Anthony Rose: 'The Australian wine success story has remained consistent'

Aussie wines won forty golds at the most recent Decanter World Wine Awards

Anthony Rose
Saturday 13 February 2016 01:09 GMT
Companies are drawing on the warm climate of Barossa Valley
Companies are drawing on the warm climate of Barossa Valley (Corbis)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Aussie wine traditionally puts on its best strides on Australia Day, and the word on the street after its showcase of 1,000-plus wines was that Oz has boomeranged back. Not that it actually went anywhere, unless you believed the naysayers. Forty golds at the most recent Decanter World Wine Awards is evidence that the Australian wine success story has remained consistent despite, admittedly, an Achilles' heel of excessive discounting and a failure to communicate the value of its fine wines.

While sauvignon, semillon, marsanne and viognier are increasingly impressive, the most exciting whites are cool-climate chardonnays and Clare, Eden Valley and Frankland rieslings. The floral, fragrant 2013 Leasingham Bin 7 Riesling, £10-12.99, Morrisons, Wine Rack; the lemongrassy 2013 Rolf Binder Highness Eden Valley, £10.99, Waitrose; and the citrus 2014 Pikes Hills and Valleys Riesling, £1.75-12.99, James Nicholson, Oxford Wine, are youthfully refreshing rieslings. The mature, honey-on-toast, 2009 Pewsey Vale Contours Riesling, £15.90, Field & Fawcett, meanwhile, is a fine bottle-aged version.

While Australia is breaking the mould with upcoming Italian, Spanish and Portuguese red grape varieties, it still puts its best foot forward with tried and tested shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and, increasingly, thanks to Victorian beauties from the likes of Yabby Lake, Kooyong and Ten Minutes by Tractor, with pinot noir. Drawing on the warm climate of Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale with their stock of Mediterranean grape varieties, one of the more promising new red styles is its Rhône Valley style blends.

At a recent Decanter tasting of grenache, shiraz and mourvèdre (GSM) blends, my favourites included a complex 2012 Spinifex Esprit GSM, £26, Philglas & Swiggot, and the peppery 2013 Ruggabellus Efferus, £33.95, winedirect.

Among the best values were a strawberryish 2014 Angove's Family Crest, McLaren Vale, GSM, £10.99, Laithwaites; a liquorice-savoury 2013 Kilakanoon Killerman's Run GSM, £15.95, James Nicholson; a supple 2014 Rusty Mutt, Rocky Ox GSM, Dog Day Wines, £17.95, Tilley's Wines; and a textured, ripe mulberryish 2012 Elderton Greenock Two GSM, £19.49, Noel Young.

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