A land down under
After major developments in Australia's vineyards and wineries it’s set to join the world’s sauvignon blanc and pinot noir producers of rank
11 June 2009
At a glance: AUSTRALIA
- McGuigan Private Bin aims to offer exceptional value for money and is the culmination of 50 years of family winemaking
- Jacob’s Creek vineyards were the first commercial vineyards planted in the Barossa Valley. Approx two million glasses of Jacob’s Creek wine are consumed every day
- Wyndham Estate was first planted in 1830 but only received its present name in 1970, after its founder George Wyndham. The winery has made a name producing very generous, ripe wines
- Australia’s oldest family winery, Yalumba was the first wine company in the world to receive the Climate Protection Award from the US Environmental Protection Agency, in 2007
- One of Yalumba’s family owned vineyards, Oxford Landing this year celebrates its 51st year prodcuing quality affordable wines
- Jaraman Shiraz from Wakefield won the 2007 AWC Vienna International Wine Challenge gold medal and silver at the 2007 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles“With a delicious summer ahead sauvignon blanc, rosé and pinot noir” will be the wines of the moment, is the prediction
from this year’s Wine Australia show. ‘Australia’s Choice’ was the theme, allowing the country’s top wine writers to identify key trends and bottlings to match.
First off, sauvignon blanc is an emerging star on Australia’s horizon, although it has not had a reputation for specialising in the variety prior to this. There were many clean, linear examples and juicy blends with semillon and sometimes colombard. It seems Australia’s talent will be finding the happy medium between the straight forward fruit bombs of Chile and the grassy, often expensive, varietal bottlings from New Zealand. Those standing out at the Croke Park show had clean lines, juicy fruit, intense aromatics and offered outstanding value for money, especially by comparison with premium wines from NZ.
Many producers have also expanded their ranges this year with a pinot grigio, with the 2008s showing up just in time for summer. Light and fruity, sometimes with a little more minerality for depth, the variety makes for a very versatile summer wine and a style that has become quite popular in Ireland. Some producers are also experimenting with albariño at the moment, finding aromatic, fruity characters to match a clean, fresh style of wine-making.
There was an abundance of still and sparkling rosés on show, which is indicative of how rapidly this segment of the Irish wine market has developed. Some more unusual varieties may hit the market this year, such as sparkling muscat, oozing orange flower and candied peel. And some producers have freshened up their rosés with a drier style, expressing more herbaceous and savoury characters, more restrained fruit and firm acidity.
Finally, Australia is now also working very hard to develop a credible reputation for its pinot noir, of which some fine examples have hailed from its cooler parts. There has been some improvements in the viticulture and vinification where this variety is concerned, so Australia may yet be on the way to join the world’s pinot growers of rank.
Delivering exceptional value for money
The Wine Australia Tasting proved very successful for the McGuigan Private Bin range in particular, with a very positive reaction to each varietal. Retailing at €9.95, McGuigan Private Bin includes a fresh zingy sauvignon blanc, a rich chardonnay, a full bodied merlot, spicy shiraz, and a fresh fruity rosé, perfect for summer drinking.
The range from McGuigan Wines is the culmination of the McGuigan family’s involvement in the Australian wine industry for more than 50 years, and their commitment to best viticultural practice and winemaking expertise, through a dedicated team of professionals, has seen four generations of McGuigan family winemaking.
The primary aim of the skilled team at McGuigan is to produce a range of complimentary wine styles that deliver exceptional value for money. To achieve this goal the winemaking team has at its disposal fruit from premium areas of Australia, as well as access to five modern and fully equipped wineries.
The premium fruit, the modern winemaking facilities and a good understanding of consumers’ needs, enables production of premium quality product at a price that represents exceptional value for the high quality wine on offer. Quality wine linked to an interesting and innovative package ensures that there is a product and a style suited to all markets and most consumers.
For more information contact United Wine Merchants (Irl) on 048 38316555.
