World class Australian wine | Alistair Gibson
One of the most famous names in the Australian wine industry, and one many will know in the UK, is Yalumba.
Established in 1849 by Samuel Smith, who had left Dorset two years earlier, Yalumba is still independent and is now the oldest family-owned wine company in Australia.
Based in the Barossa Valley, Yalumba makes some of the country’s finest wines from its vineyards in the Barossa, Eden Valley, and Coonawarra.
In these uncertain times it feels reassuring to have a long established family business still producing top quality wine.
Outside of Champagne, the south of England is very much a hot ticket when it comes to sparkling wine, but other areas deserve your attention too.
Tasmania is one of those. It is Australia’s coolest wine region and there are currently a number of really exciting names to look for including Jansz, which has long been one of my favourite sparkling wine producers.
Jansz Premium Cuvée NV, Tasmania (Waitrose £13.49 on offer from £17.99) is made in the classic Champagne method and is a blend of mainly chardonnay and pinot noir with a little pinot meunière.
It has a fine mousse and a constant stream of small bubbles, the nose offers apple, pear, and citrus fruits with a some yeasty notes, before a nice creamy palate with bright acidity and a long, vibrant finish. This is world class fizz and an absolute steal when on offer.
Hill-Smith Estate Chardonnay 2018, Eden Valley (Waitrose £11.99) is another of those Australian chardonnays to remind you that the over-oaked, over-rich wines of yesteryear are long gone.
From the relatively cool Eden Valley, a proportion of the fruit was aged in new and older oak, which adds texture but never dominates. The nose has citrus, melon, peach and a little vanilla and spice, this follows through just on the palate which is all bound together with fresh, lively acidity and a long, textured finish.
One of my favourite wine styles is Australian riesling and if you want to really treat yourself then Pewsey Vale ‘The Contours’ Riesling 2012, Eden Valley (specialistcellars.co.uk £24, fieldandfawcett.co.uk £24.70) is utterly compelling wine.
Produced from older vines and then aged at least five years before release, this has a bouquet offering lime leaves, lemon curd, tangerine peal, toasted almonds and a little coriander, followed by a bone dry palate with citrus, minerals and fresh, tingling acidity with wonderful length.