Aussie offerings. Some of the full reds from the Barossa Valley are superb. As for plain wine labels with graphic medi-porn emblazoned all over them, it will serve the Aussies bloody well right for becoming such a bunch of risk-averse pansies these past couple of decades. The unfortunate thing is that of course the tosspots in Westminster will be falling over themselves to follow suite.


Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval by the blog owner. See here for details of my comment policy.

Please register an account to comment. Unregistered comments will generally be rejected unless I recognise the author. If you want to comment using an unregistered ID, you will need to tell me something about yourself.