As someone who has always wanted to go to Australia to experience their wine country, culture, and beauty; what’s more exciting than Wine Australia coming to me for their recent Winter Trade Tasting! (Kidding, to San Francisco for that matter…) This was one of my first experiences tasting an array of incredible Australian Wines, and, after connecting with both the lovely wines AND the amazing people, this will certainly not be my last. It was great to try some of the dazzling diversity of Australia’s 65 wine regions, varieties, and styles. See more of the delicious wines I was able to taste at the Wine Australia Winter tasting below. I’d like to say a huge thanks to the Wine Australia Americas Team: Mark, Aaron, and Emily who planned and executed such a fabulous event.
Me and Emily England, Wine Australia America’s Communications Manager
The blind tasting challenge where various wines were available for guests to blind taste on their own. I’m a huge fan of blind tasting. I loved that they had it available to guests at this event. What an educational moment to take advantage of. (Photo Credit: Wine Australia)
Mark Davidson, Global Education Manager at Wine Australia, and me. He was fabulous throughout the tasting, suggesting various wines for me to try from the blind tasting table (shown above). He also walked me through the program questioning me the wine type I was looking for and making recommendations. Talk about an amazingly curated and educational experience. Thanks again, Mark!! (Photo Credit: Wine Australia)
The Evans & Tate Sauvignon Blanc & Chardonnay. I was a sucker for the labels and found the wines quite nice.
As a girl who adores Chardonnay, I quickly discovered that Australia makes Chardonnays that I can really relate to and enjoy. This Moss Wood Chardonnay from Margaret River was lovely. The vineyards are in a coastal location with very little change in temperature for the grapes during the growing season which creates a nice, long growing cycle resulting in my type of Chardonnay, lovely.
I also enjoyed the Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon Wines, as well.
Me and Emily with fellow wine writer Wilfred Wong
These were some incredible wines that I tasted with Henry Hudson of Hudson Wine Brokers. We chatted quite a bit and since my nephew’s name is also Henry, it was easy to remember him both for his name and his great wines. Some of my favorites included the Silkman Semillon, which I learned is made by a female winemaker (I love supporting other kick ass women, especially winemakers), and who was awarded Winemaker of the Year. I enjoyed the balanced, clean, crisp flavors of this wine.
I also tasted this Grosset “Alea” Clare Valley Riesling and learned this comes from the Best Riesling Winemaker in Australia, Jeffrey Grosset. For someone who doesn’t typically gravitate towards a Riesling, I had to agree this was incredible. It was not super sweet as some Rieslings can be, but tasty with an intensity I really enjoyed.
It was fun tasting the Mac Forbes Pinot Noir again, I met him a few months ago one night when he and some industry folks were doing a tasting at a local restaurant in San Francisco and I was dining there. Although I didn’t get to see Mac at this tasting, his wines are great and it’s super fun getting to taste them at events like this.
I also learned that Australian Pinot Noirs are typically light. I typically gravitate towards a heavy, full body fruit forward Pinot Noir, so after tasting a few, I learned that a Pinot Noir from Tasmania (as shown above from Holm Oak) will offer a bit of a heavier fruit forward flavor. It’s really crazy how the various climates can create such different flavor profiles. Perfect example of terroir which I fully believe in and see clearly every time I taste wine and compare regions and flavor profiles.
This Balnaves Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon was extremely nice, as well. I appreciate the nose with lavender and subtle mint smells, as well as the grippy finish, but it is not over done with a lot of tannins. This was a very drinkable Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Voyager Estate Chardonnay and Semillon, both of which I enjoyed very much.
Chris with Fowles Wines leading me through the “Farm to Table” Wines (on the left with the adorable farm animals) and their “Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch” label on the right. These were both pretty interesting as I learned the Farm To Table name comes from the Winemaker who is also a farmer. I loved that and kept thinking how California that is. Of these wines, I really loved the 2014 Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Victoria Chardonnay. It started with a nice creamy taste and finished up with a more complex flavor and some acidity. This sees about a year in French Oak and also malolactic fermentation (my favorite wood paired with Chardonnay) resulting in the nice creamy texture and flavor.
The Penfolds Table and the charming DLynn Proctor, their Winemaking Ambassador. If he looks familiar, it’s also because he was in the movie Somm. He’s always super friendly, charming, and informative, so be sure to swing by his table if you see him at events.
What a line up of wine Penfolds shared at the tasting. Of them all, the 2014 Penfolds RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz was the most exciting. Of course, they were all lovely, but that was the real crowd pleaser.
Some other fabulous attendees, including, Wilfred Wong, Rebecca Hopkins, a fabulous Australian friend who is also in the wine industry and works at Folio Wines, and Mark of Wine Australia. (Photo Credit: Wine Australia)
The above two Chardonnays were amazing. The Snake + Herring is from Western Australia which has a warmer climate. This sees some oak but no malolactic fermentation. I found this beyond amazing with a lovely balance. The other one I enjoyed was the Firebird Adelaide Chardonnay from a cooler climate so the acidity was a bit higher but still had some nice creaminess and remained very balanced.
A dessert wine I tried which was wonderful.
Two incredible Chardonnays that I adored. The one on the left, Kooyong 2015 Chardonnay, is extremely small in production so literally impossible to get. However, the Vasse Felix Margaret River 2014 Chardonnay is a bit larger so it is easier to find. I found the Vasse Felix to show more acidity (from a cooler climate) and really loved the creamy smooth taste of the Kooyong. Although they had quite different profiles, I really enjoyed them both for different reasons. What an interesting example of how a country can have two totally different climates resulting in unique flavor profiles of the same grape.
The Cirillo 2010 Grenache, the oldest Grenache vineyard in Australia. What a cool wine to experience and taste; it was delicious.
I learned that, despite my preference for fuller bodied, heavy Pinot Noirs, they are not common in Australia. Australian Pinot Noir wines are much lighter, similar to what we are used to finding in Sonoma, California. However, Tasmania has heavier, full bodied, fruit forward Pinot Noirs and this was one I tried and really enjoyed!
Another delicious Cabernet Sauvignon from Howard Park I tasted and really enjoyed.
This Rob Dolan white blend was quite interesting. See the mix of grapes on the label.
Thanks to the Wine Australia for having me to this lovely and educational tasting. I fell in love with your wines and can’t wait to continue to taste more and get to know your amazing region and your wines more. To learn more about Australian wines visit Wine Australia’s website.