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
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
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

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London