These came from the NSW Wine Week Tasting/Wine Fair held on Sunday, March 1st, at Sydney’s Hyde Park.
The setting was perfect – the sun was out, the birds were tweeting, the wines were good. What was most surprising however was a statistic I read on the day (detailed here): That NSW wine only makes up 6% of all wine sold in NSW from off license (ie bottleshops) premises and apparently even less makes it on to restaurant wine lists. The question then is – is this an indictment on NSW wine or the marketing of NSW wine I wonder?
What’s not in question is the wine quality apparent both on the day and throughout the NSW wine industry. The Hunter valley, to take the most obvious example, seems to be undergoing its own quality revolution of late, led by passionate winemaking, backed by old vines and an appreciation of the glories of this iconic region. The names speak for themselves (and curiously plenty of Andrews at that): Andrew Thomas, the Eather boys, Andrew Margan, Andrew Spinaze, the De Iuliis family, not to forget Phil Ryan or Iain Riggs. Beyond the Hunter, Canberra is establishing itself as a Riesling and Shraz powerhouse, Hilltops with Shiraz and Cabernet, not forgetting the Sauvignon Blancs of Orange, which swept the trophies at this years Sydney Wine Show.
So, the future is looking rosy for NSW wine then? Or is it? What more do NSW wineries need to do to get over the line and broaden their appeal?
Anyway, onto the wines.
Angullong Sauvignon Blanc 2008
The aforementioned winner of two trophies at the Sydney Wine Show and coming in at the sum of just $15 a bottle. Simply put, Australia needs more Savvies like this – crisply varietal, with lifted, grassy, pristine, fresh Savvy characters in a mould that is grassier and more pure than those of most Marlborough Savs. It’s a worthy winner at a worthy price. 18.5
Brangayne Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Interesting to see this straight after the Angullong. Its deeper, more sour and more intense, with more fullness & an edge of Asparagus that isn’t quite as appealing as the Angullong, but still admirably defined. Smart and rather impressive, this is good, smart stuff. 17.8
Margan Semillon 2008
An essay in stucture, this wine is so far from the image of obvious, mass produced Australian wine that it should be paraded around for the world to see, like a mascot for terroir. So obviously a product of the vintage, this is, in truth, rather a hard drink. It tastes of lemon, green apple and acidity so glorious that it sweeps everything before it. Brilliance, but in a design that is so hard to quantify that I doubt anyone will get it. (my GF certailny didn’t ‘It tastes like nothing but acid’..) 18.7
Margan Verdelho 2008
Whilst the Semillon is a marvel of power and structure, the acidity here detracts from the juiciness that is the trademark Margan Verdelho style. I’m not sure what you would do with this, other than drink it with fish. 16.5
Brokenwood Forest Edge Vineyard Chardonnay 2007
From Brokenwood’s Orange vineyard, this is somewhat less convincing. Overt oak on the nose with a clean, peachy palate that is simple and a little dull. 16
Capital Wines Tempranillo 2007
Of all the Meditarranean varieties, Tempranillo seems to show the most promise in cooler climate Australia. This chocolatey, slightly baked Tempranillo is savoury, semi sweet and slightly caramelised, with a meaty palate of good length and style. Its a pretty simple wine, but ultimately its surprisingly good. 17
Capital Wines Kyeema Vineyard Reserve Shiraz 2007
Another promising Canberra Shiraz. This has a nose of red fruit, leading to a palate that is quite prickly and sappy but shows real promise for the future. Incidentally this comes from the same vineyard as does the similarly impressive Collector Wines Reserve Shiraz. Slightly hot finish a minor distraction. 18
Barwang Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
The good news is that this is a more than worthy followup to the all conquering 06, showing the same firm, dark, powerful flavours with a real savoury edge. Better still, it will sit at the same $15 pricetag. Real overperformer that if you can buy a dozen and stick it away for a stint, it will really repay the patience. 18.3+