Australian Wines Revisited
The Wine Observer
June 15th, 2014
by Frederick Thurber
I have to admit that I have not paid enough attention to Australian wines. I was a bit turned off by the huge industrial scale of Australian wine production and the flooding of our market with Aussie wines with cute animals on the label. I used to think of Aussie wine in terms of giant tank farms, winery tricks (such as using oak chips instead of barrels), and road warriors trucking loads of plonk all over the place blurring any sense of terrior. However, last week’s seminar by Joyce Hulm of Old Bridge Cellars at Charlestown Wine and Spirits has changed my opinion of wines from Down Under. There are indeed independent producers in Australia that are more concerned with quality than quantity. Ms. Hulm poured some outstanding examples from these appealing alternative wineries. Although I am going to give full coverage to Old Bridge and other Australian wines in the fall, I thought I should mention a few here.
The most most eye-opening wine was the 2010 Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir ($24). This is one of the best Pinot’s I have had in this price range. It had a delicious smokey strawberry scent on the tongue. Before this seminar, I never associated such delicate flavors with Australian wines.
The 2010 Penley Estate Cabernet had a delicious dried cherry scent with a touch of oak and a light tannic smack. This is a big balanced wine for a remarkably low price ($20).
My favorite wine of the night was the 2011 John Duval Plexus SGM. This was a silky, oaky, beautiful wine for $35.
The wine that really twisted me in a knot was the 2012 Hermit Crab from d’Arenberg. This is a colorful wine from a colorful winemaker (Chester Osborn); its scent seemed to change as I sipped it. First it had a distinct ocean smell which dissipated; then the taste was warm and smooth. It is a complex wine for the adventurous wine tasters who wants something different.