2020 Smallfry ‘Electrik Violet’
Juicy and dark, but floral and bright at the same time, this is red wine built for drinking not sipping.
A savoury, textured and mineral chardonnay from 2020’s Young Gun of Wine.
Such a new Australian perspective on Sicily’s most important red grape. Light, vibrant, cherry scented and detailed, pitched to take a chill, or not – this is required drinking.
The vermouth revolution is less than a decade old and growing pace, with an ever-increasing selection of local examples challenging perceptions of what vermouth can and should be. In our latest Deep Dive, we gathered a panel of industry specialists to see what makes this new wave of Australian vermouth just so very compelling.
With Australia’s hot wine regions are not looking like cooling down anytime soon, growers around the country are turning to varieties that don’t just tolerate the heat, but genuinely relish it. Sicily’s nero d’avola has been leading the pack for sun-loving varieties, rapidly inserting itself into the thinking of growers, winemakers and drinkers alike. The first Australian example was only made a little over a decade ago – it’s an extraordinary rise.
The riesling landscape has become somewhat richer in the last little while, with a wealth of wines that combine electric acidity with balancing deposits of sugar. It’s a very exciting category, one that produces wines that are seductive in their youth and can age astonishingly well, as well as pairing with myriad cuisines.
In the 40s and 50s, one of Australia’s legendary winemakers made arguably some of our greatest and most enduring wines pairing pinot noir and shiraz. Today, there is a renewed interest in the blend, and makers from the staunchly traditional to the restlessly creative are getting on board.
Grüner veltliner has made a significant contribution to the Australian wine landscape in a very brief time. In a tick over a decade, we’ve seen the output grow from a lone wine to 40 plus, and they are all firmly in the quality camp, with makers seeing potential in the grape that could see it emerge as one with especial suitability to some of our cooler viticultural zones. An equation like this inevitably triggers the need for a ‘deep dive’…
Is orange the new white? Well orange isn’t even the current orange, with skin-contact wines made from white grapes – often called ‘orange’ or ‘amber’ wines – presenting in an array of hues, from a resolutely autumnal auburn, through luridly carrot-juice saffron to a decidedly classic green-tinged and crystal-clear appearance. And, as our recent panel…
Gamay is not widely or heavily planted in Australia, but it is quite the buzz variety, with progressive winemakers, both established and newly minted, pursuing the variety with great vigour. There are more plantings coming online over the next few years, with the Adelaide Hills, Tasmania, Gippsland, the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and pockets of North-Eastern Victoria, amongst others, all fielding more representatives soon.
With a brief to curate a compelling list of rosé-like wines from our shores, we took a deep dive into the subject… with classically styled rosés mixed in with skin-contact pinot gris, and white blends with a dash of colour from a dose of red grapes. The brief was loose, as we felt that style and application were the most important factors here, rather than some adherence to traditions or origins. If it’s pink-ish and best chilled, then it’s in.
Today, there is an explosion (pun intended) of bottles, with no rules aside from the fundamental principle of finishing primary ferment in bottle… Any extensive tasting of pét-nats will never uncover some sort of universal truth, but rather be a celebration of the expansive diversity of the style. Good enough reason for a deep dive, we think.
Natural wine – or naturalness in wine – is a thorny issue. And it’s one that seems to have created a divide that sees seemingly conventional wines pitched against the creative flourishes of the avant-garde. But are we missing the point? The truth is not always easy to unpick, especially when there is often a degree of opacity to methods of both farming and making…
Is it a grape, is it a region, is it a wine style? Prosecco is either loved or hated. For some, it is a symbol of celebration and conviviality. For others, it is a wine with a bad reputation. No longer synonymous with Italy, we dig into the story of Prosecco, from pleasant origins in Italy’s Treviso hills to racy marketing with Paris Hilton, and legal battles over the rights to the Prosecco term… We also taste tested to find the best Australian proseccos, and name our favourites here.
It’s hard to mount an argument against the Yarra Valley being Victoria’s most important wine region. It is the home to some of the most hallowed names. It is also the cradle for some of the country’s finest winemaking talent, and for a zone with a distinctly classical feel, it is notably progressive, with vignerons both fledgling and established shaping a new future. Over the years, the Yarra has provided a wealth of YGOW finalists. This year’s Top 50 includes DCB Wine’s Chris Bendle and Tim Perrin from Oakridge.
On the surface, it’s easy to compare the Geelong wine region with the Mornington Peninsula. While Mornington catches the light with a good dose of glamour, Geelong has a quieter resolve and greater subregional diversity, which makers are exploiting to exciting effect. This year’s Top 50 features Mulline’s Ben Mullen, Empire of Dirt’s Natasha Webster and Micro Wines’ Jonathan Ross.
Tasmania has long been regarded as a place of great viticultural potential – the promised land for pinot noir, chardonnay and aromatic whites. But it is only in the last decade or so that the potential has been realised consistently and broadly across varieties and producers. The strength of Tasmanian wine today is underlined by this year’s Top 50, with six makers amongst the finalists, Mewstone, Quiet Mutiny, Sailor Seeks Horse, Small Island Wines, Two Tonne Tasmania and Wellington & Wolfe.
The Canberra District is firmly established as a source of elegant and spicy shiraz, racy riesling and is expanding promisingly into Italian varieties, mainly sangiovese. It is also home to pioneering plantings of grüner veltliner. Makers like Mallaluka’s Samuel Leyshon – from this year’s Top 50 – are also pushing the boundaries of experimentation, and with exciting results.
The Sunshine State is probably not high on the list when one thinks of cool climate wine regions, but Queensland’s Granite Belt is just that. In fact, it is Queensland’s coldest place, and by some margin. As the Wine & Tourism body says, “It’s part of Queensland, but it’s a different country.” La Petite Mort’s Andrew Scott is a two-time Young Gun finalist and the sole Granite Belt maker in this year’s Top 50.
The wine zone of Western Victoria contains three major regions: the Grampians, the Pyrenees and Henty. Well, there are four actually, with Great Western effectively a parcel within the Grampians. This year’s Top 50 features Leighton Joy from Pyren Vineyard, in the Pyrenees, and Black & Ginger’s Hadyn Black, from Great Western.