An Australian Tribute to the Vancouver International Wine Festival

Gondwana supercontinent map (courtesy
Gondwana supercontinent graphic (Courtesy

The theme region for the Vancouver International Wine Festival was the South American wine making countries, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Brasil. I’ve covered two wines from Chile in my earlier article, and I do have a few wines from Argentina coming up to taste and write about, as part of my tribute to the Festival. But today I am going to cover a few wines from Australia.

It can be said that Australia was at one time, part of South America. Have you heard of the super continent Gondwana? According to plate tectonic evidence, Gondwana was assembled by continental collisions in the Late Precambrian (about 1 billion to 542 million years ago). South America, Antarctica, and Australia formed Gondwana. Western Australia shared land with Argentina.

I have three wines from Australia for you:  Yalumba, The Y Series Viognier 2019, Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2019, and the Yalumba Organic Shiraz 2019.  Yalumba quite often attends the Festival so check for them the next time the Festival is on.

My Wine Tasting Notes

Yalumba The Y Series Viognier 2019 (BC $16.99)

Yalumba has been undertaking a sustainable viticulture program since the mid 1990s. This wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks using indigenous yeasts.  This wine is suitable for vegans.

Yalumba The Y Series Viognier 2019 with wine in glass
Yalumba The Y Series Viognier 2019 with wine in glass

Appearance: Bright medium plus lemon with a gold tinge.
Nose: A medium plus intensity starting with peach, honey with lesser mandarin orange and citrus, but then with swirling the mandarin orange aroma grows significantly. Some bitter grape stem as well.  With decanting, the orange the aromas are about the same, but maybe the orange is not as strong.  More honey, citrus and peach.
Palate: Off-dry, thicker, round with light acidic prickle on the tongue. Initially pear and peach followed by citrus and a hint of blackberry leaf, sweet spice and orange. But then with some swirling you get a lot of orange and sweet spice flavours and the acidity appears to lessen. The wine gets peppery on the mid palate to the finish. Medium body, softer, with light acidity after decanting.  About equal peach and orange flavours, and a lesser amount of pear.  Sweet spices continue and some grape stem. You also get a nice touch of honey.
Finish: A medium plus length finishing initially with tart citrus, rind and pepperiness, with lesser orange and lime, but the orange flavour grows with air, plus you get more sweet fruit flavours and a touch of honey. Sweet fruit, pepperiness and citrus/orange on the finish.

This wine is better when first opened and you linger with the wine in the glass to let the orange aromas and flavours come out.

Rating: 4 stars4.5 stars  Bright lemon colour.  Medium plus nose with ripe peach and honey to start, but mandarin orange comes out with some swirling.  Fuller bodied, off-dry, with a thicker mouthfeel and medium acidity.  Peach, orange, and pear flavours on the palate.  Orange, lime, and pepperiness on the finish.

Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2019 (BC $21.99)

A vegan-friendly wine.

Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2019 with wine in glass
Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2019 with wine in glass

Appearance: Medium intensity lemon with a green tint.
Nose: Medium minus intensity showing more white flowers, and lesser petrol, peach and other sweet fruit aromas. Same pretty aromas after decanting.
Palate: Off-dry, medium plus body round with a thicker mouthfeel. Medium plus acidity. You can feel the acidic tension in this wine balancing with the fruit and the roundness on the palate. Peaches, then pears and apples on the palate. Light petrol, lime, and a hint of floral on the mid-palate to the finish. A touch of minerality in the background. Same flavours with decanting.
Finish: Medium plus length with a thicker weight to the finish. Apple and lemon, plus a touch of lime, then some pepperiness and peach at the very end. Some grapefruit rind as well. This wine has a lighter finish with decanting. Same tart fruit flavours with decanting.

This wine has lots of acidity and fruit to give this wine long ageing potential.  Can age nicely for 5-8 years. Can drink now, but quite tart, and should be enjoyed with food, such as seared scallops.  The sweetness of the scallops should work well with the tart flavours and acidity in the wine.

Rating: 4.5 stars A Riesling with long ageing potential.  Pretty white flowers on the nose with a touch of petrol.  Thicker mouthfeel, with vibrant acidity and bright fruit flavours, covering pears, apples, and touches of lime and minerality.

Yalumba Organic Shiraz 2019 (BC $16.99)

Grapes come their family owned, organically certified vineyards. A vegan-friendly wine.

Yalumba Organic Shiraz 2019 with wine in glass
Yalumba Organic Shiraz 2019 with wine in glass

Appearance: About 98% opaque ruby. Swirling shows teardrops on the sides of the glass.
Nose: Medium plus intensity purple fruit, blueberries and plums, then with some swirling you get black fruit and floral aromas. No change in aromas with decanting.
Palate: Medium plus body, lightly off-dry, semi-round/angular, with light acidity. Medium plus flavour intensity showing ripe juicy blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and black plums. Light, well integrated tannins that are not noticeable upon tasting. A touch of oak. With swirling the wine gets much fruitier and tastes a bit sweeter. Sweet fruit flavours; blueberries and plums with decanting.  You can add pepperiness on the mid-palate and drop the raspberries.
Finish: A medium plus length finishing with blueberries and other purple fruits, light pepperiness and oak. Lightly drying tannins. No change to the finish with decanting.

Fruit flavours and acidity are what drives this Shiraz, rather than tannins.

Rating: 4 stars An almost opaque ruby colour in the glass.  A mix of ripe juicy blueberries, blackberries, and black plums on the nose and palate. Medium plus body with semi-round mouthfeel.  Medium acidity.  Light pepperiness and fruit flavours on the finish.

The Reason for the Vancouver International Wine Festival

Bard on the Beach

Bard on the Beach

We all enjoy the wines at the Festival, but there is a reason for the Festival.  It is to raise funds to support the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. This Festival is held at Vanier Park in the summer and shows up to 4 different plays. The 2019 Festival offered The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare in Love, All’s Well That Ends Well, and Coriolanus.  The status of the 2021 Festival is not 100% certain.  Let us hope that some version of the Festival can commence this summer.  You can donate to Bard on the Beach through this link.

Where Can I Buy These Wines?

All these wines are available in BC.  The Pewsey Vale Vineyard Riesling is available at BC Liquor stores. The Yalumba Y Series Viognier is also available through BC Liquor stores.  And the Yalumba Organic Shiraz is also available at the BC Liquor Stores and at Everything Wine. Everything Wine has the Pewsey Vale Riesling and the Yalumba Y Series Viognier. Check your local wine shop as well.

Thank you to Pacific Wine & Spirits for providing these wines for me to review.

Author: mywinepal
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. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. 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 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.