Australian Wine Up Close

AusUpClose map (Courtesy Wine Australia)

AusUpClose map (Courtesy Wine Australia)

Australia is a large country with diverse climates and unique terroirs. There is for example the Terra Rossa, red soil, in the Coonawarra Valley which makes exceptional Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Or the cooler climate of the Hunter Valley, making expressive Semillon which can age for many years. Or Margaret River in Western Australia, which has been said to have a climate similar to Burgundy, and produces some say is the best Chardonnay in Australia.

I recently had a chance to try the latest vintages of some wines brought on the Australia Up Close tour that visited Vancouver.  I hope you have a chance to try some of these wines, either through the BCLDB or a private wine shop near to you.  They are quite accessible, and would be enjoyable on your patio, having a dinner with friends and family.

My White Wine Selections

Alpha Box & Dice Winery ‘Golden Mullet Fury’ 2015 (~$25.99) – A blend of Semillon and Viognier grapes; two grapes that I don’t normally see together.  This wine has an interesting nose; green, oak, and asparagus, with more on the palate.  It is dry and does have some tannins as this wine spends 21 days fermenting on the skins.  I also picked up some minerality in this wine. A geeky wine to please. 4 Stars4.5 Stars

William Hardy Chardonnay 2016 (~17.99) – Light apple and oak aromas.  Fuller bodied, dry with ripe fruit flavours, in particular red apples, along with light toast. 4.5 Stars

Vasse Felix ‘Filius’ Margaret River Chardonnay 2016 (~$28.69) – Western Australia is known to be more European in style. This wine has a mix of tropical fruit, vanilla and toast on the nose.  Fuller bodied, round and dry.  Flavours of pears, sweet spices and toasted oak. 4.5 Stars

Shingleback Haycutters Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2014 – One of my favourite white wines of the tasting, this wine has a mix of ripe stone fruit aromas with petrol.  A sweet nose.  More petrol on the palate.  Medium body and round, with nice texture in the mouth.  A mix of stone fruit flavours up front, followed by citrus at the finish.  Some toasted oak as well. 4.5 Stars

Alpha Box & Dice Winery Golden Mullet Fury, Shingleback Haycutters Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, and William Hardy Chardonnay

Alpha Box & Dice Winery Golden Mullet Fury, Shingleback Haycutters Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, and William Hardy Chardonnay

My Red Wine Selections

Alpha Box & Dice Winery ‘Blood of Jupiter’ 2014 (~$32.99) – A “Super Tuscan” blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.  A very aromatic nose; with ripe cassis, plums and vanilla.  Medium plus body with higher acidity. Ripe cassis, red fruit, black pepper,  and sweet spices.  A complex wine.  Highly recommended. 4.5 Stars5 Stars

Alpha Box & Dice Winery ‘Tarot’ Grenache 2016 (~$20.03) – A wine that I have tasted many times and it never fails to impress me.  This vintage has pretty candied red cherries and floral nose.  Dry, with medium body and medium acidity.  Candied red cherries and cranberry flavours. Very good. 4.5 Stars

Barossa Valley Estate Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2014 (~$21.49) – Light red fruit, flowers and oak on the nose.  Medium body and mouth feel. Higher acidity.  Ripe red fruits, cherries, some toasted oak and peppery on the palate. 4.5 Stars

Bleasdale Vineyards ‘Frank Potts’ Langhorne Creek Red Blend 2013 (~$21.16) – A tribute to Frank Potts, the founder and winemaker of Bleasdale Vineyards in the late 1800s. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. A mix of capsicum, chocolate and dark fruit aromas.  Fuller body, dry with fine tannins.  Flavours of black fruit, capsicum, pepper and light spice. 4.5 Stars

Peter Lehmann ‘Portrait’ Barossa Valley Shiraz 2014 (~$19.99) – Nice ripe, deep dark fruit nose.  Dry, medium plus body with a full mouth feel.  Medium acidity.  Ripe cassis and black cherries along with some pepperiness. 4.5 Stars

Peter Lehmann ‘The Barossan’ Barossa Valley Shiraz 2015 (~$22.95) – Cedar, vanilla and red fruits aromas.  Dry and soft, with medium plus body.  Red apples, sweet red fruits and nutmeg on the palate.  A soft Aussie wine that is really big. 4.5 Stars

Alpha Box & Dice Winery Blood of Jupiter, Bleasdale Vineyards Frank Potts Langhorne Creek Red Blend, and Peter Lehmann Portrait Barossa Valley Shiraz

Alpha Box & Dice Winery Blood of Jupiter, Bleasdale Vineyards Frank Potts Langhorne Creek Red Blend, and Peter Lehmann Portrait Barossa Valley Shiraz

Shingleback ‘Davey Estate’ MacLaren Vale Reserve Shiraz 2015 (~$24.95) – Nice ripe cassis nose together with some chocolate. Full bodied, ripe and round, with soft tannins and salty minerality.  Ripe cassis and red fruit flavours. 4.5 Stars

Shingleback ‘D Block’ MacLaren Vale Shiraz 2006 (~$55) – Dark, muddied garnet colour (due to its age). Prunes, and dark fruit nose.  Full body, with lifted aromatics; dried black fruit.  Peppery. It’s not often you see an Australian Shiraz around for sale with more than 10 years of age.  See what an aged Australian Shiraz is all about. 4.5 Stars

Thorn-Clarke ‘Terra’ Barossa Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot 2013 (~$24.99) – A premium producer who I have had the chance to meet several times in the past here in Vancouver.  This wine has a dark, rich, ripe cassis nose.  Dry, fuller bodies, with ripe cassis and apple flavours, along with some sweet spice. Red cherries on the finish.  Firm tannins, so this wine can age. 4.5 Stars

Torbreck Vintners ‘Woodcutters’ Barossa Valley Shiraz 2015 (~$38.99) – Lifted cassis, cocoa and smoke on the nose.  Full bodied, round mouth feel, with medium acidity and medium plus tannins.  Ripe cassis and raspberry flavours.  A quality wine. 4.5 Stars

Yalumba ‘The Strapper’ Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2013 (~$23.99) – Light, ripe cassis nose.  Medium plus body, dry with fine tannins.  Cassis and sweet spices on the palate.  An easy sipper. 4.5 Stars

Thorn-Clarke Terra Barossa, Torbreck Vintners Woodcutters Barossa Valley Shiraz, and Yalumba The Strapper wines

Thorn-Clarke Terra Barossa, Torbreck Vintners Woodcutters Barossa Valley Shiraz, and Yalumba The Strapper wines

Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Some people prefer red wines. Some only like Cabernet Sauvignon. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I met many great wine makers. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.