Over the last three decades Australian winemakers conquered many of the world’s best wine markets with unbeatable quality and value. The best markets for Australian wines are the United Kingdom the U S A, Canada, the EU and increasingly China.
They call their regional wines “local heroes”.
Lauded by critics and admired by wine enthusiasts everywhere, Australia has risen from obscurity to the fourth largest exporter in the world.
Now, marketers have decided to push regionality to the forefront. Australia is a large enough to be a continent and has different regions and terroirs that are different to others, i.e South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania. Each has, within several sub-regions, topographical, climatic and soil differences, yielding wines of character and refinement, much like in Europe.
Presently, 62 sub-regions have been recognized, and no doubt more will be added in the future.
South Australia is famous for its Barossa Valley, which is home to the world’s oldest vines.
Shiraz is the megastar here with berry aromas and velvety textures. Grenache and mourvedre are also employed to make multi-layered wines.
McLaren vale, 35 km. south of Adelaide, is well known for its cabernet sauvignon and shiraz blends, Merlot also plays a role in the industry. Occasionally, a winemaker will produce a cabernet sauvignon, which resembles more to its European counterparts.
Coonawarra in the southeast corner of South Australia is known for its red soils (a.k.a Terra Rossa), producing intense wines backed with fruit.
Adelaide Hills enjoys a cool climate due to its proximity to the seas, where white grapes like chardonnay and sauvignon blanc thrive. Now viognier is also being planted.
Eden valley, east of the Barossa Valley, at a higher altitude, excels in Riesling.
Western Australia some 2000 km west of South Australia enjoys a Mediterranean climate, and Margaret River region is well known for its succulent chardonnays, cabernet sauvignons, sauvignon blancs.
Yarra Valley in Victoria, a 30 km. Drive from Melbourne, produces excellent pinot noir, chardonnay, with fine acidity and appealing fruit. Viognier, shiraz and merlot are also planted successfully.
Tasmania, discovered by Dutch captain Abel Tasman, is an up-and-coming cool climate reigon where pinot noir, chardonnay, and riesling thrive. Here all the three grape varieties, in the hands of caring and knowledgeable winemakers, result in extraordinary wines. More and more Tasmanian wines are being exported.
Recently, wine writers offered an opportunity to taste many regional wines that will be offered by the Vintage`s division of the L.C.B.O.
The following captured my imagination:
Reserve Chardonnay, 2004, Evans and Tate, Western Australia
Pale golden in colour, aromas of pear/apple, balanced and well extracted.
Available at L C B O’s on-line program
Riesling, 2008, Skillogalee, Clare Valley, South Australia
From the Clare Valley, an excellent effort by this family winery. The wine is light, with typical petrol smells intermingling with exotic fruit. Excellent to sip or enjoy with poached or pan-fried trout.
Available at L C B O’s online programme
Sauvignon Blanc, 2006, Shaw and Smith, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Elegant, full-bodied, restrained gooseberry aromas, and a long aftertaste.
Vintages release October 24
Devil`s Corner Riesling, 2008, Tamar Ridge Winery, Tasmania
Tasmania is the up and coming cool wine region of Australia. This wine is fragrant, light, elegant and appealing
Chardonnay, 2007, Stonier
The Mornington Peninsula is one the southernmost wine growing regions of Australia. This excellent chardonnay displays superb intensity, elegance, power, balance and offers ample fruitiness.
Shiraz/Viognier, 2006, Kangarilla Road
Brilliant, dark red, stone fruit aromas, smooth, rich and powerful. Excellent value.
Old Vines Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre, 2006, Torbreck, Barossa valley, South Australia
Blended exclusively for the L C B O’s Vintages division this is an extremely successful effort with concentrated flavours of spice, fruit, and full-bodied. Higly recommended with hearty foods.
Bella’s Garden Shiraz, 2007, Two Hands, Barossa Valley, South Australia
Ripe, fleshy and generous wine with pronounced cherry, pomegranate flavours. Excellent mouth feel, and smooth finish.
