Modern, young university-educated Australian winemakers are injecting fresh energy into the industry.
The tidal wave of heavily extracted, jammy, high alcohol wines started to fade, and is slowly being replaced by fresh, light to medium weight, fruity, acid driven and food friendly wines.
Winemakers are busy highlighting rationality, diversity, balance, and elegance over brute strength and low pricing.
The results are enlightening, highly enjoyable, and more thought provoking wines.
Although wine enthusiasts think mostly of red wines, more specifically shiraz when discussing Australian wine, the reality is different.
Australia consists of seven states; six produce wine. It is a country of extremes with Queensland and Northern Territory being warm to tropical hot, while Tasmania is cool. Western Australia’s southwestern corner enjoys Mediterranean climate, whereas south Australia’s Barossa valley is hot.
Shiraz is the most popular red wine grape, and chardonnay for white, but now, young winemakers experiment with varieties as varied as savagnin from the Jura, France, to fiano from Campania, nebbiolo from Piedmont both in Italy, and every imaginable grape variety.
Australia now has 65 wine regions – Western Australia (9); South Australia (18); Queensland (2), New South Wales (14), Victoria (21), and Tasmania.
Recently Wine Australia organized a seminar followed by a walk around tasting of eclectic Australian wines during which 15 wineries poured more than 70 wines, of which I tasted 66.
This tasting convinced me that Australian winemakers are now producing subtler. “juicy”, food-friendly, drier, low alcohol, and lively wines than only a decade ago.
Wines made from overripe grapes exploding with exuberant aromas and 15 plus Alcohol By Volume seem to have given way to less potent and more nuanced libations.
My recommendations are:
Premium Cuvee, Jansz, Tasmania
Shortlist’ Hunter Valley Semillon, 2016,
Shortlist’ Barossa Valley Montepulciano, 2016
Yalumba Wine Estate
Old Bush Vine Barossa Valley Grenache, 2015
Pinot Noir, 2015, Tasmania
Barossa Valley Estate
Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015,
Skin and Bones
Adelaide Hills White, 2016
Killermans Run Clare Valley Shiraz, 2016
Covenant Clare Valley Shiraz, 2014
Blocks Road Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014
Arthur’s Reserve Langhorne Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Malbec, 2013
Langhorne Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014
Clear Valley Riesling, 2016
Shaw and Smith
Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, 2014
Lolo Barossa Valley White, 2015
Alpha Box and Dice
Golden Mullet Fury Semillon/Viognier, 2015