Home Hill Kelly’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2015 scooped the pool at the recent Boutique Wine Awards.
New South Wales is different. Its 16 wine regions are very diverse geographically, climatically and wine-wise, and together they offer an entirely different palette to Victoria or South Australia – not necessarily better or less good, but different.
Hunter winery Mistletoe (tastings) has carried off the best wine of show trophy at the NSW Small Winemakers Show, judged for its 22nd year in Forbes. Mistletoe’s 2009 Reserve Semillon (tasting) also won best white of show and best boutique* white of show. Best red of
This month sees a major tasting of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet blends and merlots, with a welter of great Aussie cabernets to choose from. Blinders from Plantagenet (tasting), Flametree SRS (tasting), Evans & Tate Redbrook (tasting), Castelli (tasting), Penfolds Bin 8 Cabernet Shiraz (tasting – great value discovery), Laurance Icon (tasting), Xanadu Reserve (tasting) and
An American wine writer, W. Blake Grey, recently included in his rather interesting list of 10 things he’d learnt as a wine retailer: 1) the wine press loves unusual varieties but consumers do not, and 2) most people don’t care about wine-food pairing (www.palatepress.com). Mr Grey’s mistake is that he keeps referring to “the average wine consumer” or “most people” – and he’s probably right about them – but “average wine consumers” don’t read wine columns. Reading about wine is for people who are really interested.
For one of Australia’s newest official wine regions, a small and embryonic region with less than 200 hectares of vines and seven wineries, New England is impressive. Considering its size, it delivers beyond expectations. On my first visit there to judge its local wine show two weeks ago, I had some trepidation. Would there be any wines worthy of a gold medal? Would the judges deliver a handful of bronze medals and make more enemies than friends?
As a critic, I get to taste enormous quantities of shiraz, cabernet, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc and its various blends, and sometimes it seems that choice – one of wine’s greatest fascinations – is contracting. It often seems the hegemony of the main varieties is pushing the alternatives out of the picture. In Australia’s vineyards, 72% of the vines are of the varieties mentioned above. That leaves just 28% for the other 100 or so varieties we grow.