Anthony Rose: 'Tasmania is rapidly becoming Australia's 'little Champagne''

The main conclusion of a week of judging 1,000 Australian wines at this year's Decanter World Wine Awards – black teeth apart – was the extent to which the regions are coming into focus as champions of specific wine styles.

Once a country delivering value "Brand Australia" chardonnay and shiraz, Australia's higher quality wines today are no longer defined just by grape variety, but by region and producer as well.

Some styles are uniquely Aussie. Semillon, for instance, finds its best expression in the Hunter Valley. Time was when there were three distinct styles classified according to type as 'chablis' (lean), 'white burgundy' (full-bodied), or 'riesling' (the best).

Today, Hunter Semillon is a style in its own right, producing astonishing value dry whites like the mature, toasty 2005 McWilliam's Mount Pleasant Cellar Release Elizabeth Semillon, around £10, Majestic, Sainsbury's, Tesco. The 2006, arriving later this year, won gold, as did Tyrrell's 1999 Vat 1 Semillon and Brokenwood's 2005 ILR Semillon, both from the Hunter.

Semillon blended with sauvignon blanc à la white bordeaux is a Margaret River style that may not be unique, but it convincingly apes white Graves and Cape blends in wines like the zesty 2010 Voyager Estate Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Margaret River, £14.19, Justerini & Brooks (020-7208 2508), expected in the UK shortly.

Dry riesling is not the exclusive preserve of Australia but here, too, specific regions are emerging as best for the variety. South Australia's Clare and Eden Valleys head the list, the latter home to the concentrated and intensely lime zesty/toasty 2005 Wigan Riesling, around £14, Great Western Wine,, winning gold for the second successive year; and the excellent 2004 McGuigan Shortlist Riesling.

Western Australia has its riesling pockets, one of which, the aptly named Great Southern, has produced one of Australia's consistently great value rieslings in the 2010 Tesco Finest Tingleup Riesling, £8.99, a mouthwateringly tropical dry white from Howard Park.

Tasmania's rapidly becoming Australia's "little Champagne". Both sparkling golds were from Tassie, the 2003 House of Arras Grand Vintage from Hardy's and the remarkable value Jansz Premium Rosé NV, around £13.99, Cambridge Wine Merchants (01223 568 993), Hanging Ditch (0161 832 8222), Selfridges, a raspberries and cream textured pinot noir and chardonnay blend from Yalumba.

Of all Australia's emerging regions, the most exciting for its elegant bordeaux-style reds is Western Australia, in particular Margaret River. There were gold medals for the relatively cheap 2010 Catching Thieves Cabernet Merlot, the 2007 Thompson Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2007 Houghton Great Southern CW Ferguson Cabernet Malbec and a very fine 2009 Amelia Park Cabernet Sauvignon, the latter around £20, Thorold Wines (020-8616 0503), Bottle Apostle (020-8985 1549).

Chardonnay is up there, too. Margaret River produced gold medal winners in the 2009 Streicker Ironstone Block Old Vine chardonnay and 2008 Evans & Tate Redbrook Chardonnay, but here it has to compete with at least three other great locations for chardonnay in Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Adelaide Hills. Could it be that of all white wine styles, chardonnay is now Australia's strongest suit? Watch this space, mate.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Experienced PSV Coach & Minibus Drivers

    £12500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Drivers wanted for a family run...

    Ashdown Group: Finance Manager (FP&A) - Surrey - £45,000

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful leisure company is seek...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Receptionist, Bar and Waiter / Waitress & Housekeeping

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The positions above are available either part ...

    Guru Careers: Fitness Centre Supervisor / Duty Manager

    £25K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Fitness Centre Supervisor / Duty Manager ...

    Day In a Page

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food