Resurgence in Popularity of Australian Wines
Posted on April 11, 2012 at 09:19 AM EDT
Cool Climate, High Country Varietals Generating New Enthusiasm
NEW YORK, April 11, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new wave of Australian wines is erasing decade-old perceptions of wines from Down Under as being "big and fruity" with high alcohol content and supplanting that stereotype with varietals that are much subtler and more elegant.
Leading the way are wines grown in cool climate, high-country regions such as Canberra where vintners like Eden Road Wines are exporting Shiraz brands that have won top awards in Australia and captured the attention of US wine critics.
Wine Spectator listed 13 Aussie wines on its 2011 "Outstanding Values" list. Wine Advocate in February rated 30 Australian wines 95 points or higher, and Wine Enthusiast recently ranked an equal number at 90 points or more.
Statistics provided by Wine Australia show exports are up for each of the past three quarters, including a whopping 27% increase for Q4 of 2011. As the trade group notes with delight on its blog, Australian wines are "on the comeback trail."
Nick Spencer, the winemaker at Eden Road, said it's been very gratifying to see how influential US experts are embracing Australian wines.
"Three of our Shiraz brands, in particular – Long Road, Gundagai, and Hilltops – have been very warmly received," said Spencer, referencing fine restaurants such as WD50 and Kingswood in Manhattan that now stock Eden Road wines.
Influential editors also have been touting Aussie wines in recent weeks.
"I think Australia is once again one of the 'countries to watch,'" wrote Lettie Teague of The Wall Street Journal on March 29. "There's too much talent, ambition and drive to believe otherwise."
As Master of Wine Lisa Perrotti-Brown reported in The Wine Advocate, "Australia's value end of the spectrum is better than I've ever seen it. So if you thought you were bored with what Australia had to offer at $25 price points, it's time to visit the Australia section of your local retailer shelves."
Expect to see even more Eden Road wines on retail shelves and in restaurants next month when Spencer visits the US for meetings with the winery's American distributor, Fine Wine Agency, which is planning a calendar of tastings and events.
Asked what makes Eden Road so special, Spencer cited factors such as altitude, climate and soil – and especially winemaking style.
"We believe Canberra is among the best regions for producing Shiraz. The high altitude and continental climate, coupled with ancient volcanic soils provide the perfect combination for growing bright, perfumed, elegant styles of Shiraz.
"At Eden Road we focus on producing small volumes of hand-crafted wines that are a true expression of not only the sites where the fruit is grown but also a true expression of our winemaking style.
"The expression of high-country vineyards, known in Australia as 'regionality,' is at the core of Eden Road's winemaking philosophy and is reflected in every decision made in the vineyard and winery."
* Media interested in speaking with Spencer during his May 8-20 visit should contact:
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