A decade ago we all drank the Big Ausie wines that sold for pennies. Today they are a distant third in imports resulting from a declining dollar, imagine that, and poor growing conditions. Australian wines fell off my radar during the drought period but the weather has improved and so has the U S dollar.
Growing conditions continue to be inconsistent with 2012 and 2010 being very good years in general. In both years rainfall and weather conditions generally came close to perfect in major growing regions. The growing season in 2011 was cold with rain during the harvest period which alters the sugars in the wines resulting in a lighter style wine. Considering we are talking about Australian wines noted for being over the top that may not be all bad.
After reviewing the offerings it made sense to relook at Australian wines. For this Newsletter we are going to focus on wines priced under $20 with strong ratings. Joan and I continue to shop for whites that match better with fish and chicken dishes. Over oaked buttery chardonnay just does not cut it. We find many Sauvignon Blanc grassy and not to our liking and I am not a Pinot Grigio / Gries fans either. The listing below is of wines that WineSpectator reviewed and had thousands of cases imported or produced.
The listing below contains some 2011 white wines and the stores may be carrying the 2012. That is good news as the 2012 in all likelihood will be of better quality.
As with California wines you will see new names and varieties. This is a good thing. With prices as low as $7 a bottle these are budget cutters for sure and in this economic environment we all need a good bottle for less.
Robert Oatley Chardonnay Margaret River 2012 90 $17
Polished, generous and expressive, weaving apricot and floral notes through the pear and citrus flavors, lingering easily on the open finish. Drink now through 2019. 4,200 cases imported. -HS Country:
Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc-Sémillon Margaret River 2011 90 $19
Light, tangy and distinctive for its pear and peach fruit, balanced with savory herb and lime notes. The finish lingers deftly. Drink now. 4,000 cases imported. -HS Country:
d’Arenberg Viognier-Marsanne McLaren Vale The Hermit Crab 2011 90 $17
Fresh and lively, with a definite spicy edge to the pear and pineapple flavors, lingering with a hint of apricot on the open finish. Drink now. 6,000 cases imported.
James Oatley Chardonnay Central Ranges Tic Tok 2011 89 $14
Lively, bright and appealing for its pear and grapefruit flavors, lingering easily. Drink now through 2015. 7,400 cases imported. -HS
Shoofly Chardonnay Adelaide Hills 2011 89 $14
On the lighter side, this is expressive and appealing, offering pear and floral flavors that come together with a hint of clove on the graceful finish. Drink now through 2019. 2,500 cases imported. -HS
Yalumba Viognier South Australia The Y Series 2011 89 $12
Polished, open-textured and nicely balanced to let the pear, apricot and clove flavors come through clearly, and linger on the finish. Drink now. 16,000 cases imported. -HS
Wolf Blass Chardonnay South Australia Yellow Label 2011 88 $12
Fresh and vibrant, refreshing for its pear, peach and floral flavors, which dance lightly on the finish. Drink now
Schild Shiraz Barossa 2010 92 $20
Smooth and spicy, with distinctive black olive and tar overtones to the blackberry and spice flavors, finishing with supple texture and refinement. Drink now through 2018. 22,000 cases made. -HS personal note – great vintner that has consistently produced very good wines at reasonable prices. Earlier years are in my cellar.
Peter Lehmann Layers Red Barossa 2010 90 $17
Supple, velvety and generous with its red berry, cherry and cream flavors, mingling on the long and easygoing finish. Shiraz, Tempranillo, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Counoise. Drink now through 2016. 9,000 cases imported. -HS
Mitolo Shiraz McLaren Vale Jester 2010 90 $20
This is smooth, velvety and appealing for its juicy blackberry and cherry flavors, zinging through the lively, wet earth-tinged finish. Best from 2013 through 2018. 5,000 cases imported. -HS
Paringa Shiraz South Australia 2010 90 $11
Smooth and inviting, offering a plush-textured, focused, juicy hit of blueberry, black currant and tar, singing sweetly through the extended finish. Drink now through 2017. 30,000 cases made. -HS
Shoofly Shiraz South Australia 2010 90 $14
Polished and supple, this is brimming with red berry, black cherry and delicate spice flavors, all coursing through the expressive finish. Drink now through 2020. 5,000 cases imported. -HS
Deakin Shiraz Victoria 2010 89 $7
Fresh and lively, offering a juicy hit of raspberry and white pepper that dances through the expressive finish. Drink now through 2016. 30,000 cases made. -HS
Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Barossa Reserve 2010 89 $14
Fresh and refreshing, with pretty plum and floral flavors on a spacious frame, lingering without weightiness. Drink now. 40,000 cases imported. -HS
Nine Stones Shiraz Barossa 2010 89 $13
This supple, ripe red plays its black and red cherry flavors over a polished frame, lingering easily on the round finish. Drink now through 2015. 5,000 cases imported. -HS Country:
Greg Norman Estates Shiraz Limestone Coast 2010 89 $15
Focused, generous and appealing, with layers of black fruit, licorice and coffee flavors, lingering against crisp tannins on the refined finish. Best from 2014 through 2018. 21,000 cases imported. -HS Country:
James Oatley Shiraz Central Ranges Tic Tok 2010 89 $14
Dark and dense, with a strong mineral note weaving through the blackberry and loamy earth flavors. Distinctive. Drink now through 2015. 7,500 cases imported. -HS
Note: all reviews from WineSpectator