Last time around Noelene and I arrived in Australia on December 1st 2010….Just in time for the Adelaide test. My first impressions obviously revolved around England’s superlative cricket. Even frequent bouts of rain (unusual in this delightful city) couldn’t save the hapless home team. And, there was another amazing experience – at the home town of the South Oz wine industry the shops were packed with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I thought it must be a temporary fad for Christmas…..…until I read the wine columns in the newspapers. Dan Murphy’s is the largest wine retailer in the country and they had just announced their top seven sellers for the year – six of them were Kiwi Sav Blancs!
The Aussies have become disenchanted with the fat, flabby Chardonnays. I gave up on them about twelve years’ ago when the alcohol content started going north of the 14.5% alcohol mark. This didn’t seem to worry the supermarket buyers in Blighty who were, and many still are, captivated by ‘Big’ styles and ‘Big’ discounts.
Well, I talked to my mates in the wine industry, and found that things were changing dramatically. The Melbourne “Herald Sun” reported that “As wine consumers increasingly drink the international drop of choice, cheap New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc it has caused an economic crisis in Chardonnay production……Australian wine industry leaders have made significant moves to re-establish the popularity of Chardonnay, creating a fresher, less oaky and more drinkable style of white wine…..the next big thing in Australian wine.”
Well, I’ll wait and see. From my observations Marlborough rather than the Murray River (source of most of the mass produced “South East Australian” stuff,) still rules the roost. But at least we have two beauties that have been delivering precisely the requisite delicacy for years.
GRANT BURGE BAROSSA VINES CHARDONNAY 2009 22.50
White peaches and cream. An unoaked, fragrant style – just what the ‘catch- up” winemakers from the multinational giants are attempting to produce!
YALUMBA ‘WILD FERMENT’ EDEN VALLEY CHARDONNAY 2008 28.50
This is stunning stuff from the coolest, highest altitude region of the Barossa. Subtle fruit flavours with lightly toasted oak. It delivers all the extroverted nature of Oz Chardonnay that one desires, and then counterbalances with a lean, Burgundian elegance. Worth every penny…..
Prices subject to change