June 27, 2018

So, you think you know all there is to Australian wine!

Four Australian icon wines that will make you eager for more ….



Mount Pleasant Elizabeth 2007 inspired by the 1954 visit of Queen Elizabeth, this Semillon has become part of the Hunter Valley’s heritage. It is available in both a fresh and zesty ‘current’ vintage, the latest being 2016 and as a cellar release. This is a cellar release version that, with a decade of age, is showing some toasted honey drizzled over the lemon and nectarine fruit as you would expect from a Hunter Valley Semillon with some graceful age.

The flavours last a long minute so there is no need to rush. And no need to rush opening it either by the way, it can bide a good while longer in the cellar. This wine really should be a mainstay in your cellar. However, you do need to get in quick to get the cellared version as it usually disappears off the shelves very quickly .  (The Cellar Release – AU$20+ | UK £18 | US$tbc  )

Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling 2015  is one of Australia’s showcase rieslings from one of Australia’s largest producers. It is released with some age giving you a head start on the cellaring it deserves but often doesn’t get.  At the moment, it is all floral, lemon, lime vivacity along a fine, tight mineral backbone. In an easy decade, it will have fleshed out with a honeyed polish. Still, it is delicious today and I would love to sit down with it and a bowl of spicy salt & pepper calamari and garlic aioli right now!  (AU$27 | UK £17.6 | US$tbc  )

Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc 2017 is one of Australia’s benchmark Sauvignon Blancs.  In the cool hills behind Adelaide, the grape gains ripeness without the astringency that can sometimes be found in varietal Sauvignon Blancs.  2017 was a cool year but with a long ripening zone. This becomes apparent with the gooseberry, lime and floral aromas that join a palate of grapefruit and nettles.

It is a Sauvignon Blanc that continues to show finesse and elegance in every vintage thanks to the mastery of Martin Shaw and Michael Hill-Smith MW. It makes for a refreshing change to have a wine that does not overwhelm in anyway. Their signature style is to capture the purity of their Balhannah fruit and deliver that vivacity to the glass without artifice. It remains a quality standard for that reason. (AU$27 | UK £17 | US$20  )

d’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz is one of those wines that everyone should have in their cellar. The Dead Arm is the icon wine of d’Arenberg as well as the McLaren Vale, and almost, almost, as iconic as Chester Osborn himself. The wine is an icon that is incredibly generous in fruit as well as value. The 2014 has all the dead arm hallmarks. Brimming with cherry, plums, chocolate and liquorice with a soft tannin grip that will soften with cellar age. It has the juicy, soft fruit of McLaren Vale shiraz.

Chester Osborn knows how to ensure that the grapes from each of his vineyards takes their part in creating a smooth core of fruit that remains at the heart of The Dead Arm.  Nothing in this wine dominates, it is all elegantly in balance. It is a wine that draws you in to have another sip as it evolves in the glass. (AU$70 | UK £29.50 | US$46)



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