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, slurp.co.uk, 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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine