Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Australian Wine

Thurs 7 May 2008

I've been lucky enough to attend a few informal wine tasting sessions for external WSET Diploma students. This cuts down the cost of covering the syllabus for the students and gives interested others the opportunity to learn about a wine region and taste a broad flight of wines.

The latest (and, sadly, possibly last) of these was last Thursday in York and covered Australian wines. We covered seven wines formally: three whites, three reds and one fortified.

We started with two Chardonnays: Coldridge Estate and a Tyrells Hunter Valley, retailing at £3.99 and £9.99 respectively. While the use of oak was far more sophisticated in the Tyrells wine, with an incredible vanilla nose and a much more integrated palate, Andy wasn't sure he'd be prepared to spring the extra £6 for the better wine. I'm abstaining from having an opinion, because I still don't like oaked Chardonnay! If you're planning a summer full of BBQs it's worth giving the Coldridge Estate a try - it definitely punches above its price tag.

These wines were followed by a Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Riesling. This was easily my favourite white of the evening: a pronounced and complex nose, with Riesling's distinctive oily smell complemented and cut by apple, citrus, lime and even hints of stone fruit. On the palate it had plenty of acidity, riper fruit than on the nose, with a viscous mouthfeel and excellent length.

The three reds (all weighted towards South Australia - we do like that!) were a Merrill Cabernet Sauvignon, a Grant Burge Shiraz Viognier and the Tatachilla Foundation Shiraz. We had a good discussion about the (Côte Rôtie like) addition of the Viognier to the Grant Burge wine, but wine-making niceties aside, I much preferred both the Merrill and the Tatachilla (which, incidentally came in at 15% abv, not that you would have noticed until the next morning!).

We rounded off the evening with the Yalumba Museum Muscat: a luscious fortified from Rutherglen in Victoria and one of my favourite things to drink. The perfect accompaniment to your after dinner coffee.

Another excellent experience to try a really broad range of wines - just a shame it was a school night and there was a train to get back to Leeds!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Australia (speaking as an ex-Leeds peson who lives here) is currently in the grip of shiraz-viognier fever. Everyone who does a shiraz is plonking a heap of viognier in it, regardless of how the shiraz looks in the first place.

It all started with a man in Canberra, at Clonakilla, who grew cool climate shiraz (canberra is pretty cold) and added viognier to help with the ripeness etc. Very cote rotie. Clonakilla shiraz vognier is stunning and is one of the best wines in Australia (class 2 with Langtons).

So a couple of years ago everyone and their dog started adding viognier. Ripening shiraz is not a problem in the Barossa and McLaren Vale! To be fair, it works well with Heathcote and cooler climate shiraz which is now being labelled syrah over here.

7:13 am  
Blogger Alex said...

I'm going to have to check out a few more Australian Shiraz Viogniers I think. The one which is most widely available over here is the Yalumba - but it sounds like I should be able to find plenty more!!!

1:09 pm  

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