At the minute there’s a lot of push to change the thinking about certain wine regions. For example, somewhere like Bordeaux wants you to know they can do good bulk brands as we’ve seen with Mouton Cadet. On the flip side, somewhere like Australia wants you to know that they do fantastic premium wine, and they’re not just the big brand wonders that we all have in our heads.
With that in mind, I trundled off to Australia House a couple of weeks back for a full day’s tasting with Wine Australia. Once we’d got past the security guards on the front desk with a serious sense of humour problem, we wandered through into the massive and beautiful ball room and took our seats (keen-o over here sat on his tod at the front!) for 42 glasses of Aussie nectar!
Hosted by Aussie wine experts Sarah Ahmed and Louisa Rose (chief winemaker at Yalumba), we started off with a bit of history about wine making in Australia. Regular readers of the blog will know that stuff appeals massively to the geek in me, but I won’t trouble you with too much here. We moved onto the tasting pretty soon anyway!
We had 10 themed flights, all set to highlight the differences between the grapes and the regions. The size of Australia is a bit too much for a little European mind like mine to cope with, but needless to say there’s room for plenty of different styles. And these flights were designed to highlight it.
We had the old Aussie classics of Chardonnay, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon, all in the premium mold. Stunning stuff. For me though, it was flights like the 4 Semillons we tried that were really impressive. Semillon is usually a grape used as a bulker in white blends, but this is a grape the Aussies have arguably grabbed as their own and are now making superb varietals (only using Semillon, no blending).
It’s great to see “New World” countries letting their premium wines finally come to the UK. With the wines on show here, Wine Australia is one to make space in your cellar for!