Enjoy a bottle of wine from Australia!

  • Sep. 14, 2017 1:30 p.m.

Only a handful of Australian wines were widely available in British Columbia just 30 years ago.

Then came the wonderful wines of Angove’s, Hardy’s, Penfold’s, Wyndham Estates, Wolf Blass, Lindeman’s and Rosemount.

Fast forward 10 years to 2001 when Yellow Tail Shiraz (624544) $11.49 made its amazing debut in North America in 2001 and shook the wine world. By 2003 it was by far the best selling imported wine in the US and by 2005 it had sales of 7.5 million cases throughout North America.

Today, wine lovers in British Columbia tend to take Australian wines for granted. Corporate amalgamations have blurred the lines between the original big brands. Smaller boutique wineries have their specialties on our shelves. But a few of the originals are still with us.

Going back as far as 1857 – that’s more than 150 years! – the Hardy family have been making wine in Australia’s McLaren Vale. Hardy’s VR Cabernet Sauvignon (45302) $9.50 offers exceptional value in a mid-week priced red wine. Oodles of blue and black berry and blackcurrant fruit aromas and flavours are supported by ripe tannins and dark chocolate notes.

During the 1990’s, Kym and John Davey used their combined expertise in winemaking, farming and business to develop the estate first farmed by their grandfather in McLaren Vale in 1957. The first wine was released under the Shingleback label, the Shingleback portfolio has grown into a collection of fine wines that include Shingleback and Haycutters.

Surprisingly dry for an Australian white wine, Shingleback Haycutters Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon (453738) $11.99 is clearly built on the same framework as the traditional white wines of Bordeaux. Haycutters starts with 53 per cent Sauvignon Blanc from the Adelaide Hills and gains weight and texture from 47 per cent Semillon from McLaren Vale. Apple, lemon, lime and lanolin notes are teasingly lean and bright, throughout.

Based in McLaren Vale, Serafino winery also makes two lines of wine specifically for the export market. The Sorrento line travels under the Serafino label. The McLarens on the Lake line stands alone unless you read the fine print on the back label.

McLarens on the Lake Unwooded Chardonnay (801449) $14.49. Unsullied by oak, apple and guava flavours slide into lemon and lime and spring flowers. Bright and sassy, it is at its best in the first three years after the vintage. This is a perfect pick for pairing with Dungeness crab.

Based in Australia’s Riverland, north-east of Adelaide in South Australia, Kingston Estate Wines won the Australian Shiraz Winery of the Year award at the Berlin International Wine Competition in April 2017. And is their wine best BBQ Shiraz of the year, too?

Sourced from vineyards in different districts Kingston Estate Shiraz (749804) $18.40 blends Shiraz from the warmer Clare Valley with Shiraz from cooler Mt. Benson to produce a red wine that combines bright red berry flavours with lush dark berry fruit. Aging in French and American oak barrels adds notes of spicy cloves, caramel and coffee.

Well known for their affordable entry level wines, Hardy’s also makes premium and luxury red and white wines. The William Hardy line was released in 2012 to celebrate and recognise the 40 years of dedicated service from 5th generation family member, William (Bill) Hardy.

From the terra rossa clay over limestone soils of the world-renowned Coonawarra region William Hardy Cabernet Sauvignon (35568) $18.49 oozes rich blackcurrant and mint flavours over underlying vanilla oak. Blending 10 per cent Merlot with 90 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon adds ripe notes of plums and prunes to the green pepper and mint that ride the outrageously rich base on blackcurrant flavours.

Embarking on their alphabetic wine journey in 2008, Alpha Box &Dice describe themselves as a laboratory for viticultural exploration. While alternative varietals are their forte, AB&D champion the integrity and overwhelming quality of South Australian fruit above all else.

An unexpected South Australian blend of the traditionally Italian grapes Montepulciano and Barbera with Cabernet Sauvignon, Alpha Box &Dice Kit &Kaboodle (865162) $30.80 is a weighty red that opens with an explosive first sip that shifts from ripe red cherries through red and black currants into spicy peppery cedar.

If you’re already pining for the summer, shift hemispheres… Enjoy a bottle of wine from Australia!

Reach WineWise by emailing douglas_sloan@yahoo.com

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