Deep Dive

  • Australia’s Best Syrah

    Three years after our inaugural Deep Dive into Syrah, it’s an apt time to again cast our eyes across the Australian Syrah landscape. Shiraz is inarguably Australia’s key red variety, with a style built on fruit depth and concentration. The ‘brand shiraz’ monolith sparked a counter movement in the early 2000s that favoured elegance and perfume, and one that branded itself with the French name for the grape: syrah. Today, Australian syrah is a category in its own right, and an exciting one at that.

  • Australia’s Best Chenin Blanc

    Three years after our inaugural Deep Dive into chenin blanc, it’s an apt time to again cast our eyes across the Australian chenin blanc landscape. With a new wave of Australian producers dedicated to elevating the grape, a Deep Dive was called for, so we gathered as many bottlings as we could find and enlisted the help of eight of this country’s finest palates to check in to see just where Australian chenin blanc is at.

  • Australia’s Best Pét-Nat

    Pét-nats burst onto the local scene not that long ago, captivating the imagination of many, while causing an equal level of disdain from those wedded to the status quo. Today, pét-nats are made to fit any occasion, from their park wine pigeonholing to food matching at a serious dining table. But just how far have we really come? Well, that’s where a Deep Dive comes in. We gathered every Australian pét-nat that we could find – with no strict rules about disgorging or not, simply that they were wines that finished fermenting in bottle – and set our expert panel of some of the best tasters in the business the task of finding the wines that compelled the most.

  • Yarra Valley’s Best Pinot Noir

    Cabernet lovers may scoff, but chardonnay and pinot noir are undoubtedly the hero varieties of the Yarra Valley. It is the latter, though, that leads the plantings, and substantially so. Sheer representation aside, the roster of high-quality wines from makers both large and small make a compelling case for the region being Australia’s prime producer of the grape. So much so that a Deep Dive was called for.

  • Tasmania’s Best Riesling

    It was riesling that got the modern Tasmanian wine industry rolling with a modest crop in the early 1960s. Fast forward, and while riesling hasn’t exploded in volume like pinot noir and chardonnay, there are exciting expressions coming from across the island state. So much so that a Deep Dive was called for. We gathered every Tasmanian riesling (excepting dessert wines) that we could find and set our expert panel the task of finding the wines that compelled the most. All wines tasted blind.

  • Tasmania’s Best Sparkling Wines

    Tasmania has long been somewhat of a promised land for Australian wine, a place of immense potential. With accolades coming from traditional international markets for Champagne, there is little doubt that Tasmanian sparkling has well and truly arrived. And that means a Deep Dive is called for. We gathered every Tasmanian traditional method sparkling that we could find and set our expert panel the task of finding the wines that compelled the most. All wines tasted blind.

  • Australia’s Best Rosé

    Three years after our inaugural Deep Dive into rosé, and with summer unfurling before us, it’s an apt time to cast our eyes across the Australian pink wine landscape. And when we say pink, the Pantone swatch book of rosé veers from the pale and coppery to the distinctly ruddy, and from a range of varieties that could include… well, anything. We gathered every Australian rosé that we could find and set our expert panel the task of finding the wines that compelled the most.

  • Searching for the Best Pinot Noir in Mornington Peninsula

    Mornington Peninsula winemakers have been cutting a very serious path solely with quality and individuality the driving forces, and few would argue against the fact that pinot noir has become the region’s most emblematic variety. And it’s well due that we tested the water temperature with a Deep Dive.

  • Australia’s Best Barbera

    Barbera is a fine prospect for our broad range of climatic conditions, and makers are getting to grips with fashioning a range of interesting expressions across the spectrum. We gathered every Australian barbera that we could find and set our expert panel the task of finding the wines that compelled the most. All wines were tasted blind, and each panellist named their top six wines.

  • Australia’s Best Chilled Reds

    Today, there is an ever-growing category of red wines that are best served properly cold. With more reds in the fridge at wine bars, restaurants and progressive retailers, it’s clear that a Deep Dive was called for! We gathered every Australian purpose-built chillable red that we could find and set our expert panel the task of finding the wines that compelled the most. All wines were tasted blind, and each panellist named their top six wines.

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  • Grapes Worth Getting to Know

    Today’s Australian wine drinker is getting used to experimenting beyond the familiar. We are increasingly acquainted with more and more grapes that would have been a mystery to most only a few years ago. Nick Dugmore (Stoke), Turon White (Turon Wines), Lauren Langfield (Orbis), Keira O’Brian (Rivulet), Kim Tyrer (Galafrey), Jack Weedon (Rollick), Greg Clack and Kate Horstmann (XO Wine Co.) are all championing the less familiar.

  • Out of The Shadows

    Today, cutting-edge makers are embracing varieties that have been blended away, ignored or been seen as too traditional. Some of these have been given new wings a little while back and are now firmly making their mark, while others are slowly emerging from the shadows. Tony Zafirakos (Aristotelis Ke Anthoula), Steffi Snook (Yayoi), Emily Kinsman (ECK Wines), Aaron Mercer (Mercer Wines), Marcus Radny (Gonzo Vino), Justin Folloso (Cave Wines), Tom Daniel (Chouette) and Rowly Milhinch (Scion) are all finding new expressions from well-established varieties.

