Wines of the week: June 22
Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Wines of the week: June 22

This week, I’m drinking: Australian wine with its new freshness

Written by Henry Jeffreys

I’ve just discovered Australian wine. I know, I know, I’m a bit late with this. The wine merchant I worked for in my 20s, Oddbins, was instrumental in popularising these wines in Britain but I preferred sherry and Beaujolais.

Perhaps I was just trying to be different but the bold reds that everyone raved about seemed to me monstrous parodies – ‘wine for hooligans’ as writer Roger Scruton called them. Now Australians are exploiting cooler climes and wines have a new freshness.

Mount Barker Shiraz 2009 (The Co-op, £7.99)

This is a world away from the good ol’ boy Aussie Shiraz that used to frighten me. It owes more to the Northern Rhône than the Barossa Valley so it’s savoury and perfumed. It’s also terrific value.

Billi Billi Shiraz, Grampians 2008 (The Wine Society, £8.95)

Now this one is more typically Australian. It smells of plums, a bit of jam and something malty; in the mouth it’s smooth and chocolatey. Rich, yes, but well-balanced and mellow.

Paringa Estate, Peninsula Pinot Noir, 2009 Victoria (Waitrose, £24.99)

The cool Mornington Peninsula in the far south of Victoria has become a Pinot Noir mecca. This one is light-bodied with a lovely delicate sweetness of fruit. There’s also a single vineyard version called The Paringa that may be the best Pinot Noir I’ve had all year – as it should for £75 a bottle. Planet Of The Grapes: www.planetofthegrapes.co.uk

Pirie Estate Pinot Noir 2007 (Soho Wine Supply: www.sohowine.co.uk, £17.50)

You don’t get much further South than Tasmania where this wine hails from. On the nose it smells of tinned strawberries; in the mouth it’s rich and meaty. Will probably get better with time but so good now, why wait?



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