2020 Hither & Yon Petit Blanc
This has some classic floral and talc notes of the variety, but it’s uber-fresh and savoury, light-bodied, tangy and built for thirst-slaking refreshment.
Sourced from three sites, with vines from 55 to 90 years old, Pete Schell crafts the fruit into a democratically priced everyday wine that over delivers in a major way. Crushed red berries and cherries, spices and florals leading to a palate shot through with rocky and earthy minerality, the balance impeccable.
John Hughes’ mastery of the riesling grape has already been amply proven, but in the superb 2021 vintage that dial’s been turned up to new limits. This is an intense play of jasmine and lime, effusive but not overly exotic, with tension and effortless balance through a long finish underlining its pedigree.
A decade in barrel, first under flor yeast, then on ullage (an oxidative environment), it’s fair to say this is a unique wine for this country. This bristles with briny Sherry notes, roasted nuts and linseed, an explosion of orange-skinned citrus and spice riding the uber-dry and saline palate.
Built from mataro, grenache and cinsault, this illustrates what makes blends so compelling – each component pooling into the gaps left by the others, leaving a seamless whole, laced with ripe red fruits, spice and floral notes, the palate supple, with fine grip and natural freshness.
This rosé is an expression of all the red varieties in the Cullen vineyard viewed through a deep pink lens. Fragrant, spicy and herbal, with a plump of richness cleaned up with a gentle grip working in concert with the acidity.
The ‘Fresh Prince’ marshals a quartet of red varieties with decent crossover on a Venn diagram but are rarely all seen together, offering a fragrantly floral and spicy nose, with earthy notes, red and dark fruits and a palate of chewy, grapey tannins and fresh zip.
Subtle orchard fruits and dryly savoury. Light on its feet, with a fine, lightly textural and grippy feel.
Sweet, but cut through with salted nut and smoky notes, and alcohol spirit lending it shape and line. Crittenden Estate’s take on the Macvin of France’s Jura region, with flor-aged savagnin combined with unfermented new-vintage juice, then fortified.
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.
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.
Tempranillo is unarguably Spain’s most recognisable variety. In Australia, it has made a modest but meaningful mark, but with limited genetic vine material, the potential for the grape is exponentially bigger, and with new clones now online, a Deep Dive into Australian tempranillo is called for.
There are few varieties that are as adored and reviled as sauvignon blanc. From varying degrees of oak, both old and new, to employing skin contact, a little or a whole lot, Australian sauvignon blanc is not easy to categorise, with the sheer diversity of styles taking an alternative approach dazzling in its scope and quite thrilling for its quality. So much so that a Deep Dive was required.
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.
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.
Cullen is one of the five founding estates of Margaret River. But that doesn’t mean that Cullen Wines and its tireless steward, Vanya Cullen, are resting on their laurels. Quite the opposite. A ground breaker in so many ways, the estate has only entrenched its reputation amongst the more traditional drinker, while also pushing the boundaries in the vineyard and in the glass, galvanising a new following, too.
A few Australian winemakers are freewheeling with a unique biological method of maturing wine in barrel, inspired by some of the wines of Jura in France and Jerez in Spain, to bring a whole new flavour profile to wine. But the conditions have to be just right in the cellar for this little wonder of nature…
Starting out is not always easy for a new wine project, with some makers taking years before taking the solo leap, while others tumble in headfirst with limited experience but a firm vision and a whole lot of chutzpah. Amongst the new labels in the YGOW Awards 2021 Top 50, Château Comme Ci, Comme Ça, Worlds Apart Wines, Sven Joschke, Tillie J and Cavedon. Tasting notes appear at the end of the article.
Today’s broad stylistic diversity of shiraz (or, syrah) in Australia is increasing at a rapid rate. The 2021 YGOW Awards Top 50 features Charlotte Dalton Wines, Minimum, White Gate Wine Co., The Stoke, Silent Noise, Weathercraft, Made by Monks, Dirt Candy and Wangolina, who are all championing new expressions of shiraz. Tasting notes appear at the end of the article.
Well-known Italian and Spanish grapes have been joined by those less familiar, and they are gaining traction at a remarkable rate, with makers driven by the quest to find more climate apt varieties, as well as those that channel site in increasingly varied and exciting ways. The 2021 Top 50 features Architects of Wine, Vino Intrepido, Weathercraft, Linear, Wangolina, Somos, Berg Herring, Coriole and Alpha Box & Dice, who are all making a splash with alternative varieties. Tasting notes appear at the end of the article.
The variety of sparkling styles is expanding, from those that are Champagne inspired, to prosecco, to quirky pét-nats, the choice has never been so great. The 2021 Top 50 features Cavedon, North Wine, Dirt Candy and Wines by Jean-Paul who are all pushing the boundaries of sparkling wine in this country. Tasting notes appear at the end of the article.
Over the last couple of decades, the quest for finding the best sites for chardonnay and pinot noir in Australia – as well as evolving the making to produce even more compelling expressions – has been relentless. The 2021 Young Gun Top 50 features Turon Wines, Quiet Mutiny, Alkimi Wines, Mulline and Gilbert who are all pushing the envelope in defining today’s styles. Tasting notes appear at the end of the article.
Wine is subject to fashion like anything else, with grapes and methods falling in and out of favour, sometimes quickly, sometimes over decades. Precious ancient vines can even be removed to plant more profitable grapes – or other crops – erasing irreplaceable history. But some of those marginalised grapes are given new breath by today’s makers. The 2021 Young Gun Top 50 features Wines by Jean-Paul, Sigurd and Black & Ginger who are all championing varieties that have almost been pushed to oblivion, either in their regions or globally. Tasting notes appear at the end of the article.
Fortified wines are seen by many as old fashioned, a relic of earlier times. But fortified wine is experiencing a renaissance. The 2021 Young Gun Top 50 features Dave Verheul (Saison) and Tash Arthur (Arthur Wines), who are leading the charge with reimagined fortified wines. Tasting notes appear at the end of the article.