Now I’m not exactly sure what A+ Australian Wine is, but this is how this year’s Australia Day tasting was rebadged. What I’ve read (briefly) about the initiative, sounds great:
‘We believe that it is more than just the wine, it must be the people, places and stories that ensure Australian wine stands out from the rest of the world…the challenge for the Australian wine community is to stand out from the crowd – we are aiming to recreate the excitement and buzz that we have become renowned for.’
I spent three and a bit hours tasting, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The wines I tried were fantastic; the people upbeat and positive. The atmosphere in the tasting (held in the wonderfully bright, spacious surrounds of the Saatchi Gallery) was really buzzy. Here are a few photo highlights. Top is a picture of a magnum of Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Pinot Noir, which compared with the standard bottle was much nicer (and both were pretty good). Phil Sexton is pictured below – his Chardonnays in particular are sensational.
The Mornington Peninsular is turning out to be quite a region for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Ten Minutes by Tractor’s wines are thrillingly good, and it was also nice to catch up with Mornington Pioneer Gary Crittenden, whose estate wines are impressive.
And also in Mornington, I’m very taken by the Stonier wines, which offer good value for money as well as being superb. Below is winemaker Mike Symons.
Tasmania is worth watching: wine quality is on the up. Really excited by the wines from Domaine A, and in particular the lovely, beautifully defined Cabernet Sauvignon. Cool labels, too.
Speaking of Cabernet, Mitolo’s Serpico – a Cabernet made from grapes that are air-dried, Amarone-style for five weeks – is utterly superb. It’s rich and sweet, but complex and well defined. One of Australia’s greats.
Andrew Hardy of Petaluma (below) was on good form, and the Petaluma wines are consistently good, with the Coonawarra Cabernet/Merlot one for cellaring at a shade under £20. It will develop beautifully.
And finally, a youthful line-up at the Mitchell table. Andrew and Jane sent their daughters Hilary and Edwina to pour these superbly consistent and great value Clare Valley wines on their behalf.