The chance to taste fourteen separate Chablis from a single grower across the same vintage was an opportunity too interesting to pass up on the final day of the London Wine Fair. Also thrown in were a couple of 2009 wines. Jean-Marc Brocard is one of the larger Chablis producers, a business he started from scratch in 1974. Some of the vineyards have been put on a biodynamic footing.
Three estates hardly represents a comprehensive tasting of the bounty of the Yarra Valley, but these are an impressive bunch nonetheless. Named after John Coltrane’s first solo album – and reflected in winemaker Phil Sexton’s big move from winemaking in Western Australia [Devil’s Lair] to the Yarra Yalley – Giant Steps is an impressive Yarra producer of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Chardonnays have race and verve, you feel they’ll be hitting their stride when others will be kicking the bucket.
Despite the perception that the country has in recent years lost out to South Africa and the combined forces of Chile and Argentina as the world’s cutting edge wine making powerhouse, Australia remains one of the most exciting places to make wine. Partly it’s because it is a unique place – the country is huge with some of the most diverse terrior in the world – but also importantly because of the open-mindedness and energy of the Aussie wine makers themselves – especially when you get amongst the privately owned wineries.
An isolated strip of red soil on the South Australian and Victorian border has for the past fifty years provided Australia with its finest Cabernet Sauvignon. Great Cabs do come of course from Western Australia’s Margaret River and also from Victoria but no region in Australia has consistently produced such fine Cabernet as Coonawarra. In that sense it is the ‘Medoc’ of Australia, if not necessarily in style, certainly in importance.