Australia ♯11 Conclusions
This blog started two weeks and a few thousand words ago with a thank you for the place on this trip. Well, it ends the same way, because it has been unforgettable, informative, and inspirational and, lets be honest, highly enjoyable. So again; “Thank You Wine Australia”.
Thinking about the trip in the round, here are a few of things I learned in Australia.
1. Classics. There are a handful of Australian wine styles that are totally unique that you should seek out and try. From the places I visited these would include:
a. Sauvignon Blanc from Orange – freshness is key here and the Sauvignon was deliciously grassy
b. Hunter Semillon - ideally with 5 to 10 years bottle age
c. Hunter Shiraz – elegance and power together with a lovely savoury quality
d. Riesling from Clare valley – for me ideally with some age to give more complexity and a little softening
e. Barossa Shiraz – for sheer power and density these are incredible wines, something to be savoured not quaffed
f. Grenache based wines from The Barossa, their Shiraz is more famous but I loved these and I think the grape suits the climate perfectly
g. Cabernet and Cabernet Blends from Great Southern – the climate in places here must be almost too cool for Cabernet but the results were excellent
2. Ageing. Not many people age Australian wines, but what a mistake. There are superb aged styles of Riesling, Semillon, Shiraz, Cabernet Blends and Grenache blends. Seek them out or lay some down yourself, the rewards are huge.
3. Regionality. Every country talks about regionality now. But in Australia it exists in spades. There are climates in this country from Tropical to downright cold and damp. We tasted wines of all types and I’ve no doubt there will be new ones to come.
4. The new breed. Australia is famous for technical excellence in winemaking, an excellence that still exists. But, time and again we met young, fired up, winemakers who are throwing away the rule book to create new and exciting wines. Barrel ferment Riesling anyone? This confidence and innovation will surely drive future success.
5. Price. This is potentially an issue for Australia as the strong dollar and UK duty push prices up. UK drinkers should focus on the higher quality levels, these wines still represent value. Rather than buying Australia for quaffing wine, buy it for treats, presents and special occasions.
There are another couple of points, totally unrelated to wine. First, I loved the people I met. There really does seem to be an open handed honesty of approach here that I found really refreshing. Second, the scenery is breathtaking and on a scale that is hard to comprehend from the UK. So, if you get the chance, get over there, meet the people, enjoy the scenery and explore the wines, you won’t be disappointed.
As a final note in this rather long blog I absolutely must thank the others in my group. Two weeks is potentially a long time to spend with people you’ve never met, but the good nature, enthusiasm and genuine interest of everyone made it a real joy. So a big thank you to Paul, Roger, Michael, Remi, Andreas, Emma, Emma, Ruth, Heather and Alex, the perfect balance of diligence and fun.