My first year in Australia is almost over. There were hundreds of Aussie wines tasted in the last twelve months. Nine stand outs listed below (in alphabetical order) still linger on my back palate reminding how great Aussie wines can be…

Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir, 2015: For me a ground-breaking wine! Ridiculous prices of red Burgundy in Australia threw me into temporary depression until a glass of Michal Dhillon´s Block 5 landed in my hand. The structure, the combination of fruit and earthiness, the focus, the length… recommended as an anxiolytic by 99% of Australian psychiatrists.

Castagna La Chiave Sangiovese, 2010: Beechworth featuring Brunello. Sangiovese from a biodynamic vineyard with unprecedent structure, typicity and focus. Wine that made me believe Australians can master Italian grape varieties. 

 

Cullen Diana Madelaine, 2015: This wine won (by a whisker!!) my 2017 Cabernet contest over Yarra Yering Dry Red No.1. Varietal, balanced, intensive and elegant but its most impressive feature are the tannins: powerful, focused and fruit driven providing an epic aftertaste.

 

Giaconda Chardonnay, 2011: How come the label doesn’t say Meursault? Ripe, complex and intensive fruit, perfectly integrated oak, long, focused and mineral finish. Best Chardonnay in Australia? With no doubt!

  

Grosset Polish Hill Riesling, 2017: Massive fruit complexity carried by a furious acidity. Miniature lime and apricot high-speed trains rushing through the mouth. First time I tasted a comet.

 

 

Henschke Hill of Grace, 2012: That wine has one of the most concentrated, intensive but elegant finishes I have ever experienced plus unbelievably refined tannins. Big wine. Still lingering on my back palate after 6 months.

 

 

La Petite Mort Nebbiolo, 2014: Flinty as hell when opened but there was something special behind all the devil aromas waiting to be discovered. After more than a day of decanting it appeared to be fantastically fresh, juicy, elegant and balanced Valtellina like Nebb.

 

Seppelt Show Sparkling Shiraz, 2007: Yes, sparkling Shiraz is a prime example of Australian wine deviancy but when it´s done well it can be pretty seductive. Uncompromising eight years on lees, very fresh with complex dark fruit flavours, silky mousse and elegant savoury finish (despite 20+ grams of RS).

 

Tyrrell´s VAT 1 Semillon, 1999: A legend from a legendary vintage. Far away from being on its top yet – so fresh and balanced but thanks to the bottle age also complex and smooth. Bought relatively cheaply at auction, no one bid on it. Thank you, ignorant ones!

 

…and one Kiwi wine I still remember well, but I wish I didn’t.

Cloudy Bay Te Koko, 2006: Don’t get me wrong, by a score this is a very good wine (pricy as well) but its richness and fruit intensity (every bloody fruit you can imagine) delivered in a washtub of coconut milk just steamrolled my palate. It’s a question of style they say… My style says: way too much of everything.