The Holly Trinity GSM, 2004, G.Burge, Barossa Valley, South Australia
G.Burge is one the best Barossa wineries. This effort composed of grenache, shiraz, and mourvedre is balanced, powerful, and smooth with an excellent mouth feel and long aftertaste.
Available now at Vintages
Kayena Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2007, Tamar Ridge Winery, Tasmania
From Tasmania’s oldest pinot noir vineyard, this effort proves how delicate and elegant this grape can be even on Australian terroir.
Aromas of strawberries abound. The mouth feel is perceptible but not heavy. Long aftertaste.
Available October 24 $ 28.90
Shotfire Shiraz, 2008, Thorn Clarke
Dark, powerful, fruity, well extracted and balanced. Superb value. Can be enjoyed now or cellared for two to four years for extra smoothness and evolution.
Available October 24
Uncut Shiraz, 2007, Gemteree Vineyards
Many of Australian shiraz wines are blended with a little viognier or other grape varieties. This is pure shiraz offers explosive fruit, full body, and excellent mouth feel.
Available October 24
Founder’s Reserve Shiraz Cuvee de Maitre, 2005, Wyndham Estate
This, and another bottle (shiraz/tempranillo) evaluated next, is a package no wine lover should miss.
The shiraz is typical South Australia with gobs of fruit, powerful, high-octane, and flavorful. The finish is long. Created by the cellar master in honour of the founder of the winery.
Shiraz/Tempranillo, 2005) ditto winery
Superbly balanced, full-bodied, deeply flavored and easy to enjoy with beef stews, roasted beef, and game dishes.
Available November 1
$ 39.95 for the package
Vision Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008, Nugan Estates,
Dark red, aromas of berries, tobacco, and roasted coffee beans waft out of the
glass. An excellent effort at a very reasonable price.
Available January 10, 2010
Jester Shiraz, 2007, Mitolo (Vintages essential always available)
Created by B. Glatzer (celebrated, young and talented winemaker) this shiraz has everything (extract, full-body, flavour, length and fruit)) a Barossa Valley shiraz should offer.
Mawsons’ Wrattonbully Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006, Yalumba
From South Australia’s Wrattonbully region, this cabernet sauvignon offers fruitiness, full-body, smoothness, high extract and balance.
Available November 21
Bishop Shiraz, 2007,
The grapes for this wine come from Ebenezer, a village famous for its peppery shiraz. It is elegant, powerful, well extracted, peppery and balanced wine, that is bound to tantalize your palate.
Director’s Cut Shiraz, 2007, Heartland
From low-yielding vines (four tons per hectare), this flagship of Heartland Wines is created from the finest selection of shiraz grapes each season. Cassis and rich mocha flavours are followed by spices and licorice. Perfectly balanced and powerful. B.Glaetzer who is the winemaker here and at his own small quality-oriented winery Ben Glaetzer created it.
Available October 24
Wallace Shiraz/Grenache, 2007, B.Glatezer
Wallace is a blend of 70 per cent shiraz and 30 grenache from the northern Barossa Valley village Ebenezer. Offers berry flavours and spice, fleshy richness, full-body, elegance and a lingering aftertaste.
An excellent effort by a talented winemaker.
Anaparenna Shiraz. Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, B. Glaetzer
This is a seamless fusion of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon. An intriguing nose of chocolate, crushed herbs, cedar, blackberries and toastiness lead to an unforgettable flavour and mouth feel.
The fresh and lively flavour of this superbly structured wine will last for a long time after you swallow it.
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007, Ringbolt, Margaret River, Western Australia
Cassis and cedar and violet aromas dominate the bouquet. Superbly balanced, intense and very attractive. Excellent value.
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007, Vasse Felix, Western Australia
Displays impressive fruit, finesse and depth of flavour. The wine is powerful and balanced offering a superb value.
NOTE: New South Wales was not mentioned in this article as no wine is being offered in this release. This region north of Sydney makes fine wines in a different style than South Australia.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.