#NWTW Week 1: An Intro Into Australia

As with the last post on Riesling, I’m going to use this effort of the “New Wine This Week” Club to post a few intros on everything about the wine.  So this week is Aussie Riesling, I’ve done a bit on Riesling, so time to have a quick few lines on the wine-making powerhouse that is Australia.

I spend quite a bit of time with Aussies.  I play cricket for my local pub and it’s basically like a world select eleven, apart from the ability thing!  We’ve got players from every cricket playing nation on the planet playing for us, and obviously that means plenty of the boys from Down Under.  A couple of which are big wine fans.

In the UK I think Australia is seen as a wine country full of big brands.  We think Wolf Blass or Jacob’s Creek.  There’s nothing wrong with those wines, the reason they sell so well is cos they have nailed a certain part of the market and do what they do really well.  That’s being consistent on quality, supply, and price.  It’s not the best stuff you’ll ever drink in your life, but I reckon it’s not the worst either.  And that’s what the Australian exporters did so well early doors.  They made the supermarkets of the world and the everyday drinkers an offer they couldn’t refuse and all of a sudden Aussie wine was all over the shelves.

Funny thing is that turned out to be a double-edged sword.  People thought that was it.  That’s what Australian wine is all about.  It was cheap and cheerful and readily available for a few glasses before you head out on a Friday night.  But one conversation with anyone from Australia (the cricket lads included) and very soon you’ll hear a version of the famous line “well we don’t export the good stuff, that’s for us to drink and you to hear about!”  Cheers guys!

Luckily I’ve been to a few tastings of some of the good stuff, and me oh my it’s good stuff.  And what makes Australia such an awesome place to visit is that it’s massive, it’s full of amazing and unique wildlife (apart from crocs, crocs scare the living sh*t out of me!) and regions.  And guess what that means for the wine they grow?  Yup, there’s plenty of grapes and styles and all kinds of options to choose from.

But maybe it’s best I just throw out a few headlines for now, hopefully as NWTW continues we’ll explore plenty more places.

Back in the late 18th Century, when European explorers were all clambering up and down Australia’s eastern coast, the first vines were brought over.  They’ve been going at it every since.  It’s a warm country with a huge inland desert, so given the need for water and a bit of cooling down most of the vineyard areas are either in coastal-ish areas or by some form of river.

Given the heat there’s great locations for plenty of heat-loving grapes.  So think Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.  That tends to be what the Aussies are famous for in terms of reds.  But there are cooler locations as well, and they produce some great whites from Chardonnay and Semillon and some others.  So when you go and buy a bottle of Aussie wine from a shop in the UK, chances are fairly strong it’s going to be one of these grapes, or a blend heavy with at least one of them.

To get something else you’ve really got to make a conscious choice and look for it.  That’s why I was so chuffed we’ve gone for a Riesling for the first week.  I’ll admit right now I’ve never tried an Aussie Riesling before.

Looking forward to this.




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