Celebrate Australia!

G’Day Mate and Happy Australia Day! On Saturday I was invited to the Celebrate Australia wine tasting, which was held in downtown Vancouver. 43 wineries were present, along with lots of food, and music. Each of the wineries offered 3-5 wines, so there were about 200 wines to sample this evening. I didn’t make it through all of the wines, but found some very nice wines.

Australian wines over 10 years ago were in the sub $20 category and were predominantly full bodied, full fruited red wines. Now countries like Chile and Argentina are filling that price range. Australia is now into the $20 and up category, and rightly so, as they have some premium wine makers and wine regions.

Western Australia, particularly around Margaret River, are known for their Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines. More Old World in style and restrained, compared to the rest of Australia and the other New World countries. The Barossa Valley and Coonawarra are still producing big cabernet sauvignon and shiraz, but there tends to be more structure than in the past. The Yarra Valley is becoming more well known around the world for their cool climate pinot noir and chardonnay.

So you are probably hoping for a few wine picks from me, and here they are:

Brokenwood Hunter Valley Semillon 2007, $26.99. If you have never tried Semillon (a white varietal), you have to try this one. It has a citrusy, apple, tarry nose. Excellent acidity with citrus/lime flavours.

d’Arenberg The Custodian McLaren Vale Grenache 2005, $24.99. Wonderful toffee, tar, raspberry and strawberry fruit with sweet, ripe tannins.

Heggies Eden Valley Chardonnay 2006, $27.99. This wine has nice acidity and minerality. Don’t look for an overly oaked, buttery chardonnay here.