JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

"For love of everything that is wine"

WINES OF THE WEEK FOR SATURDAY, MAY 10, 2008

Atypical Australia:

Interesting term. What exactly does 'Atypical Australia' mean? Well, put simply, 'Atypical Australia' (at least in my mind) refers to wines from Australia that do not taste the way we expect them to.

Allow me to elaborate.

Without repeating what so many other wine writers have already stated, when most people think of Australian wines, the main things they tend to think of are spicy, jammy reds and fruity, decent-quality whites, most of which are made by multinational-owned companies.

My fellow wine enthusiasts, there is so much more to Aussie wines than this!

These days, Australia (along with New Zealand) is crafting some of the most dynamic, delicious wines in the 'New World,' many of which are coming out of independently-owned wineries.

This week, it is my intention to bring to peoples' attention a few reds and a couple of whites that - though from well-established international grape varietals - do not taste like we expect them to.

RED WINES

(1) Yering Station
      -'Reserve'
      -Pinot Noir
      -
Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia
      -Vintage 2005
       (DRINK NOW OR HOLD)
      -PRICE: $45.00 (APPROX.)
       (will soon be available at
       L.C.B.O. outlets or through
       Trilogy Wine Merchants [agency])
      -8.5/10



COMMENT: Thus far, this is the most Burgundian-like Pinot Noir I have ever tried out of Australia (it reminds me of a light Clos de Vougeot). With light licorice, raspberries, delicate sweet-flower aromas, and vanilla (with only a little bit of toasted oak), the Yering Station 'Reserve' is both delicious and elegant on the palate and finish. Just lovely!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Roasted quail --- enjoy!

(2) DogRidge
      -'The Pup'
      -Shiraz
      -McLaren Vale, South Australia

      -Vintage 2005
       (DRINK NOW)
      -PRICE: $20.95
       (available through
       Le Sommelier [agency])
      -8.25/10



COMMENT: Finally: a fine-quality Aussie Shiraz that is not dominated by wood! Boasting really tasty fruit throughout the 'tasting process,' this wine is truly yummy, showing fresh cherries, red licorice, and the slightest hint of blueberries. Just delicious!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Braised beef shortribs in red wine --- enjoy!

WHITE WINES

(1) Yering Station
      -'Reserve'
      -Chardonnay

      -Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

      -Vintage 2005
       (Drink Now or Hold)
      -PRICE: $45.00 (APPROX.)
       (will soon be available at
       L.C.B.O. outlets or through
       Trilogy Wine Merchants [agency])
      -8.5/10



COMMENT: Yering Station appears to be on a role with its 'Reserve' range, with their '05 Chardonnay every bit as wonderful as their '05 Pinot Noir. Pleasantly musty-scented, with light toast, vanilla, and pears (among other 'temperate' fruit), this wine boasts a certain elegance that I have only encounted from Chardonnay made in Burgundy and certain parts of New Zealand. Quite a compliment!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Angel hair pasta with garlic and roasted chicken breast --- enjoy!

(2) Vasse Felix
      -'Heytesbury'
      -Chardonnay
      -Margaret River, Western Australia

      -Vintage 2005
       (Drink Now or Hold)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $39.95
       (still available at many stores)
      -L.C.B.O. # 674648
      -8.5/10



COMMENT: There is a special place in my heart for Vasse Felix. When I was in Australia a month ago, though I had not made an appointment in advance, they were more than happy to give me a tour of the place. Does this mean I have a positive bias toward their wines? Perhaps, but at least I'm not the only one who finds their wines pretty damn good! Their '05 flagship Chardonnay is adorable, with light butterscotch, 'temperate' fruit, oak, and a few pebbles. It is very stylish, and presents an elegant finish. Along with New Zealand, the best Chardonnay in the world (outside of France) seems to be coming from The Land Down Under.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Stir-fried asparagus with rainbow trout --- enjoy!

ANY QUESTIONS?

Email me at julianhitner@hitnerwine.com

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