Australia is one country I truly admire for their pro-active approach to engaging with consumers from around the world. We joke that the French must look on in bewilderment and fear that such a young wine producing nation is so far ahead of the game on the marketing scene. Whereas as the Old World has had time to let the quality of their wines establish their reputation, it’s the New World that has to start from scratch, offering something different and striking a different cord with consumers.
That’s what Wine Australia (A+ Australian Wine) do. A collaboration of Australian wineries who pay into a pot every year to fund the promotion of their industry in foreign markets. Only last week, we had Ireland’s Wine Australia representative, John McDonnell, show the Bandon Wine Club how Australia is not just about cutesy Koala-labelled bottles of Chardonnay. As an independent tasting, John included wines available throughout Ireland from different retailers.
Pirie South Riesling 2006 (Tasmania) – We’re onto the ’07 in this range, but the ’06 was holding up brilliantly, with plenty of life left yet. Apple, citrus, a touch honeyed, this dry white was regarded highly for its soft, “broad” palate, accessible for those who would usually scorn at the thought of drinking Riesling.
Tahbilk Marsanne 2008 (Central Victoria) – Although not everyone’s favourite white of the night, this was my favourite, not only because it appealed to my curious side, but I liked the savoury element. It was honeyed and textured with a lick of spice. Highly recommended.
Little Yering Station Chardonnay 2009 (Yarra Valley, pictured) – This one encouraged discussion of a very current issue, as its one in a new wave of Chardonnays made without the use of oak. I thought it had fresh mango and papaya on the nose with soft citrus flavours on the palate and a very clean, crisp finish.
Langmeil Three Gardens GSM 2006 (Barossa Valley) – Red fruit, black cherry and mint nose, a touch vegetal with vanilla, blackcurrant and red fruit palate. This isn’t a Barossa blockbuster and Mike thought it was better for it. Impossible not to like, but particularly good if you’ve acquired a taste for more restraint in your wines.
Wakefield St Andrews Shiraz 2001 (Clare Valley) – This was the show-off wine of the night and one from John’s personal stash. As I understand this vintage is no longer available. Big pepper and Tandoori spice with gamey hints and a fruitiness covering the red, black and blue berry fruit spectrum. Soft yet evident tannins, very luxurious. Gorgeous all-round.
Majestic Ferngrove Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Franklin River) – The only wine tasted from Western Australia, this cool climate Cabernet was again showing the importance of regionality and ‘terroir’, something the Australian’s are really pushing at. Perfumed and floral aromas, dark fruit, aniseed and licorice flavours were held together by soft yet gripping tannins.
Woodstock Muscat (McLaren Vale) – The last wine to be tasted. Only we didn’t taste it because I forgot to grab it from the shop before I left work that day. Grrrr!! Pity, as it would have been an even better end to an excellent night.
Picture sourced from wineaustralia.com