Two wildly popular wine regions, one gigantic sale! Read on for a quick intro to Australia and New Zealand, or head straight to today’s sale.
Shiraz (known as “Syrah” in the Old World) is Australia’s most important red grape, and the Aussies produce Shiraz in a dizzying variety of styles.
Australia has a great diversity of terroirs, and each region imparts its own stamp on the finished wines. Some of our favorites come from the McLaren Vale district of South Australia. The climate of McLaren Vale is heavily influenced by its proximity to the ocean, and its soils are rich in iron and limestone. McLaren Vale Shiraz often shows savory notes of olive and spice on the nose, and rich berry flavors on the palate. Shiraz from South Australia’s Barossa Valley, on the other hand, might reveal notes of black pepper and lush, jammy fruit.
There’s more to Australian wine than just Shiraz, however. Australian winemakers are making brilliant Rhône-style red blends (Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvèdre is the classic combination), and the fan base for these wines is growing all the time. The Aussies also produce deliciously fruit-forward Pinot Noirs – in fact, our #5 wine this week is a bright, exhilarating Pinot Noir from Frogmore.
There are great white wines in Australia, too. Modern grape-growers are adept at identifying the terroirs best suited to the grapes they’re growing, and in Australia, this means choosing a site that can grow white grapes that fully develop their acidity. A perfect example is the cool-climate Margaret River, a region that is now producing refined, well-balanced, Old World-style whites that would have been unrecognizable as Australian wines just a few decades ago.
Much like Australia with its beloved Shiraz, New Zealand is known for making one thing very well: Sauvignon Blanc.
In the mid-1980s, Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc put New Zealand’s Marlborough region on the map, and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc soon became popular all over the world. These Sauvignon Blancs typically show grassiness, a little gooseberry, and lots of lovely acidity; they also tend to go well with fish or goat cheese. If you’ve never tried one, there’s no better introduction than the gorgeous Sandy Cove Sauvignon Blanc (our #8 wine of the week).
Still, there’s a lot more to New Zealand than great Sauvignon Blanc! New Zealanders have shown that their winemaking expertise extends to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well. The relatively cool weather of the South Island (and the southern regions of the North Island) provides the climate these grapes require to develop appropriate levels of acidity. New Zealand Pinot Noir and Chardonnay can achieve startling depth and complexity, and some of these wines echo the best qualities of their Old World counterparts.
Top Deals From Today’s Sale:
Double Love Trouble, Some Young Punks – 2010
Another offering from the twisted minds of Some Young Punks, this 50/50 Tempranillo / Shiraz blend has all the ripeness you expect. Deep black fruits and a layer of mint are well-integrated and bold. Great for the typical BBQ, ribs and burgers, and also lamb with rosemary and mint. The grapes come from McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills; this is a vegan friendly wine
Hesketh “Cruel Intentions,” Shiraz – 2009
A charming Shiraz from one of Australia’s best small, family-owned properties. Darkened berries, spicy mocha, complex herbs, and mint flavors enliven the senses, then a long finish of licorice completes the experience. Acidity is finely balanced on this full-bodied wine. Enjoy it with soft, rustic cow’s-milk cheeses, or lamb with rosemary and mint. The Heskeths believe that wine means little without friends, food, music, and art. As a result, the labels have been designed as a framework for paintings by emerging contemporary artists. The vines are planted in the shallow terra rossa over limestone soils of the Mount Benson and Padthaway growing regions. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and aged in a combination of 50% American oak (2-3 years old) and 50% stainless steel.
Yalumba Y Series Unwooded Chardonnay – 2011
This crisp Chardonnay from Australia’s oldest winery blends floral and ripe apple notes with freshness on the palate. Try with Thai chicken salad or grilled prawns.
Tall Poppy Chardonnay – 2010
In addition to ripe yellow apple flavors, which finish exceptionally cleanly, this Australian white wine has a pleasant tanginess and sweet, toasty vanilla notes. It’s extremely versatile: pair this wine with glazed chicken, fish, creamy pastas, or any classic salad (such as Ceasar).
Forty-Two Degrees South Pinot Noir, Frogmore – 2008
A sprightly Pinot Noir with red raspberries, zippy acidity, and ripe tannins. Drink this red with a slight chill and it will awaken your palate.