Two million glasses a day
Approx two million glasses of Jacob’s Creek wine are enjoyed around the world every day. In addition to its traditional ranges, it also prides itself on the attention to detail given to its reserves and sparkling wines. The world-class wines are a fitting tribute to the heritage and achievements of Jacob’s Creek, a brand synonymous with the Barossa Valley and great Australian wines.
Jacob’s Creek was first planted in 1847 by a young Bavarian immigrant named Johann Gramp; the first commercial vineyard in the Barossa Valley. Today, Gramp’s original cellar is still standing on the site, which is a testament to his enduring passion for wine and the legacy he left one of the world’s best loved brands.
Something for everyone
Wyndham Estate on the banks of the Hunter River in Australia was renamed in 1970 after its founder, Englishman George Wyndham. Originally named Dalwood Wines after the area where the vineyard was first planted in 1830, its wines have been received by rave reviews since first release and have been exporting almost as long.
The Wyndham Estate portfolio has been arranged into three distinct ranges to suit a variety of consumer tastes and budgets, each wine epitomising Wyndham Estate’s winemaking philosophy; to offer soft, generous, ripe flavoursome wines.
Keeping it in the family
Six generations and more than 150 years after first planting, Yalumba is Australia’s oldest family-owned winery. It was founded by Samuel Smith in 1849 in Angaston, South Australia, and named ‘Yalumba,’ which is the aboriginal word for ‘all the land around.’
Proud of its heritage, the Yalumba winery today upholds traditions from its founding, such as crafting its own oak barrels. In fact, Yalumba is one of the very few wineries in the world to enjoy the privilege of its own on-site cooperage.
Although it is still family-owned, retaining its traditions and fiercely independent, the Yalumba of today is an extremely progressive organisation, creating a sustainable business in which responsible environmental practice is integrated into everyday activities. In 2007 it was the first wine company in the world to receive the Climate Protection Award from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
The range is available exclusively through Cassidy Wines.
Celebrating 50 years of winemaking
Produced by Yalumba, Oxford Landing is not some invented name on a wine label, it is a real place and a real vineyard. One of the Yalumba wine company’s treasured family vineyards, it is a place distinguished by rich red soil and an abundance of sunshine.
Established in 1958 on the banks of the Murray River in South Australia, the vineyard was named Oxford Landing after a nearby grazing site.
Care and attention are the hallmarks of life at Oxford Landing and the consistently high quality of the wines stems from the time and attention dedicated to the vineyard. This year as Yalumba celebrates its 160th anniversary, Oxford Landing enters its 51st year of making quality wines at affordable prices, something that is definitely worth celebrating.
Findlater Wine & Spirit Group has launched the award-winning Jaraman Shiraz 2006 from Wakefield, one of Australia’s leading family run wineries, producing brands which have won a host of awards at the highest levels within the wine trade. The Jaraman Shiraz won the 2007 AWC Vienna International Wine Challenge gold medal and silver at the 2007 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles.
‘Jaraman’ is the aboriginal word for seahorse and this range has been named after the fossilised remains of seahorses that were found on the family’s Clare Valley estate, and are found on all of the Wakefield wine labels. Jaraman wines are produced from two parcels of exceptional quality fruit from different iconic wine regions in Australia. The result is a single variety wine that is multi-dimensional, highlighting and enhancing the nuances of both terroirs.
The Wakefield range packaging is also in the process of being upgraded, ensuring that Wakefield products remain relevant to today’s consumer whilst creating a cohesive and strong family look to the portfolio.
Rosemary Lyster, marketing manager, Findlater Wine & Spirits comments: “Wakefield Wines has a great heritage and a great quality that runs throughout the brand portfolio. We are excited about the introduction of the shiraz as we feel it is a great addition to our Wakefield offering. To date, the shiraz has received great acclaim in all the markets it has been launched in and we hope to replicate this success here in Ireland. The new look packaging also gives the range a more premium feel and helps to distinguish the Wakefield range from that of its competitors.”
For further information phone Findlaters Wine & Spirits on 1850 404 777.