Australia is an ancient land, with some of the oldest known rocks in the world. To that Australia has a 200 year wine making history, with vinous roots that reach back more than 100 years. Shiraz was one of the original varieties brought to Australia from Europe and is an iconic grape for the country. The Vancouver International Wine Festival this year, from February 20 to March 1, 2015, will be showcasing Australia, and the Shiraz (Syrah) grape. There will of course being a wide range of other wines from other grape varieties produced in Australia, as well as from other wineries around the world.
This week I, and a few other food & wine media, were given a peek into a few of the wines that we can expect to see being poured at the Festival. 24 wines; sparkling, still, red, white, and sherry were all available for us to sample. Below are pictures of the wines that I had a chance to try, and a few comments to entice you to attend the Festival and taste some wonderful wines.
A great way to start the tasting, or any tasting, is with some sparkling wine. This one, Jansz Tasmania Premium Cuvee sparkling, has some nice minerality to it and nice fruit. Recommended to try.
Australia has more than just Shiraz. For those in the know, Semillon from the Hunter Valley produces spectacular wine that can age for many years and longer. Definitely try Tyrrell’s Wines Vat 1 Hunter Semillon 2008.
You may also not have thought of Australia as the land of Riesling, but the Eden and Claire Valleys do produce nice riesling, this Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling, a case in point. Also recommended to taste.
Were you wondering if I was going to show you any Aussie Shiraz? Well here is a very nice example. The Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2009, with sweet and sour cherry flavours, intermingled with oak, is a very elegant wine.
Other Countries To Vie for Your Tastebuds
Lugana Riserva Sergio Zenato 2011 from Italy is made with 100% Trebbiano di Lugana grapes. Fermented than aged in oak barriques. This wine has a tasty fruit and finesse.
Montes, one of Chile’s modern wine pioneers, produces a premium Carmenere, Montes Purple Angel, for the world to enjoy. Carmenere is a signature grape for Chile that was long forgotten from the vineyards of Bordeaux. Please try the wine and have a chat with wine maker, Aurelio Montes, a bigger than life, very friendly man.
Next door to Australia we have New Zealand, who is well-known for their Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. The Pinots from Central Otago being of special interest. Mudhouse Pinot Noir is a light bodied, soft wine that would pair easily with salmon, lamb, or just on its own to sip.
Enjoy the wine festival and purchase tickets before all the events sell out. Enjoy!