A few on trend wines

There are a series of Australian wine producers whose wines I have not tried, but feature on some of the country's best wine lists.  I don't really make a point of following fashionable wines, but equally, if the wine inside is in fact good, then there seems no particular point in missing out.  I am easy going in that way.  To that end, I thought I might undertake a brief excursion to uncover what's out there at the moment.  Where to start?  Attica restaurant in Melbourne has propelled itself into the global food and wine stratosphere and therefore they seemed as good a candidate as any.  Happily, their list (here) is freely available on their website.  Unsurprisingly, the list is almost a wine education in and of itself and an exercise in vinous diversity.  Interestingly, on a quick search, the exercise does not appear to extend to a representative from unloved and once benchmark wine region Coonawarra.  Mt Benson appears to be as close as we get.  I shall leave comment on wine mark-ups for another day.  Restaurant wine markups are universally lamented as far as I can tell, yet little changes.

So which labels are making the grade?  They include Thousand Candles (Yarra Valley), Smokestack Lightening (Yarra Valley), William Downie, Ngeringa (Adelaide Hills), Mac Forbes (Yarra Valley), Punch (Yarra Valley), The Other Right (Adelaide Hills), Cape Jaffa (Limestone Coast), Ducks in a Row, Sutton Grange (Bendigo), Patrick Sullivan (Gippsland), Paternoster (Emerald), Ergo Sum (Beechworth), Syrahmi (Heathcote), Bobar (Yarra Valley), Mea Culpa (Yarra Valley), Sami-Odi (Barossa Valley), Ruggabellus (Barossa Valley) and Castagna (Beechworth).

Is this an early preview of Australia's next Langtons style "classification" wines in the next decade or so?  For some, quite possibly.  More critically, is it a snapshot of current fashions which may pass such as did the fashion for high octane reds in the late 90s?   Well, perhaps there's a little bit of that too.  Certain themes recur - cool climate, nature and dare I say some hipster beards and astrology.   Either way, a tick must be offered to the diversity of Australian wine.  That said, I am certainly not advocating abandoning Australian classics in the process (nor suggesting this is being done).  There's plenty of room for both.

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2 comments:

  1. Sean,

    It's a cliche, but some of the small producers are disruptors - reverting to old school - Lo Fi wines, terroir driven, neglected grapes, family run. . . There's clear shift from the model exemplified my Bordeaux - big holdings, a reliance of history and blending. It's a good thing I think, certainly some of the most interesting Australian wines I've tried in recent times have taken this approach, and it's anathema to the model used by the big corporates.

    Re - Langton's - now that they are run by Woolies, I'm not sure I'd head any new classification they produced. . . Also I would argue that Bill Downie and Mac Forbes are making 'classic' wines.

    My two cents.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, I've had some concerns about the Langtons classification too: see most recently: http://www.grapeobserver.com/2014/05/the-new-2014-langtons-classification-vi.html. I meant that reference more as a proxy for wines that are well regarded over a period of time. I tend to agree with your thoughts - there's plenty of interest on this list with Bill Downie and Mac Forbes in particular producing some very good wine, and it's a real positive I think for Australian wine. I love Bordeaux too, but I'll leave that defence to another day!

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