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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Circle of Wine Writers At Australia House

The Circle of Wine Writers' annual Christmas event - this year with Wine Australia

If any one thing can characterize 2015 for me, it is that I decided finally to understand Australian wine - and fell in love with its cool-climate Burgundian varietals.

A day spent at the ADT event in January had me tasting elegant Pinots, complex Chardies and cool-climate Tasman wines; I followed this up with tastings from Western Australia, Mornington Peninsula and high-altitude Orange.
Fittingly, then, my final tasting of the year was the CWW event with Wine Australia at Australia House.

A relatively short evening, it could not compete with the breadth or the depth of earlier events. But it did reiterate and round off a year of discovering Australia - so, no surprises here, just a recitation of key themes.
- there are plenty of well-made Aussie wines; the best have a European sensibility, a restraint and elegance

- many, however, are distinctly New World in style; ripe and fruit-forward

- and more-expensive examples can be little more than beefed-up versions of basic styles; brawny muscle cars rather than athletic-yet-graceful ballerinas

- in the absence of many Victorian or Tasman wines, Western Australia stood out here as a consistent source of the most complex and elegant wines; stand forward Voyager Estate and Vasse Felix.
My top wines were:

Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2014, Eden Valley, SA (£14.99, Oddbins) dieselly-flinty, ripe lime marmalade and minerality

Brokenwood Hunter Valley Semillon 2014, Hunter Valley, NSW (£19, Noel Young) supple and harmonious

Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay 2014, Margaret River, WA (£16.99, Majestic) fresh, elegant and adept

Hardy's Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2013, South Australia (Waitrose, Liberty, Majestic, Amazon) sweet, ripe tropical fruit with toasty aromas. Fresh, pure and elegant.

Pierro Puerto Chardonnay 2013, WA (£39.95, Jereboams) elegant and complex

Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2009, Margaret River, WA (£30, Justerini & Brooks) adept, plump and supple with an old world texture

Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Coonawarra, SA (£22.99, Ocado) complex, assured and adept in a Bordelais style. Catnip for Bordeaux-lovers.

Larry Cherubino Cherubino Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Margaret River, WA (£35, Fillings, Inverarity Morton) plump, ripe dark fruit; inky, supple and fresh

Foster e Rocco Sangiovese 2012, Heathcoate, VIC (£16.80, seeking distribution) truffles and cherries, supple

Pikes Wines Pikes Premio Sangiovese 2012, Clare Valley & Polish Hill River, SA (£21, seeking distribution) supple and concentrated, cherry-fruited and peppery; fresh, elegant, grippy
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