January is certainly antipodean month on the London tasting calendar. Just ahead of Australia Day, Wine Australia put on their annual trade tasting, christened A+ Australian Wine at the Saatchi Gallery in London’s Chelsea [above]. Much has been made of how Oz wine has lost its way in recent years, at least in marketing terms and certainly in the battle of the brands, but as the big conglomerates have lost ground, or at least looked uncertain, the real excitement in Australia is the bevy of superb wines being made both by established names and relative newcomers at the smaller and medium sized end of the business.
Posts Tagged ‘South Australia’
Inspired by tasting some old Aussie Coonawarra Cabernets at the London Wine Fair I decided to have a look at a few older bottles of red from Penfolds that I’ve squirreled away over the years from the 1998 and 1996 vintages. Tasting the wines reminded me just how wonderfully these wines can age as well as what terrific vintages ‘96 and ‘98 were in South Australia.
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.