  • The Italian Job

    To say that Italian varieties have arrived is an understatement. Until around 2000, the Australian uptake of Italy’s grapes had been relatively slow, with some notable makers of sangiovese and nebbiolo the main players, though arguably a stylistic expression of pinot grigio had made the most Italian-accented impression. But the floodgates of new Italian grape varieties started to open after the turn of the century. The 2023 YGOWA Top 50 features Vino Intrepido, Mercer Wines, New Era, Sven Joschke Wine, Minimum, Yayoi and Intrepidus, who are are all flying the il Tricolore.

  • Grenache – Making Al Dente Wines in Warm Climes

    Today, grenache can be brooding or it can be lithe and vibrant, it can be silky, or it can be arrestingly grippy – it is versatile, characterful and reflects where it is grown with stunning clarity. Greg Clack and Kate Horstman (XO Wine Co.), James and Kimberly Cooter (Cooter & Cooter/Hedonist), Andrew Kenny (Kenny Wine), Louis Schofield (Worlds Apart Wines), Riley Harrison (Harrison Wines), Jean-Paul Trijsburg (Wines by Jean-Paul), Jack Weedon (Rollick), Tom Daniel (Chouette), Koen Janssens (Bink), Skye Salter and Charlie Seppelt (Paralian) are all pushing grenache’s ample possibilities.

  • Pinot Noir – The Labour of Love

    In relatively short time, pinot noir has become a major player in Australian wine. It has helped spearhead a cool climate revolution that has seen places such as Tasmania, the Mornington Peninsula, Macedon, Adelaide Hills and Orange develop into some of our premier wine regions. The 2023 YGOW Awards features Rivulet, Cave Wines, Foxeys Hangout, Pipers Brook and ChaLou, who are all flying the flag for pinot noir.

  • The Art of the Blend

    While we have some famous blended red wine styles in this country – notably classic Bordeaux blends, cabernet combined with shiraz and the old GSM blend – Australian drinkers have overwhelmingly favoured varietal wines. However, classic blends in the hands of progressive makers as well as eccentric combinations have become a much bigger part of the picture for today’s wine drinker. The 2023 YGOW Awards features Aristotelis Ke Anthoula, Sonnen, Stoke, Harrison, White Gate Wine Co., Varney Wines, di Renzo, and Mon Tout, who are keeping blends alive and well by redefining traditions or chasing new and exciting expressions.

  • Playing to the Strengths of the Yarra Valley

    The Yarra Valley is arguably Victoria’s marquee winegrowing region, and especially for chardonnay and pinot noir, with many of this country’s most iconic makers located there. It is also a region that sees considerable celebration for the Bordeaux varieties and shiraz – although the commercial reality of those grapes is less robust than their reputation. With established names abounding, there are also newer producers making their mark, adding layers to what is already a rich story. Wheeler Wines, Tillie J, Honkey Chateau and Pacha Mama are all flying the flag for younger makers in the Yarra.

  • The Grip of Postmodern Whites

    It’s not so long ago that the mere idea of grape tannin and skin-derived colour – let alone a hazy appearance – in white wine would have winemaking lecturers and show judges frothing at the mouth in horror. Noticeable grip in white wine was seen as a fault, a failure of process. Today, the script has had a new chapter added, with a big payoff in terms of texture and flavour complexity. From wines with the faintest of complexing grip to those that are made like red wines with ample chew and deep colour, and everything in between, are now an accepted part of the wine landscape. Anita Goode (Wangolina), Sven Joschke (Sven Joschke Wines), Matt Purbrick and Leigh Ritchie (Minimum), Raquel Jones (Weathercraft), Marcus Radny (Gonzo Vino), Chad Connolly (White Gate Wine Co.), James Scarcebrook (Vino Intrepido), Peta Kotz (Sabi Wabi), Sam Renzaglia (di Renzo), Richard Burch and Nic Bowen (Mon Tout) are all pursuing textural styles.

  • Getting a Feel for Organic & Biodynamic Wines

    Today, many wine producers are prioritising working with organic and biodynamic vineyards, and many growers are converting to the methods. There is no doubt that wine quality is a large motivation, but their interests run deeper than that. So, what is biodynamics? And how’s it different from organics? The 2023 Top 50 features Charles Oliver Wines, Pacha Mama, Paxton, Mise en Place Wines, Foxeys Hangout and Somos who are all advocates of organic and/or biodynamic farming practices.

  • Redefining Riesling

    Today, classic styles are still a strong part of the riesling market, but Australian riesling has diversified. Greater regional representation, gentle tweaking of traditions and a strong spirit of adventure are seeing riesling cast in many new lights. Belinda Hughes (Rieslingfreak), Koen Janssens (Bink Wines) Louis Schofield (Worlds Apart Wines), Jordan Hein (Moorak), Andrew Kenny (Kenny Wines), Kim Tyrer (Galafrey), Nadja Wallington and Steve Mobbs (ChaLou) are all exploring the grape’s possibilities.

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