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Deep Dive

  • Australia’s Best Nero d’Avola

    With Australia’s warm regions 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, with the number of plantings and bottled expressions expanding exponentially. When you think that the first Australian example was only made around 15 years ago, it’s an extraordinary rise. We gathered every Australian Nero d’Avola 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.

  • Searching for the Best Grenache in McLaren Vale

    McLaren Vale – arguably the finest Australian territory for the grape – now leading the charge for making grenache in a considered way, with many of the wines of the past – which were often dry and rustic or were dominated by confected raspberry notes – being replaced with wines that can be fragrantly pretty. These expressions broke new ground in Australia, and are fast building a global reputation for this variety, from this region. We gathered every McLaren Vale Grenache 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 Grüner Veltliner

    Four years after our inaugural Deep Dive into Grüner Veltliner, it’s an apt time to again cast our eyes across the Australian Grüner landscape. We gathered every Australian wine labelled Grüner Veltliner 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 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.

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  • Pinot Noir – 2024 YGOW Awards Feature

    There is no doubt that pinot noir has not only firmly entrenched itself in the Australian wine drinking psyche, but it is also starting to build distinct regional and sub-regional identities guided by the hands of confident makers, such as the the 2024 YGOW Awards Top 50, which features Marco Lubiana, Aunt Alice, Jean Bouteille, Tillie J, Musical Folk, Mac Forbes, Port Phillip Estate, J & S Fielke, Musical Folk, Port Phillip Estate, Portsea Estate, XO Wine Co., Turon, Scanlon and Utzinger Wines.

  • Shiraz or Syrah – 2024 YGOW Awards Feature

    Shiraz or syrah? Call it what you will, the grape is our most planted and arguably our most emblematic, both locally and on the world stage. The shiraz landscape has become very nuanced, with huge variances in light and shade due to region, site, vintage and the sensibilities of makers. Winemakers in the 2024 YGOW Awards Top 50 demonstrate the gentler shades of shiraz through wines from Agricola, Cape Jaffa Wines, Little Frances, Juliard, Honky Chateau, Guthrie, Alkimi and Mise En Place.

  • Riesling – 2024 YGOW Awards Feature

    Traditionally, Australian riesling was known for its sharp citrus profile, and tooth-aching acidity. But today the grape is being expressed in a myriad of new ways under the care of both seasoned and new winemakers. Winemakers in the 2024 YGOW Awards Top 50 include Worlds Apart Wines, Werkstatt, Kenny Wine, Mountadam Vineyards, Chalari, Mac Forbes Wines and Meredith. Wines from these producers are a signal to Australia’s modern riesling renaissance, bringing exciting takes on a classic variety, where a sense of ‘texture’ from riesling in the glass is perhaps the new common theme.

  • Italian Varietals – 2024 YGOW Awards Feature

    Only in the past two decade or two have Italian grape varieties been especially embraced in Australia. Today, grapes such as sangiovese, nebbiolo, dolcetto, nero d’avola and vermentino – and the list goes on – are increasingly thriving on our shores, mostly in warmer climates, meeting modern drinking preferences where a sense of ‘freshness’ in wine is key. Winemakers in the 2024 YGOW Awards Top 50 underscore this emergence, through wines from Alpha Box and Dice, Wangolina, Kenny Wine, Chalari, Intrepidus, Aristotelis Ke Anthoula, M&J Becker, Fervor, Alessandro Stefani, and Patch Wines.

  • Chardonnay – 2024 YGOW Awards Feature

    The 2024 YGOW Awards Top 50 features Alkimi Wines, Allevare, Aunt Alice, GUM, Guthrie Wines, J & S Fielke, Little Frances, M&J Becker Wines, Marco Lubiana, Mountadam Vineyards, Musical Folk, Parley Wine, Port Phillip Estate, Portsea Estate, Sabi Wabi and Utzinger Wines. These chardonnay makers are as intent on flavour as they are elegance, with no single recipe for success, but rather a site-specific approach that is seeing the chardonnay landscape becoming an increasingly exciting one.

  • Cracking the Nebbiolo Code – Six Wines of Luke Lambert

    Luke Lambert is Australia’s most devoted disciple of the nebbiolo grape. His fervent passion led him to travel across Europe, exploring food and wine before returning home to refine his craft with a singular ambition: to create the best nebbiolo in Australia. Not that this modest winemaker would state things in such terms. Starting in Heathcote and later moving to the Yarra Valley, Lambert has in recent years planted his own vineyard Yea, just north of the Yarra Valley. We delved into his experience with the nebbiolo and explored a vertical tasting of his vintages from the Denton View Hill vineyard, gaining insights into the complexities of this variety that loves cooler climates. We discover that with bottle age, it has in fact been the warmer Yarra Valley vintages from the Denton site that are looking best – at this moment.

  • 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.

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