The Wine Australia trade board is arguably one of the best at what is does in the world. I can’t think of a consortium that’s role is to raise awareness of a country’s wine ranges that does a better job. They run all kinds of themed tasting sessions, blind tasting competitions, etc, all out of Australia House down on The Stand in central London.
It’s also not just open to the press or the trade. It’s open to any keen wine-o that wants to come down and find out more about what Aussie wine is all about. That extra accessibility means that, although the sessions have a serious business idea about them, the mentality is…well…pretty Aussie. It’s about being relaxed, having a good time, and tasting great wines!
So last week there was another themed tasting day. This was for Premium Aussie wines. Now I get a bit stuck sometimes, because I’m not down there looking for suppliers or anything. I’m there to learn. So, for me, it’s about signing up for the masterclasses that they run. And the one I attended this day fit the bill perfectly.
Not only was it chaired by the reigning Queen of British wine drinkers, Jancis Robinson, but it was also all about Aussie winemakers trying their hands at growing Italian grapes. Now my love of wine started in Piemonte in northern Italy, so if there’s one thing I think I know a lot about (and there’s not many things I think that about) it’s Italy grape varieties.
So sitting there listening to the winemakers talk passionately about making Dolcetto down under had the wine geek in me well happy. Now Dolcetto is a grape variety used in Piemonte for everyday drinking wine. It’s better than that, but it’s a historical thing. That’s why it rarely gets pushed in the UK, and very few people have ever heard of it. But hearing that these Aussies are giving it a go, and tasting that they’re doing a great job of it, was brilliant to hear.
It’s unlikely that the UK supermarket shelves will get these wines for a few years yet, but that gives the Aussies a few more years to find the perfect place to grow them and the perfect wines to turn them into.