Around The World Trip Week 1 New South Wales

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ImageWho hasn’t had a bottle of Australian wine? Any decent wine section I a super market or spar has Aussie wines in Stock! But thankfully we’ve noticed a movement away from the dull boring mainstream brands that have been mass producing boring yet drinkable wines (not just in Australia mind you!!). Armed with our new grown up palates we have been searching for different not necessarily exotic wines. This has led to a regionalisation movement in Australia; this is nothing new in wine and certainly not new in Australia. However before this the focus was on brand Australia now it’s on regions like Barossa, Clare and Margaret River.

If you though Australia was all Shiraz and Chardonnay then your better think again there are about 75 grapes varieties grown there and roughly split 50% 50%. Over the next month I will introduce the some of our favourite regions and wines from Oz.

First up the state of New South Wales, where many Irish land. Hunter Valley (near Sydney) is NSW’s most famous wine region, the first commercial chardonnay was produced here in the 70s, but now it plays second fiddle to the outstanding Hunter Semillon. Just to the south from Hunter up in the Central ranges is Mudgee (meaning Nest in the Hills in Aboriginal) which produces great Shiraz and Bordeaux reds. Other regions include Cowra, Hilltops, and bubbly-savvy Tumbarumba, but it is High Altitude Orange that is on everybody’s lips.

Orange was once a well-kept secret in the wine industry, with only a handful of people aware of the regions potential. Even though there are still only a dozen or so wineries, it is NSW and arguably Australia’s most exciting region. Sloping hillsides at high altitude, 800m above sea level, and a cool continental climate make this a great spot to ripen perfect Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and even Pinot Noir. Find out more about Orange here and Logan our favourite winery there here. And check out some of Peter’s wines on offer this month here.

Australian Chardonnay is getting Cooler

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Chardonnay is a really flexible variety,  growing almost everywhere it’s planted. And for years it was trendy, with its particular tendency to enjoy the kiss of oak, and become big buttery over ripe monsters. Then the tide turned and suddenly all Chardonnay was tarred as bad, (except Chablis and other white Burgundies, they always escapes by not mentioning grape variety on their labels). But as with all fashions Chardonnay is on the way back up, its getting Cool again, and in more ways than one.

In Australia, these days the oak is applied more evenly and more justly, more sensibly but the standout wines are coming from cooler climates such as Adelaide Hills, Eden Valley, Margaret River, Mornington, Orange and even Tasmania. It is making a comeback and making an argument for itself as the queen of Aussie whites.  ‘Burgundian-style’ Chardonnays full of verve and energy can be found from many producers.

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The Fab Five

1) Apple Tree Flat Chardonnay 2011 Central Ranges, New South Wales €13.99

This delightful Chardonnay is packed with aromas of pear and lemon with a nicely structured palate of white peach, cashew and fig before leading into a persistent finish. It’s perfect everyday drinking at an affordable price.

2) O’Leary Walker Chardonnay 2010 Adelaide Hills, South Australia €19.95

This wine displays delicate stone fruit characters of white peach and nectarine, with subtle grapefruit aromas. Fine yet powerful with great fruit weight, intensity of flavours, richness and oak texture. Clean with finely balanced acid. The most Burgundian of the wines listed here.

3)Logan Chardonnay 2011 Orange, New South Wales €19.95

With Peter Logan’s it’s all in the detail. It starts with the wine, premium fruit picked at high altitudes in Orange, meticulously handled by Pete. Putting the cool back into cool climate this Chardonnay is perfumed with orange, pear and a touch of spicy oak. The flavours of peach and grapefruit vie for attention complexed by minerals. Textured and long it would pair brilliantly with rich, seafood dishes.

4) Hill Smith Estate Chardonnay 2010 Eden Valley, South Australia €19.95

On the nose, smoky wild yeast complexity and subtle notes of struck flint intertwine with aromas of white nectarine, grilled cashews and citrus blossom. Full flavoured and textural on the palate, with creamy white nougat, citrus zest and ripe quince and melon flavours. The richness is held in check by a restrained grapefruit acidity and a savoury finish.

5) Dalrymple Chardonnay 2011 Pipers River, Tasmania €36.95

A delicate Chablis styled Chardonnay. Brilliant very pale straw colour with slight greenish tinge around the edges and watery hue. The nose displays aromas of melon and spiced lemon and lime peel richness. Light to medium weight the palate exhibits elegant lemon confit with a spicy freshness drives through a clean fresh palate complexed with chalked, crushed stone texture. Finishing with a clean crisp finish.