2021 Somos Mencía
This is a super-fragrant take on mencía, matching the classic floral profile with ample but well-knit spice across a splay of cherries, berries and sour plums.
This is the first syrah that Owen Latta has made since 2015, and it’s stunning stuff. An incredibly complex and darkly seductive wine, with wild fruits accented by exotic spices and craggy minerals – midweight, chewy and speaking loudly of place.
A blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon from older vines. Cullen has given the fruit a bit of a luxury Bordeaux treatment with plenty of classy oak, but the vibrant lift of cut herbs and cassis leave the strongest impression, with a textual but brightly fresh palate following up.
Owen Latta’s take on viognier is a world away from the norm of exotically lifted wines, dripping in apricot floral. Instead, his is a wine of orchard fruits creeping to ripeness with pops of honeycomb and nuts, a slip of texture and a gently pithy palate to gnaw on.
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.
Now grown in well over 20 Australian regions, vermentino has become a readily recognised name for more curious consumers, so we thought it timely to check in to see exactly where vermentino is at with a Deep Dive. We gathered every Australian varietal vermentino 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.
Pinot gris/grigio can be made in many different styles from the achingly dry to the rich and luscious. Add to that a raft of cherry-red skinsy wines bursting with red-fruited flavour that have popped onto the market of late, and gris is looking like a vibrantly exciting category. So much so that a Deep Dive is called for.
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.
Wine made from red grapes now comes in an array of styles that reveal a diversity that was once never entertained. From chewy textural rosé through pale chillable red and up to wines that pitch in a fresher and more vibrant vein while still very much being in the red wine camp, Australian wine has a new rainbow. The 2022 Young Gun of Wine Awards features LS Merchants, Scion, Sven Joschke, Vino Intrepido, Cavedon, Pool and Year Wines, whose wines tell this story.
The long prophesised ‘riesling renaissance’ has been stalled for some time, never quite gaining the momentum that many had – perhaps hopefully – forecast. Well, in the hands of makers both experienced and somewhat newer to the scene, riesling is once again sharing more of the spotlight. The 2022 Young Gun of Wine Awards features Rieslingfreak, Kenny Wine, ChaLou and Galafrey, whose wines tell this story.
Many Italian grapes are now in most wine drinker’s vocabulary, and their suitability to our climate and modern drinking tastes makes them a tantalising prospect for makers. The 2022 Young Gun of Wine Awards features South by South West, Sherrah, Alpha Box & Dice, Cavedon, Vino Intrepido, Nature of the Beast, Pool Wines, Travail, Quealy and Sherrah, whose wines tell this story.
The Limestone Coast captures half a dozen wine regions at the southern tip of South Australia with ancient seabeds that generated the limestone underpinnings. It’s a zone of diversity, from maritime to continental climates, and from classic regions – like Coonawarra – to those that are just beginning to find their identity amongst wine drinkers – like Mount Gambier. The 2022 Young Gun of Wine Awards features Aunt Alice, Wangolina, Patrick of Coonawarra.
Pinot noir is now a leading variety in many cooler Australian regions, and with increased vine age, better clones, a lot of new vineyards, better winemaking and understanding of sites, today’s makers are turning out expressions that square up with the best in the world.
Today, the white wine landscape is even richer, with many new grape varieties thriving and so many wines nuanced with subtler tweaks, throwing the idea of style out the window, responding to fruit and site to make compelling wines that are built just as much on texture as they are on flavour.
Over the last two decades, emerging grape varieties – those outside the usual, mostly French, suspects – have grown from a curio to being significant players that have become part of any avid wine drinker’s vocabulary. With new vineyards becoming productive, as well as a developing interest in grape varieties previously only used for fortified Spain and Portugal is a rosy one.
In this final instalment of a seven-part series produced in collaboration with Vintage Cellars – 70 years of supporting wine in Australia – we look at some key trends for Australian wine in the 2010s: the institutional big red trophy that found interest in cool light reds, the growth in organic wines, the proliferation of alternative varieties, the rebirth of grenache, the new emergence of a wine bar culture and natural wines.
We look at Australian wine in the 2000s, attack of the critter wines, winemaking’s counter to the ‘anything but chardonnay’ movement, the rise of younger winemakers and biodynamics, new varieties and skin contact wines. It was a turbulent but exciting decade, where market challenges forced the industry to innovate, which started the contemporary new wave of Australian wine felt today.
In this fifth instalment of a seven-part series produced in collaboration with Vintage Cellars – 70 years of supporting wine in Australia – we look at Australian wine in the 1990s, the Parker effect, the rise of cool wine regions, flying winemakers and the science of wine.