Following on from ANZAC day where we celebrate and comemerate the brave New Zealand and Australian soliders who fought for our freedom I thought I would celebrate what is great about Australian wine, because although there is no doubt a bit of rivalry between us & the guys next door, at the end of the day we’re all cuzzies.
Australia is a massive market for wine, producing almost 1.5 billion bottles of wine each year, that’s pretty huge! Their biggest market is their domestic market but next to that comes, well little old NZ, it makes sense as it’s so close and also their climate lends itself a lot more to those big bold robust reds like shiraz and cabernet sauvignon
The Australian wine regions we know best would have to be South Australia with the famous Barossa boasting some of the oldest vines in the world, thanks to that little sap sucker Phylloxera which descimated the vineyards of Europe in the 1800’s, and it’s famous for these big reds.
Other regions include New South Wales’ Hunter valley that does semillion like no-one else (IMO), Victoria with it’s incredible cab sauvs & also pinot noir in the cooler spots, Western Australia’s Margaret River is renowned for it’s chardonnay and finally the little island that could, Tasmania producing remarkable pinot noir and sparkling wines (a bit like us which if you look at it’s latitude you will see why).
Shiraz & Chardonnay are the top produced varietals in Australia making up 44% of overall production, but the wines we import the most of are the bigger reds. These are robust and delicious and some of my favourite wines to either cook with or enjoy with some proper steak. They are also great value for money but they do tend to be higher in alcohol so beware & don’t forget your standard drinks.
Admission time, I am biased when it comes to Jacob’s Creek, I got engaged between the vines there while staying at the Jacobs Creek Cottage, so it’s fair to say that I’m a brand adorer. But wine me loves the work they are doing to produce premium quality wines in a mid range price point. As far as I’m concerned this is where they are excelling & that is true of the new Jacobs Creek, Barossa Signature range which will be hitting NZ shelves on May 20th. It’s looks gorgeous & there is both a cabernet sauvignon and a shiraz to choose from. The cab is typical but in a good way, gorgeous full bodied, no messin’ around cabernet with gorgeous dark fruits and big tannins. The current vintage is 2017 and if you like your big cabernets you will love this, it is also a fun one to experiment with cellaring as at $20 a bottle and it’s ability to cellar easily for 5 years or more, a case wouldn’t break the bank. 14%
I hadn’t hearf of Pirathon before so I was thrilled when they reached out to know if I would look at their Shiraz. This Barossan comes in a silver or gold and I’m going to talk about the silver as it’s a more affordable $25 price range. The bottle is cool with the logo embossed on it (I love that), but the all important bit - the juice inside is worth seeking out. Dark fruits but bright and fresh in flavour with signature shiraz peppery spice we love but also aromatic spices that reminded me of Christmas cakes of my childhood. This one definitely comes under the warning of being dangerously drinkable because of it’s whopping 15% alcohol. Might be one to seek out but no doubt if you ask nicely (& pay for shipping) they will send to NZ.
Want to try something new that is Aussie but not shiraz or cab sauv? I thought you’d never ask. The Caravan Petite Sirah is produced by the team at Quarisa Wines, South Australia, the same good people who make staple fav Johnny Q Shiraz. Petite Sirah is made from a grape called Durif but everyone calls it Petite Sirah (WHY do we wine folk make life so complicated?). What is clear is the deliciousness - this full bodied wine has the trademark dark fruits with hints of plum but is also incredible smooth & really nicely balanced. So crazy moreish, but watch those sips at 14.5% alcohol. A steal at $20.
To hear more on the topic click the link below to hear my chat with Trudi Nelson on MagicTalk Radio