With a geographical size similar to the US and distinct climates, soils and terroirs, its no surprise that Australia boasts an array of wine styles, regions and grape varieties for you to experience.
This was an intriguing teaser to a recent Australian wine event I attended. I went in knowing very little about Australian white wines so I signed up for their seminar, and then knew I would enjoy the walk around tasting to get my fill of the wines I was more familiar with: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignons and many Bordeaux and Rhone blends.
SEMINAR – White Wines: Unique Expressions of Australian Riesling, Semillon and Chardonnay
Australia is blessed with regions and climates that can produce truly world-class wines from the noblest of vines. Discover the many exciting expressions of Riesling, Semillon and Chardonnay being produced across Australia’s diverse wine regions. Presented by special guests and winemakers, and moderated by Wine Australia.
Our Seminar Panelists
Fahara Zamorano – Head Sommelier, Gwen LA; Matt Kaner – Owner, Bar Covell & Augustine; Kyle Meyer – Wine Exchange; Bruce Tyrrell – Tyrrell’s Wines; Jeff Burch – Howard Park Wines; Jeff McWilliam – McWilliam’s Wines; Mark Davidson, Wine Australia (Moderator).
Seminar Wines – Flavors and Aromas separated by ;
Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Hunter Semillon Hunter Valley 2011 – Green apple, pineapple lemon zest, Mandarin orange and white pepper all on the nose; with lemon-lime, bruised apple and a medium acidity on the palate. 90 Eve pts.
Brokenwood ILR Reserve Semillon Hunter Valley 2009 – I smelled apple, pear, fresh lemon, pears in light syrup; then tasted bright and tangy fresh fruit – same as those I found on the nose. 90 Eve pts.
Ashbrook Estate Semillon Margaret River 2015 – Perfumy aroma, then bruised yellow apple, cream and a pale hint of cinnamon; viscous on the mouth, as well as slightly paler fruit and a long finish. 90 Eve pts.
Silkman Estate Semillon Hunter Valley 2015 – Lemon, toast, grapefruit and unsalted butter on the nose; followed by tart apple and limeade on the palate. 90 Eve pts.
Pewsey Vale Contours Riesling Eden Valley 2011 – Fruit cocktail, green grass to yellow hay, floral and bright; that same bright quality came through on the taste as well as lemon, grass, acidity, bone dry. 90 Eve pts.
Grosset Polish Hill Riesling Clare Valley 2016 – Bright aromas of pears and kiwi fruit; followed by lemon, orange and steel on the palate. 90 Eve pts.
Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Riesling Frankland River 2015 – Green apple, crushed green leaves and a whiff of orange on the nose; the palate was very sharp citrus fruit: lemon and orange, a slight viscosity and a long dry finish. 90 Eve pts.
Pressing Matters R9 Riesling Tasmania 2015 – My favorite of all the white wines I tasted with aromas of sweet orange blossoms, apple pie and a bit of cream; then came a slightly sweet and lingering fresh lemon-lime fruit on the mouth. 91 Eve pts. (All of the Riesling shared the same bone dry quality, except this expression from Tasmania.)
McWilliam’s 842 Chardonnay Tumbarumba 2013 – Fresh oak, honey, barnyard, earth, citrus, butter and white pepper on the nose; then the taste was tart, some oak and apple. 91 Eve pts.
Moorooduc Estate Chardonnay Mornington Peninsula 2012 – Earthy, dried apple, butter, clove and steely; then bruised apple, tart with medium acid. 90 Eve pts.
Howard Park Miamup Chardonnay Margaret River 2015 – Toast, lemon, cream, and a general feeling of being in a sweet floral garden; the flavors were bright, tart and citrusy with a medium acidity and long finish. 89 Eve pts.
Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay Adelaide Hills 2014 – Creamery butter, lemon and green fields; then that same lemon on the mouth, but light, and a leaner acidity. 89 Eve pts.
What I Learned From Our Panelists and the White Wine Tasting
One of our panelists stated that if you remotely expect that a Semillon from Australia would taste like one from Bordeaux, France you would be dead wrong. If you thought that a Riesling from Australia would taste like its German counterpart you would be equally wrong. My tasting notes above probably express this.
Australia is considered a New World wine area, however, Meyer would like us to see their wines as truly old world, but with an edge. The vines are very old, the area is larger than Europe and Phylloxera has never hit them.
The 12 elite wineries in “Australia’s First Families of Wine” group have several criteria to meet including their dedication to promote Australian wine to the global market, 100% family owned and have to have at least a 20 year vertical.
Next week I will run part two of the tasting, the reds I got to try, on June 16 here on this blog.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com